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Marketing Budget Mindset: Tightwad or Splurger?

I was on a conference call with a PR genius last week and she took a brief poll of all the participants prior to the call. She posed the question: Do you have a marketing budget? Since I work primarily with startups and solopreneurs, this got me to thinking…

For some reason, when people are starting a new business venture, they usually fall into two camps when it comes to marketing budgets: tightwads or splurgers. Now the tightwads don’t want to spend money on anything, thinking their grand business concept will appeal to everyone and magically lead all these fascinated customers straight to their sales door. The others, splurgers, throw money at their new concept and buy a bunch of promotional items they call “marketing” with the business name plastered all over everything. If I gave you a keychain with my business name on it, how can you possibly NOT buy something from me?

If you even remotely recognize yourself as falling into one of these categories, listen up: run to the middleMarketing is not just tee-shirts and mugs, those are promotional items. And please know that I will always, do you hear me, always accept a tee shirt and mug from you with no intention of buying whatever it is you’re selling.

In order to generate sales for your business, you need to market your business.

Your budget doesn’t have to be extravagant (mine isn’t) but you have to at least have a dedicated percentage of your total estimated revenue put aside as your marketing budget. This can be used for promotional items, conference fees, networking events, ads, etc. You must identify a marketing budget and use it wisely in order to market your product or service.

Don’t know where to begin? You are not alone. Many business people really don’t understand they need a marketing budget, nor do they understand what to do with it. Call me, I’ll help you figure it out!

Your competition has a marketing budget, and they know how to use it…

Solopreneurs Need Staff Meetings Too!

Yes, the title is an oxymoron, but indulge me for a moment. This post came about because I am often asked how I keep track of all the different aspects of running a business as a solopreneur.

As a solopreneur you’re pretty much responsible for wearing EVERY hat in the company – accounting, marketing, IT, snacks – you already know this. As I started attending more events, growing the biz and just getting busier, I needed to get a better handle on all the different aspects of running my business, not just “get the client and do the work”. Sound familiar??

One day I’ll grow to the point where I need to hire employees. In the meantime, I needed a way to organize all the “departments” in my business. This got me to thinking about corporate Monday morning staff meetings, when each department reports on what they accomplished last week and what they have planned for the upcoming week. Next thing I knew, the Phisco Marketing Staff Meeting was born.

Now, I don’t technically have a staff, but that doesn’t make a difference.  Here’s how it goes: As the boss/CEO/COO you divide your staff meeting “agenda” into departments and list responsibilities as though each department head has to give a weekly report. Next, complete the agenda below as your first order of business on Monday morning (I usually complete mine on Sunday evening to get a jump on the week). Then plan your actions accordingly, even scheduling in those “where did that come from?” tasks that creep up on you.

Important note: A client is any entity that you do work for. If you sit on a Board, that’s a client. If you are an active member of any committee, that counts as a client too. Do you perform volunteer work on a regular basis? Client. You get the picture.

Here’s my Staff Meeting Template. I added basic notes so you can see what I include for each department. Yes I really use this one, colors and all, I didn’t pretty it up for y’all one bit!

At the end of your week (whichever day that may be for you) review what you accomplished, and push the items that didn’t get done to next week’s agenda, rinse and repeat! This can’t replace a quarterly review, business overhaul, etc. but it can function as your prioritized week-at-a-glance. This has been my saving grace for the last 6 weeks or so!

Sometimes a simple structure can make life less complicated.  Feel free to use, re-purpose, modify as you like,  all I request is that you let me know how it works for you! If you have another method, do tell!

Taking My Own Advice

Uh-oh, the month is half-way over. For those of you who understood (and probably joined to some extent) my Happy New Year on April 1st, how has the month been treating you so far?

This month I’ve been focusing on redefining my business actions and vision. More importantly, I’m being completely honest with what I want to do and where I envision myself in the next few years. You know what I’ve figured out? That I don’t EXACTLY know where I want to be, and it’s ok! I envision having a virtual marketing consulting business, but how do I get there, being completely virtual? Do I have a full roadmap to get there? Nope, but I’m working on it. Luckily, I interact with some business visionaries that are already successfully pulling this off. They are helping me to achieve this goal with their words of wisdom and advice. I am so fortunate!

