Your small business is a being. It’s a living, breathing, moving, growing, changing being. It needs to be fed in order to keep it fat and happy.
Think about how you feel when you skip a meal or don’t eat right. Your stomach gurgles, your energy level is low and your mood changes.
This is the way many entrepreneurs are with their small businesses. They work every day on what will bring them revenue today or two weeks from now and forget to feed their business with leads and contacts that will help them be full further down the road. Occasionally, they’ll stop and send out a single post card or email or post something on Facebook, but there are large gaps in between and not a good balanced meal to sustain the company’s energy, so the results are not what they expect.
Imagine instead if you devoted a percentage of your time and a dedicated monthly budget to your business. The old adage of paying yourself first applies to your business as well. It doesn't have to be a huge amount of time, or a huge amount of money. It just has to be consistent. Start with an hour or two a week and $500 - $1,000 per month. That doesn't sound like much time or money to invest in marketing, but it can go a long way. It’s much more about getting started, being strategic and keeping it going than about how much you can do today.
If you start with a small budget and you’re not a marketing guru, invest in a consultant to make the most of that budget for you. The right consultant can stretch that amount each month into a good mix of marketing and social media to get you the best reach for your investment.
Then, invest the limited time you have into communicating and providing information about your business to that consultant and then to networking as much as possible to cultivate current connections and add new ones. The consultant can take the information and turn it into blog posts, social media posts, email campaigns and other marketing and advertising to come up with the right mix to maximize your investment and always keep you in front of your target audience.
You also must have realistic expectations. With a small investment of time and money, you won’t see huge results immediately. So don’t give up after a month with no immediate results! With consistency, you will start seeing your business and your brand awareness increase. Over time, you will solidify your brand and your network will grow. So as you have new products or services to offer down the road, your monster will be full of new prospects and potential customers to sustain your business.
Is your monster being fed a good meal consistently or is that a gurgle you hear?