I Can’t Market – I’m BUSY!

by Shaun R Smith on May 4, 2010

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In talking with hundreds of business owners over the years, the number one reason business don’t market consistently is because they get busy.  This is especially true for business not yet large enough to have a dedicated marketing or sales staff.  Not marketing and selling leads to major volatility in your revenue – which will usually lead to a cash crunch.

When You Stopped Marketing

Let’s see if you recognize the pattern:

You and your team hustle to make connections, present, pitch, network, deliver value and content – whatever your marketing and sales process entails.  And it works!  However long your sales cycle takes (from immediate to years in some businesses), you start getting clients and customers.  And then you have to actually DELIVER.  You have to provide the goods and services you sold.   Clients have issues, questions.  There are bugs in the process.  There are fires to put out.  So what do you cut – sales and marketing time.

The effects are a bit insidious.  You are so busy, you don’t realize you’ve been gradually reducing your outreach efforts.  This is especially common if you’re not a big fan of sales and marketing to begin with!  Then it hits you.  Projects start winding down, products are out the door and the customer is happy – and you’re less and less busy.  But you can’t turn back time and you probably can’t do much to shorten your sales cycle.  You get out and start doing the work to bring in the business again – but the pipeline’s empty and to reprime the pump takes time.  You end up going from boom months to crickets.

How to Prevent the No Sales Cycle

There are a couple of tools to use to avoid this trap:

1.  A Marketing Calendar

2.  Discipline and Accountability

Develop a Marketing Calendar

When you’ve got the time, energy, and creative reserves, plan out your marketing items for the next year.  Calendar you initiatives and activities that are going to spread your brand and bring people to your business.  Be flexible enough to change and take advantage of new opportunities that arise – but don’t decrease the committed level of activity.

Besides insuring consistent action, planning your marketing will enable you to track what’s working and to see if the level and quality of marketing you’re doing is sufficient to produce the sales results you want.

Discipline and Accountability

Planning is great.  But without the discipline and accountability to follow the plan, it is useless.  I’ve worked with many companies that put in the time to plan out their quarter and set goals for the year – and then never look at them again.

Individual levels of discipline vary.  And external circumstances create varying levels of pressure at different times.  The less natural discipline in you and your business, the more systems for accountability and support are needed.  There are always fires to put out, especially as you get busy serving clients.  Putting marketing on the backburner is inevitable.  Build yourself a strong enough accountability system to make sure this critical work is getting done.

You’ll be grateful when get off the rollercoaster you’ve become accustomed to in your business and start producing consistent results.

Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/amagill/ / CC BY 2.0

{ 2 comments }

Sandy Barris May 6, 2010 at 11:20 am

Thanks for pointing out that the number one reason business don’t market consistently is because they get busy.

And you are so right on about calendaring you initiatives and activities that are going to spread your brand and bring people to your business. Be flexible enough to change and take advantage of new opportunities that arise – but don’t decrease the committed level of activity.

In fact it leads into the following that relates to plans and planning.

No plan or calendar should be set in stone! No matter how effective your plan may be, chances are, it will have to be altered at a given time; due to what your competitor(s) is doing.

We have all been in a situation in which, we feel heavy frustration from the fact that we have to change the plan – that we once considered our ‘baby’ – in order to counter what it was that another company was coming to battle with.

Even the actions of your clients, future clients or suppliers can take you by surprise – to the point of startling you – and force you to change the way in which you had set out to do things. In other words, you must be ready for anything. You must have flexibility. You must expect the unexpected!

Now, don’t feel as if you have to be a psychic. Don’t feel overwhelmed at the thought of needing a business and marketing plan so flexible that it takes away from the overall aim and goals that made you ‘hungry’ to run your particular business in the first place!

There is an easy way to be sure that you can continue to have success in the future – if you just start off with flexibility in mind! The best way to do so is to have a marketing calendar that is flexible and built to adjust itself when the time comes to do so.

Sandy Barris
VP Marketing
Fast Marketing Plan.com
http://www.FastMarketingPlan.com

On a limb with Claudia May 6, 2010 at 6:45 pm

My biggest problem is determining what worked and what didn’t – in your terms accountability. Sometimes, things seem very unsuccessful, but build momentum for what is actually successful. Weird.

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