Marketing investments come in three forms – time, money and energy. To prosper, investors must learn to balance and manage each one appropriately. Managing Time All business owners know how fast time flies. How can they ensure the best use of that time? By discovering what time of day is most productive for them and scheduling their most arduous tasks into that time slot. By closing office doors and screening incoming calls, all managers achieve a higher quality output. At the end of each work day, compile a list of important tasks for the following day and rank each element according to its priority. Executive’s waste approximately 45 minutes every day looking for misplaced information. Put important papers and materials in their proper places before leaving the office. Consider investing in software that organizes projects and contacts. Time is as valuable as money. Having the right time-management tools and practices will increase efficiency and preserve company resources. Managing Money Too often, business owners attempt to manage all aspects of operating the business themselves. Why? Are they afraid that relinquishing some responsibility will diminish their effectiveness? Or are they trying to save the company money? Regardless, owners will do themselves a favor by simply outsourcing those tasks in which they have the least expertise. Hiring expert contractors for specific business related tasks, such as tax preparation and accounting, communications planning or Internet utilization and web development, not only saves time but, in the long run, will preserve financial resources as well. Invest in marketing initiatives appropriate to your business and budget. Begin with a solid marketing or communications plan that outlines your objectives and resources in advance. Offer to appear as the featured speaker or presenter at various industry events, seminars and networking clubs. The Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and various community groups provide excellent exposure opportunities for those willing to participate. Prepare and distribute regular company newsletters or an online “e-zine” and send out media releases regarding newsworthy company events. Take advantage of marketing opportunities that stretch your marketing budget including cooperative advertising, in-kind sponsorships, cross-promotional and outreach activities. Follow through with a post mortem evaluation of each activity to assess the return, or benefits, of each marketing investment. Managing Energy Ever wonder where successful business owners find the energy to accomplish so much? The answer is that, through experience, they’ve identified those areas where the investment of their energy resources provides the greatest rate of return. When it comes to marketing, for example, they’ve expended the necessary energy to test various related initiatives and focus groups in determining their target audiences and how best to reach them. Knowing right away what works and what doesn’t allows the owner to avoid wasting energy on less productive efforts down the road. One of the most common causes of small business failure is the fact owners invest so much of their energy in running their business that they simply burn out. Driving ambition has its place, but must be harnessed in concert with a balanced life-style that includes family, friends, social occasions and the relaxation of enjoying a favourite, non-business oriented, past-time. Be consistent in working eight productive hours per day but consciously schedule extended time away from the office at least once a week. Use your lunch hours to stroll in the park or participate in an exercise program. Focus on eating healthy meals with regular energy boosting snacks throughout the day: fruit, almonds, raw veggies, raisins and small servings of yoghurt are healthy, quick and affordable. Managing energy means having energy to manage. As a successful business owner, never stop investing in the most powerful tool in your company’s management and marketing arsenal – you!
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