How you know you’re over-thinking it in small business marketing strategy

Hi. Ex-product development person with a quirky edge here. I’m looking to grab the whiskers of anyone looking at their small business marketing strategy and freaking out.

I am a compulsive planner and plotter who loves a good road-map. But that doesn’t mean small business marketing strategy has to be a cryptic puzzle. Nor should it be something that’s so light, it’s empty of value and ideas.
What it has to be is functioning. A lot of plans aren’t. Some small business owners enter a wall of planning that never finishes. And you don’t want that.

Let’s look at the tell-tale signs of too much small business strategy and not enough action


Your TO DO list grows but never seems to shrink

overthinking small business marketing strategy
Photo via Unsplash for Cristina Pop

When you have a business, there is always more to do. There are always new ideas, no fires to put out and new challenges.

The problem becomes we get addicted to doing and running of task lists, project plans and boards. It becomes busy work.
If you don’t know why you are doing it and there’s no end in sight, what’s the point?

Ask yourself the following questions:

· Will this action make a significant impact on my business?
· Am I still following my vision for my business by setting myself this task?
· When was the last time I looked at the results of the tasks I’ve already completed?
· How can I speed up the process from where I am to where I want to be?
Meetings and planning need a point. If it’s not generating you at least twice the amount of work as the act of planning, you’re spinning your wheels.
And if you see the same task bob back past the window like a plastic bag, bin it.
You are only as good as your ability to get things done when it comes to your own business. If you’re swimming in tasks, you will definitely lose sight of your goals.

You pick up ideas like lint at a dry cleaner

Imagine your small business marketing strategy acts like a shiny Carmen Ghia. You’ve loved her, restored her and think she’s the absolute bees’ knees. You want her to stand out when she’s parked on the street just as much as she stands out as you drive on a country road. She’s valuable, unique and has a certain class.
Now think of networking events as your usual car show.
Are you going to buy her an air horn and huge rims because every stall is selling them?
Everyone has a wonderful idea you should try at a networking event. They’ve gone there to sell it to you.
You have to be smart enough to know what you do and don’t need.

How do you make sure you don’t gather business ideas that don’t suit you?

· Always re-read your 3 most important goals for the quarter before you go to a trade show or networking event
· Come prepared with a list of the sort of people you want to meet and focus on finding them
· Say “my biggest challenge right now is…<issue>…what can your product do to solve that?” in response to patter
Be brave enough to defend your time and your plans. Know what you want and that way, you don’t waste your time or theirs.
You have a cast of thousands to help you – but it doesn’t
The day you become a manager with employees is not a minute before it’s needed.
Headcount burns cash. It robs you of the luxury of trying experimental ideas. It makes testing your market more risky. It slows you down.
And it rinses out your pocket.
You have to get your hands dirty if you’re going to grow.

This is what you need to execute a small business marketing strategy in the early stages:

· The right online tools to help you- marketing via a working WordPress website. Ways to convert that website traffic onto lists through lead generation and email management software. Social media to remind them to come back. A blog to give them a reason to. Accounting software and the tools needed to support your chosen marketing avenues. E.g. recording program if you podcast, Canva if you want to design things, project management software to keep communication down and so on. Notice Hymie from Get Smart is not listed.
· A developer to look after your website- maintenance and security need a web developer to be on the scene on a semi-regular basis. A small retainer of a few hours a month is often enough
· An accountant or bookkeeper – take the pressure off yourself and get this done by a professional. It will save you money and heartache in the long run
Supporting players in your adventure also include (optional, depending on what you need):
· A designer – they keep your branding uniform and happy if it’s not your thing. And avoid doing this on a cheap eBidding site because the quality if pretty basic and plagiarism is rife
· A virtual assistant- can be great to keep you organised and to hand off the nitty gritty of tasks and to look after customer service
· A marketing freelancer- no, I didn’t even put myself down in the essential pile. It depends on your ability with marketing and your budget. But someone like me can create a small business marketing strategy for you. I can also execute it on your social media, content marketing and SEO level. Once your business warrants it. Before that, you might like to get me to teach you a workshop instead or hire me for business coaching. You rarely need me full time, so don’t believe any marketing manager pushing to sell you otherwise
Over-hiring is a massive trap for small business women. The idea of having a team appeals. But it’s not a sign of growth. It can be a sign of incapability. It can also remove you too far away from the business to spot problems and opportunities.
Invest in staff you’ve learned and worked the business to a point where it needs that extra level up.
The final word on overthinking your small business strategy
Overthinking your small business marketing strategy also comes in the form of being overwhelmed by it. If your marketing doesn’t seem cohesive, helpful or coherent, this is a problem. It’s not uncommon, though. And there’s no shame in it.
Marketing a small business is tricky. It often becomes so unwieldy, it shadows everything else. Plus, you end up with all manner of people telling you their way is the best way to sell. It’s a voracious aspect of the business that needs constant feeding. No wonder it gets confusing and all too much.
Your small business marketing strategy should be so you can use it. It needs to be well-researched, understand what you have and haven’t tried. And give you insight to where to next. It’s about weeding out the channels and devices and picking the right ones for you. All while understanding audience, competitors and the pressures your business has to navigate.
That’s where I come in.
You don’t have to be everywhere saying all the things for your marketing to work. And you also don’t have to have a plan that runs right over the top of you or leads you to ask, “where’s the rest of it”. Know your products, customers, competitors and what you want to achieve with me.

Send me an email via rebekah @ unashamedlycreative dot com dot au or the contact page and let’s connect to get you into a small business marketing strategy today.

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