What is holding you back?
Each of us has at least one thing that holds us back from reaching the “next level”. The next level is different for each of us personally and professionally.
In working with and talking to many small business owners and entrepreneurs I see some of these obstacles repeatedly. This is a great exercise for me to look at my own business and think critically about what is holding me back from my next level.
- Complacency – complacency is a killer. If you are complacent you are moving backward.
- Fear – fear can immobilize you and keep you stuck.
- Hesitation – hesitation can be good until you can make an informed decision. Many hesitate out of fear and we know where that gets you.
- Snap decisions – while hesitation can immobilize you, making snap decisions bring your company down in the blink of an eye.
- Lack of balance – having a balance between work and your personal life is a key element to success. It seems that lack of balance catches some people early in life and for others it takes years. I find myself in the middle years – I pray I choose to continue striving for balance.
- Lack of planning – business plans, marketing plans and operational plans are critical for business success. Plans no longer have to be 50 page tomes that no one will read much less follow, but plans are still necessary.
- Lack of flexibility – plans are important. SO is flexibility. Plans are not chiseled in stone (they should not be). Whatever plans you make will change. If you expect this up front and can “go with the flow” you are less likely to hit other obstacles such as fear, hesitation or snap decisions.
I could go on and on. There are so many obstacles. What obstacles are you facing and, more importantly, how are you overcoming them? I’d love to hear your success stories and your struggles.
Happy New Year!
May your New Year be filled with…
- Passion for your work
- Passion for your clients
- And a passion for life and family
- Effective communication between your team and your clients
- Effective communication between you and your team
- And effective communication in all you relationships
Got a strategy?
So did you start on your 2011 marketing strategy yet? If you are staring at a blank slate consider these points:
- Start small – you don’t have to have a 20 page plan
- Start with a goal – what do you want to achieve in the new year?
- Certain quantity of new proposals, leads, clients, web site visitors, etc.
- Select the marketing venue to help you achieve the goals you set
- Consult a marketing coach to help you
Here are some additional previous posts I’ve written related to marketing planning. I hope you find them useful.
Uh…I don’t have a Marketing Plan
Marketing Plans – Phase it In
Marketing Plan – Make Your Outline
You can do it! Start now.
It’s December 3, 2010. Have you written your marketing plan for 2011? Did you review and revise your 2010 plan to make it more effective at some point throughout the year?
There are many different places I could go with an opening paragraph like this. Today I am going to focus on the opportunities small business owners miss if they do not have a marketing strategy.
Many small business owners tend to think they don’t need a marketing strategy. Many more believe that to have one it must be a massive effort that takes a great deal of time and money.
Without a marketing plan or strategy here is what you could be missing:
- New clients
- Additional revenue from existing clients
- Additional web site traffic
- Opportunities to hear from, and learn from, your clients
- Opportunities to build your brand
Is a marketing strategy a key element missing from your organization?
Food for thought..
Throwing up a Facebook page is not a strategy
Even a great Facebook page by itself is not a strategy. It is a component of your Social Media plan which is only one component of your overall marketing strategy
There have been many bloggers recently talking about examples of great Facebook pages. Check out this blogger’s Top 35 list from July 30. Most are well-known brands with deeper pockets than the average small business but that does not mean pages for small businesses have to be boring.
Included on this list is BlackBerry. I like their page because it integrates a tool accessible to everyone: YouTube. A small business could incorporate a YouTube video and some well done graphics to create an attractive, dynamic Facebook page.
As mentioned frequently in this blog, if you need help with your marketing strategy, including your Facebook page, contact a marketing coach/professional. They can help you create and execute a solid strategy and help you avoid the pitfalls of going down the wrong path.
I am continually looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of Facebook. If you have a success story to share please post a comment.
Always looking to improve…
Sometimes we need to stop and take inventory.
If appropriate for our business we don’t seem to forget to take a physical inventory at specified times. How often do we take inventory of our effectiveness? This should be at regular intervals as well. I asked an executive last week what he thought were the weak spots within his 21 year old organization. He was surprised by the question.
- Do you know how your customers feel about you?
- How about your employees?
- How effective is your communication?
- How effective is your marketing strategy?
