WHAT??? Oh sorry – went off the deep end a little there. Â Had a friend ask me recently how I “restart” my marketing efforts when I stop. Â I must admit I had a hard time not sighing or making a face. Â When asked, I think the number one problem of micro-business owners today is under capitalization. Â But only slightly less known is the dreaded marketing-until-you-get-enough-work cycle (channeling a little Princess Bride there. Sorry about that). Â It is vital to NEVER STOP MARKETING. Period. The end. Okay, so how do we do that?
For me, it is a matter of calendar allocation. Â Doesn’t that sound cool? Â First, every activity on my calendar is color-coded. Â Outlook lets me do that through categories so I can assign a color to everything – green are customers, light green are prospects, teal is networking, gold is chamber, etc. Â At a glance I can see how I’m allocating my time. So there is no way I can go back at the end of the week and not know if I did my marketing. Â Because if there aren’t teal, light green, and gold, I failed. Period.
I also schedule networking meetings each month. Â There are certain groups that I feel are valuable to attend. (I will write a future article on how to determine if a networking event is worth attending) I register for those as soon as I can – sometimes I’ll hit all of them for a year if the organizer allows it and they are available – and get them on my calendar. Â If the organizer doesn’t allow that, I will put them in my calendar and next to the name I put “NOT REGISTERED”. Â Then when I register I just remove the note. That way when I’m scheduling meetings, I can try to schedule around these events instead of getting caught surprised when the registration becomes available.
In addition, I try to meet 3 prospects a week. Â I don’t always hit my target and that means sometimes it is 2, and sometimes it is 6. Â But if I average it out for the year, that goal is pretty achievable. Â Keeping times available in my calendar for prospects is just smart. And if I have 4 times to offer someone and they can’t make any of those, they usually feel I was as available as was reasonable so I get points for being flexible. Â Yay!
When I sit down on Monday to see what’s happening this week, I already have appointments made. Â Customer work is on there. Â If the deadline is real it is in the notes. Â If the deadline is one I have set, I put that in there too. Â Regardless, the work is on the calendar. Â In addition, all projects and networking is on my To Do list. Â Even if I have a killer week where I’m running around a lot there is a sense of accomplishment when you check off items on your To Do list. Â And once I check off one thing, I’m looking for something else I can knock out.
I would like to be clear – just because it is on my calendar, doesn’t mean it is set in stone. Â I do cancel some networking for clients if that’s the only option. Â But then I know I better pick up something else if I want to hit my goals. Â On average, I spend 24 hours in marketing activities a month. Â For October, I spent 20% of the 184 work hours in the month in the actual marketing activities so that doesn’t include the travel, etc. And I only could have managed it by scheduling my marketing activities. Â So don’t stop marketing – put it on your calendar!