When I started my business full time things weren’t as busy as they are today and like many entrepreneurs starting out I didn’t really know what I should be doing. Trying to follow all the books on entrepreneurship meant making sure I was using my days to full advantage and keeping busy with work related duties only. The problem is, what is a work related duty? Is it calling prospects, doing administration work, or working on a client project? Absolutely! What if you have no clients yet or not very many? Is creating position papers, updating your website, or creating a newsletter considered work related duties? This is where it gets very confusing, and in answer to the last question yes creating marketing materials is work related. Many people feel that if they aren’t talking with someone they aren’t working and they are wrong. What’s better, to meet someone in a coffee shop talking about nothing in particular so you feel busy, or creating a newsletter with information that will help show you as an expert and reaching your audience of 100?
I recently went through this scenario with a client. They didn’t feel that that creating marketing materials was considered working on their business because they had always worked with cold calling in the past. The truth is that the world has changed in business and with the world getting smaller people have many more choices to look for other vendors of products and services. Creating a presence on the web or in your community as someone of value should be a priority for any business. Large corporations in the old days would have things like television commercials, community open houses and such. These marketing ploys were too expensive for the small entrepreneurs, but today the web, email programs, desktop publishing, and now videos have evened out the playing field in marketing and every entrepreneur should have marketing as their priority.
In respect to the questions above, I would be putting marketing material creation above administration. So your priorities should be client work, marketing work, and then administration work. All aspects are important, but if you do no marketing you won’t have any clients, if you have no clients you won’t have any administration to do, and if you have no administration work you probably won’t be in business. If cold calling is your preferred way of contacting clients then you should continue to do that, but it is hard to believe you would call clients all day, that could be pretty taxing on anyone outside of a call centre. So make calls in the morning and work on marketing in the afternoon and so on. Don’t stop one to start another, they should all flow in to each other so that you are busy all the time. People ask if I am busy and I reply I am always busy, whether it is client work or my own marketing materials, writing a book, updating my website it is all working together to propel my business forward. Start having fun with your marketing and you will find it more enjoyable and easier to keep up for the long term.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is a business and leadership consultant and author of the books Driven to Drive, Running by the Mile, and How to Start and Artistic Business in 12 Easy Steps. More information and articles can be found on his website at www.outridge.ca