I love working with small business owners, and over the past 15 years I have learned a lot from them. For most the Internet, social media, and mobile phones have completely changed the way they do business, interact with customers, and collect payments.

Most small business owners are really good at what they do (being a dentist, stylist, plumber, attorney, etc), but they are not always great marketers, and frankly it also takes a ton of time out of their already busy schedules.

I have been involved in internet advertising since I started an early pay-per-click search platform in 1999, so naturally I always get in conversations with business owners about their online marketing efforts, and how it’s not really working for them.

In these conversations I always get the same questions from the small business owner:

  • What should we be doing?
  • What should we change?
  • What is the next step?
  • What is your recommendation?

A few weeks ago I was on my yearly goal planning trip. This is a time when I spend 4-5 days away from work, family, etc. just to think about the past year, and the year ahead. I was thinking about the experiences I have had working with business owners over the past decade. I was thinking about how we have had so much progress in the overall marketplace, yet small businesses still have the same questions they had 10-12 years ago.

I realized the answer is simple – small business owners are running their businesses without key insights into what is actually working, what they should change, what the next step is, and why. They don’t need more reports on how many clicks or calls they receive. They don’t need a report showing them they have 25 more fans this month. They don’t need to know anything about clicks, calls, impressions, views, likes or fans.

While it may feel good to see that they are getting something from their marketing spend, it does not translate to what is most important to them – Revenue.

What they need is a single platform to help them understand what is working (from the top of the marketing funnel to the transaction), and what is not. They need to know why they should do one thing, and not the other. They are not going to get this out of a thousand reports, or a dashboard with cool bubble chart. They will get it, however, from big data that is already available to them – they just haven’t known where to find it.

We started FreshLime a little over a year ago.  We have spent the past year working with hundreds of small business owners and massive amounts of their data.  Everything from paper forms to financial data, and everything in between.  We have the answers to questions like the ones above that millions of SMBs ask every single day. Although we do not call them answers, they are actionable insights that will transform the way they operate and engage with leads and customers and the result to their bottom line revenue will speak for itself.

We saw a similar transformation happen in early/mid 2000’s when Google Analytics made it easy for online/eCommerce companies to track marketing all the way to online transactions. FreshLime will do the same for small businesses even if their transactions are offline. And that’s something to be excited about as we begin 2016.

For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert onLinkedIn and Twitter