What is the total amount you spend marketing and advertising your business? You may be surprised by the number of business owners who are not completely sure of that number. One of the first things I do when I begin to work with a business is to assess what the business is doing today. Essentially, we go through an exercise of taking an inventory of what the business is doing relative to promoting its brand in its market / neighborhood and advertising itself. This inventory may include print advertising in local papers or magazines, sponsorship of little league teams, email campaigns, social media and web site messaging, billboards, truck signage and more. Once you have this inventory listed, you can more easily assign the amount of money you spend on these items, and who is responsible for creating them and seeing them through to fruition. It is also important to review these actions for consistency of your brand message.
This categorizing exercise often reveals a lack of a regular process. What I have found is often responsibilities are ad hoc in small businesses. Whoever remembers to do the emails, for example, may do them on their own time. Or, the manager of a store may also be the one assigned to update the Facebook page and forgets to do it when the store is busy.
I have learned that understanding who is doing what in a small business seems obvious but often is not easy. People make assumptions that tasks are begin completed but they may not be. It is counter intuitive that people working in a small business may not communicate effectively with one another, but it is very common. (And it is not unlike people who sit next to each other in big companies but who have not spoken in weeks). Make sure roles and responsibilities are known to your staff. Communicate, and then communicate some more.
The basics are easy to forget when you are busy:
- What is your strategy?
- What are you doing to accomplish your strategy?
- What are the actions?
- Who is doing them?
- What do they cost?
If you can get to these basics, then you can determine if you are achieving what you intended or if you need to make adjustments in order to be successful.
Photo courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti and freedigitalphotos.net