When you first start up in business, you have an empty diary and all the time in the world to get working on your marketing plan.
After all, if you haven't got any clients or customers, what else are you going to spend your time on?
Then your marketing starts to work, your leads turn in to paying customers and your time is taken up with delivering the business. Marketing takes a back seat and you think "Whey hey, I've cracked this one! "
But, then over time your projects come to an end and your customers have bought all they want to buy.
Help! The work is drying up and you are suddenly kicked backed in to a marketing frenzy.
Marketing is often one of the first things to drop off someone's to-do-list when business gets busy. As your inbox starts to build up and your phone constantly rings, it just makes it impossible to find the time to follow your marketing plan.
And I think this is where a lot of the challenges lie with starting and growing a new business from home. I rememberÂ sentry mba download
being told about "the feast and the famine" that would inevitably happen when I became self-employed. It's one of those stories that once you hear it, you start to believe it. And of course, you more you believe it, you more you live it's story.
But, I think the feast and famine is an urban myth!
You see, you will never have enough hours in the day. As you grow your business, you are naturally going to have less time in your week to be able to attend networking events and follow up every single sales lead effectively.
You will be spending more time with your clients or delivering your products to your customers because your marketing is beginning to work.
But does that mean that you stop spending time on your marketing?
Well, yes to be honest. And the critical word in that sentence is the word "you".
"You" time is precious and if you want your business to continue to grow, then you need to start thinking now about how you are using "you" time.
Just because you are busy with clients and customers, doesn't mean that your business stops spending time on marketing. Oh, no. You need to focus on how your marketing can carry on without "you" spending as much of your time on it.
How do you go about this?
Well, there are three foundation stones to ensure your business doesn't get caught in the feast and famine cycle.
1. Systemisation - What most people don't realise is that marketing is a process. When done well, systems can be created so that each step in the process can be ticked off and measured. For example, a personal trainer may set up an enquiries process that every enquiry goes through, from asking a set number of questions at the initial phone call stage which includes finding out how they got to know about them through to asking for a testimonial on the fourth session and two referrals when they are on their sixth session.
The personal trainer doesn't have to forget about asking where the client was referred from, for a testimonial or for future referrals because the simple system is designed to ensure this happens.
2. Delegation - Once your systems are created, you will discover that many of the processes you follow can actually be delegated to someone else. You don't actually have to be the one who delivers it. For those of you who are scared of delegation (and to be honest, I will be the first one to admit I have found this to be a very scary process! ), delegation doesn't have to mean that you employ someone.
Virtual Assistants can work by the hour and be anywhere in the world to help you follow your marketing systems. Sending out standardised emails to enquires in your name from your email account can be sent out by a Virtual Assistant. Phone calls can be diverted and answered by a switch board service. You can even begin to outsource marketing activities such as writing and sending out your email newsletters, submitting articles to online directories and posting out direct mail campaigns - the possibilities are endless!
3. Automation - Because some of the best marketing is process driven, this also means that much of your marketing can be automated. Let me spell this out to you. Much of your marketing on a day-to-day basis can be done automatically, any time, any place and any where. It can happen when you sleep. It can happen when you are with clients. It can happen when you are sitting on that beach this summer.
By using cheap and easy to use web-based tools you can be collecting contact details for your database, gathering critical information from a customer survey, taking orders for products and services, selling tickets for workshops and converting enquires in to sales.
Now, OK. I know, I know! Much of what I have written here can feel like a huge mountain to climb.
And, I am not telling you this is going to be easy. Creating a successful (and profitable! ) business is not easy. If it was that easy, everyone would be running a successful business from home, wouldn't they?
But that's not why you started one, is it?
If you wanted the easy life, you would have stayed in corporate life or have gone and stacked shelves at Tesco.
Making a decision to ensure your marketing is systemised, delegated and automated is easy but following it through can be tough. And this is why you have to break everything down in to smaller, more do-able steps so that over time, you will have a business that is systemised, delegated and automated. A business that runs itself and you only have to turn up when you want to! Now, wouldn't that be lovely.