Clarity & having an excellent marketing plan are a must:
As business owners we all need to be crystal clear on the purpose and vision for OUR businesses. Once you have decided on your overall vision for the business, you can set about creating a rounded marketing strategy that will help you to achieve your business vision and goals.
Having absolute clarity in your goals, will automatically result in more focused and driven work that will ultimately help you to achieve YOUR business goals.
Every year clients tell me that they have created a business and marketing strategy, however, it often transpires that, this strategy is not very well thought out and as a result there is a lack of true conviction in their business goals. A lack of conviction and purpose, means erratic implementation and WILL NOT help you to achieve your business goals.
For many entrepreneurs they typically realize their mistake approximately half way through the year! At that point, mistakes have been made, opportunities have been lost and fire fighting begins, causing a vicious cycle and results in not remaining on track towards achieving your business goals. As entrepreneurs, we have all (and include myself here!) been there at some point! Throughout this painful process, it is evident that certain situations could have been avoided and that many more goals, could have been achieved, had business owners taken the time to create their very own business and marketing strategy.
As Winston Churchill said, “failing to plan is planning to fail”.
As such I would urge you to truly set aside some quiet time, for you to work on your own business & marketing plan for the coming year.
FYI when you do decide on your business goals, please have the courage and perseverance to stick with them!
Remember that during the year, you may have to adapt the activities that will help you to achieve your goals. Circumstances can change, new opportunities can arise and as an entrepreneur, you may need to adapt and incorporate new plans into your overall business and marketing strategy. This is a good thing and typically demonstrates a person with a good business head. The great thing is, that as a business owner, you have the capability to make decisions when necessary.
A great question to ask yourself at the end of each month is: Are you on track????
It is always pertinent to adopt a review strategy that allows you to review your goals month on month. A true entrepreneur, knows that they need to be willing to adapt and change when necessary, for the benefit of their business.
Be aware of shiny object syndrome:
Entrepreneurs frequently get over excited and over awed at the multiplicity of tech options available to them in all types of businesses. The challenge can be to yes, seek out excellent technology choices that can help shape the success of your business and add demonstrable value to you and your customers. However, a word of caution, needs to be issued, in the context of getting caught up in ‘shiny new object syndrome, with software and tech platforms, which ultimately need to serve your business. All too often, entrepreneurs can spend an inordinate amount of time and money on what is essentially new gadgetry, losing sight of their overall business goals
Taking a step back, with a view to taking many steps forward:
There are times as a business owner, when you may need to regroup, rethink and restrategise the strategic direction of your business. Should this occur, some time may need to be spent, stepping back from your current business path and changing or indeed adapting your overall business direction. Sometimes, as business owners, we may need to carve out new opportunities in a different direction, that may not have been open to us at the onset of your business operations.
This can cause a period of inconsistent growth in one or more areas of your business and it can be all too easy to give up and not move forward towards greater business goals. Some strategic plans need to be put in place, all of which take TIME and MONEY. At this juncture, market research, patience and plenty of guts are required.
This year in order to achieve my overall vision for my business, I have taken several steps back, as means of taking giant leaps forward in my business. This has been a scary and also a liberating process. I am starting after several months to see the fruits of my labours and as such I urge all business owners to capitalize on new business opportunities.
Surround yourself with experienced and knowledgeable mentors:
Always push yourself and surround yourself with mentors and or accountability partners that will help to push you forward. This is a vital component to any successful business, it is worthwhile acknowledging that you may not need to reinvent the wheel and you can ultimately avoid costly business mistakes by asking for help from those who are simply further ahead in the game of business.
To take informed risks in your business:
It is interesting to me how many phone calls I receive from potential clients, who can sometimes have grandiose ideas of what life may be like as an entrepreneur BUT who have absolutely no idea what it takes to successfully set up and run a business!
One lady in particular springs to mind, this person contacted me, expressing great urgency in their need for marketing advice, for a wonderful, new and inventive business idea. I am a little more cynical in this regard now, however I agreed to a meeting!
The lady in question, appeared 20 min after the pre arranged time, she was dressed in a jumper with a proliferation of holes, that were clearly not part of the design of the jumper! I am saying this not to be snobbish,as I myself have been known to wear threadbare clothes that are comfortable on the weekend, however I would never present myself at a business meeting in such attire.
The lady, went on to explain to me in a very high pitched stage whisper (we met in a cafe) how she was so excited for her NEW business idea, patiently I waited for the revelation. I was a little non plussed when she explained that she was going to open up a CAFE………….. in a local town. I won’t bore you with the myriad of non details she divulged only to say that her mother and brother were going to ‘work’ for her for free and she herself would be front of house.
When I pointed out such details as rent, local business rates, wages (which she assured me her mother and brother would not want!) a need for a marketing budget and so on and so forth…… She was undoubtedly floored with some of my own revelations and insights into the business world! The meeting ended soon after and she promised with a thumbs up sign, to keep me posted……. I still await that posting…… however I have not since seen a new cafe in that local town and can only surmise as to what happened.
I believe you can see my point. As entrepreneurs we have a tendency for risk taking, however we also need to be smart and savvy and do as much market research as possible, when looking into new and or proposed business ventures. It makes sense and allows us time to EVALUATE the true potential in new business opportunities.
A word to the wise – Google has many wonderful qualities, however a couple of google searches does not suffice as true market research. In particular ‘wikipedia’ spells the death knell for any true market research!
In other words, the information available on the internet can be a mixed bag of tricks and business owners need to have a good market research background, find some market research done already on a particular industry or hire a marketing research professional. Believe me, you will save yourself money in the long run.
Recharge your own batteries:
As business owners we often forget to look after ourselves. Do not forget that YOU are the heart of your business and that if you don’t look after your health, both emotionally and physically you will ultimately crash and burn and that is no use to anyone, including yourself. If this should happen, for most entrepreneurs their businesses can be seriously affected. I think we all know that prevention is better than cure, so make sure you have down time, that you eat properly, essentially that you look after yourself and your family. This mantra will serve you well in all areas of your life, including your business.
Picture – Pixababy – source