(This is a sponsored post).
Do you sometimes feel like you’re caught in the headlights?
Seeing other businesses grow and move forward around you, but feeling like you’re going nowhere fast? With never quite enough sales to pay you, or even pay the rent?
You’re not alone.
Through my small business coaching I meet lots of Micro Business owners who know their products and services inside out, are real experts in their fields, but struggle when it comes to marketing their businesses and finding a steady stream of clients.
It can be easy to get stuck in “analysis paralysis” and not know exactly what marketing mix is best for your business, and few business owners have the time or money to spend and so try a bit of everything until something works.
So what do you do?
Creating a Marketing Blueprint
The crucial step in marketing is to find what works for you. To establish a successful blueprint that works and can be repeated to get new customers.
The blueprint is a pivotal point in the life of your business. It’s when you move from the uncertainty of the feast and famine cycle to the point where you’re building on your success.
One of the first things I do with a new client is to establish whether they have a blueprint or not.
If they don’t I help them look at what has already been a success and can be repeated. We build the blueprint up with five or less marketing activities. If the business is still looking for its first client I can draw on my experience with other clients, and save time and money in creating a blueprint that will work.
If the business already has a rough blueprint, and the owner knows what these activities are, I help them scale the blueprint and find ways to repeat the process consistently in-between dealing with their existing clients, to ensure a steady stream of new enquiries. I also help highlight additional activities that could improve the blueprint and make it more successful and sustainable.
Do you have a marketing blueprint for your Micro Business or are you still staring into the headlights?
Keep reading and I’m going to explain the four important steps in building your own blueprint.
1. Know the Problem You Solve
To build a sustainable business you need to be solving a problem.
An accountant gives valuable advice on tax and accounting to those that don’t know the answers and saves them money. A copywriter helps you get the message about your business over in words when you can’t find the words yourself or don’t have the time.
What problem does your business and services solve?
Knowing this is crucial to ensure you are targeting the right people.
You need to be solving a problem that’s severe enough for your target audience that they will want to take action and buy your products and services. If you’re solving a problem that they don’t really regard as a big problem you’ll struggle to get sales.
2. Know Who Has That Problem
Once you know the problem you can target the right people.
If you’re a website designer who wants to help Mum’s starting up in business by offering a cost effective start up package, you can exclusively target Mum’s starting new businesses. You can focus your entire marketing message so that it appeals to your target market and highlights how you solve their problem.
A lot of time and money is wasted in trying to market and sell to the wrong people. People who won’t ever buy your product or service because it’s irrelevant.
For example a few years ago we bought a new house that had just been built. Days after moving in we had a knock at the door from an intruder alarm company, it was perfect targeting and I think he made many sales in our road. However within the first year we also had visits from cold callers wanting to know if we would be considering changing our door and windows – a complete waste of effort and money on the part of the window company.
Targeting isn’t just about saving time and money, it’s also about learning. If you target one group of people or businesses you will learn much more about them and be able to tweak and refine your marketing so it becomes more and more relevant and appealing.
Having a focused target or “niche” also helps you become recognised as the go-to person for what you offer. In the example above, if the website designer provides a good service word will travel and over time the designer will become known as the person to contact if you’re a Mum starting a new business, this is a great step in developing a constant stream of clients.
3. Finds Ways to Attract Your Target Customer
So you know what problem you solve and who you solve it for. Now you need to get your marketing in front of the right people so they have the chance to respond.
The best marketing in the world will fail if it’s only seen by the wrong people.
At this stage in the process we look at where your target customer spends time. Where can they be reached, where do they go when they have questions? If you’re offering marketing services to firms of solicitors it’s no good spending hours each day trying to market on Facebook because they won’t be sitting on Facebook. But every business and marketing mix is unique. I wouldn’t normally suggest cold calling but for the alarm company I mentioned above it was the perfect solution and their research ensured they targeted new homeowners at just the right time.
When I work with clients I help pick the best marketing mix that will work and bring the best results and return on investment. However a common factor with each client is helping the business share their expert knowledge, whether it’s cookery to accounting, database systems support to singing lessons, to teach potential customers more about a topic. Our alarm salesman spent a lot of time educating us about choices in alarms, this “teaching to sell” established a lot of trust and you have to have this trust before someone is going to spend money with you.
4. Repeat the Process Consistently
When you first start your Micro Business you’re focused on getting your first customers. Once you’ve established your blueprint you need to keep following it and repeating the process all of the time to ensure that you don’t run out of enquiries.
I’ve seen some great businesses struggle because they’ve gotten busy, allowed the marketing to stall and ended up in sales famine. It’s so important to avoid this because when you get into famine it can takes months to generate more business and in the meantime it’s very easy to become frustrated, unmotivated and use valuable cash reserves that could be put to much better use.
As part of my small business coaching I help clients remain focused and review their sales pipelines to ensure that the business is growing and always seeing new enquiries.
How Small Business Coaching would help you . . .
Would you like to move out of the headlights and towards a business that helps you reach your goals?
Would it help to remove the obstacles to your success and feel like you’re really making progress?
I’ll work with you every step of the way, providing feedback, encouragement, motivation and focus.
You’ll get advice ranging from blogging to social media, SEO to sales, and from customer experience to controlling costs. Together we’ll ensure you have a marketing blueprint that will act as the foundation for a sustainable and successful Micro Business.
Whenever you have questions or just need a pair of “fresh eyes” I’ll be there with you.
There is no long term contract, you simply sign up for one month at a time at £300 a month. If you don’t feel that you’ve received value at the end of the first month I’ll gladly refund the fee, 100%, no questions.
Interested? Contact me today for a no obligation discussion to see how small business coaching could help you and your business.
Today’s Micro Action
Review the problem that you solve and whether you’re focusing all of your marketing time and money on only attracting your target customer. Take five minutes to think back over your recent marketing, how can you better use your resources to ensure you are only targeting people who have the problem that you solve?