This week, we are focused on inventory, organization, and the first step toward building new opportunities.
The Small Business Growth Group’s first course kicks off with a focus on past marketing efforts. Business owners will come prepared with a list of their current and past marketing activities. We’ll review the group’s combined list and talk through what’s been successful, and how success is defined.
To help the class organize the information, we’re using this simple outline: Category, Focus, Frequency, Metrics, Rating, and Cost. Here is a fictional example of how that might look:
This is by no means an exhaustive list but it does help business owners see what is working or has worked in the past. Other columns not shown would include the cost of investment, and the outcome or ROI (return on investment).
We’ll pair up, each owner connected with another, and talk through our business goals. Some owners plan to launch a new product or service while others plan to expand their territories, and yet others need to include new audiences to attract.
Discussing a mix of goals helps the group get a broader perspective of business planning and resource considerations. Everyone in the group benefits because goals change over time and having diverse views brings a range of options for everyone to consider. We’ll focus on each owner’s goal. Every owner will get input and past successes from each member.
The backward game
Starting at the end result, we’ll put milestones in place that break down the steps to achieve the goal. For some, it may be only three milestones, and for others, it may be more. The object of the exercise is to work backward to see what needs to be considered and acted upon in each milestone. Each activity must be an active contribution to the goal in order to be added to any milestone. This helps frame how each owner’s goal can be met and sets aside distractions that can’t add value to the goals.
Prioritizing and valuing tactics
Next, we’ll take a look at everyone’s list of marketing activities. The effectiveness of typical small business marketing tactics depends on several factors. We’ll discuss the key considerations for marketing tactics and determine which activities we’ll test first in our early milestones. We’ll discuss how we’ll measure success for each tactic in everyone’s early milestones.
The first thirty minutes: three productivity and management tools for beginners
Last, we’ll discuss a short list of activities that can be completed in the first 30 minutes of every business owner’s day. By the end of the six weeks, we’ll revisit the progress that the total of 900 minutes has brought to each owner. The tasks are short, actionable, and build awareness one focused 30-minute block at a time. Here are some tools available online for free (although there are paid versions of some of these, the free versions are a good place to start:
What it does: This is a countdown timer that makes a game out of staying on task. Give it a try!
What it does: A project management tool that enables you to set up tasks, assign an owner, and set a deadline date, and time. You can even set email alerts or if you use the App version, you can get reminders on your phone. You can drag and drop and organize tasks any way you wish, and there’s a fun surprise when you complete and check off several tasks in a day.
Your Google or Outlook calendar
By simply blocking the time as a recurring appointment (with yourself), you are dedicating the space you need to plow through your morning task list.
Checklists, tools, and other fun goodies
Everyone leaves our first session with some great tools and checklists. These will help you inventory, organize, and manage your marketing – which is the point of this first class. Why buy an SOP off the rack when you can easily build one in the group that is customized to your business? The whole point of an SOP (standard operating procedure) is that it fits your business like a glove. Buying or downloading a free generic SOP will take more time to review and edit than just starting from scratch starting with the class outline. I’m excited to share best practices, help guide focus for small business owners, and hopefully spark lifelong relationships in the growth group!
Let’s make it a great week, everyone! ~ Jeanie
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