How Big Do You Want to Be?

by Brad Swezeyengineer draws hybrid power system,combine multiple sources diag

Have you asked yourself that question lately in regard to your business?  How you answer that question is important because it will drive you to do certain things with your business.

I have talked to hundreds of business owners and I can tell you within 15 minutes who really wants to grow their business to the point that they can sell it or go on a vacation for a month and not have to worry about the success of the business.  In terms of numbers, I would say less than 20% of them would, without some kind of help, get to that point.  And that’s largely because they lack systems. (I pay homage to Michael Gerber and the E-Myth Revisited for this idea).

Without systems of all kinds, your business is at the mercy of the people you hire and you, the business owner.  Why you?  As a business owner myself, I know how I can have a great idea, throw some money and time at it, just because I can, even when the idea is a bad one.

Let’s take marketing, my specialty.  Does your business have a system in place that actively gets you new clients or customers regularly?  Was it thought out ahead of time, monitored and tweaked as necessary, and generally working to bring you leads?  You won’t be able to grow with less stress if you don’t develop a marketing system.  (Do you really want to be working six to seven days a week as the owner?  Don’t you want a break every now and then?)

When I put together a marketing plan for a client I will contact the client and the top three competitors of the client as a customer.   I just did this for a new client and 10 days later, I am still waiting on responses from three requests I filled out online for help.  (Why even bother to have it, if you don’t have a system to make sure these people are contacted?)  That tells me these companies are throwing away money; you can’t get too big if you are throwing away money by ignoring people who are trying to use your services.

Once you have a client or customer, what is your system for nurturing that relationship with them so they continue to do business with you and even refer you to other people?  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but it does have to be something.  (We do help our clients develop systematic contact so they stay in the minds of their customers.)

Speaking of something, you do have to have a marketing budget if you want to grow.  Word of Mouth will only get you so far.  Even Apple, which benefits greatly from word of mouth spends more than $1 Billion in advertising.  How much you need to allocate for marketing depends on how big you want to be.  If you want to grow, start at 7% of your budget and go as high as 15% or more, in some cases.