Friday, August 10, 2012
The curse of the small business owner is finding enough time to get everything done. The fact that most small business owners put in 60, 70 or more hours per week into their business means they just cannot find the extra time to get many of their tasks done.
There are plenty of books and articles written about planning and prioritising, models showing ‘importance versus urgency’ etc. I can mention one example that I know every small business owner will identify with - the dreaded VAT return.
Yes I’m sure that over 90% of everyone reading this article is guilty of this procrastination - it’s the last day of the month, midnight before the return is due, everything else is put on the back burner, a do not disturb sign hung on the door, you start pouring over all those little chits and petrol receipts, all this has become really urgent because there’s a penalty/fine attached to a late return.
But you already know how stupid this recurring exercise is, you knew exactly when this return was due, in fact last time you swore to yourself that next time you would not leave it to the last minute but still you do.
There’s another aspect to procrastination. The very reason that a lot of small business owners are still ‘small business owners’ is rooted in this procrastination about planning their time and business processes carefully well ahead of the situation becoming ‘urgent’.
Probably the most important example of this is planning the sales cycle to prevent the peaks and troughs that most small business owner’s revenues are exposed to. Whenever sales go down, they panic and get on the phone and start selling until they find new customers. They then focus 100% on servicing those customers - old and new - until the revenue starts to dangerously slide again. In the current business environment where the banks are reluctant to authorise overdrafts, dips in cash flow can become alarmingly dangerous.
In order for a small business to survive and grow from a small business to a medium business and on to become a large business, they must allow time to plan their marketing and give the marketing campaign the budget it deserves.
New customers are the lifeblood of the business, they are the building blocks for its success. One of the key differences between a failing business and a successful one is the failure to plan and budget a targeted marketing campaign.
So make a promise to yourself now - to commit some important time to planning a marketing campaign, create a budget fit for purpose and commission someone to get on with it, while you continue to grow the business.
Keith Barrett writes on a range of business issues. He knows that business marketing services can help to create a successful enterprise.