Can you remember the old party game of ‘musical chairs’ you probably played as a child? Whilst the music was playing you would run round and round the chairs enthusiastically, a clear goal in mind -winning one of the available seats.
Once you’d succeeded in reaching your goal, with your derriere firmly on one of the ever-decreasing chairs you would sigh with relief. You’d saviour the moment, satisfied with your performance, whilst those less adept had to go and sit on the floor at the back of the room and watch the remaining competitors run round in an ever decreasing circle.
Business can be a bit like musical chairs. It can seem there are too many players and not enough chairs available, metaphorically speaking. While the music is playing and you are taking part everything seems fine, doesn’t it? You have your clients, you have your contacts and so you are busy running round and round, delivering. You are in the business. It feels good; it’s bringing in the money and delivering value to your clients. You feel motivated, and probably as secure as most self-employed or SME owner can ever feel.
Then the music stops and you are surprised to see that you no longer have a place. You are at the back of the room, watching those competitors who are still in the game. You wonder if you will get a chance to play again. How? When?
If you are not constantly marketing your business then you are at real risk of being caught out when the music stops. Just like in the game, the music can stop suddenly and because you have been frantically running around delivering but not focusing on marketing it takes you by surprise.
If you are relatively new as a business owner, you are probably busy because you are spring boarding from the contacts you had during your successful corporate career. If you have been in business for a few years or more, you are probably benefitting tremendously from word of mouth and repeat business.
It’s been said by many successful entrepreneurs that business is a game and you have to play to win. Just like in our musical chairs analogy, this means not just focussing on the immediate prizes but also on marketing mechanisms to sustain you when the current music stops. And stop it will. Because nothing continues for ever.
Here are five of the strategies to consider, no matter how busy you are today:
1. Make sure that your online presence is as strong as your offline reputation
2. Have at least five ways of generating new business, excluding current contacts/clients and referrals
3. Give away loads of free stuff that adds real value, to build trusting relationships over time
4. Within your niche, have different price points and services
5. Have some great strategic alliances in place to enable cost-effective list building