Friday, 7 March 2014

Three Steps to Marketing Your Business When You Don't Have the Time

Early in My Career
Early in my career I ran a training and development department in a Toronto branch of the Business Development Bank (BDC). Our mandate was help small and and medium-sized businesses by building their knowledge, skills and capabilities. One of my most popular courses was on small business marketing that I taught at a local college in the evenings. 

Every group raised the challenge of needing to marketing but having little time or money to do so. Time was the biggest issue; when business was brisk you had no time to market, which resulted in an eventual drop in business. It seemed impossible to do both activities at the same time. 

Now, as a small business owner, I am experiencing the same challenge. When I am at full capacity with consulting assignments, I have little time to market. I know that if I don't market I will eventually gain capacity, which isn't a good thing.

I have taken three simple steps to ensure I market regardless of my workload: 

1. Define the portfolio of marketing activities worth investing in

There are twenty-three activities I use to market. It may sound like a lot, but many of them require minimal time or have low frequency.

2. Detail the work required for each activity including when it needs to be done

This step has helped me plan my marketing time, often late at night or on weekends. I manage by lists and adding these activities has helped me ensure they don't get forgotten.

3. Set goals by month and track progress weekly

Weekly marketing goals didn't work for me because of the variability of client needs. It was was an unproductive and frustrating exercise. Tracking progress weekly, however, let me know what I had achieved and how much I had left to do.

Now I am focused on working my plan and track progress. I am also measuring efficacy of each activity so that I can focus on the most effective ones. 

I still feel I don't have enough time to market, but I am achieving a lot anyway. Should any business owner feel like they have done 'enough' marketing?



  1. So true, Phil, but more importantly: did you borrow that suit from David Byrne?

  2. Nice blog,You are giving us helpful details thanks for posting for marketing your business

  3. Marketing is one part of business that needs a lot of work and attention. Because if one fails to do this effectively, it can lead to stagnation in the business or worse, actual decline. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways on how to do it right nowadays; and one of those is by creating a solid plan, like the one that you shared. Also, building a strong online presence, campaigns, and targeting the right audience for your services will be helpful too. Thanks for sharing!

    Mildred Stephens @ Reputation Local

  4. Mildred, thank you very much for your thoughts. You raise great points. Strong online presence and campaigns designed for the people or businesses that value your services is essential for success. Recognizing when your audience's needs and preferences change is important too.