How Much Should a Small Business Budget for Marketing?

If I were a teacher in a classroom and asked how much should be spent on marketing I would have to stop and ponder, then give the following answer, About 10 to 15 percent of revenue should be spent on marketing. That is the short answer. Easy, wrapped in a bow, done.

Business doesn’t occur in a classroom though. For a small business that is looking to bring in $250,000 their first year, it can almost come as a shock to the system to realize you will need to put up $35,000 in marketing for one year.

In some cases it is almost unavoidable to do so. If you are opening a divorce law practice in Chicago, it would be near impossible to expect clients without investing in online advertising and SEO.

So What is a Business to Do?

If you don’t have the capitol to spend on marketing, then you are going to have to do it yourself. Now, some expenditures are unavoidable. If you are going to run Google AdWords or sponsor a local Chamber of Commerce event, dollars will have to be spent.

But it is always wise, if you or your employees have the time, to figure out what you can do and what needs to be spent to have others do. You will sometimes be surprised by how much your employees can do in these instances or even family and friends.

• Do they own a quality camera?
• Do they spend a great deal of time on social media?
• Do they like making videos?
• Can they describe a product or service you offer in writing to create unique written content?
• If they don’t like to write, can they talk about it and record it on their phone recording app?
• Does anyone take classes on graphic design?
• Do they manage a blog for themselves or a nonprofit?
• Etc.

Most small businesses do not require a full time marketing manager. So don’t get carried away reallocating resources for this one business practice and don’t just hand them the keys. Stay involved and and learn along with them.

Knowing your clients, developing a strategy and having solid people to execute is a recipe for success.