Ever since last month’s Synergise Success Women in Business Lunch, I’ve been thinking a lot about what guest speaker Ita Buttrose had to say about running your own business.
There were two things that Ita said that day that made me want to jump up out of my seat and do a power punch in the air and yell out “right on sista!” But not wanting to be rude and make a total idiot of myself, I sat and listened to Ita’s wise words.
Here’s the first point Ita made:
“Marketing is not an expense, it’s an investment.”
So many businesses especially in the early stages treat marketing as an expense and don’t give it the time and attention it truly deserves.
I can understand that it feels like a waste of time especially if you only get lukewarm or no response at all from your marketing efforts. I’ve been there. Doing nothing is not an option, unless of course, you want it to be a waste of time and money.
It takes time, it takes energy, it takes experimenting and yes there is some expense but when you get it right, it will pay off.
Marketing your business is not something you do once and then forget about either. It’s an ongoing commitment that is continually refined, tried and tested. You need to promote your business often to attract, grow, and stay in business.
No matter how many years you’ve been running your own business and for how long you continue, you will always need to market your business. So instead of seeing it as a necessary expense, think of it as an investment to your ultimate success.
Ita’s second point and one I really take to heart:
“Everything about your business is an advertisement.”
Your business cards, stationary, website, and marketing material makes up a good part of your advertising. They’re the “public face” of your business and are the first things people will come in contact with. So it makes sense that all your print and online material is good quality, professionally designed and printed so it represents your business well. First impressions count, and if your business cards or website look cheap; they’re doing you a big disservice.
The same goes for your office, shopfront, warehouse, studio or wherever work takes place. The physical state of your work space, is an advertisement about your business. A shabby, run down shop or office isn’t exactly welcoming and inspiring to potential customers or staff.
Your voicemail/answering machine and the way you and your staff answer the phone is an advertisement about your business. What do your callers hear when you answer the phone? I used to work for a boss who would always be annoyed about having to take a call and usually answered his calls with a gruff “yes?” Not a particularly pleasant way to start a conversation, when people sense your impatience, stress, annoyance or whatever.
How you conduct business, the service or products you deliver is an advertisement about your business. Your enthusiasm and passion shows in the way you operate your business and the work you produce for your clients.
The way you treat your customers, staff and suppliers is an advertisement about your business. Respect the people you deal with, no matter who they are and what they do – you never know, who they may know. Word of mouth is still the most common way to attract new business. Don’t give people a reason to feel negatively about you.
You create the atmosphere and the experience for everyone who comes into contact with you.
You are your business – your brand identity.
Want to know more? Here’s my latest article as featured on Ezine: Three Important Elements To Building A Strong Brand Identity
Until next time,