There's one thing we know about small businesses. They're busy.
If they're not busy because they're wildly successful, then they're busy because they're trying to be wildly successful.
That unquenchable desire to be prosperous creates a sense of urgency that permeates through the whole organization. That, and the fact that most small businesses have less human capital than they wish they had, means that as seemingly important responsibilities or tasks are presented to an entrepreneur, everything else gets dropped.
Many refer to this as firefighting.
If the health inspector shows up, everything else gets dropped. If the accountant calls to discuss inventory tracking tactics for financial reporting purposes, everything else gets dropped. If the office supply company representative arrives for his 2:00 appointment to discuss office furniture fabric choices, everything else gets dropped. If the HR Manager knocks on your door to discuss employee performance reviews, everything else gets dropped.
"That's the nature of small business", people say to me.
I get that. I really do. These are all seemingly important responsibilities. "Of course we need to discuss performance reviews right now. We need to keep the employees feeling motivated and rewarded." Yes, that's true. But let's consider for a moment that performance reviews are, in fact, a distraction.
Yes, a distraction. A distraction from that which is truly (not seemingly) important.
Marketing is truly important. Everything else is just seemingly important.
Marketing is all that you do in your business to create demand for what you have to offer. What can be more important than that?
Yet, marketing is the last thing for which entrepreneurs 'drop everything'. Because these other seemingly important responsibilities are tangible, time-sensitive tasks with obvious implications on the performance of the business, they get time and attention. We often hear entrepreneurs say "I can't deal with that right now, I have to talk with the accountant." What we never hear is "I can't deal with that right now, I have to write copy for the new product page on the web site." Web site copy writing is less time-sensitive and not as important as the meeting with HR (so it is argued).
On the contrary.
A meeting with the HR Manager to discuss performance reviews is moot if there are no employees. If you don't give marketing your time and attention, there is no demand. Without demand, you can't create revenue and you can't pay any employees! Marketing is the most important thing you do.
THE LESSON FOR SMALL BUSINESSES:
Don't allow firefighting to consume your entire day. Pick one period of time where you 'drop everything' for marketing. I'm sure you have good intentions. You likely wake up in the morning thinking "I'm going to get to the web site today." But invariably, seemingly urgent stuff comes up and before you know it, dinner hour has passed.
Don't let that happen.
Try it once tomorrow. Tell someone "I can't deal with that right now, I have to write web copy."
Any success stories related to this? Instances where you've put everything else aside to concentrate on marketing?
This blog is written by Glenn Cressman, Share Of Marketing's founder and Chief Share Builder (bio). It covers all things marketing. Feel free to comment!