Especially when small businesses are starting out and it’s just you, the business owner and maybe a partner or single employee, there are so many responsibilities and such limited resources it can feel like the only solution is to let vital business components fall to the way side.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
We all have the same amount of time, whether we are rich or poor, purple or orange, animal or insect we all have the same amount of time in a day.
I’m going to offer some solutions, but first let’s cover a brutal truth. When people say “I don’t have time” they actually mean “I don’t want to make the time” or “I don’t know how to make the time”.
Many people don’t understand the value of marketing yet. It’s a given fact we make time for what is important to us, just like going to the gym. It may not seem worth the effort by many, but those faithful gym goers who work out regularly get the benefits and see the value. Likewise, if you’re not willing to put the time into marketing, prepare to have an average business, at best. You won’t get the large social media following, you won’t get the large customer base, why? Because you’re not willing to put the work in.
Things of value take time: building a good business, social media followers, subscribers, generating leads all take time. Get rich quick schemes don’t work! Building a disciplined foundation and sticking to building it up slowly works!
However, some people really are swamped and really do see the value of marketing. Maybe you’e chomping at the bit to build up that prospect base. “Celia, come on, show us how!” I will!
You may be stuck in meetings all the time, busy with accounting, customer service or otherwise overwhelmed. In that case, it’s time for an honest Time Audit.
I challenge you to take a week to really watch your time. Record how much time you spend on everything you do, from making coffee to browsing the internet, from vital meetings to inane gossip.
This is not to be shown to other people, it’s for you and you alone. A week-long time audit may be as shocking and deeply personal as stepping onto a scale at the doctor’s office. I cannot stress enough that if you’re not brutally honest, you’re not going to get what you could out of this exercise.
I will be the first to admit, I have a lot of ‘dead spots’ in my week. That’s time I am ‘busy’ but not productive. Reading articles that have nothing to do with business, browsing the internet, triple checking my email and re-reading my Facebook updates. During my first audit I found out that I was only really getting about 3 hours of productive work done in a day! That was pretty sobering.
It’s not going to be an overnight fix, but if you only cut out a little bit of your unproductive meetings, shorten your browsing times and unplug you phone for set periods, you will find a heck of a lot of time for marketing and content creation.
Perhaps you’re still not convinced or you don’t see how just making 30 minutes per day for marketing (2.5 hours a week) would help your small business market effectively.
Often marketing is considered a time sink not because it requires a ton of time investment, but because no one seems to know where to focus that time! Is it social media? Which platform? Making videos? Writing articles for newspapers? Networking? Is it developing your website, writing blogs? There are so many directions to go in. Trying to do them all will make even the most established marketer want to rip out their hair.
This is where a marketing consultant can be a big help. Hiring a marketing consultant for just a few days a month will cost the same as a year-round inexperienced temp, but give you the level of expertise and focus of someone much more expensive.
A good marketing consultant can show you testimonials, credentials and teaching engagements they’re involved in. They should be offering a good chunk of their knowledge out for free consumption so you can get a feel if their methods are a fit for you.
They can develop marketing campaigns, monitor your advertising, public relations, social media and other marketing needs and help you turn your limited time into a goldmine of productivity.