For many small business owners, we are now down to the business end of the year. To make a dollar or for some, to survive another year.
While it has been tough and most small businesses can attest to this, those who are investing in their product and service offering, are fairing better than those who are saving every penny and hoping for a better day.
I am an optimist in every sense of the word. My glass is half full and there is a lot more left in the jug. But as I use positivity to spearhead my next steps, I am acutely aware that 'having all your ducks in a row' is paramount to not only surviving but growing your business and moving forward.
As a small business owner, there are many things to consider:
Have you ever been stopped at a traffic light and made a false start when it wasn’t your green light? Three colours control the daily commute of billions of people around the world, green means go, red means stop and yellow means slow down. To most people.
These colour associations are universal and worldwide. So if colours can tell us when to stop when to go, what else can it tell us to do? What is the colour of your brand telling customers to do?
I was sitting outdoors at a Japanese restaurant when it happened and at first I thought my friend was moving the table with his legs. When it was clearly not him, we both looked on in amazement.
Then, a Japanese chef came racing out and asked us if we felt the earthquake. We both said yes, and I told her that I thought it was exciting, "My first earthquake".
That went down like a lead balloon. Of course, in Japan, earthquakes are very dangerous and has killed thousands of people - so in rememberence of that, being excited by it, may not be in seen in the best light. I remember when this happened in Japan. It was incredibly sad.
Moving on from that, the earthquake certainly was "trending" on all social media and within minutes there was a picture up on facebook with a table and four chairs. One had fallen over. I then saw that same image posted on at least 100 facebook accounts. The world of viral marketing.
Which leads us back to marketing.
Here are 5 tips on what small businesses can do to improve their marketing efforts in the next 12 months are:
Businesses that do not engage in a strategic marketing plan, often find that they are chasing their tail. They fly by the seat of their pants and have no real sales and marketing strategy in place. Instead of being proactive, and placing key performance indicators behind each and every marketing investment, they generally go with 'gut instinct' or what is available at any given time.
Is your business ontrack to achieving the goals that you set out for your business to achieve in 2012? Is your brand where it should be? Are your leads inbound or outbound? Is your sales team performing?
If the answer is "no" to any of these questions, then it's time to start figuring out what you can change today to alter your outcomes of tomorrow.
As I looked up, I decided to capture the moment.
The seagulls flew off and I began to think...
It's summer over there and winter here in Australia, so the weather is definately a big plus. Cost of living is significantly less which means I can buy more shoes. There is a god after all ;-)
And... the business is ready. Most importantly, we have dotted all of our 'i's' and crossed all of our 't's'.
So, what's next?
Failure sometimes helps us better understand what we are trying to do and how we should go about it. It sets a clearer picture for the direction that we should head.
"I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love, than to be a success at something you hate." George Burns.
Is failure just part of the parcel? Do we need to fail in order to succeed? Bill Gates did. Michael Jordan did too.