Small business owners usually agree that marketing is the toughest and most critical part of their business. After all, the number one reason businesses fail is lack of sales. Even as a seasoned marketer with over twenty years of marketing and online experience I have to say that this small business owner agrees.
Early in my career I called on thousands of small business owners as a Yellow Pages advertising rep. Today I work with the same kinds of small and medium sized businesses on web design and internet marketing but the major challenges remain. Here’s what I used to hear in 1988 and what I still hear today when I talk with business owners.
- Advertising cost too much
- Advertising doesn’t work
- Marketing is a mysterious, confounding practice with little real feedback
- I don’t have time for this
- I want to work on my business, not marketing and advertising
As a small business owner myself I have to say that today I feel your pain. While I’ve been busy raising my two youngest kids and building my practice LOCAL Na8ion, I’ve had a hell of a time taking my own advice. While I appreciate the irony in this I don’t like that I’m not walking-the-talk. I’ve been like the landscapers who I used to call on who had a dirt front lawn – always too busy making their customer’s gardens lush and paying the bills to work on their own.
So let’s talk about solutions. Here they are (and yes, I’m taking my own advice):
- Use tools & technology that save time and reduce complexity
- Build your marketing tasks into your daily routine
- ‘Microsize’ your marketing workflow until it actually gets done and then slowly raise the bar
- Leverage, leverage, leverage – anyone, anything, anytime. Remember to say thanks
- Find any way to take action today
- The more you do it – the easier it gets
I’m going to talk more about two items on my list: Microsize your marketing workflow until it actually gets done and The more you do it – the easier it gets. If I bit off any more this post won’t get written and I won’t move forward.
Microsize your marketing workflow until it actually gets done
Here’s the first clue if you’ve made your task small enough (microsize) to get the job done. Did you produce something that you can call DONE? Can you check off the task? Until you actually produce a result or a task you can check off you’re biting off more than you can chew. Break the task down into chunks, making it smaller so you can complete it.
I encourage you to make it small in a silly way – get really micro and creative! This kind of technique is about overcoming the mental hurdle in non-starters. Once you get something done, you feel accomplishment, you build mental kudos and success and with enough repetition – momentum! As you move forward keep doing the small stuff – it all adds up. Be wary of piling on. Recognize now that you will do this. Rather than letting that pattern seep back in to your practice go after it the very next day with a smaller task – microsize.
The more you do it – the easier it gets
I was trying to record a video blog post yesterday and it’s been ages since I’ve done one. It was rough, felt useless and originally felt like a waste of time. But here’s the thing – it wasn’t. I got some practice and that’s important because I’m way out of practice. The last video lesson or vlog post I put up was September 24th! Right now I’m slow, inefficient and rough around the edges. How’s that going to improve? Practice.
It’s no different than getting my two youngest kids to practice their violin. If they don’t practice for a few days, the next time they do it’s hell on them. So it might take me three more tries to get that vlog post done but the practice will make it sharper and easier to do the next time.
I know what you’re thinking. If I had microsized my work I wouldn’t have felt like I failed. You’re right. I DID fail in my original task which was to shoot, edit and post a new vlog post. That would have been OK if I was in a flow state, but I was far from it. What I needed to put on my task list yesterday was to practice a vlog post. That would have changed everything.
So, today I did something that is easier for me. I wrote a blog post. And this task is almost checked off. Which is good because in looking at my task list I see I’ve got three client projects to juggle, five loads of laundry to fold, a shopping trip, kids to take to violin, school, feed and look after and much much more. And if that goes well I might (just might) practice vlogging a bit more later tonight. If I do, that’s great but if it doesn’t happen I’ll have already produced a result.
Are there any practices that you use to get the job done? If so, please share them.