Is Running Your Business Costing You Sales?
Is your business running you instead of the other way round? Are you feeling overwhelmed by the many aspects of keeping your business going, let alone market it effectively? If so, you're not alone.
In a recent survey, more than half the respondents said that handling all the components of running a business was a big challenge. And even more had trouble with handling the marketing to bring in enough clients to keep the business going.
So if this feels familiar, what should you do? Here are four tips that will help:
1) Divide and conquer
Instead of the murky and intimidating goal of "running my business," why not divide the job into smaller and more manageable goals? For starters, you could set goals in weekly and monthly increments. That will reduce the overwhelm of the situation.
You can apply this to running the business as well as to marketing activities. Just pick a couple of activities to focus on and make those a priority for the coming week.
2) Knowing what to focus on
Well, "just pick a couple of activities" is easier said than done. Which ones should you pick? It would help a great deal if you knew which ones are actually worth doing, especially when it comes to marketing activities. But finding out is yet another big task.
Then again, it's not THAT big a task, actually. Think of the 80/20 Pareto principle. Just make a list of the marketing activities you're doing regularly and compare it with the results you're getting.
Find out which activities are bringing you the most clients, and you've got your answer. Just focus on those for the next few weeks. Let go of some of the activities that aren't yielding. As well, take a close look at the following step that will make your life much easier.
3) Clarify your vision for your business
Are you really clear about what you're selling and who your ideal customers are? If so, you'll be able to reduce your marketing activities by targeting them more specifically to your target audience. It'll save you a lot of time and money over trying to be all things to all people, and it works better too.
In addition, you should take a close look at what you're doing and where most of your revenue is coming from. Then focus on those activities that bring in the most money (and enjoyment), and do more of those activities.
Next, check what you'd like to remove from your plate. Sure, there are certain things you can't let completely fall by the wayside, but you can outsource them. So find someone who can do the things you'd rather not do yourself or don't do well or fast, and focus on doing the activities that bring you profits and that you enjoy. And instantly, your load will be lighter.
4) Make sales and marketing your top priority
As a small business owner or solo entrepreneur we tend to wear many hats - some fit us better than others and some we enjoy wearing better than others. It's easy to wear the most comfortable "hat" - or do the most comfortable "task"... but is it the task (or hat) that yields the best ROI?
When we start a business it usually isn't because we want to spend 80% of our day selling or trying to figure out the marketing puzzle. For most, we'd rather spend 80% providing the service to our favorite clients - after all isn't that why we got into business - to share our gift? And here's the rub - unless you have the sales & marketing puzzle figured out, you're likely to be short on clients.
So one would think that's where we'd spend most of our time - mastering sales & marketing. But instead I see many owners getting consumed but busy-work. When I started my first company (an employment agency) and sales were less than ideal, I too found myself consumed by a variety of non-producing tasks.
To overcome this, all day I kept re-focusing by repeatedly asking myself... "is what I'm doing right now contributing to getting a client or revenue generating?" It's a tough question and the result was sobering when the answer was often "no". But it did help me build the muscle of discipline and increased my sales and marketing focus. And the best thing was, it worked! Sales grew along with my newly found focus. So give it a try!
So go ahead and get to it. And if you need help to decide what to eliminate and what to focus on, get some support like a mastermind team, a coach or mentor to help you figure out the way. Just don't let running your business get in the way of getting more sales!