Each day I speak to more than a dozen entrepreneurs at a bare minimum. My job is to connect with entrepreneurs and understand their businesses, challenges and what they are trying to achieve.

Yesterday, I call came through from a man wanting some help with a marketing strategy. He had just started an online business and it wasn't doing so well. He needed a strategy but could do all the work in-house if we told him what to do.

Firstly, alarm bells rang when he said that he needed a strategy but could do it all in-house. If you have marketing in-house that is competent, then they would be able to do a strategy - right? As I devulged into the business a little more I realized that the man thought a complete marketing strategy would cost "a couple of hundred dollars" and would come with a complete year-long action plan with designated names next to it according to who should do the task in their organization.

I asked if they had search engine optimization. "No, but we will learn how to do that ourselves so you won't need to worry about adding that."

It's an online business, which the entrepreneur had invested money in to get it launched, so why would SEO be something you would 'learn how to do' rather than invest in a specialist to do it for you?

The conversation had me thinking:

1.  Some people have no idea about business
2.  Entrepreneurs stop themselves from being successful - sometimes
3.  No-one can do it all themselves. There are people out there that will be better than you at some things
4.  Entrepreneurs need to work out what they are trying to achieve in thier businesses and invest in making it happen
5.  Never set up a business without a plan that includes marketing

My advice was simple:

1.  Make a decision as to whether you want customers or not - then work out how much in dollar value that is worth to your business
2.  Realize what your strengths are and play to that, then employ others to fill in the gaps
3.  SEO is king to any online business. Without it, you will fail.
4.  Put a plan in place as to where you would like your online business to go, then implement it.
5.  Hire a marketing consultant that specializes in online retail.

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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

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