Have you ever felt that the business you were so excited about starting and have worked hard to create is stuck in idle?
The engine is running and you’re doing what you need to keep it going, but there’s nothing driving it forward towards your business goals or the vision you had for it.
I have found from the years of working with many different small business owners that those who stop being proactive with their marketing struggle to grow.
In contrast, the ones who are committed to investing time and money into their marketing enjoy a more consistent income, are happier in their business and opportunities open up for them simply because their business is moving forward from their marketing activities.
Every year there are different surveys put out asking small business owners what are their biggest challenges and what do they need help with to grow their business.
All the reports I have read show that ‘Marketing’ or marketing related areas are always in the top 3 responses.
And it makes sense because most small business owners aren’t marketers. It isn’t their area of expertise or their strength, so they prefer to focus on the areas of their business that they are the most knowledgeable in or understand the most.
Can you relate? Do you focus your attention on the areas of your business that you know are your strengths?
My biggest mistake
I know only too well how getting stuck in idle can hurt a business.
Nearly 4 years ago I started a new small business which I had envisaged was going to be a really successful creative workshop & event space.
Within a few months of trying to start & run a new brick & mortar business, as well as still help my husband with his business and be a Mum to 3 young children, reality kicked in and I became stuck. The business wasn’t growing, it wasn’t making much money and I can see now that one of the biggest mistakes I made was I stopped focussing on my marketing.
I didn’t have a clear strategy in place as I thought that because I was a marketer, I would be able to figure that out as I went along.
The business eventually got to a point where it was past being stuck in idle, it was almost ready for the wreckers.
The day came when I had to accept that I couldn’t keep the business open any longer. It was not only costing me a lot of money, but it was also impacting my health.
I felt embarrassed that even with my business knowledge, experience and marketing skills, I wasn’t able to make the business work.
I look back now and I’m grateful for the lessons that I learnt from the experience. But I often feel frustrated that I had stopped giving my marketing the attention it needed, because I know that it would have helped the business move forward.
- I stopped considering my brand and target audience.
- I didn’t review my offering and all I did was ‘promote’ my business, rather than deliver value.
- And, I regret that I didn’t seek some help.
At the time with the stress and overwhelm that I was experiencing, I couldn’t see myself how to move forward.
If I had engaged an expert to help me, I could have had another perspective on my business to help me move forward.
My 4 simple steps to move you forward
From my experience as a small business owner and also having worked with lots of small businesses, I wanted to share with you 4 things that you can do if you find that your small business is stuck in idle.
1 – STOP & REVIEW
When I say review, I mean you must look at your business from your customer’s perspective. Because without customers you have no business.
You need to be honest about what is working, what’s not working, what needs changing and what do your customers want.
A big part of this review is looking at what you are doing (or not doing) with your marketing, and what changes you need to make.
Your business and life can change quickly, so it is important that you make time at least every quarter to check in to review your business and your marketing.
2 – SET A NEW GOAL
Setting a clear, new goal that you are going to work towards achieving in your business over the next 12 months will give you new motivation and a reason to focus on your marketing.
It will give your marketing a purpose and make it easier to decide what marketing tactics you need to do.
3 – CREATE A STRATEGY OR PLAN
When you recognise that your business is stuck it may seem like a solution to come up with some new ideas, attend a networking event or learn a few new skills from a workshop or webinar.
The problem I’ve found is these actions provide the motivation (which is often short lived) but there is no plan or strategy in place.
By having a simple strategy or plan, you will know what you specifically need to do and how you’re going to do it to move your business forward.
4 – GET DOING!
The best ideas and strategies are useless if you don’t implement or take action. So, I challenge you to work on your marketing for 1 hour every day for the next 30 days.
This is going to get your focus back on the most important part of your business, your customers and help you to build the momentum you need to get your business moving forward.
Yes, marketing is only one area of your small business, but it is the driver of your business.
You must keep reviewing, setting new goals, updating your strategy and implementing your marketing tactics….especially if you want to avoid being stuck in idle.
If you know your business is stuck, it’s up to you to take action and get it moving.
Connect with Tiffany:
Tiffany is a marketing professional with over 17 years experience working in different marketing, event and consulting roles. She promotes the importance of impactful visual marketing, memorable customer experience, and smart collaborations for businesses serious about growth.
Creating SAVVINESS has given Tiffany the opportunity to share her knowledge with passionate business owners, and help them work towards achieving their goals.
Away from SAVVINESS, life is busy running around after her 3 sons and keeping herself and her family healthy.