Three Big Marketing Mistakes that Business Owners Make and How to Fix Them Before You Lose More Money

Starting with tactics and not prospects

If your prospects do not use Facebook then investing in Facebook is a waste of time and money. In order to get the best return on your marketing dollars, you need to know your target market so well that you know which marketing tactics will work best to reach them. So many business owners who are making strategic marketing decisions do not have a clear profile of who their ideal client is and how to best connect with them.

Selecting a tactic without a plan

Just because you have a great ideal client profile and have selected a marketing tactic to reach those prospects doesn’t mean your “campaign” will work without a well thought out plan. You need to think broader and deeper beyond the tactic if you want your marketing to provide you with the best return on your resources. Marketing providers don’t really help you beyond the tactic they sell.

Staying with a tactic without numbers

This is a real problem with most business owners. They have several tactics that they are using and they are getting enough business to keep them busy. The problem is that they really don’t know what is working and what is costing them money. Even if you ask your marketing provider to provide you some results, often the numbers that they provide do not translate into meaningful numbers that relate to your business.

Steps to fix these three mistakes

  1. Create an Ideal Client Profile

Clearly, define who your target market is and then further clarify who is your ideal client. This is not a simple process and has taken even professions some time to figure out.

  1. Create a plan that goes beyond tactics

A real plan for your marketing takes into account how you will build the relationship, how you actually close a sale and how you service your clients. Then you can return to the tactical side of marketing.

  1. Select the right marketing provider

When you have an “Ideal Client Profile” it should tell you how would be some of the best ways for you to connect with them. This will direct you to check out various tactics closely associated with your ideal client. Then you can start to narrow your actual tactical marketing providers.

  1. Determine your numbers

Before you finalize your choice of marketing tactics providers, make sure your provider can provide you with results information that works for you. Are the results you’re getting fit your plans and what you want to accomplish?  If it isn’t then you need to reassess your plan, tactics and marketing provider.

If you would like any help in planning or managing your marketing or to grow your business please call me at Crossroads Consultants, 980-241-0189 or email me, Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com.

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Marketing Can Be SO Frustrating!

You want to generate more qualified leads. You want a better return on your marketing. You don’t want to learn all of the different marketing strategies and tactics to grow your business. You don’t want to manage all of the different marketing providers or research who are making you money and who isn’t.

There is a reason that we hire mechanics, accountants, computer repair people and even landscaping or lawn mowing services to do some work. We don’t want to do it. We don’t want to learn how to do it. We want someone with the skills, abilities, and knowledge to do it for us.

You don’t have to learn “marketing”

Who wants to learn all the marketing strategies and tactics and how to do them? Now you don’t have to. Now you can hire a provisional Marketing Director, just like you hire an accountant that comes into your business every so often to do what needs to be done.  You get full access to the knowledge, skills, and abilities of an expert without paying the full-time cost of another employee.

What would a Marketing Director do?

If you were to hire a full-time Marketing Director (just go with me on this), what would their activities look like for the first week or maybe two? They would review all of your goals and objectives. They would review all that you offer and what strategies and tactics you currently are using and what you have used. They would want to understand your target market and what your ideal client would look like.

After some time the new Marketing Director would design the strategies and tactics that will enable the company to reach their goals. They would create a plan for the next year and then implement that plan. They would connect with all of the existing marketing vendors and support staff. They would apply the plan to the budget and make vendor adjustments. Then they would make sure that they could measure the activities and results and make adjustments to reach the goals.

What is a provisional Marketing Director?

A provisional marketing director can do all of the same things, but for small businesses that cannot afford a full-time person, they work to the level that is needed to get the job done. This saves you money, frees up quite a bit of your time and since they have the skills and abilities that you don’t, your return on marketing dollar should go up with your sales and business growth.

As an independent consultant (no conflicts or strings attached to any vendor) Crossroads Consultants can tell you what strategies and tactics will work for you, your business and especially your budget. If you want to know more about the provisional marketing director program, call Stan at Crossroads Consultants 980-241-0189, or email at Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com.  Get rid of the frustration and grow your business.

 

Is Your Business Losing Money And You Don’t Even Know It?

Just like people who are sick with a terminal disease and don’t even know it, so also business can be running backwards and not know it. Usually this scenario is blamed on the market, new competition, and poor capitalization of the business and a whole host of other reasons. But the reality is someone is not paying attention to some very important details.

Three losses that you may not even realize your business is experiencing:

  1. If your business is not adjusting the price for different circumstances, you could be losing money. Too many times a sale is discounted when it doesn’t need to be in order to make a sale, it’s just easier for the sales person. Also when an order is expedited, or special orders are agreed to without considering the cost of those changes. The sale itself can cause a business to lose money because those who are agreeing to the sale don’t know or care about the real costs.

