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2021 has started weird, and normal is not on the horizon.

So, what can you do as a small business owner to continue growing your business in the midst of crazy?

Start simple, Stay the course, and focus on your customer.

We humans tend to overcomplicate things. If you are starting or growing a business in 2021, focus on the simple things that delight your customers. For example, Chick-Fil-A teaches all their employees to say “My Pleasure” instead of “You’re welcome” after a customer says “Thank you.”


Because Chick-Fil-A’s brand is supposed to be one that is about the customer’s pleasure. On the other hand, a local hospital has a rule that employees are supposed to make eye contact at a certain distance from others, and then smile within another distance. They post this rule in the lobby of the ER. That’s dedication to helping your staff think through how their simple activities (it’s a smile!) can change someone’s experience. At Chick-Fil-A, a simple statement changes from the typical feeling of a fast-food restaurant (I’m just a number) to one of personal connection. Similarly, the hospital takes the stress everyone feels (it’s life or death after all) and reminds employees to slow down long enough to say “I see you, you matter.”

Customers make your business. Without them, you don’t have a business, you have a hobby.

What makes someone want to use your business over the cheaper/flashier/faster alternative? No one can be the best at everything, what makes you unique to your customers?

If you can answer this question, it helps you keep things simple and helps you follow the rest of these marketing tips.

Think through your favorite customers. What made them people you wanted to serve? What type of people spend extra at your store? Who is your favorite tax client? What students do you delight to teach?

Understand your customer.

Facebook recently shut down the President of the United States’ accounts. While this made the news, what didn’t make the news as much was that they also shut down a conservative group, The Walkaway Campaign, and all associated accounts. Professional social media managers, videographers, and others were all excluded from Facebook.

You need to have your own content platform because you never know when something will happen that will shut down your reach or even your accounts on someone else’s platform.

I recommend and use many social media platforms, but I also build my own websites and write personal letters and communicate face-to-face.

When things get bad, Small-Time Marketing is not just a website or social media presence. We are people our customers know and trust.

That matters.

Owning your own content means that you are focused on simply building relationships with your customers.

These principles work with various technology and sales/marketing techniques. And they can be re-iterated in a single sentence.

Build your own system of simple activities that will delight the customers you love to serve.

Now go do it!