Forty years ago Paul McCartney announced a “temporary break with the Beatles.” He cited “personal differences” and added that he would no longer record with John Lennon.

Ok, so that event was huge. But we’ve all experienced breakups and business breakups, internally or externally, have just as devastating an effect on life as the Beatles breakup did for their fans in 1970.

Over the past few years, due to the explosion of social media, small business in particular has been breaking up with traditional media and traditional marketing. In the case of small business, it’s not dictated by “personal differences” but rather by “economic” ones.  Just as Paul, John, George and Ringo needed to break up to grow; small business marketing has to do the same thing.

While many small businesses are uncomfortable with the social mediaRevolution and this new way to market, they know that they have to do something to stretch their marketing budgets and expand their reach. While it’s hard to say goodbye to partners, here are 3 ways to make the marketing breakup less painful and get you started with new relationships.

1. Recognize that you are stepping out of your comfort zone and embrace this new opportunity that the world is giving you. The Beatles certainly left their comfort zone and each embraced their own solo careers, as scary as that might have been. Rest assured you won’t be single and on your own for long as social media is exactly that – social. You’ll  begin finding new relationships immediately. And as an added bonus, social media is free, you only need to invest your time and not your dollars so keep your eye on your bottom line – you’ll love that you are saving marketing dollars. Social media will help you get your message out Here, There and Everywhere it needs to be.

2. Know what you are. The Beatles knew that together and individually they were pop/rock stars. They didn’t try to be something else. They each knew their “niche” and for the most part, they stuck to it. Since you’re embarking on a new marketing plan and will be starting new relationships now is the time to re-evaluate and make sure you have defined very clearly what your niche is and stay true to it. Write down what your business is, who your customers are and what value you give your customers. If you are an ice cream store, don’t try to sell candied apples and hot dogs to compete with businesses down the street (yes that happened in my community with bad results!). When marketing, be clear about what you offer your customers and be clear about how you can help them. Don’t send messages that are Helter Skelter.

3. Don’t put your eggs in one basket. After their breakup the Beatles recorded solo, recorded duets, worked with bands. Individually they grew because they kept doing different things within their niche. Small business marketing plans need to do that too. Don’t focus just on social media (although you really need to make that a big part of what you’re doing since it truly affects your bottom line), include a mix of traditional media, your customers for word of mouth advertising and always be on the look out for new ways to expand your reach. You’ve been in a one-sided long term marketing relationship for far too long – branch out Across the Universe, explore your options and make the most out of this new and exciting time to market and grow your business.

When the Beatles broke up many thought it was the end of the world. When businesses have to make changes, some think that is the end of the world too. But remember, the Beatles each had their own successes after the breakup because each member knew who they were individually and embraced the opportunities given to them. The same holds true with small business. As long as you know who you are as a small business you can take advantage of the new ways of marketing. By doing this you too will grow and succeed just like Paul, John, George and Ringo did.