Financial freedom, or at least financial security is something that I think every business owner wants.
Maybe that dream is still a few decades away, or just a few years, but it’s a big part of the reason that many of us set up our own business.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while then you’ll know that I’m fascinated by this idea of financial freedom, and in the last year or so I’ve been working far more with clients to directly help them to achieve this.
So, if we’re looking for some kind of security or freedom, to know that we won’t have to struggle, why is that so many small businesses just don’t work?
It seems that just the very few get what they want from their business whilst the rest never get the financial success their hard work, stress, long hours and sacrifice would suggest they should.
There are many reasons why businesses don’t work but when I analyse the hundreds of companies I’ve worked with over the last 30 years (yep, 30…… how old?) I see a common denominator.
Marketing. Or lack of.
And it’s particularly poignant for me, because like many people I’ve always found marketing challenging. And I know for sure it’s held my business and opportunities back. No question.
Why is it so important?
Whatever goals we’ve set for our business or life, the one thing we need to make it possible is enough sales coming in.
Then of course we have a whole host of other stuff we need to master, financial management, leadership, operations, staff management etc BUT if we don’t know how to bring sales in, month after month, then we’re always going to have patchy revenue…. and patchy profits. So we’re never going to be in control of our future.
Then why is it such a problem?
I think there are many issues lurking in marketing:
- It takes deep and careful thought to truly understand who our target customers or clients are, which can be difficult to do
- So, we don’t do the deep thinking needed to work out how exactly we consistently connect with and build relationships with these target customers
- It’s easier therefore to just try a load of tactics hoping something will stick and then get despondent and give up when they don’t work
- Putting yourself out there can take a lot of courage – we’re putting ourselves up for rejection and it can feel a lot easier to hide away (I know this one very well!)
- When things don’t work out, we can take it personally and it can really dent our confidence (been there too)
- Consistent marketing takes discipline and time – neither of which I have much of, and neither do most of my clients
The question is, are we willing to let marketing limit our financial future?
I had this realisation last week that I could create more control over my future financial positon, and all the things I’d love to do IF ONLY I could be more consistent with my marketing.
And I know this lies at the heart of so many companies I meet and work with.
I’m not saying it’s an easy thing to fix, but I do know that it needs absolute commitment, focus and regular attention if we want the predictable income that will let us confidently plan for our future.
I’ve just done an on the spot interview with one of my long-standing retreat clients here on the plane, Darren Toms from Clumber Consultancy. I really admire Darren for the consistent and thoughtful approach he’s developed around his marketing, and the solid sales he delivers off the back of it.
So, what does he do that most businesses don’t?
- He’s built a reputation as the most reputable expert and authority in his space and made this central to his positioning
- He’s very clear who his target clients are and has a target client list for the year – segmented by size
- He then finds ways to make contact with them and starts building relationships
- He sponsors industry events he knows they’ll be at
- He runs his own events that he invites clients and prospects to
- He sponsors the most highly respected regulatory body in his industry
- He has a consistent marketing resource who makes sure they are seen on LinkedIn, creating content, and commenting on the main issues in his industry,
- And he’s identified what are just expensive shiny-thing distractions and avoids them!
He’s worked out what works for him and he sticks to that rigorously.
Marketing is a key pillar in his business week that can never be compromised. And as long as he does that, he always seems to have a steady stream of appointments booked up several months in advance. Which in turn develops into consistent sales income, meaning we always hit sales targets.
So, when we’re doing his long term financial strategy planning, I can be pretty sure he’ll deliver the sales line so we can plan with confidence how the next 3-5 years are going to look.
And this means we can keep the focus on creating an exciting financial future for him and his family.
If marketing is holding your business back, take some time to consider what impact this could have your business in the long term.
What might be possible if you cracked your marketing?