As I think back over the last several years to those clients who have successfully weathered the storm, the most successful one’s are those who know exactly who their market is, and know exactly how they are going to go about reaching this market and acquiring work. On the flip side, the clients who have struggled are those that do not hone in on a particular market, and have spent marketing dollars and effort on a smattering of different market options, with no particular focus.
For small business owners, every dollar and every hour of effort counts. Small business owners do not have the luxury of throwing dollars and hours of effort in various marketing directions in the hope that some of it yields results.
Bigger companies hold top management retreats and develop sophisticated business plans to determine their markets and the business development efforts they are going to use. The clients I refer to above developed their business plans (although I would guess they’re not aware they have a “plan”) based on the school of hard knocks or intuitive knowledge. Then, just as importantly, they have the discipline to focus all their efforts toward the market and development efforts they have chosen.
So, as a small business owner, ask yourself the following questions:
- Over the last year, who are the clients, projects, etc. we’ve served who have really fit us, and what characteristics do they have in common?
- How did we acquire these clients or how they find us, and did we do anything special to “win” the work?
Answer the above questions, then spend all your dollars and effort in 2012 in acquiring this same type of client, using the same marketing method.