Believe it or not, I take my own advice. I’ve been tweaking my website, launched this blog, and have been doing some spring cleaning in my own business. After assessing my first quarter networking activities, I realize I’m on the right track. I’ve made some great connections, actually more than I anticipated. I organized all my contacts and scheduled which second and third quarter events to attend. Stepping out of my comfort zone has led me to some interesting new acquaintances, potentially leading to future opportunities. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the journey.

Ciao!
Miss Kemya

How’s your business vision? Have you tweaked it lately? Comment and share!

I’m ALL IN, Are You?

Last week I participated in a fun Facebook group chat with the publisher of the new e-magazine Going Pro.  (To see the premier issue of this awesome mag, click http://stephaniepollock.com/goingpromagazine/) So we’re chatting and our moderator/publisher Stephanie poses the question: What is possible when you really go ALL IN? Well, this got me to thinking, especially since this is a phrase I use quite often. The problem is, I don’t know the answer…YET.  

Have you ever truly gone ALL IN and put forth 99.99% effort to building the business of your dreams, even if only for a short period of time? How much “productive” time do you actually spend daily? I’m not talking about the half-a$$ busy work you do, I’m talking real strategy and execution of your ideas. Be honest: write that number down, and then throw it away!

Two weeks ago I decided that I’m ALL IN for the month of April. I threw this decision out to the universe (and Twitterverse) because I wanted to challenge myself in order to find out what ALL IN really means. So far, I have to admit, I’m having fun embracing the challenge. It’s causing me to be more productive with my time and more aggressive with my business decisions. Rather than half-a$$ it, I’m acting like I have the business that I dream of TODAY. It’s amazing what a catch-phrase can do for you, huh?

So, I challenge you to answer the question: Are you half-a$$in’ or ALL IN? If you’ve never went ALL IN, consider yourself challenged! Put together a just-out-of-reach action plan and for the rest of the month, act like the world is yours for the taking! Join me this month and leave a comment to let me know how you’re embracing the challenge. I’ll certainly share my adventures with you!

Ciao!
Miss Kemya


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5 Tips To Freshen Up Your Business

In the spirit of my do-over Happy New Year, I have spent the past week reflecting on my business – what works, what doesn’t, what needs some tweaking. As any entrepreneur can tell you, there are always outstanding tasks that can easily take control of your day: last-minute meetings, unexpected phone calls, tech nightmares, places to go, blog posts to schedule, etc.

Unfortunately, many biz owners never actually schedule time to work on their own business, always working on client projects or participating in activities that just don’t fall into the productive category. With this in mind, and having to ‘fess up to my own challenges for the first quarter, I figured I’d share my top 5 tips to freshen up your business and get back on track:

Review your networking activities for the quarter. Where did you go, who did you talk to, how did you benefit? Did you walk away with business cards, flyers, miscellaneous notes, souvenirs, etc. that you stuck in a pile to deal with later? Well, later is here, so deal with it! While you’re at it, organize your networking efforts for the next two quarters, then proceed to …

Organize your contacts. Business cards, sticky notes, napkin scribbles, etc. – did you enter them into a practical CRM tool? If not, schedule 1 hour (or 2 if you’re way behind) and enter all your contacts into your CRM tool of choice. Extra tip: put a comment with each contact – where you met, what you talked about, follow-up needed, etc. – you’ll thank me later. Then schedule those follow-ups.

Revisit your immediate target client list. Who do you want as a client? Make a list, research the company, connect with them via social media, and make a plan of action for actually winning each client. Don’t know your targets? Think about your mission, your experience, and your contacts. Which firms can you think of that may fit your set of criteria and you can get access to a decision maker? Don’t be timid, utilize your network! It’s time for some action!

Update your social media profiles. You keep your profiles updated right? Of course you do. However, you still need to spot check to make sure your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blog, SlideShare, Digg, etc. profiles are CONSISTENT and up to date. Post a new bio, profile pic, or update – then brag about it.

Revisit your business objectives. Are you still on track to meet your goals for the year? If not, you have a decision to make: change your actions or change your goals. If you haven’t defined your objectives… well that’s another post for another day. But you can always call me to discuss.

So there you have it, simple methods you can use to get organized on a quarterly basis, just in case you wake up with the “omg my business is a mess” blues.

I know you have an additional tip or 2 to share, so go ahead and leave a comment. I’d love to hear what works for you. It just might work for the rest of us!

Ciao!
Miss Kemya

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