 

  1. Some companies are losing money on future sales because of poor quality products or service. As an example, how many restaurants have served you poor quality food or delivered terrible service and you have not been back. This cost doesn’t really show up on the spreadsheets but the cost is real. Instead, many businesses blame the economy or something else.

 

  1. Every business has the same problem of limited resources. It is the nature of business and life. The difference between successful businesses and unsuccessful businesses is how they allocate those resources. The better decisions you make the better the return on that investment. When you pay more for capital than you should, or hire people who are not engaged in your business, or go for a cheaper vendor and therefore quality suffers, you could be making some very costly choices.

 

The point is that there are many ways to lose money and eventually the business that don’t fit on a nice profit and loss statement. You must be looking beyond what is visible to be able to make better decisions. At times getting different perspectives on your business from outside sources is like using a second mirror to see the back of your head like at a barber shop.

Don’t allow an ailing business go very long without a serious check up from a specialist in business, not just someone who specializes in finance, marketing, accounting or one of the other disciplines of business. There are not many who are truly business specialists. Just because someone ran one business well, doesn’t mean they understand the principles of business that are impacting your business.

Stan Broesder, MBA is the owner of Crossroads Consultants and specializes in helping business professionals to improve the skills, strategies and systems needed to increase profitability, reduce stress and grow a business. For information on creating a smooth running, high performance, profitable and growing business email Stan directly at: Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com

How Do You Use LinkedIn?

Many business owners and managers see LinkedIn as a resume database that is online for professionals who are looking to change jobs. While that may be what LinkedIn was originally intended for, it has become of great value to building your business.

Every business is built on the knowledge and skills of people. You may have an accountant that you use for taxes or is an employee. You hired, more than likely, someone who specializes in building websites, or who specializes in marketing. Today more than ever the individual as a business or service provider is critical to your business. From landscaping to security systems, we want to know who we are doing business with.

In the same sense your prospects are asking the same type questions about you (or whoever is the face of your company). That could mean your Account Representative, Senior Programmer working on your customer’s project, or the person who will be delivering your product to their place of business. LinkedIn gives you a way to take the one asset no one else has, namely your people, and utilize that information to provide comfort to your customers of knowing who they are doing business with on a more personal basis.

This is just one aspect of how LinkedIn can be used to build your business. Don’t dismiss LinkedIn as just a resume database. Instead, use LinkedIn for the business building tool that it has become.

Tip: if you have a list of your “team” on your website, make sure you add a link to those individual’s LinkedIn profile. While your own page provides some advantages, which we don’t have time to discuss here, LinkedIn provides some credibility if the profile is developed properly.

Stan Broesder, MBA is the owner of Crossroads Consultants and a business consultant that specializes in improving business profits and growth by developing business strategies and systems. A structured process is used to create strategies and action plans to solve problems that many business owners and professionals face.  You can reach Stan by email at:  Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com. 

Three Big Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make!

Small businesses complain that their marketing is just not working the way that they feel it should. Here are three big marketing mistakes that small businesses often make trying to grow their business.

 1. Having all tactics, and no strategy

You keep trying things and you keep what works and throw out the rest. But what if you could leverage one tactic off of another? This would boost the effectiveness of each tactic. In order to do that you need to start with a strategy. Focus your efforts and resources to accomplish the most important goals first. This will provide the best results.

2. Not measuring results

Many will say that you really can’t measure the results of marketing, but that is not totally true. Part of the problem is that you have not designed your marketing to be measurable. With a little adjustment many marketing tactics can be measured. Once you see the numbers accurately, then you can make the most effective changes to get the best results.

 3. Not aligning your sales with marketing.

When you treat sales and marketing as two different functions then you lose some of the efficiency that is possible. Marketing and sales must be seen from the customer’s perspective and need to reinforce each other with the same or complimentary message. When both of these are in alignment you will see dramatic improvements in results.

Correcting these three mistakes can really have an impact on your marketing results, which should translate into more income. But some really struggle with making these corrections and getting a different perspective can often make the difference.

Call me (980-241-0189) to discuss growing your business and correcting these three big mistakes in marketing. Or email me at Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com and ask about a Marketing Strategy evaluation for your business. Then get ready to grow!

Crossroads Consultants is a Business Management Consulting company that services small and mid-sized businesses and professionals with profitable growth strategies. Your customers don’t care about your growth. Ultimately, it is an inside job. We can help!



Does Success Breed Failure?

Success in and of itself can create a climate for failure. The saying, “What got you here, won’t get you there” (book title, Marshall Goldsmith) is appropriate for this thought. As difficult as it is to get to a certain level in business it maybe even more difficult to stay there.

