Don’t need to be coy, Roy. Which is good, because coy has never been my style. Direct and to the point, however, work well for me. So here goes.
Here are five simple, yet integral steps for you to get motivated for the coming year and really doing all that you can to get your business growing and thriving. And it doesn’t really matter what business you’re in – the steps are pretty much the same, no matter what.
What do you believe in? I get tired of all the focus on fancy mission statements and all that stuff we so often get hung up on. My gut always tells me to ask clients to keep it simple. What do you believe in? And, once you answer that, what can you deliver? Obviously, if you can’t deliver what you believe in, it won’t work. So answer both of those questions, and then you’re on your way.
Who are your customers? What do you do, sell, provide, etc., that they need? Understanding your customers is a huge step in any marketing plan. And if you’re not sure, bring a focus group of some of your friends or business associates, or a mixture of each, together and ask them for their insight, opinions, etc.
Get on the bus, Gus!
Now, ask yourself this – Where do you find those customers? For example, if you’ve traditionally marketed via print advertising, that’s terrific. But what if your customers, the ones you identified above, aren’t reading newspapers or magazines? You have to go where your customers are, so before you make plans to spend any of your marketing dollars, figure out where those prospective buyers are, and put your money and your efforts there.
It all sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But I am always amazed how rarely people sit down and ask themselves these simple questions and use them to drive their marketing efforts moving forward.
The next two steps are often the most critical and, unfortunately, something rarely done by small business owners.
How much can I – actually, how much will I is the better statement, allocate for a marketing budget? Marketing isn’t a luxury, folks. Marketing is what makes your business grow, thrive and, ultimately, stay alive. If you make the mistake of thinking that just because you build it they will come, you may as well stop before you even get started and save yourself a ton of money.
So take a good, hard look at your books and make a commitment. Even if it’s just $500 or $1,000 a month, figure out what you can afford to live with and what you’re willing to irrevocably devote to the business of marketing and growing your business. And stick to it!
And, finally, commit to this: Making a new plan, Stan. Every business needs a strategic marketing plan. And once you know what you believe in and what you can deliver, who your customers are, where to reach them and how much you’ve got to do that, you have all the elements needed to make a plan. So, instead of “Ready, Set, REACT” you can instead be “Ready, Aim, Do —-> Succeed.”
Resolve to make 2010 the year that your business thrives!
And if you want to do something fun, join me and 30 other bloggers who are joining forces with @sarahrobinson, the veritable Queen of Escaping Mediocrity, for 30 Days to Change Your Game, beginning January 11, 2010. These blog posts will include inspiration for changing your game, as well as a specific game-changing task you can take action on right away. It’ll be fun, so register now to participate (it’s free!) and start escaping mediocrity right now!