Several small businesses struggle when it comes to picking the best marketing strategies for their businesses. This is especially the case when it comes to the digital space. However, with companies such as Deluxe, you can learn even more about how to be found better online. Amanda Brinkman is the Chief Brand Officer at Deluxe. It’s a company that is committed to helping financial institutions and small businesses grow. Amanda conceptualized the “Small Business Revolution,” a business makeover show that’s helping American entrepreneurs grow. She tells us more about this original TV series in a recent interview with Ramon Ray.
Looking beyond a marketing campaign
According to Amanda, it all started with a love for small businesses. Deluxe figured that instead of conducting ad campaigns on what they can help small businesses with, they’d do something different. Something with a more direct impact.
They went out and help these businesses and document them as they tell their stories. Amanda creates, produces, and hosts the Small Business Revolution show that has been on for a few seasons now.
In each season, Amanda and her team revitalize a small town’s main street by helping out its small businesses. It’s a different town every season.
“You hear about the business owners’ stories, what it’s like to be them, why they started their business. You fall in love with them and their family and their community.”
Throughout the show, the team walks alongside these businesses in their everyday operations. They give these businesses financial and marketing advice that will help them grow even further.
Main goals of the show
According to Amanda, the show has three main goals. They are:
- To inspire people to support small businesses
- To educate small businesses. Through it, the businesses can get various tips that they can apply to their operations
- To entertain. It is a reality show after all, so there’s the entertainment aspect, just that you learn in the process
Common Business Issues Found Across Country
Amanda stated that although filming takes place in different towns every season, the work done is the same. The problems small businesses are dealing with are the same ones had by large entrepreneurs in urban areas and business people in rural areas.
Marketing and Financial Stats
“The two things that we see small businesses struggling with the most across the country are first and foremost not knowing their numbers or what the numbers are telling them. Then second, really not understanding how to use marketing to grow their business.”
The show, therefore, demonstrates how impactful marketing can be to a business. Through it, small businesses get to understand that the internet has helped level the playing field for them. Small Business Revolution helps them understand how to utilize that digital footprint to grow their business.
Lack of websites
Another thing that surprised the team according to Amanda is that “50% of businesses today still don’t have websites. They’re relying on a social media platform or a directory to direct people to them but you really have to be mindful of how you’re showing up online,” she says.
Being findable online, especially today is your storefront. You need to have a website that is clear and constantly updated. It needs to have the right keywords built-in. These will help you show up in different search queries.
You need to claim your Google listing and ensure that you’re listed correctly on directories like Yelp and TripAdvisor. Make sure you use the right social media platforms and constantly optimize them.
Why don’t people use the available digital tools and resources?
According to Amanda, there are a few reasons why people don’t use the available resources to grow their businesses. They include:
- Most entrepreneurs started their business because they had a passion or are skilled in something very specific. It could be a given product or service. However, this does not translate into a passion for other things required for the business to grow.
She says, “I think just because you had an idea for a business and you’re skilled at something, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you naturally want to be spending time in all the things it takes to run a successful business.”
- Business owners try to wear all the hats. Think about a large corporation for example. The benefit of such is not only in the many employees they have but that they have departments too. Different people there are trained in all the areas such as HR, accounting, etc. When you’re a small business, you’re wearing all those hats, doing all of those things.
“I think there’s this natural tendency because you think so much about just your fiscal resources that you start to forget that your time is a resource too, so you feel like, ‘If I can figure out how to do my website, I’ll just do myself.’ “
You should start thinking about your time as a valuable resource. You should spend it on growing your resources, then hire people to help you handle other aspects of the business.
- As a business owner, you need to understand how fast marketing is changing. This is why it’s worth hiring external bodies or an outside resource to stay on top of the ever-changing algorithms. They’ll do it better and faster. These things will no longer have to fall to the bottom of your to-do list as the business owner.
Which businesses stood out for them?
Throughout the five seasons, Amanda and her team have worked with 31 businesses that all have inspiring stories. They are all putting their heart and soul into what they do.
Amanda talked about the most challenging season for them to work on. They had started filming before the pandemic hit and then suddenly had to change the way they were producing the show. They also had to change the advice that they were giving the businesses.
“We try not to use the word unprecedented, since it’s so overused in the COVID lexicon, but it truly was very uncertain and unprecedented, and we had to pivot.”
One of the businesses the team worked with is run by an entrepreneur named Mike Plaza. It’s an auto detailing shop called Nice and Clean. He had a full-time job and was doing this auto detailing as a side hustle.
That said, according to Amanda, the term side hustle doesn’t truly reflect what it was. He had a dream, and they worked with him to help build that specific business.
He is one of the few black entrepreneurs in Fredonia, New York, which is where season five took place. He said, “Money always goes to money” and the team was glad that he applied. They were happy he was featured in the show because his story is so inspiring.
His is proof that you do have to take that leap of faith at some point. That you have to put it all in the side hustle to grow it the way you need to.
Where can people watch the Small Business Revolution?
You can watch all five seasons of The Small Business Revolution on Hulu. They’re also on Prime Video. Then, if you don’t have either of those platforms, it also streams online for free at smallbusinessrevolution.org.
What has Amanda’s experience been like producing and directing the show?
In Amanda’s words, we’re all here to make each other’s life better. She says we should use our blessings to help others in the ways they want to be helped. For her, it was a great way to show that companies can do well when doing good. She’s happy she had the right marketing background to conceptualize the idea for the show. She finds it fulfilling.
More about Amanda Brinkman and Deluxe
Amanda Brinkman is the Chief Brand Officer at Deluxe. Deluxe is a 100-year-old company whose legacy lies in the check printing space. Over the years, Deluxe has been evolving alongside its customers. Today it’s a trusted technology company that helps both financial institutions as well as small businesses.
In Amanda’s role, she creates, produces and hosts the original series called The Small Business Revolution. The reason that the big Fortune 500 Company created a television show is that they love small businesses and wanted to do something to truly demonstrate that love.
You can listen to and watch Amanda’s entire interview below.
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Source: Smart Hustle