It’s entirely possible to run a business by the seat of your pants. But the chances are you’ll be more successful if you live and breathe marketing – including business development. It’s what I call 360 degree marketing. Even a one person business needs marketing objectives…there’s no getting away from it.
Setting Marketing Objectives
Objectives can be thrust upon a business, perhaps when your bank asks to see your business plan. But just ticking the boxes, won’t grow your business.
The truth is objectives are easy to write, and even easier to ignore! Let’s take some typical ones. Perhaps you’re planning to secure 10 more customers this quarter or increase your website traffic by 5%. That’s just dandy. But how are you going to achieve these objectives and what measures are in place to see how you do?
The top companies, the ones that are household names, never stop marketing and neither should you. Sure they’ll have more money to spend and their marketing and sales will be more complex. But to make your business secure, you have to acquire new customers and look after the ones you have!
Small companies are notorious for going flat out trying to win new business. A project or job is completed or a product is sold and it’s off to the next one! That’s a very expensive way to run a business since it costs far more to get new customers than it does to harvest the ones you already have!
Whether you are rushed off your feet and can’t keep up with demand or you’re perilously near giving up, you must, must market your business (and yourself). Small businesses can often neglect customers when they are busy. Calls go unanswered and the website is neglected. The public can be very fickle. Some of these people won’t call back and your website can easily look and feel outdated.
Yes, people in small business complain its feast or famine. But consistent marketing and business development would take care of that. Some small businesses end up doing work for a small numbers of customers – almost like a subcontractor. If these customers disappear and there’s been no marketing – your business could be dead in the water.
So what should you be doing?
- Raising awareness of your business among your target market should be top of the list. This is a 365/52 job.
- Super pleasing existing customers and collecting testimonials and online reviews
- Generating quality sales leads. 5 leads that convert are better than 100 who don’t. Numbers aren’t everything. Listen carefully to feedback especially when you don’t win work .
- If the web is important for your business – learn as much as you can. Otherwise you’ll never get value for money from your suppliers.
- Working out how your business can get repeat work from existing customers.
Many small business people find themselves ‘too busy’. Don’t be afraid to subcontract back office aspects of your business. It will leave you with more time for marketing and selling.