As a small business owner, you have awesome responsibilities! You are tasked with doing everything your business requires unless you choose to hand over some of this responsibility to someone else- an employee, a contracted service, etc. So if you can’t do everything, you need to get others to take up the slack.
Ah… I know; you’re not in a position to hire help so you are stuck doing it yourself. Here’s the problem. The most important this you can be doing that is getting completely overlooked? – marketing your business.
The only activity that generates revenue is marketing. Yes, ‘sales’ is included in your marketing activity and plays the part of implementation. Marketing is the life blood of all small businesses. Yet, the majority of small business owners spend less than 15% of their week engaged in marketing what they sell.
Before you can determine how much time you spend marketing your business, it will help to understand what constitutes marketing. Marketing is the message you create and the channels you select to attract your intended customer. Marketing is something you do outside your business with your existing customers and people who have yet to try you. Marketing creates revenue streams that you have yet to fulfill with your product or service. Marketing is what you need to insure a steady flow of revenue, operating cash and ultimately profits.
There are only 3 ways to generate revenue. You can increase the frequency of transactions with repeat customers; you can increase the value of your average transaction or you can increase the number of customers you have. Any combination of these strategies will produce revenue growth if you spend enough time working your marketing plan. A professional small business advisor can help you figure this out for your respect business.
Finding more time to market your business requires knowing what you spend your time doing now. If you keep a schedule, use the last 6 months to evaluate what you spent your time doing. If you don’t have good records, consider keeping a journal of all your activities for a 30 day period. What you’re trying to do is determine the percentage of time you spend in various activity categories. While recording a 30 day cycle is faster but can overlook longer cycle activities, 6 months will catch most everything you’ve doing. This is a standard evaluation practice for most business plan advisors.
Now create categories to group your activities. Things like customer service, operations, admin (bills, payroll, reports, etc), vendor communications, networking, planning, etc. should all be included. Create as many main activity categories as you participate in. Then add up the hours for each category and divide these totals by the total amount of hours you spend running your business. You will have calculated a (%) of time you spend in each category. Now look for categories that focus on marketing!
Since marketing creates revenue, more time spent marketing leads to more revenue, assuming what you are doing is effective. Increasing the time you spend marketing your business can have a multiplier effect on your growth. For this reason, you need to devote as much time as you can schedule, marketing your business if you want to grow your business. If you need help developing a better time management system, consider getting a small business advisor who specializes in marketing strategy to assist you. If your problem is doing what you know you should be doing, get a small business coach to keep you on track.
Growing a business takes a great deal of time, money or some combination of both. If you use your time wisely and get the help you need to stay on course, your chance of growing while others around you fall by the wayside will be greatly enhanced. In the short run, you will see faster results by reallocating your time to do marketing activities that work for your business. You will even spend less money by using a coach to assist you than if you continued buying media time or other expensive advertising vehicles that were not delivering results.
What you do and how much time you spend doing it is the key to growing your business.