I know what you’re thinking. Don’t focus on marketing? Are you crazy? But before you stop reading this article because you think I’m nuts, give me one paragraph to explain.
Sales are the lifeblood of business. To get sales, we obviously need a marketing strategy. Except, many small businesses spend at least 20 hours a week marketing! Even if you work more than 40 hours a week (like many small business owners out there!), that’s a huge chunk of your time spent on one aspect of your business. What about all the other million things you need to do every week?
Get where I’m going with this?
Yes, marketing is essential and important. Yet, running a business is so much more than marketing. You have to find the right balance between management and effective marketing. And if you want next year to be successful, now’s the time to create a better plan.
Set SMART Goals
Saying something like “I want to be more successful” is way too vague. The only way to really be more successful is to understand exactly where you are today. And that means it’s time to get SMART!
If you remember back to Business 101, SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Let’s say you want to make $10k more next year. Then create a pathway to an extra $10k and map it out like this:
Specific: Make $10k more next year by launching new online course
Measurable: Sell 40 courses at $250 per course
Attainable: My current eCourse sold reasonably well and I have a large email list. That’s attainable with the right plan!
Realistic: Many sell hundreds of thousands in online courses. $10k is reasonable!
Timely: I have 4 months to create the course so I can launch next January. If I devote 10 hours a week to content creation, I’ll have it done in 3 months!
Words don’t mean anything – action matters! So don’t just set a lofty goal but create a real plan to get there.
Become a Management Pro
Management isn’t the sexy topic that marketing is. Think accounting paperwork over slick ad copy. It’s the difference between Mad Men and The Office.
Yet, management is the foundation of your entire business. It’s all your systems and procedures that ensure you get paid on time and file your taxes properly. If you want more success next year, you need to become a management pro this year.
In Save Time and Your Sanity with All-in-One Tools, I shared some awesome tools that can help anyone manage their business better. Along with better marketing programs, try a time-tracking tool like WorkflowMax that easily turns a time sheet into an invoice:
Or you could use an accounting system like Mint that integrates with your tax program:
The idea is to streamline all your boring management responsibilities so you have time to focus on building your business.
Create New Opportunities
There are a million uplifting quotes about creating your own opportunities. Here’s one of my favorites:
Except this is a lot more than a motivational meme. Opportunities rarely create themselves. It’s up to us to make it happen.
In 3 Simple Ways to Promote Your Passion and Business, I explained how you could incorporate important social responsibility issues into your business. But that’s just one opportunity that could lead to success.
Here’re a few more:
- You can add an upsell option
- Set up an automatic system to recapture customers that abandoned their shopping cart
- Partner with other businesses and offer a bundle special
- Launch new product or upgrade an older, but popular, product
- Start networking with complementary businesses and share referrals
There are a million ways to create opportunity within your existing business. It’s not easy, but taking the time now to see where you could increase sales gives you the time to put a plan in place to be more successful next year.
Marketing Isn’t Everything
Marketing is obviously incredibly important. But it’s not everything.
Don’t spend half your time on marketing if you ever want to reach your goals. Every aspect of your business contributes to your overall success. From choosing the right mobile phone provider to create the right sales copy that leads to lucrative contracts.
And if you want to reach your goals from next year, you have to focus on your entire business right now.