This is a key element. How does your effectiveness inventory look?
Marketing and advertising can be difficult to measure. Especially campaigns designed to increase awareness for a brand. However, there are success metrics that every company can put in place to help determine the ROI. If you are not measuring your marketing efforts in at least come way then you might as well open the trash can and just throw the money you are spending directly into it.
Marketing is part art and part science. Both parts are necessary. A key element to an effective marketing strategy is measurement. Here is a brief overview of my process for measuring success of a campaign.
- Create the campaign plan (many steps in this process not being discussed here today)
- Include how you plan to measure the success of that campaign
- Review the campaign success during the campaign whenever possible
- Revise the campaign strategy if it is not meeting the success criteria
- Or revise the strategy for the next time
The point is the review and revise method can save countless dollars spent and time wasted on ineffective strategies that do not yield the desired results.
Mini Case Sudy: This morning I was talking to a business consultant who said he had a client that was spending $30k/year on a certain type of advertising. He just assumed it was bringing him business. He began to really look at where his business was coming from and none of it was coming from the advertising investment. This is an extreme example of what can happen if your organization does not have success metrics in place and a lesson we can all take to heart.
If you need help in figuring out ways to measure the success of your marketing efforts talk to a marketing professional who can coach you through the process.
As a small business owner no one better than you can understand your company’s situation. But do you really? Believe it or not the situation analysis section of a marketing plan if often ignored. In my experience people do not think it is important. I think it is a key element to the success if the plan.
The situation analysis helps you to truly examine where your company (and product) fits into the industry as a whole and in your market. It helps you to understand your customers, your competition, and your strategic partners.
Just because this information has been included in your business plan, and you have a solid understanding of these areas, does not mean you are not off the hook. Writing this section should be easier for you but it still needs to be included. No matter how long you have been in business a key element to success is making sure you understand your company’s situation at any given moment. Competition, you r market position, the industry all change over time – what you did five years ago probably will not work today.
Below is an expanded outline of the situation analysis section of a formal marketing plan (taken from the QuickMBA). The amount of detail you want to include in your plan is up to you. The better you understand you situation, the more fruitful your marketing efforts will become.
- Market Share
- Value drivers
- Decision process
- Concentration of customer base for particular products
- Market position
- Market shares
- Joint Ventures
- Strategic partners
- Opportunities and
Situation Analysis – it matters. Happy Planning!
OK, so you are ready to put pen to paper and begin writing your formal marketing plan. Now is not the time to get “wishy-washy” and skip a step. They are all important. After you finish writing your plan you will have a better understanding of your products, you company and where it fits within your industry. This understanding will help you to plan and execute successful marketing strategies and campaigns.
On August 3 I talked about approaches to writing a marketing plan. When I was first writing them I preferred a more structured approach created by someone else. I was afraid I would leave out an important section of my plan. Today, I definitely use the freestyle approach when writing my own plans or plans for someone else. However, this statement could be a little misleading because I still have a structure. I have a base outline that I usually start with and then customize it to fit the situation.
The key elements I use when writing a formal marketing plan are listed below. Many of us have a natural inclination to move right into planning the marketing strategies or campaigns. However, skipping other sections of the plan can lead to poorly planned strategies because you are not looking at the whole picture.
- Executive Summary
- Situation Analysis
- Company Analysis
- Customer Analysis
- Competitor Analysis
- Product Mix
- Description of your products
- Target Market / Market Segmentation
- Detailed description of target market and market segmenttion for each product
- Marketing Strategy / Marketing Mix
- Marketing Mix (Product, Price, Placement, Promotion)
- Campaign Strategy (Promotion)
- Here is where I detail advertsing, PR, promotions, etc.
- Success Metrics
- How will you measure success of this plan? Review and revise, review and revise!
- Forecasts / Financial Analysis
- Sales Forecast
- Budget Forecast
- Breakeven Analysis
There are many different resources, both offline and online, that can provide you with a marketing plan outline (two are listed below). I encourage to you to look at several and take the best elements from each.
Don’t forget, even if you are writing the plan yourself investing a couple hours in a coach who can review the plan and point out key elements that may be missing could be an invaluable investment.
Sources: QuickMBA | WebSite Marketing Plan