Are you a business owner trying to figure out a sensible small business marketing approach? You're not alone. Many ambitious and resourceful people just like you have built amazing local businesses through hard work, integrity and street smarts. But many are also intimidated and stalled by today's digital marketing landscape. They hear about things like SEO and SEM, marketing automation, social media, content marketing and sales funnels and they want to bury their collective heads in the sand. If you don't know where to turn, look at other achievements you've made in business: you may be an excellent source of inspiration for your own small business marketing success.
The fact is, if you've achieved a certain level of success in your business. Even if you're just getting started with modern marketing practices, Reflecting on the factors that contributed to your own success may motivate you to jump in and start making progress. [bctt tweet="Reflecting on your own success may motivate you to jump in and start making progress." username="jamesbosma_lift"]
Now, I'm the first person to get annoyed with people whose egos suck up all the oxygen in the room, so when I suggest that you can be your own inspiration, I do it with a grain of salt. I'm not suggesting you start telling others about all of your past successes. What I am suggesting is that if you're approaching something new and intimidating, you may be able draw on your own past experiences of success to give yourself the confidence you need to move forward.
I'm currently experiencing this in my own business.
I've recently embarked on a major shift in my approach to marketing services, having recently begun the certification process for Duct Tape Marketing — a program that will enable me to provide better strategic guidance to the small businesses I serve. I can't actually remember being more excited about the changes that lie ahead. At the same time, when I look at all of the moving parts — the box of puzzle pieces yet to be assembled — it's easy to become paralyzed. What do I do next?
It helps me to look back to where I started. When I started as a marketing consultant in 2011, I was faced with a lot of question marks. I had never been self employed nor had I taken any small business management courses. So, there were many areas, a lot of them logistical and practical: how do I handle proposals? Invoices? Contracts? Bookkeeping? I just had to dig in and get started. Being a resourceful person, I leaned on my network of trusted friends and mentors, I used Google, I found a variety of software tools, I took online courses. I made lists. I tried things. They failed. I made adjustments. They succeeded.
I still have a lot to learn, and much to do, but most of those big initial question marks have faded away. The fact that I've been able to overcome those challenges gives me the confidence I need as I approach my newer, bigger question marks.
You may not have small business marketing figured out, but you have mastered a lot of things. Take some time to reflect on when you first started out. Work your way backward in your mind. What kept you up at night? What specific experiences helped you get where you are today? What big breakthroughs enabled you to become more efficient or more profitable? What mistakes allowed you to learn something new? What adjustments did you make in how you hired and retained employees? How did you learn to identify and negotiate with suppliers? What did you learn about attracting and retaining customers? How did you learn to manage and prioritize your time or the time of others. Who did you turn to for help along the way? Why are you able to sleep today?
If you're intimidated by the unknowns of modern small business marketing, know this: Marketing is not magic. Marketing is a system — a set of processes to follow to move your business from one reality to another. If you've already built a moderately successful business, you've created and implemented systems many times. You've done this before. You can do it now!