Most small business owners hate the “M” word. I’m not talking about management, margins or manpower. Those are all legitimate concerns, but they are typically dealt with head-on. Marketing, on the other hand, is often avoided. Why is this?
Marketing means time, money and people. These are three luxuries many small business owners don’t have in excess. Hiring a person, or a firm, with expertise in marketing is typically not in the budget, and existing employees tend to not have enough time or the experience to know where to start. It’s hard to worry about marketing when you’re down on the production floor, candidates are slim and jobs are backing up.
Here’s an incentive to get started now by starting small and building a plan with no end date. Investing in marketing is a lot like investing in your retirement – real success is achieved when it’s a long game. The worker who waits until the end of his or her career and then furiously saves can never equal the earning power of the worker who starts early and lets the power of compound interest multiply the principal investment many times over.
Marketing is no different. A quick burst of activity or fits and spurts over years will net some gains, but that can never compare to a continual investment in planning, awareness, branding, measurement and evaluation over years or decades. The results compound much the same as those mutual funds.
It’s not easy. If it were, there wouldn’t be untold books and websites dedicated to the subject. But developing a plan and choosing a few tactics that stand the greatest chance of impacting your business are the perfect places to start. Start small, build on it each year and let the dividends roll in.
Director of Communication & Marketing, NPCA