Make Time for Marketing No time to market your biz? Then don't be surprised when the client well runs dry. Here are six tips for finding time.
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When you're starting a business, you're wearing severalhats at once. You must deal with client demands and deadlines,cash-flow issues, personal and family "crises"-andyou've still got to go out and market your venture. Here aresix tips to help you free up time for marketing, even when you haveseveral "plates" spinning at once.
- Make marketing a priority. You must commit to makingtime for marketing-whether to attend networking events, puttogether a brochure and business card, research prospects on theWeb, or write a proposal. Without a strong commitment, you'llfind yourself consistently putting off your marketing efforts,which could haunt you a month or two from now.
- Plan ahead to diffuse crises. It's hard to marketyour business when you must spend the bulk of your day dealing withurgent matters. Anticipate potential problems and do what you needto do to diffuse them ahead of time. As you plan your week, askyourself "What are the worst things that can happen thisweek?" Then devise a plan of action to deal with thosesituations before they blow up into time-consuming crises. Whenyou're proactive in managing your time, you reduce the numberof unexpected crises that you'll have to face in the next week,freeing you up to devote more time to your marketinginitiatives.
- Cut the fat. A common mistake new entrepreneurs make isnot focusing on their most important tasks. As a result,they're spending hours upon hours working but aren't reallygetting anything done. So, create time for marketing by evaluatingyour schedule to see where you can "cut the fat." Whichactivities are most crucial to you achieving your goals? Whichtasks can you effectively delegate?
- Consolidate your activities when possible. Plan ahead toaccomplish tasks in a single trip. Bulk group-related activitiestogether. If you have client and prospect meetings outside the homeoffice, try to cluster them within the same vicinity. Do this withyour errands as well. Decide which ones you can complete whileyou're on appointment. Why take extra trips when you don'thave to?
- Avoid telephone interruptions. Break the habit ofanswering the phone every time it rings. This means giving yourselfenough respect to say "That call needs to go to voice mail soI can focus on the person in front of me right now," or"That should go to voice mail because I'm on a roll withthis project and it's most efficient for me to finish rightnow." Schedule time for answering and making phone calls andchecking your voice mail. This way, you can get more done withoutthe stress created from the phone ringing off the hook.
- Cultivate positive thinking. Negative emotions likeworry, frustration and anxiety waste time and cause you to panic.And it's hard to market your products or services whenyou're stuck in panic mode. When things don't go accordingto plan, ask yourself "What can I learn from this situationthat will push me closer to my goals? What can I do now to maketoday more successful, despite the setbacks? Say no to anxiety and"rescript" worries into proactive and positivethoughts.
Sean Lyden is the CEO of Prestige Positioning (a service ofThe Professional Writing Firm Inc.), an Atlanta-based firm that"positions" clients as leading experts in theirfield-through ghost-written articles and books for publication.Clients include Morgan Stanley, IFG Securities, SunTrust ServiceCorp. and several professional advisory and management consultingfirms nationwide.
The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author,not of Entrepreneur.com. All answers are intended to be general innature, without regard to specific geographical areas orcircumstances, and should only be relied upon after consulting anappropriate expert, such as an attorney or accountant.