Success, however you define it, puts you in a position of new opportunities and threats. Many stumble because they are not ready for the new policies, systems and habits that are demanded of them to be at that level and default back to old habits and safer waters. This is where some talk about the fear of success comes in. It may not be a fear of success (the outcome), but the change that it requires. Although the environmental change that comes with success can be disruptive, there are also internal changes that have to be considered as well.

When you are very busy you can create a routine or rhythm to your work that is very productive, but it can be very susceptible to change. If you push just a little too hard on your production you can make a mistake and send production into a tailspin. Or as the pressure for production decreases, you can become inefficient. You can lose focus on the new and most important tasks at hand believing you will have time to get to them later. But before you know it you are busy again and the important things didn’t get done.

Your ability to adjust to the pressures and demands on your time, energy and other assets is critical to continuing the progress of success that one experiences within their life. Without that ability to be flexible and focus on the important things, little errors creep in without detection and can become a major disaster without warning.

So how do you develop the ability to make the constant adjustment between super busy and bust? What does it take to smooth those ups and downs at least so they don’t cause serious crashes? There are two things you have to have.

You have to be able to keep perspective while still focusing on what is priority. You need to be ability to look at the big picture while also keeping a focus on key and critical details. In order to have perspective you need to be able to step back and grasp the big picture of your business. You need to be able to make accurate choices about what is important and what is not. Then you need to be able to focus your resources on getting the most critical, the key objectives accomplished.

In success your perspective is constantly changing because the world is changing by the minute or faster. Being able to focus energy and resources in the midst of change, on the most critical objectives is vital. So the reality is that you need to balance two totally different mindsets, big picture and laser focus. The right tools can help you to accomplish that juggling act. [that will have to be a different post]

How to kill the dreams of a great strategic plan!

Many people say that strategic planning doesn’t work. That if you create a plan one day, it is obsolete the next. Or you have these great plans and then you can’t implement them, so what good are they? But it doesn’t have to be that way. The biggest problem with strategic plans is there is not enough thought put into them because most people just want to get it over with instead of creating a tool that will help them to reach their dreams. There are some strategic plan killers that you need to be aware of.

1. Going through the motions.
When management is in trouble, someone will get the bright idea that the solution is to just create a strategic plan. While it may be a tool for the solution, the mere paper won’t solve your problems. In order for a strategic plan to be effective you have to do it right and within the boundaries of which it is designed to work. Too many business owners sketch out their thoughts with a little input from a couple of key managers and then say “Here it is, our strategic plan!!

2. Preconceived notions and a closed mind.
Another killer is not really having an open mind during the process. The process turns into a “let’s justify what we want to do” instead of pulling the facts into the process and allowing it to generate the best strategy for the company. This may seem minor, but it is also one of the biggest reasons why strategic planning is not done in the first place. “I know where we need to go and what we need to do” I am just having some difficulty figuring out how to get it done”. Exactly! When the strategy is right the “how” is almost obvious.

3. Power plays, agendas and politics.
Too many times the process is crippled by those who have their own agenda in mind. From the beginning they have determined to figure out how to get a project, or program into the plan so that there department is better off and they are the hero with their people. But power plays compete against others also with agendas. One member in the process knows what you want and will indicate to you that you better support his agenda or he will make sure yours is killed along the way. Or after what you did to him last year, now it is pay back and you are out as far as they’re concerned. When individuals on the team think they are more important than the company, its purpose, values and all stakeholders, you will end up with a plan that will fail.

4. Not thinking about implementation.
When your plans are designed without thinking about how the plan is going to be implemented you are in for trouble. Part of the process is to assess where you are as far as your assets, resources and opportunities. Looking at your strengths and weaknesses, you determine where you can position the company to have the greatest competitive advantage. If you try to claim a position that you do not have the skills and knowledge to defend, you are going to have a difficult time. You have to think about those who will be implementing the plan.

5. Lack of creativity.
Closed minds, agendas, power plays, going through the motions, and no thought about implementation will cause a major lack of creativity. Each one of these killers will kill the creative thinking process that is needed to create a good strategic plan. That creativity will help to strategically position the company where it can best defend itself in the market place and enable it to grow into higher profit margin territory. It takes open minds that are free of reprisals, political consequences and preconceived agendas.

The problem is that no one in the process walks into a strategic planning meeting and announces that they have an agenda, closed minds, etc. They come in with smiles, enthusiasm, and say all the right things. It is the facilitator of the meetings that must keep a watchful eye to make sure that the pure process isn’t hijacked along the way.

Strategic planning is one of the best tools that management can use to secure the long-term viability and security of the company. Follow the process and make sure you have a skilled facilitator who cannot have an agenda beyond a successful strategic outcome.