If you are a business owner and your business growth is stagnating, consider a few tips. Try to be as honest as you can with yourself when you answer these questions. Remember, if you do the same things you’ve been doing, and expect different results, that’s probably not likely to happen.
1) Are you spending time and money on the branding side of marketing (long-term) or the sales side of marketing (more immediate) activities?
What’s the difference, you may ask?
Branding is a longer-term play. Branding is money, time and effort spent building recognition and helping familiarize people with your business and shape their perception of your business. In other words, branding is an effort to try and make your company recognizable to your audience and helping them think about you in a favorable light. Examples include:
- Sponsoring a charitable event
- Client events
- Social media engagement
- Advertisements that don’t ask for business
- Company apparel and swag
The sales side of marketing has a subtle yet important difference: you are sending a message that you want someone to act on. You are asking for someone to do business with you, or to engage with your business in some meaningful way. It can provide more immediate results. Examples might include:
- Advertisements with clear calls-to-action
- Email campaigns
- Lead generators
- Cold calling/door knocking
- Nurture campaigns and sales funnels
Both the branding and sales components of marketing are equally important. However, business owners of small to mid-size companies often prioritize branding over sales. When you are in the growth stage of your business, or your business is stagnating, you should focus more on sales. Sales bring cash flow into your business, which is the fuel you need to keep going.
If you are a small to mid-size company, we recommend focusing 80% or more of your marketing efforts on activities that directly affect the bottom line and 20% on branding.
One idea is to define your business goals. Where do you want to be at this point next year with the growth of your business? At Summit, every year during our business planning process, we list out three goals: stretch, target, and budget. Stretch goals are the goals that we dream about and strive for. Target is achievable but still requires a lot of hard work and motivation. Budget is what we must meet to keep the lights on.
Once you list out your goals, it allows you to reverse-engineer the process and list out ways to reach them.
2) What was the reason you grew to where you are now, and why have you stopped engaging in those activities?
Sometimes our company grows to a point where we think we are somehow above the things we did to get to that point. Did you go door to door? Did you have a social media strategy? Did you invest a lot in your website but haven’t touched it since?
If you no longer have time to door knock, but door-knocking was what allowed for rapid growth, could it be time to get back to it or hire someone to do the door-knocking for you?
3) When was the last time you showed your current customers why they should refer you?
It might be easy to get defensive at this one. Really think about it. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Have you wowed them recently? Have you created a memorable experience? Have you given them a reason to talk about you with their friends?
Wowing your customer doesn’t mean being competent in whatever you are selling. People expect that when they do business with you. It doesn’t mean having integrity, valuing honesty, or commitment. All those things are expected of a business. Does your website have these words?
Wowing a customer means exceeding expectations. What can you do to go above and beyond for a customer, even if it costs you a little bit of time or money? While calculating that cost, consider the return of potential referrals, which means more growth for your business.
As we begin a new year, we wish you many blessings and success in your business. Consider these tips, and please feel free to reach out. We specialize in helping business owners strategize ways to save money, optimize their tax situation, become better money managers, and be more confident in their decision-making. Give us a call for a free consultation.