I am a small business owner, Conner and Associates, LLC, DBA Franchise Marketing Systems, based in Atlanta, GA. I fight the same fight you do every day of every week of every month. Sometimes it seems like all odds are against you being successful and you just can’t do anything right. Government regulations don’t seem to help the small business owner much, more so they favor the big corporations with money for lobbyists. Money is tough to come by as lenders look at small businesses as being higher risk in most cases. All that being said, I wouldn’t change a thing and love every minute of being a small business owner. My business, Franchise Marketing Systems has been fortunate to experience growth every year we’ve been in business. We have definitely had our set backs and trip ups along the way, but in the end, it has been exciting and is exciting to see your hard work come to fruition.
So how do you grow your small business and what can you do to experience the thrill of building something for yourself? First, you need to have a marketing plan. In most businesses it’s pretty simple math to start the process, figure out how much money it costs you to generate new business, what increases in customers do you see when you spend more money on marketing? If you are a service business you can probably come up with a number using math such as, “last year I spent $10,000 on marketing and obtained 10 new clients. Therefore, my cost of new client acquisition is $1000.” Once you’ve determined this number you can come up with a budget depending on how much you would like to grow your business revenues by. As might seem obvious, this is a critical peice of your small business growth strategy.
Now that you have a budget, you need to determine where you are getting your return. Say you spent $10,000, $5,000 on Internet, $3,000 on tradeshows and $2,000 on direct mail, and your clients all came through Internet marketing, your growth strategy should probably focus on web marketing moving forward. By defining your marketing mix, you should be able to generate more business per dollar spent on marketing and see an increase in overall marketing spend efficiency. The marketing mix should always be reviewed on a regular basis to continually analyze where the dollars should be spent and how best to drive customer traffic into your business. If you are wondering, yes, this might require a new job position for someone who could manage the marketing spend and oversee this constantly evolving advertising strategy. One way you can continually track results on this is to assign unique numbers and emails to each campaign in order to find out where the calls/leads are coming from in any given marketing campaign.
When you have the marketing mix somewhat defined, then it’s time to understand how well you are converting these leads and whether your sales people, sales process and overall value proposition are doing the trick. Sales closing rates can vary greatly depending on the industry segment, the price point you sell at and other variables, but you should be able to define what these numbers should look like with a small amount of research. The person who answers the phone, the greeter who meets new customers at the door, the opening introduction given to each customer all will have an impact on how successful the rate of conversion from lead to customer might be. At my company, Franchise Marketing Systems, we have several people who answer the phones, a franchise specialist, a franchise associate, The closer you review these processes and analyze how these portions of your sales process are working, the better you will understand how to effectively grow your small business.
When it “clicks”, you will realize that the ability to grow your business in most cases is directly in your hands and in your control. Only you as the business owner have the ability to make these decisions as to what your budget should be and where you want to allocate your marketing dollars. When you are able to grasp how much in control of this aspect of your business you really are, the opportunities for upward expansion will seem endless and business ownership can be fun again!
Franchise Marketing Systems