|Early in My Career
Early in my career I ran a training and development department in a Toronto branch of the Business Development Bank (BDC). Our mandate was help small and and medium-sized businesses by building their knowledge, skills and capabilities. One of my most popular courses was on small business marketing that I taught at a local college in the evenings.
Every group raised the challenge of needing to marketing but having little time or money to do so. Time was the biggest issue; when business was brisk you had no time to market, which resulted in an eventual drop in business. It seemed impossible to do both activities at the same time.
Now, as a small business owner, I am experiencing the same challenge. When I am at full capacity with consulting assignments, I have little time to market. I know that if I don’t market I will eventually gain capacity, which isn’t a good thing.
I have taken three simple steps to ensure I market regardless of my workload:
1. Define the portfolio of marketing activities worth investing in
There are twenty-three activities I use to market. It may sound like a lot, but many of them require minimal time or have low frequency.
2. Detail the work required for each activity including when it needs to be done
This step has helped me plan my marketing time, often late at night or on weekends. I manage by lists and adding these activities has helped me ensure they don’t get forgotten.
3. Set goals by month and track progress weekly
Weekly marketing goals didn’t work for me because of the variability of client needs. It was was an unproductive and frustrating exercise. Tracking progress weekly, however, let me know what I had achieved and how much I had left to do.
Now I am focused on working my plan and track progress. I am also measuring efficacy of each activity so that I can focus on the most effective ones.
I still feel I don’t have enough time to market, but I am achieving a lot anyway. Should any business owner feel like they have done ‘enough’ marketing?