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November, 2019

Don’t let your small budget get in the way of your big ambitions

Often seen as a cost centre, many businesses struggle to understand that marketing can make a business money. That’s right. Marketing, when done correctly, will increase your revenue. Yet it is all too common to hear the phrases- “I don’t have the time, money or *insert excuse* for marketing…”  If I had a dollar for every time this sentence was delivered to me by a small business owner – then I’d be writing this post from my sunbed upon my yacht, sailing somewhere around the Mediterranean seas, writes Jane Hillsdon from Dragonfly Marketing, 2019 NSW AMI Awards Small Budget Marketing winner.

I get it. I’m a business owner. I know all too well the ubiquitous role we are required to play. We are time poor. And yes, there are a lot of expenses involved in running a business. The time and resource pressures entailed in running a business can be totally overwhelming.

Now, if you are reading this and happen to be in the fortunate situation that your month-on-month, year-on-year revenue just keeps increasing, surpassing all of your projected forecasts and leading to incremental surges in profit margin without investing in marketing, then I salute you.

You are a business owner who has clearly created something truly remarkable. By delivering something incredibly valuable to your target audience, you are achieving healthy and organic growth via pure word-of-mouth. Nice one!!

Time to invest

My guess, to have achieved this, you have actually invested into marketing at some point (consciously or subconsciously), as you have clearly nailed your product, place of distribution and pricing to get this business so right. You may not have had to invest much in promotion though as your product is so damn good. We love businesses like this!

However, if you are a business owner who has avoided investing the necessary time and resources into your marketing, while remaining frustrated that your revenue doesn’t seem to be growing (let alone your profit margin), then read on my friend.

Put simply, marketing can make you money. That’s right. Marketing, when done correctly, will increase your revenue.

Yes – marketing will need to be accounted for in your operating costs. Yes, you may need to invest in a marketing resource to ensure that this marketing is done correctly. Yes, when properly plugged into your business objectives, marketing can, and will, increase your revenue.

Get your priorities straight

Let me pose a question. Hands up if any of the business objectives listed below would be on your business’s priority list:

  • Incrementally increase annual revenue by X% each year
  • Build a business that I can eventually sell
  • Scale a business to service other customers outside of my geographical area
  • Grow the business to create a stable income
  • Build a profitable and sustainable legacy
  • Take a local business and make it a global business
  • Decrease the cost of customer acquisition
  • Increase the lifetime value of a customer
  • Even out cashflow
  • Establish a steady stream of reliable, repeat business
  • Increase market share
  • Enhance company culture within the business

Marketing can help you achieve all of your objectives.

Marketing is a broad term. And when it comes to small business, it incorporates so many tactics. As a marketing consultant to small business, I know that my bailiwick will often include; brand development, customer engagement activity, market and consumer research, print, radio & TV advertising, photography, videography, digital marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, publicity, blog writing, social media advertising, search engine marketing, website development just to name a few.

Some of the above tactics are designed to help build a sustainable business and future proof your small business and some of the above tactics will drive short term revenue for your business.

A recipe for success

Both revenue and brand are necessary ingredients to ensure your business’s long term success. The marketing tactics needed for your business to succeed will, of course, be decided by your marketing strategy.

Your marketing strategy is developed by reviewing your business goals including your long term vision for your business, defining who your customers are and establishing your point of difference. We then work out how you will use marketing to help you there.

So if you are an ambitious business owner who is serious about growth, then my recommendation is that you make *insert time / money / other excuse * for your marketing. If done properly, your investment will repay you in spades.

To learn more about how to grow your small business with strategic and clever marketing solutions that deliver results, order a copy of Jane’s first book; How to do Marketing – A Comprehensive Guide For Small Business.

About the author

Jane Hillsdon

Founder, Dragonfly Marketing

Jane Hillsdon has won the Small Budget Marketing Award three years in a row – 2017, 2018 & 2019 (NSW) at the Australian Marketing Institute Awards for Marketing Excellence for creating winning campaigns on a shoestring budget. She is a Certified Practising Marketer and has been a judge for the Australian Marketing Institute Awards for Marketing Excellence. Jane was awarded the Woman in Business Award at the Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce Business Awards in 2014 and 2016. She often writes articles about small business marketing for Jane is also the co-host the Miss Bossy Boots podcast.

This article was originally published by Jane Hillsdon on LinkedIn pulse.