For most of us, working on our business instead of in it has always been a challenge. We get so caught up in the day-to-day operations and working on a never-ending to-do list. We went into business because we are good at something and we want to work for ourselves instead of ‘working for the man’. Being good at something, however, does not mean other people will automatically find out about us or about our business.
Marketing is the # 1 challenge for small businesses, but without letting people know about your products or services and ultimately generating sales, nothing happens. I have owned several businesses over the years and I know from personal experience how difficult it can be to do marketing right. So why does marketing not get the attention it requires to build a successful business? Here are 5 reasons that marketing gets neglected or treated as an afterthought:
"Marketing seems overwhelming, where do I start?"
There are a lot of options available to market your business these days. Some of the old ways of advertising don’t seem to work anymore, and the online marketing options seem complex and how do you know where to focus your time and efforts? I understand your frustration. You went into business because you have an amazing product or service and you want to share it with the world. We did not get into business to become marketers.
Instead of following the latest ‘Bright Shiny Object’ in marketing, it is important to have a plan. One tool that I have used to create clarity around our marketing is called the 1-page marketing plan (1pmp.com). By starting to write down some basic information about your target market and by developing a clear message to your audience, you will be in a much better position to make intelligent decisions about what media channel will work best for you.
"I don’t have time."
Another objection we hear often is the lack of time. Yes, it is true that the average business owner is very busy delivering the service or making the products. There is only one of you, so instead of being the bottleneck, you hire staff to increase your capacity and profits. When it comes to your marketing, some activities (tactics) can be delegated to either staff or an external marketing agency. Other activities, such as setting the direction and coming up with a strategy remain the responsibility of the business owner. By hiring a team that can help you to implement your marketing strategy, you will be able to focus on the big picture and you know that your marketing will get done.
No Marketing Systems in Place
Marketing gets often treated as an afterthought rather than an essential part of your business. When times are good and there is lots of demand for your product or service, you still might be able to connect with enough customers to turn a profit. But as we have seen in recent years, once the economy slows down, not having a steady stream of new clients coming into your sales and marketing funnel will hurt your business.
You already have systems set up in your business: accounting systems, inventory systems, safety systems etc. What about setting up a marketing system that you and your staff follow to get repeatable and predictable results? This can be as simple as checklists that are followed to make sure that your marketing efforts are consistently implemented.
Entrepreneurs are generally perfectionists and they will not rest until something is done just 100% the way they want it. Although having the perfect marketing plan for your business is important, implementing even a portion of your plan is better than leaving it sitting in a drawer collecting dust. One of my mentors once said: “Better 80% and out of the door than100% and sitting in a drawer”. Taking action and implementing your marketing strategy is where most business owners get stuck.
Being in business for yourself means that in most cases you are free to choose where you focus your energy. Working on your marketing may not be your favourite thing in the world. If you have a choice between doing some ‘real’ work and planning your marketing, you probably choose the first one. This is why life and business coaching is such a growing market. Having someone that keeps you accountable, will help to actually implement the plans that you made. The results of actually implementing your marketing strategy can be enormous. Once you see the results of your efforts through metrics, your motivation and commitment to getting marketing done also increases.
When you start planning your marketing better, hiring the right staff or contractors to implement your strategy, and by building a marketing system you will be way ahead of most of your competition. Once you see the increased sales and profits that your efforts bring you, you will be more motivated to keep going. The key is getting started and getting your marketing done.
Posted: July 14, 2020