I love Asheville. I mean it. I love the easy lifestyle; the sense of community; the beauty of the mountains; the love of animals; the foodie attention; the diverse people from southern gentlemen to weird dudes. But, doing business here can be a challenge. You’ve heard it before, “do what you love and the money will follow”. Not true if you don’t take the business side seriously.
Many local business owners operate with one foot inside their business and the other foot outside which is next to their head in the sand. (Makes for an interesting mental image, right?). What I mean by that is too many business owners run their businesses day to day. The day dictates what gets done and often that contains putting out fires, dealing with interruptions both good and annoying, etc. and pretty soon the day is running you. I guarantee you that tomorrow will look just the same. And pretty soon you will be defending that routine because your excuses will seem reasonable.
It is much easier to be at the effect than at the cause. But there is no payoff there. If you had a plan, you could go right back to it and get on track. I keep harping about planning, I know. I cannot overstate its importance. And you can’t have any kind of marketing success without a plan.
Your plan can be ridiculously simple if you like. You don’t have to devise a complicated marketing strategy with tactics and action steps. Make a list of 3 to 5 things you’d like to accomplish. Make a list of what you need to do in order to accomplish each of those things. Do something every day (no matter how small) toward your accomplishments. Do just a 3-month plan. From a marketing standpoint, that’s not a bad idea because you really need to see if something is working or not.
Be honest with yourself. Create a support system/team internally or outsourced that can help you achieve YOUR goals. After all, it’s your business; you must be in control of it every step of the way.
Pay attention to basic business common sense. Here are some basics to consider for marketing and in general:
- If a marketing program is not working for you or you don’t know if it’s working for you, why do you keep on doing it?
- Are you the default marketing person even though your expertise is your product or service?
- Are you keeping a customer list? Are you communicating to it?
- Are your budgets created just to keep you in business and not to grow it?
- Are you afraid to test new ideas?
- Do you and your business partners (if you have them) agree on the direction of your business?
- Are your online and offline marketing efforts balanced?
Look…. doing business in Asheville IS different. And I’m not suggesting Asheville should behave like other business-centric cities. I AM suggesting that Asheville could include some common business sense along with its charm.
Quote of the month: “Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes” Ralph Waldo Emerson