Many small business owners struggle to grow their businesses only to find themselves stuck in a morass of marketing, management and delivery tasks. As your business becomes more complex and time consuming, the original vision of the business usually changes or gets lost, and it can become increasingly difficult to define and implement a marketing strategy that helps you achieve your business potential.
As a marketing coach I have many small business clients whose marketing is going nowhere because they haven't clearly identified where they want to take their business/what they want their business to be/ and what role they want to play in it.
Whether you want to take your business to the next level or are just starting out, to be more successful at marketing you need to regularly clarify what you want your business to be and what your role in it is or should be. In order to develop a marketing strategy and plan that works for you, you need to first clarify:
- What are your business passions and strengths
- How do you want to spend your time
- What work tasks you enjoy
- What type of business you want to create
DEFINE YOUR BUSINESS PASSIONS AND STRENGTHS
The energy, determination and persistence it takes to build a business only makes sense if you are doing something you love - or that at least gives you great satisfaction. What do you enjoy doing the most? What are you happy doing day in and day out?
What are your Strengths?
Identify your business passion, and then examine your strengths within that passion. How can you leverage your interest and knowledge to become a sought after expert in your field?
Say you love skiing and want to make a living in that industry, which you know well. Are you going to run a ski shop, be a ski instructor, or become a skiing guru, sought after by thousands, with your simple and innovate teaching techniques?
Which aspects of your passion suit your expertise and experience? How can you build a business around them?
SET GOALS FOR HOW YOU WANT TO SPEND YOUR TIME
Personality and interests vary. Some small business owners have a passion for hands on delivery, others enjoy focusing on growing their business and coordinating the delivery of products and services.
Some can't stand being stuck in an office all day; others would prefer never to talk to a client or customer. What aspects of your business are you good at and which do you want to develop further?
Use the following questions to help you clarify how you want to spend your week.
- Do you like being in charge of marketing, operations or service delivery?
- Are you an educator, do you love sharing what you know or do you like inventing new products people can use without your involvement? Or both?
- Do you prefer managing the business and delegating daily tasks to others?
- Do you like to travel or prefer to work from an office or at home?
- How important is flexibility in scheduling and work location?
- Do you want to work less and earn the same?
- Do you want to work part time or do you love your work so much that you could do it seven days a week?
- Do you want to structure your work so it is more satisfying?
CLARIFY THE TASKS YOU ENJOY
We all like and dislike specific activities, excel at some and are better off delegating certain tasks to others. Clarifying what you like and dislike is essential to then defining the strategies and structures you need to create a more satisfying work environment.
- Do you enjoy coming up with new products?
- Do you enjoy selling your services and products?
- Do you like to write or prefer public speaking?
- Or both?
- Is the phone your communication tool of preference?
- Do you prefer to use email for most of your communication?
- Do you enjoy public speaking and sharing your ideas?
- Do you enjoy following up with employees to make sure they've done agreed on tasks?
SPECIFY THE TYPE OF BUSINESS YOU WANT TO CREATE
What have the answers to the questions above told you about your business and your role in it? Depending on the services and products you provide, does your business need additional staff, facilities, technology, geographic presence, or capital?
Would you prefer to be a successful one person business/sole proprietor? Would you like to grow your business to include five to fifty employees? Will profit or passion be the driving force? Or both? Are your markets local, regional, national or international?
Answer these questions to define your business goals and your role in your business' growth. Once you have a clear and current idea of where you are going, you can define a marketing strategy to get there, to achieve your business potential.
2004 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.
The author, Marketing Coach, Charlie Cook, helps independent professionals and small business owners attract more clients and be more successful with the 5 Principles of Highly Effective Marketing. Sign up to receive the Free Marketing Guide and the 'More Business' newsletter, full of practical tips you can use at http://www.charliecook.net