Even I sometimes find marketing my own business hard, despite the fact that I’ve been working in marketing for 20 years now, and running Get Fruitful Marketing since 2014.
The challenges I face are the same issues I see coming up for my clients who are mostly busy running their own small businesses too.
I want to share the three main issues I see that are common for most solepreneurs and SMEs, plus my top tips on how to overcome them. Today I’m talking about the biggest one:
Lack of time
We all know that if you really want to do something and think it is important, then you will make the time, so this is actually masking another issue. If you say you don’t have time to focus on your marketing, then it could be that you are actually lacking clarity on your business goals and this is holding you back.
To make your marketing effective, and a worthwhile investment (of your time and money) you need clear objectives.
Do you want to grow your business somehow to increase your impact and income? This might mean getting more new clients on board, increasing the volume of sales through repeat business, offering more/new products or services, getting more referrals and positive reviews. If you are not clear on what you actually want to achieve for your business overall, you won’t know how to focus and direct your marketing efforts, and you won’t bother to make the time.
You may be genuinely busy servicing clients, delivering products/services and applying your hard-won expertise and skills directly to your paying customers. So it won’t be your priority to allocate your precious limited time and mental energy to acquiring new customers. Marketing skills and knowledge are likely different than the work you have trained for, or developed years of experience in. You need to have an eye for design, a way with words and a particular mindset to think from the customer’s perspective and communicate accordingly. If you are not in the habit of doing this, it is challenging to jump from your ‘day-job’ and core role to sitting down and dreaming up a creative campaign concept, or writing copy for your blog, social media or email newsletter. Your time is better spent doing the thing you know best – after all, it’s what your customers are paying you for!
‘Lack of time’ may also indicate that you have enough on your plate right now and don’t need new customers at the moment, and you may not be looking to develop your existing customers to become more valuable in any way either.
If you are happy with your current level of success in business then you won’t want to give priority to investing your time (or budget) into marketing. But if you want to make more – clients, revenue, profit, impact then you need marketing to grow. And there is a saying that, ‘if you’re not growing, you’re dying’ because the world is constantly moving forwards, and today’s customers will naturally drop away over time… where are your customers for tomorrow going to come from?
So, how to overcome these challenges associated with ‘lack of time’ to apply to your marketing?
If you are lacking clarity about your business goals and marketing objectives I suggest you take some time out to reflect on why set up your business in the first place – what did you set out to achieve? What do you want to achieve this year, in 5 years, in 10 years, and what is your exit strategy or ultimate endgame? Check out this blog post I wrote a while back to consider what success means to you in your business. You might also consider booking a Vision Ignition Session or joining the next Seeds to Success online programme that I’ll be running from April 2020.
If you are lacking capacity and capability to do more marketing, and need to protect your time to prioritise other activity in your business, then you need to consider getting someone else to help – this could mean hiring someone into your team or outsourcing. If you want to explore these options and how Get Fruitful Marketing can help, please drop me a line.
If you are not being forward-thinking about future-proofing your business, and working to ensure that new customers are coming into your pipeline to sustain your business for the long-term then you need to take stock. If you have all your eggs in one basket with one big current client, how much risk is there that they could take their business elsewhere and you would struggle to replace them? What plans do you have in place to feel secure in the knowledge that you have income coming from a variety of different sources with potential to increase and diversify further over time? If you’d like to explore new opportunities to make your business more robust and sustainable in the long term, please do get in touch.
I’ll be posting another blog post tomorrow and another the next day on two more key issues that may be holding you back with effectively marketing your business, plus offering more tips on what to do about it.