Good marketing could have saved many of them; as a business owner, it is not wise to rely exclusively on referrals from friends and family.  You need to be out in the marketplace with a message that attracts people to your business.  This requires starting a pipeline for future business, and keeping the pipeline flowing.  Marketing is imperative for the success of your business all twelve months of the year.  Without marketing, a firm does not have a perspective, a story, or a voice to differentiate your business from the rest of the market.

How can you keep the pipeline flowing?  Client referrals are imperative.

  1. Demonstrating the value of your company is vital to its success.
  2. Growing a business is about trust. Building authentic relationships will pave the way to earning a client’s dedication. You need to be a good listener, someone who clearly cares about helping people. Client referrals are a must for the pipeline.
  3. Marketing is all about personal relationships we develop both within our office walls and in the world of our private lives.  Lunches and dinners are perfect opportunities to build these relationships.
  4. Marketing is everyone’s responsibility in the company and it is the key to sustainable growth and development.

Keeping the pipeline flowing can be managed with little effort once a plan is conceived and implemented.  It is important to establish the types of marketing that will be used to promote the business that fit within the confines of your marketing budget.  It is necessary to spend money on marketing to keep the pipeline flowing.  Many of the items listed below will only require time and very little cash expenditure to implement.

Businesses that cannot afford the expense of a full-time marketing staff have other options:

  1. You can use affordable outside resources to devise a simple plan for public relations and marketing, like Self Marketing Power: Branding Yourself as a Business of One, by Jeff Beals.
  2. Paid media is the general term for any print, electronic, broadcast or electronic advertising on which your business spends money. Paid media gives you control over where and when your message appears.
  3. Social media is the use of sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to spread awareness and connect with customers “on the ground.” Businesses are increasingly turning to the social sphere as a venue for promoting their business.
  4. Owned media includes brochures, flyers or any other type of informational publications you create to promote your business.
  5. Earned media, or media relations, is the process of appealing to local reporters to build your company’s reputation.  Different from advertising, public relations should be approached with the intent of providing news or valuable information while downplaying any sales messages.  The goal is to become a credible source for media and an expert in your community – a winning combination that is sure to translate into more business.
  6. Lastly, a nice, clean website attracts new business and reflects professionalism.  Spend the money and do it right.  It pays for itself quickly.

The fact remains that 90% of service businesses will fail within the first five years. However, an effective and well executed marketing strategy can help your business be among the 10% that survive and thrive.

Richard Simms Founder

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