Yesterday, I was at Basingstoke with around 700 other small business owners getting inspired by the Entrepreneur’s Circle.
I love these events.
After all, when you work for yourself, it can get pretty isolating. And whilst the internet is a fantastic resource for hunting out new ideas, there’s nothing better than being in a room, sharing an experience with other like-minded people. As a little aside, big thanks to my mum who came with me to look after my little three-month-old boy! Otherwise the day away would have been impossible and I would have missed out 🙂
Anyway, what always strikes me with events such as these, is the amount of ideas you come away with.
But mixed up with all the excitement, is a teeny-tiny bit of overwhelm as you wonder, “what the heck should I do first!”
As a small business owner, organising your marketing plans to get them implemented is a key challenge – especially when you have budget and time constrains to think about.
Sales letters, blogs, newsletters, autoresponders, advert etc. Writing stuff so you can stay on your customers’ radar is super-important. But if you’ve got limited time and a limited budget, where on earth do you start?
If you’re struggling with just this question, unless you make a firm decision, you’ll either end up trying to implement too much at the same time and make a big hash of it OR get so tongue-tied and tangled, that you end up doing nothing. And that’s no good for anyone – especially your bottom line.
So what’s the solution?
Well, here’s an easy-peasy six-step strategy to help give you the clarity you need to get going – FAST…
1. Big picture thinking
The first step is to get clear on what you’re trying to achieve.
Try to visualise you and your business having already achieved your goal and you’ll know what’s most important to you. If it’s more sales, you need to focus on sales material. But if it’s more authority, you’ll want to invest more effort creating positioning and reputation-building content.
2. Identify your options
Once you’ve got a big picture view of what you want to achieve, the next step is to concentrate on the detail. Let’s look at our two examples in turn:
If you want to boost sales, you could:
- Create a compelling lead magnet to grow your list
- Create an autoresponder to stay on the radar
- Write some sales letters with a no-brainer offer to evoke desire and a deadline to create urgency
- Create some lumpy direct mail that encourages people to buy
- Create a landing page and direct traffic to it via social media and PPC
If you want to enhance your reputation, you could:
- Create a blog strategy and write about useful content on a regular, consistent basis
- Produce a monthly printed newsletter packed with useful content
- Guest blog on relevant sites to tap into a new audience
- Run a webinar or a Google hangout and tackle a key problem faced by your target customers
- Collect and use testimonials that prove you’re the “go-to” person in your niche
3. Organise your priorities
If you work by yourself, you’ll struggle to do all the above well.
So the next step is to look at your budget and your time constraints and decide which one thing is the domino.
What I mean by this is, which ONE thing do you think will have the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time.
It could be:
- The one that is the fastest route to the money (which you can then invest into other things)
- The one that has the biggest leverage
- The one thing you can do right now
- The one thing you can get help with to make it happen faster
When you as this question, what you’ll often find is there in ONE thing on your list that can act as your accelerator to kick-start your progress. And once you’re going, you’ll create the momentum you need to take you towards your goals that much quicker.
Once you’ve decided where you’ll start, make it happen. If it’s sales letters to your existing list to promote a particular product, create the time in your schedule now when you will write them. In addition, decide a timescale. Without this, you’ll find the task will have a sneaky way of absorbing all the time that you give it!
In addition, don’t feel you have to do everything yourself. You may find it’s more cost-effective to get someone to help you, especially if writing is not your thing.
5. Reflect and review
Once you’ve implemented, you need to step back and review and reflect on what happened.
- What results did you generate?
- Did it work?
- What would make it better for next time?
- Is there something else you could try etc.
6. What next
By implementing one thing, you have taken a step closer.
- You may have earned some money which will allow you to invest in something else on your list.
- You may have made new connections which will open new doors
- You may have raised your credibility and started new conversations
Whatever that may be, it’s now time to build on those successes and keep pressing forward. Yes, I know that it can feel relentless at times. It can also feel that you’re not getting anywhere because there is always more to do. BUT, remember this. Implementation is the secret that closes the gap. Getting stuff done is what’s going to take your business from where you are now to where you need to be.
What are you going to do?
As a business owner you have the freedom and flexibility to create anything you want. Simply tap into your creativity, ensure it benefits your customers and communicate your offer in a compelling way and anything is possible.
I’d love to know what you’re up to, so why not leave a comment below or drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.