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Marketing Your Small Business Page 3

3. What are your weaknesses, really? 

Probably more important than knowing your strengths, is knowing where you fall short. Be real about what you don't, or can't, offer. If you are glazing over this issue, do so at your own peril. One of the most dangerous things a business can do is underestimate the intelligence and sophistication of their (potential) customers. The more honest you can be about what you are offering -- and what you are not -- the better off you will be.

Ask yourself: What's not so hot about what you've got?

Are you overpriced?

• Is your competition better priced? 

• Do they offer better service? 

• Are they more convenient? 

• Are they closer, more friendly?

• Are their customer service people actually alive? Or is the help line a recording? 

(Author's rant: the author HATES automated voice mails from companies that he pays good money to, but they, being too big, and TOO important with other things like exploiting Honduran banana farmers, to deign to answer my silly questions about their Machiavellian web site.  But God help ME if I'm a day late with the damn cable bill, because my wife was giving birth to our second child (a blue-eyed cherub if there ever was one -- ((Raphael take note)). And God help me if I don’t pay exactly on time, regardless of the circumstances (see above), I'm dirt bag, piece of garbage nobody. But, remember, their commercials say, “We care about you because you're a valued customer.”

How can you fix it? If you can't fix it, then how can you exploit it? Make the proverbial lemonade?

Weakness can be an advantage. 

It's true. Yes, it's sounds antithetical, but it works. How? Turn a negative into a positive. If your competitors have more parking, you offer valet. If they offer a bigger space - a la, a Barnes and Noble to your Books (Un) limited, then you offer a more intimate, social experience. Comprende? 

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