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Small Business Marketing Services


How do you want to lighten your load? Do you need long term marketing help? Temporary assistance? Occasional collaboration and insight? 2Q Solutions is designed to meet you at your point of need.

Interval Coaching | Short Term Projects | Outsourced Marketing department

Depending on your resources and what you want to accomplish there are three ways you can get marketing help from 2Q Solutions. 

1) Interval Coaching: As a small business owner it's easy to get distracted and it helps to know that you have someone to help keep you on track with your marketing plans. This is simple, occasional consultation at whatever frequency makes sense for you. We help you make plans and discuss ways to improve your marketing efforts and get better results. Learn more about Interval Coaching.

2) Short Term Marketing Projects: You have some marketing plans in mind, or you need some fresh ideas. You're busy running the day-to-day aspects of your business, and you can't afford to stop the presses to dig into your marketing efforts. You just need help for a short period of time.

3) Outsourced Marketing Department: You want to work with someone on a longer term basis without hiring a permanent employee. You don't have much tolerance for detail or administration, and you need someone who will bring some ideas to the table and implement marketing plans. You want occasional written reports to see what kind of performance you're getting out of your marketing dollars.


Get help where you need it: There are several areas were we can work together to improve your marketing efforts. Some of these are done by Steve Smart and some elements are outsourced and coordinated by Steve

Here are a few of the areas where 2Q Solutions can be helpful to you:

Contact 2Q today! Find how small business marketing services will lighten your load and help your business grow. 

The Froot Loops Story - Simplicity is Key

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


There's Power in Simplicity

In this video I tell a humorous story about Jim, a missionary who faced too many choices at a stateside grocery store.

We don't typically have the same difficulty that Jim did. But think about the great volume of information that the average person has to process these days. It can be kind of overwhelming.

We Have Too Much Information to Process

Steven Rosenbaum, CEO of talks about managing information in his book Curation Nation. He says that the systems we have to manage information just don't work anymore.

Maybe you've reached the same conclusion as I have: Simplicity is KING. People don't have much tolerance for complexity. You have to make it easy for people to do business with you.

So what do you do with this idea of simplicity? Every business is different, so it won't help to go deep into the specifics. But we can build a framework that will be useful for most businesses.

Let's consider two things: three KINDS of simplicity and three AREAS where you can apply it.

Three kinds of Simplicity: Conceptual, Visual and Functional

Conceptual simplicity has to do with the way thoughts and ideas are arranged and presented. It's about making things easy to understand.

Visual simplicity has to do with the way things appear to the eye and are processed by the brain. It's about making things easy to view and understand.

Functional simplicity has to do with the way things work. It's about making things easy to use.

Three Ways to Apply Simplicity:  Product, Processes and Promotions

Your Product: I can't think of a single company that's trying to make their product more complex for people. They're all trying to make life easier and more convenient. Think about how many developments in cars, appliances and telephones you've seen in your lifetime.

Even if your product is an intangible there are probably ways in which you can simplify it. Survey select customers and objective third parties to identify areas for improvement.

Your processes: Remember, people often make buying decisions for reasons that have little to do with your actual product or price. Simplifying your processes will make it easier for people to do business with you.

I'm reminded of a gas station that I used to frequent. I say USED TO because they've made it harder to do business with them. When I use the pump I can't just simply get gas. I have to answer several questions. Do I have a rewards card? What's my zip code? Do I want a car wash? And then after I fill up I have to wait for my receipt to print because they feel a need to show me the latest candy bar on sale. Great marketing? I don't think so, because I now go there FAR less often.

Your promotions: Your marketing communications is another area where simplicity matters. If your message is overly complicated you won't get great results. We've all visited websites, for example, that are visually confusing and hard to navigate. I quickly move on to another site, and you probably do too.


How do we approach this endeavor, with so many pieces? You do it the same way you eat an elephant. One bite at a time. You can do this a couple different ways. You can make improvements in whatever order you see fit or you can take a more organized approach. Use this framework to identify areas that need improvement. Then prioritize them based on the impact you expect them to have on your business; High, medium and low.

You can also look for low-hanging fruit. Fix some of the easy stuff first and get some wins under your belt. It'll be a morale boost for you and your team.

If you want to improve and grow your business, the pursuit of simplicity will be an important part of that.

Steve Smart works with busy entrepreneurs who want to improve their marketing efforts. He lives in St. Louis and can be reached at or 636-699-8772.


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Prevent Royalty Free Chaos - Ask Your Creative

Friday, February 27, 2015


Don't forget to ask for proof of licensing

You probably won't get sued over stuff like this but it is a possibility. An associate got a nasty letter from one of the top image companies in the world, even though she was probably in the right.

**EDIT: Since publishing this article I got this comment from one of my associates - "Actually, there have been instances where is the client has been sued because the creative agency didn't have the right licensing arrangement."

I like to help my clients follow best practices, especially when it prevents chaos and confusion.

What should you ask for when you're having creative work done for you and your marketing efforts? I'm talking about the proper use of images and other creative assets for your website, brochures, email marketing, video, direct mail campaigns and so on.

Let me first say this; I'm assuming that you already understand that it's a bad idea to freely grab images from the internet and use them for your marketing materials. I'm also assuming that you understand the importance of using royalty free assets. That means that you own the rights to use something someone else has taken the time, trouble and expense to create.

I had some questions about this the other day. My main question was, "What should I recommend as a best practice for my clients so they never have to panic if they're presented with a demand for proof that they have the right to use the image or music in question?"

Reaching out to my two favorite sources of royalty free assets was my next course of action. I called the staff at 123RF and AudioMicro. I use 123RF for stock images and AudioMicro for music in the videos I produce. I found the support staff at both companies to be very friendly and helpful. As a result of my conversations with them, I'll pass on the following to you.

Don't assume the creative producer will always be around.

Both freelancers and agencies come and go. They complete the work, you're happy and life goes on… until you run into trouble and they're nowhere to be found.

The proper license must be used.

There are different licensing levels for different purposes. To keep it simple, I'll just put it this way. A less expensive license is required for non-resale purposes like your website and brochures. If' however, an image is to be used on something that will be sold for profit, a higher level, more expensive license must be used.

Ask for proof of the licensing.

Put yourself in the driver's seat. With one easy step you can avoid potential chaos and expense. Ask the producer of the creative work to supply you with a license for the royalty free music, images or stock video footage in question.

Keep it where you can find it.

This is a matter of digital housekeeping. I know, it's kind of a pain. But again, it's about killing chaos and making things easier. It will help you to have a folder that's devoted to creative assets like your logo and other stuff.

Again, it's not likely you'll be sued, but it's not unheard of. Keep a record of your royalty free assets.

Steve Smart works with busy entrepreneurs who want to improve their marketing efforts. He lives in St. Louis and can be reached at or 636-699-8772.




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