We’re well into the new year now and no doubt some of the plans you made to promote your business in 2015 may have already gone slightly awry. As every business owner knows, it can be a challenge to find time for marketing when you have clients to take care of.

First things first: do you have a marketing plan in place? Because Benjamin Franklin had a point when he said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

If the idea of a marketing plan seems a bit much then it’s helpful to think of it as a task list rather than a huge document full of tables and pie charts. A simple sheet of A4 with a list or spider diagram of what you’re going to do this year is more than sufficient.

Whether or not you already have a plan in place, it can be helpful to look at what’s stopping you from marketing your business as much as you should be.

What are your marketing barriers?

Most of what’s preventing you marketing your business will come under one of three headings:

1. Lack of Clarity
2. Lack of Resources
3. Lack of Time

Read on to see if any of these apply to you and if they do, you can start to tackle them.

1. Lack of Clarity

Why do you do what you do? Who are your target customers? What do you need to tell them to persuade them to use your services or buy your product, and what’s the best way to reach them?

If you can’t answer these questions then marketing will feel difficult because you’re not clear on your business goals.

How to gain clarity?

Set aside some time in your diary to have a good think about where your business is now and where you’d like it to be. If you can take yourself out of your usual environment, perhaps to a quiet café, then that will help. If you’ve got someone who you can bounce ideas off too then that’s a bonus.

Questions to ask yourself include:
Why do you do what you do? Who are your customers now? Do you want to continue to work with these kinds of customers or do you need to seek out new ones in different sectors or at a higher level? How can you reach those potential customers?

Once you know where you’re heading it’s much easier to figure out how to get there.

2. Lack of Resources

Are you happy with your website? Or are you secretly hoping people won’t visit it because you know it’s not quite up to scratch.

One of the number one barriers to marketing in small businesses is an outdated website. If you’re ashamed of your website because it looks old-fashioned or perhaps your business has changed since you put the site together so the site’s inaccurate, or there’s some other reason you don’t like your website, then you won’t want to send people there.

This in turn means you won’t feel enthusiastic about promoting your business, and people will pick up on this.

Redoing your website can feel like quite a big project to take on, and it can feel expensive, but it’s an investment, not a cost.

Think about how you’ll feel when you have a fresh, modern website that explains exactly why a customer should buy from you rather than your competitors. What difference would that make to your business? How many new customers would you need to win before the new website pays for itself? And how much more marketing would you be able to do once you have a website you love?

3. Lack of Time

Business owners tend to work long hours, and fitting everything in can feel impossible. But if you don’t make time to do marketing continuously, rather than just when things are quiet, you can get permanently stuck in the cycle of boom and bust.

Even an hour a day can make a difference – just focus on one thing at a time. If you implement something every month, then by this time next year you’ll have twelve strands of marketing up and running.

Can you imagine how that would transform your business?

So why not book some time into your diary and make 2015 the year that you start taking your business marketing seriously? And if you genuinely don’t know where to start with your marketing, or you just don’t want to do it yourself, think about delegating or outsourcing it, because regular marketing can make a massive difference to your business.

If you’re considering having your website rewritten, or need help with your marketing, give me a call on 0121 405 0040.