Planning for success as new business year rolls around

WITH the financial year over and the year’s figures in, small business owners need to be looking at their marketing plans.

With those figures, business owners can start to plan for the next 12 months.

Small Business Development Corporation managing director George Etrelezis said the end of financial year figures told small business owners how and when to boost their marketing.

“Look at when key marketing dates such as Christmas Day fall and the number of trading days in the month. It’s no use having a big marketing push coinciding with the end of school holidays, a GST payment month or a long weekend,” Mr Etrelezis said.

“Look at your trading patterns. Capitalise on the good times. Look at your capacity to market and when your business is cashed up.

“Look at what your competitors are doing well that you can get on top of. What aren’t they doing well that you can capitalise on.”

The Marketing Centre executive chairman Michael Smith said making the marketing budget a factor of the business turnover was not a good idea.

“Businesses are better off comparing their marketing spend to that of their competitors,” he said.

“Evidence shows if you want to grow your market share to number one, you have to outspend the industry average for promotion by 40 per cent.

“One way to reduce that spend is to have a better service or product than your competitors.

“The fundamental question of any marketing program is, do we have a winning offer?

“If you don’t, you have to look at discounting or spending above the industry average – both the mortal enemies of profit.

“Marketing needs to look at the basis of your competition and has to be in tune with the whole production process and what your competitors are doing.”

Deloitte Growth Solutions partner Luke Martino said that, at the end of the financial year, it was incumbent on every small business to look at their marketing and business planning.

“The dynamics of competition are changing for everyone. It’s clear people are going to market differently, be it through direct marketing or just getting their product and pricing in tune with what the markets want,” Mr Martino said.

“Small businesses have to do more with less. They still have to grow. They just have to grow smarter.”

Mr Etrelezis said it was often best to market when times were tough.

“But you have to make sure you’re not flogging a dead horse,” he said.

Mr Smith said customers became more discerning during tough times, so it was crucial for businesses to have winning propositions.

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