There are always three things that still amaze me when I come into a business consulting job and look at a company that should be thriving but it’s not. First, it is usually because there has been little thought into making people aware that you exist. Positioning has always been a key for any business to survive. Positioning basically means that you have made efforts to be on the list of the top three in awareness when someone wants what you offer; such as I need a plumber, I want steak for dinner, I want to be entertained, where do I go.
This lack of effort means that you are relying on your location or the traffic patterns to make people pull off or stop to do business with you; something that time and time again most businesses find it is not enough. So having a marketing plan and an investment as part of that plan to let people know you exist and can provide the solution to their needs or wants is crucial, especially in a world where most of us receive over 30,000 messages a day.
Secondly, if the business does have a plan and budget it is being used at the wrong times, For instance, almost, if not all, have a business cycle; a cycle when they are busier than other times of the year. What I have seen, time after time, is that the marketing budget is being invested on more of an emotional basis. What I mean by this is that when times are good businesses tend to drop back on the marketing investment and when times or bad they tend to increase their investment.
So what happens is we hurt ourselves by using our cash at a time when our cash flow is struggling and hoard our cash when times are good. Better to invest when people want what we have or offer and make the mountain peaks grow and when doing so you will see those valleys, or slow times, get better also.
Finally, know what your margins are. The cost of providing goods and services is always changing yet many businesses keep the same prices throughout. That is fine if you are working on reducing your cost of goods and maintaining your profit margin but in many of the businesses I consult with, I find that they don’t know what or even how to establish a profit margin on the business offerings.
As a business owner with a successful business that has survived many obstacles over the past thirty-five years and has helped many businesses and non-profits in the region continue to exist and succeed knowing and understanding the three principles in this article are crucial in taking the steps to stay and grow in business. These are tried and tested and will help your business succeed too.