WHAT BUSINESS ARE YOU IN, REALLY?
Let’s start with a question. What business are you in?
No, really. This is a vitally serious question.
Ask 100 business owners what business they’re in and 97 of them will tell you what they do. That isn’t the question.
Ask 100 jewelery store owners what business they’re in and they’ll tell you, “I’m a jeweler,” or, “I’m in the jewelry business.”
Ask 100 plumbers and they’ll tell you, “I’m a plumber.
Real estate agents, mechanics, insurance salesmen, manufacturers, printers… it’s all the same.
No, the day you took ownership of the business is the day you became something different. That’s the day you became a marketer of jewelry or plumbing services, or property or whatever, and you were no longer a what you thought then, and probably still now think you are.
The late, great business leader Peter Drucker said in effect, “The only two legitimate functions of business are marketing and innovation. The rest are expense.”
When you own the business, your primary function is to “bring in the business.”
Other people can be found to do virtually everything else; buying and managing inventory, managing employee schedules, training, accounting, you name it. But if you fail in the function of bringing in the business, you have no business.
Unfortunately, most business owners never realize these important truths and that accounts for their lack of prosperity.
For example, one jeweler has been in business for three generations and yet is generating less than a million dollars a year in gross revenues. Another opened just three years ago and is already enjoying a multi-million dollar business.
How can this be?
There are only three ways to grow your enterprise…
This past April, jeweler, Bill Warren, realized his role was to market. He adopted these three goals. By steadily working on the marketing of his business, he was able to go from a typical May of $40,000.00 to a May 2006 or over $61,000.00. That’s more than a 50% increase, in just one month.
What did Bill do? He installed a formal up-selling/add-on selling system in his business that increased his average ticket dramatically, and served his clients at a higher level.
He also took advantage of a unique PR opportunity resulting from his gemologist and certified appraiser training, which had the phone ringing off the hook. As a result, 88 new customers came his way in May. And Bill is operating out of a small town.
Kent Whipple owns Whipple Services in Salt Lake City. He has built a multi-million dollar plumbing, heating and air conditioning business in near-record time. But he can’t tell you the last time he turned a wrench, drove a truck, made up an employee work schedule or did the payroll.
Kent has delegated all of those responsibilities. He has people who can do that. He focuses on two things… 1) providing the vision for his company and 2) marketing.
There are a lot of plumbers and heating guys in the Salt Lake City market who have been around a lot longer than Kent, who aren’t doing a quarter of the business he is. But Kent understands that he’s not a plumber, he is a marketer of plumbing, heating and air conditioning services.
And because of that understanding, not only has Kent built a thriving enterprise, but he has the time to enjoy himself, taking several extended trips every year, confidently knowing the business will continue to churn along in his absence.
But if he saw himself as a plumber, he would never have been able to build such a business or enjoy such a lifestyle. He’d be too busy with the wrench.
Odds are you have spent considerable time and money to become the professional that you are. You have time in the field; you may have paid for substantial training; you unquestionably have countless hours invested in learning your craft. You may have taken business courses, even gotten a degree.
What have you done to become the marketer that you need to be? Have you invested the same kind of time developing and honing the skills you need to run the “engine” that truly drives your business?
I suggest you start with a simple commitment of 30 minutes a day. Set aside at least a half hour a day to work on the marketing systems of your business. (Remember, that is to work on developing and implementing marketing systems, not operating them.)
If you don’t have an up-sell/add-on selling system in place, that would be your
most lucrative place to start. Determine what the pieces of the puzzle are for such a system, then decide how many 30-minute sessions it will take to develop all of those pieces. If it will take 10 sessions, you will have your new system ready to put in place in 10 working days.
After you’ve done your first project, select another – perhaps a formal referral system – and begin working on that the same way. Put in your 30 minutes and stop at the end.
The key is to remain true to the commitment. Set an appointment with yourself and honor it. Unless the building is literally burning down, do not let anything – even clients – interfere with this effort.
Finally, if you’re not skilled as a marketer, it might be a good idea to get some help. This does not mean simply abdicating your marketing responsibilities. It may include some delegation. It certainly includes getting some training, and gathering some resources. Consultants, ad agencies, trainers, books and audio programs… these are all resources. But remember that resources are there to help you accomplish your responsibilities to bring in the business, not take over that job for you. Ultimately the responsibility can only rest with you, the owner.
This is some of the most powerful and useful advice on marketing I have ever given to you. Fail to heed it at your own peril. Follow it and you will quickly, easily, add tens of thousands – maybe even hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue to your enterprise.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim Ackerman is a Salt Lake City-based Marketing Consultant, Writer and Speaker, and is President of Ascend Marketing, Inc. For information about his one-day seminar on Marketing, go to www.morecustomersmoremoneymoreoften.com. For a FREE Report on How To Get More Customers Who Will Pay You More Money, More Often , send your request to [email protected], or call 800.584.7585.