Many small business owners, myself included, have an entrepreneurial spirit and tend to fly by the seat of their pants. They do something well, so they start a business. They pick up a few clients here and there but never really make the kind of strides they had hoped for.
By actually taking time to sit down and write out a business plan and a marketing plan, you have just moved into the ranks of an elite group of business owners who begin to regularly experience monumental successes.
With a clear plan, everyone in your organization knows exactly what your objectives are.
One area where most small business owners are very undisciplined is in their marketing.
Here’s what I see time and time again. Small business owners do a few things to market their business. Orders start coming in and sales improve, so they stop their marketing efforts.
Sales slow down so they start marketing again.
Sales pick up and they stop marketing, or even worse, sales slow down due to economic factors like the current recession and they pull the marketing reins in even further.
There are certainly times to reign in expenses, and I’ll talk about that shortly, but when it comes to marketing, if you have taken the first step, which is to create a marketing plan, then you must have the discipline to follow the plan. This will ensure that leads keep coming your way, even if there are fewer of them.
Oftentimes, small business owners get caught up in the day-to-day activities of running a business and certain things get ignored, like regular filing and bookkeeping. Also, when you’re busy, employees are left with little oversight to do what they have hopefully been trained to do.
As a small business owner, we have to pay close attention to every facet of our business and have the discipline to stick with the plan we have created in the first place, and require our employees to do the same.
When times are good, there’s a lot less scrutiny of small expenses, whether they are one-time expenses or monthly recurring ones. For example, having a half-dozen or a dozen subscriptions to online services that each cost $15 - $30 per month, adds up fast. As cool as the tools might be, if they aren’t paying for themselves in increased productivity, its time to take a closer look and eliminate the ones that aren’t clearly improving your business.
Having a high level of self-discipline in these four areas of your business will help you weather the current recession and prepare you to excel when the economy turns back around, which it surely must do.
Ken Partain is an Authorized Duct Tape Marketing Coach who specializes in search engine marketing and search engine optimization.