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By the Book?

Posted On - 19/02/2016 07:47:18

What's The Secret?

It's interesting you're here. It is. Because it's likely everything we're going to say about running a business you already know.

There are no nuggets or anything "Ah-Ha!" here. It's all well-trodden ground – what you'd find in any business text book.

So why are we talking about it? Because we're going to draw a line. A line between what you should know - what the text book tells you - and what you must do. Make no mistake there's things about running a business that if you never learn could sink you. What are they? Read on…

Are you in business?

This isn't a daft question – it's gravely serious. Because your answer completely changes how you should take this blog.

Hoping to make some money doing something you really enjoy is great. Being able to go to work and follow your passion for is, well, pretty good isn't it? And if that's what your business is – a hobby - then fine, you can run it pretty much how you want. You're not in business.

But, if you're trading to make a living, maybe support a family, pay a mortgage, are employing staff, maybe trying to save to a pension and even buy your premises then things are different. What you're doing is no pass-time, it's a business. That doesn't mean you have to give up on your passion: it's just there's too much at stake not to run it right. You need to run your business by the book.

You must have a marketing strategy

Heard that before? Well, just before you kick back in exasperation, answer this. What's the purpose of business? Think long and hard now, because your gut reaction is likely wrong. It isn't making a profit. It isn't making a living.

The purpose of business is to create and keep customers. Money? That's a consequence. Sure, you want to make a living, maybe a lot more, but you can only get that through customers.

So a sign of a healthy business is one that's marketing itself - creating a flow of new faces enquiring about what it does and sells. Drawing existing customers back for services and offers. Because that's how you create and keep customers.

A healthy business understands everything about why it's different and better, and it communicates that to its ideal customers in ways they'll readily find, using language they'll easily understand, telling them about things they'll be interested in. That's what the book says.

YOU must market your business

To get an enquiry you have to? Rely on others selling your business for you? Well, that's what many of you do isn't it?

Word-of-mouth – when customers refer you - brilliant isn't it. Well, yes it is. It's certainly reassuring to know others think you good enough to mention. Now we can debate just how effective it really is or we can get to the nitty-gritty: word-of-mouth isn't marketing.

Marketing – that's you deciding what gets said to who how and when - is something you control. Word-of-mouth? That's putting your feet up, abdicating responsibility. It's not marketing at all - don't think it is. YOU must market YOUR business. That's what the book says.

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