There's a certain irony in the fact that, while many people go into business for themselves because they’re sick of working long hours for a boss, they often work even longer hours trying to make their own business work.
This is an everyday problem experienced by a lot of small business owners, particularly one-person operations or those working with a small team.
It’s an easy trap to fall into when you have either no-one or very few people to whom you can delegate tasks.
There are only so many hours in a day that you can work, so owners of small and medium-sized businesses often find themselves working extra hours to catch up on the quoting, the invoicing or other administrative aspects of their enterprise.
One important aspect of the business often overlooked in situations such as these is the marketing, or promotion, of the product or service on offer.
The implications of failing to promote your venture sufficiently can be disastrous.
Here, the experience of a friend of mine provides a cautionary tale.
He was a fantastic tour guide, driving tours down south to Albany and up north to Exmouth. He’d spend a week in Perth visiting all of the hotels and backpacker hostels promoting the next trip. He’d then be away for a week leading a tour.
But while he was on the road he was reliant upon those hotels continuing to book people on the following tour. Consequently his cash flow was up and down like a yo-yo, he burned himself out trying to make it work, eventually closing his business.
The sad thing is that he was one of the most charismatic tour guides I’ve ever met, but he never really fulfilled his dream or made the kind of money that he deserved for the talent he clearly possessed.
When a business is not promoted, either by the owner, his (or her) staff or by word of mouth in volume, it often falls short of its potential.
However there are simple steps that even a busy owner can take to ‘promote as you go’.
As an example here I offer the experience of one of my business clients who has a carpentry business.
He was in that same up-and-down pattern of good week, bad week and it was causing a lot of stress.
I gave him some simple tips that allowed him to promote his work as he goes about his daily business:
• put signage on the work vehicle (turn your car or van into a mobile billboard);
• use free advertising sites on the internet (they promote you while you’re doing something else);
• display a sign outside the job (passers-by and locals may also be considering having a job done that requires your skills); and
• use social media to showcase your work (customer testimonials and case studies online give you great credibility).
While there are many more methods, all equally valid, the point is that it’s not rocket science – there are a lot of small things you can do easily that can lead to a lot of new business.
As well-known author and speaker, Jim Rohn, once said, “The things that are easy to do are also easy not to”.
When you invest a little time and money in asking an adviser for some help, you’ll be amazed at how simple ideas can bring big results.