How many of you are gardeners? I love to be in the garden, Sinking your teeth into a home grown tomato just picked off the vine is amazing. I bet some of you can taste it now.
One question we need to ask – where did this fat and juicy tomato come from? Did it just somehow magically appear? Not a chance! It took hard work and patience. But it seems that many small business owners think they can have a fat juicy prospect just magically show up in their office.
Why? If you are looking to get the best harvest then follow these 4 steps and you will be sinking your teeth into some great new customers.
- Prepare Now and Save Later
- Monitor and Feed for Maximum Yields
- Weeding and Pruning are an Ongoing Battle
- Enjoy the Fruits of your Labor
Prepare Now and Save Later
Every fall I tell myself – this year I am going to prepare my garden for the long winter so it is ready to go in the spring with very little work. Well, in 15 years of gardening I have yet to make this happen. I find myself out in the garden pulling the spring weeds and struggling to prepare the soil so I can get my early crops planted.
How many of you are doing the same thing with your marketing plan. Every time I speak I ask – how many of you have a written marketing plan? It never fails – less then 20% raise their hands. Most small businesses follow the marketing by the seat of their pants strategy.
You get a call from a local ad rep and they sell you an ad – even though it may or may not be the right thing for you to do – after all your competitors are in there so you need to be also. This is a fatal mistake. If you do not plan your marketing you will always find yourself spending more money and getting less results. Do your business a big favor – write out a simple marketing plan and you will save time and money in the long run.
Monitor and Feed for Maximum Yields
What happens to a garden that you ignore? It dies! Vegetable gardens take effort to keep growing and prospering. I walk out to my garden everyday to make sure it is growing just like I have planned. I am also looking for danger signs that may be on the horizon.
I was in the garden yesterday and noticed my rhubarb was looking a little lack luster. So, I inspected it closely and what did I find – slugs! They were All over the backside of the leaves. Do you know what tiny little slugs do best? They become big slugs – and will completely destroy a garden if not killed right away.
Feeding your garden is extremely important. Make sure your plants have the right nutrient mix so they can properly grow and defend themselves against disease. If not, your crop will be reduced. Here’s an example. Too much nitrogen will often produce a very green plant, but not much produce.
Now, here is a question for you. –Do you monitor and feed your marketing and advertising? Or do you plant it and let it go – hoping for the best? Are you tracking the results and making adjusts to the plan as you go – always with the goal of improving – bigger yields?
For most of you the best advice I can give you is to STOP all your advertising – unless you are without a doubt that it is achieving your goals. Most advertising for small business is like those little slugs – over time it will suck all your time and money down the drain. Stop now before it is too late. Put in place ways to track and monitor your results – call tracking numbers, offer codes, unique URLS, Web Analytics, or just ask the customer( least accurate method) – start doing something to track.
Are you giving your marketing and advertising plan a fighting chance by giving it the right budget to achieve your goals? Most budgets are under funded. The expectations of results are completely out of line with the desired goal. There is not magic number on what your budget should be – it is based on two things really – how fast and how much do you want to grow – if your goal is to only grow 5% per year over the next 5 years your marketing budget – the feeding – will not need to be as high as a company who wants to double in the next 3 months. Most have the goal to double but have the budget for 5% growth.
Make sure you give your plans the right kind of nutrients – it will make or break you.
Weeding and Pruning are an Ongoing Battle
Once the garden is growing – it is not only my plants that grow, but also the weeds. How gardeners hate weeds. They can choke out a plant in no time if not dealt with quickly. Weeds steal the nutrients and can also attract disease and other unwanted pests. They will kill your garden if you’re not careful.
Not only do you need to pull the unwanted weeds out but you must also prune to ensure maximum yields. Take tomatoes for example – if you let them grow out of control you will end up smaller fruit that does not taste as good. Pruning the plant provides better targeting of resources so you can get the best yields.
Marketing and advertising is no different. You only have a limited amount of resources and the best way for you to maximize those resources is to weed out advertising that is not working and continually work at improving the advertising that is working. It is not hard to do, but it is very time intensive. Most small business owners just do not have the time to do the proper weeding and pruning – thus they waste a lot of time and money.
Enjoy the Fruits of your Labor
Harvest time! How wonderful it is when you are out in the garden picking the fruit of your labor. This year we have been getting a good crop of asparagus – I did do some prep on my beds last year – I mulched them – and the results are much better this year – and boy does home grown asparagus taste good. It is actually sweet – unlike the store bought variety which tastes like wood most of the time. Lightly cook in olive oil with a little salt, pepper and garlic – wow.
If you take the time to plan and prepare, monitor and feed, weed and prune I can make you one promise – you will get better results then if you do not do these things. It is well worth it. Make it happen so you can enjoy the excitement of seeing a marketing and advertising plan work and produce the results you have planned for – it lifts the spirits and generates excitement in your whole business. Success breads success.
Be sure to celebrate and enjoy the fruits. Celebrating and awarding those involved will only help encourage you and others to continue the hard work of daily marketing.
Go and grow.