It's extremely important to measure progress in your small business. There are so many ways…
Focus on Just One Thing to Grow Your Business
If you’re like me when you started off in business, you had one big goal for your business, and I’m not actually talking about how much money you wanted to make. The goal I’m referring to is the why and what of your business. Over time you may lose sight of the why and possibly even the what as new exciting opportunities come your way which just might take you away from the original big goal for your business.
Some of these opportunities appear in the guise of new learning. Over the past six years, I’ve participated in a number of different programs to help with various facets of business, many of them involving marketing as that was an area I had little knowledge in from my working life.
What I find happens, and yes, I’m guilty of this too, we see promotions for events and programs that have successfully catapulted other businesses to great success, and we get caught up in the rhetoric that we too can achieve that same success. And so, we join up to the latest program or attend the event forever hopeful that this one will make a big difference to our business.
The accountant in me, however, puts the reins on just how much I allow myself to spend and I restrict myself to one major program per year. I recently was talking to a business colleague, I’ll call her Joanna, about just this and this is what she told me.
Joanna’s business is teetering on the brink of survival. The business is breaking even, but Joanna isn’t drawing any salary from the business but is living off her savings which are dwindling away. In my language that means she’s actually making a loss and fooling herself into believing she’s hanging in there.
She joined a program in January which lasts for 12 months and just recently has spent money on a couple of smaller marketing programs. She has various advertising and promotion activities on the go with a few of them outsourced. As her business revenue is falling, despite the promotions and advertising she’s doing, she’s still looking for the lifeline to get her business growing.
I get that she’s spending the money she is, but was horrified when I heard what she told me next. She had gone to yet another event where the promoter was selling a number of different offerings. She had spoken to the promoter about her situation, and he told her she needed to sign up for the full bundle of all the events. Not surprising really, what promoter wouldn’t try and sell you into the biggest ticket item? What got me was that she did sign up and paid in full, another program costing tens of thousands of dollars.
Now I’m all for learning, and I firmly believe that as business owners, we need to keep learning and improving. But the accountant in me is always looking at the cost vs. benefit of the programs. When you spend significant amounts of money on programs, you’ve got to make sure that you are getting not only good value in the content but also a return on that investment with more sales, business growth, increased profit, better team engagement, improved customer service and retention rates.
There needs to be some tangible, quantifiable improvement in your business from what you learn and implement from each program otherwise you are just wasting money and putting a bigger strain on the cash flow of the business.
In my experience, people going into business have little knowledge of the marketing and financial aspects of business whilst having a good knowledge of operations. Thus, it is important to be finding ways to learn about these two areas as both are vital to the success of every business. But please do consider just how much you are spending from the financial perspective and make sure that you’re getting a return on that cost. And don’t forget that all these programs take time, time to attend, time to implement.
My question to you before you commit to a new program will always be, “Is this the best use of your time or would your time be better spent in other ways, using the knowledge you already have, talking to prospects, talking to clients to sell them more…?” You get the picture.
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