While doing research for the article Marketing Mania, which deals with using marketing to grow your business, I talked to a lot of tree care business owners. Many owned small, local businesses. I read a lot about small businesses and how important marketing and promoting your service is to survival. I also talked to several marketing experts, and did some reflection of my own.

Before coming onboard at this magazine, I worked for a small, family-owned, local business in the automotive recycling industry. Most of the time the company had no more than 10 employees, and resources were limited. The company faced stiff competition from similar small businesses, as well as large, national corporations. Of course, the goal every day was to be as successful as possible.

But it wasn’t easy. Every day was a fight for survival.

When the phones weren’t ringing or customers weren’t walking in the door, we nervously wrung our hands. There were many instances when we counted the money taken in that day and felt sick to our stomachs … “Another slow day. How much more can we take?” Naturally, there were good days, when the business flourished and it took a little longer to count the money at closing time because, thankfully, there was more money to count!

Marketing decisions were frequently discussed. What avenues should be used to market the business? Google? Facebook? Yellow Pages? Magazines? The company website? Flyers mailed to customers? All of these avenues have pros and cons. We tried most of them; some failed and some worked. Ultimately, these conversations were just another way in which we scratched and clawed, every day, to be successful and stay relevant.

But the fight is worth it. And that’s the point.

My message to you small business owners is this: When things look bleak, when the bank account isn’t as full as you’d like, never give up the fight. Be proud that you come to work every day as the owner of a company who must fight for success, as it only strengthens you in the end. You learn more this way — about your business and yourself.

Don’t ignore marketing. Don’t put it off. As you’ll read in Marketing Mania, there are many ways to market your business, and it’s up to you to strategize how and when you want to do so. These decisions are as important as any you’ll make going forward.

As a small business owner, people rely heavily on you for their livelihood.

You rely heavily on you for your livelihood.

Don’t give up the fight.