“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” — Winston Churchill
Ours is a change society. In nearly everything that we do in our businesses, the methodologies that yield success are different than they were two, five, ten years ago.
Some change is forced upon us by available options. If you like to write with a typewriter, good luck when you need a ribbon replacement. You’re probably just as likely to find a buggy whip and gas lantern.
So when it comes to marketing your business, if you’re doing the same things as a couple of years back, you’re running on the slow track. Change will put you back on the fast track where you belong. Change doesn’t come easy, and it’s filled with uncertainty and fear of failure. But failure can be enormously enlightening if doled out in manageable doses.
So how do you make change more manageable? Here are some specifics on how to proceed:
• First, make a list of all of your marketing activities. Yep, all of them. It’s a valuable exercise to do.
• Put a star next to all activities that are revenue bearing. Then list the resulting revenue. Organize the starred items in descending revenue order.
• Put a plus sign next to all other activities that fulfill other purposes that are important to your business. For example, a new businesses needs exposure, so things like business cards and branded premiums belong on the list.
• List every other marketing activity.
Now that you have a complete inventory of your marketing activities, you’re going to do two things. First, you’re going to stop doing 25% of what’s on the list. These should come from either the loss leaders or the “other marketing activities” whose revenue number isn’t known.
Now here’s what’s really important: You’re then going to take the resources – both time and money – of those 25% and split them between new, untried activities and those that already yield the most revenue.
Why is this sensible? First, you’re taking the bold step of eliminating those tactics that don’t have any known value. By doing so it breaks the status quo cycle that handicaps organizations. Then by splitting those resources between new, risky tactics and doing more of what has been proven to make money, you’re offsetting the risk of trying new things.
If you’re a new business, your risk level is already incredibly high since everything you do is new and untested. These tactics might best benefit more mature businesses that fall into a pattern of complacency. It’s exactly that lull of sameness that holds the most danger for them. Now’s not the time to play it safe. The practices of yesterday simply don’t work anymore.
So mix it up, try new approaches, and happily fail at some. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying enough new things. As of today, make a pledge to step out of your comfort zone and get ready to take your business to new heights.
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