Every company has its story. How you tell yours, especially as a small business, can determine your brand; from the way it’s perceived, all the way through to how employees treat it and their job. Overcoming company obstacles, however, develop in a unique way for each one.
This works the same for marketing obstacles in your business and is linked to how your company brand is displayed and perceived. However if you have processes in place, your team will have a more cohesive way of working together towards a common goal rather than all working separately with no guidelines or direction. Many teams these days are remote, making this an extremely difficult situation for each team member when there is no clear description in place of processes, branding, and values.
Many challenges such as these will come up for you (if they haven’t already) in your journey through the growth of your company. From finances to hiring, every company must work through the growing pains in at least a slightly calculated way. There are never the same ones for every company of course, but being prepared can mitigate those challenges.
In order to prepare for these unforeseen circumstances, here is a heads up on some challenges that may arise and options to plan for them or work around them.
Small Business Process Development
If you are like many small businesses, you have developed exactly zero processes over the first couple of years establishing your company. Unfortunately, once you begin to grow, you have less and less time to do so before more people are utterly lost as new hires.
The good news is, they don’t have to be overly elaborate. They just need to make sense for your brand and vision. If your company is more established, this run-down of steps to take should help a great deal! Even if you’re just starting out with developing processes, those tips will help see exactly what direction you can, and should be, going with some of them.
During the development of these processes, keep in mind the true core values of your company and its goals for the future. These will guide you along the way as core values will determine the most important processes that need to be developed.
For example, if your company’s core value is integrity, defining a strategy and guideline for customer service reps will be a top priority versus a company whose focus is quality products where the processes for development of them is higher priority.
Finances (or lack thereof)
While owning your business is in itself a huge investment, not all of your programs have to be as well. There are options out there – albeit more time consuming usually – that can help you develop a strategy around them without investing another small fortune.
There are a few different types of platforms – mostly free, some low cost – that you may need, so here are some resources I hope help you and your business overcome those hurdles:
My top sites to find stock photos for content (Blogs, website, social media posts, etc):
Just remember to credit the photographer. Most of these sites provide quick and easy captions to do so (see above).
Top sites for image creation:
There are a great deal of resources available to you in many different additional categories. Here is an aggregate of a few of my favorites primarily for marketing (but feel free to contact me if you have questions or want some additional suggestions):
- Google Digital Marketing Tools – A number of tools including competitive analysis, planning and trends
- Hubspot – Customer Relationship Management System
- MailChimp – Email Management
- Asana – Team and Project Management
- Lumen5 – Video creation
- Buffer – Scheduling Social Media; Later – Scheduling Instagram
- RiteTag– Search for top hashtags
- Uber Suggest – SEO Keyword search
- Feedly – RSS Feed (articles) of topics you select
- WordPress – Free blog composing site (which this is on of course)
These are excellent resources to help get you going with your marketing without it costing a lot more. That obstacle of how and where to create is hopefully no longer an excuse!
One challenge that often comes up for the small business is: Who exactly is my ideal client? If you’re in the first year or so of your business, this can be a very difficult question to answer. There can also be many options for some types of businesses so this should really be a thought-out resolution.
Now, it CAN change over time, but having an initial ‘persona’ you’re speaking to and resolving issues for with your product or service is how you will determine everything about your voice, your brand, your goals, and of course your processes.
Having an idea of exactly what your target client’s needs, problems, and/or questions are, will help you answer the question of how and where to spend your time. For example, if you have a business that helps families find a daycare, LinkedIn may not be the best place for you to market your business as the purpose of the platform is for professionals, business owners, etc to network.
Do It On Purpose
Whatever your “it” is, do it on purpose! What I mean by this is have a goal and purpose for your marketing actions. Jumping on the newest trend of doing things may not be at all what your audience wants.
For example, if you heard about landing pages and how they’re converting people into clients for another company, first determine what exactly your goal of a landing page could be and if it would serve a purpose for your company.
Another example might be the newest social media platform. There have been hundreds come and go over the years, but not everyone is using them. Keeping clear on where you should be focused is also part of being purposeful. Trends are temporary. Your business, products and customers aren’t.
Providing your customers value should be pretty near the top of your company’s core goals; if only to ensure that you know what that value needs to be. Fortunately – and unfortunately – this means everything from your personal core values (integrity, honest, etc) to the price value of your product or services.
The best way to ensure the company’s values and goals are all aligned is to start by writing them down! Having them in front of you constantly will help guide you in your decisions and make your life so much easier.
Next example: If you are debating on whether or not to launch a new product but your core values don’t involve overwhelming yourself or others, perhaps you’ll choose not to add it. On the other hand, if your values include profitability you are likely to choose to add it.
Whatever challenges may arise for you, plan ahead. Take the time out to determine where you want to be and what steps you’ll need to take to prepare for it. Whether it’s a billing process or a hiring process, your end goal should always be top of mind. If you’d like help creating a Marketing Strategy, please contact me!