I’m a business owner with a staff of just one – me. I spend my days juggling balls and hoping they’ll stay in the air. It’s not just about the work I do for clients – it’s a lucky day when I can concentrate just on that. I also have to do the accounts, plan the workshops I give and do lots of admin tasks that clog up my time. And I have to spread the word about my business.
My business is words – I’m a writer, editor and workshop facilitator – so I’m used to communicating. But ask me to sell my business and I start to squirm. Marketing is the ball I’m most likely to drop.
Who am I to think I can sell my business? And where do I start? Trends in the worlds of marketing and communications are changing so fast that it’s hard to keep up. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Sometimes I’m afraid to even pick up the marketing ball, in case it goes splat!
That’s why I was delighted to discover a marketing programme that’s tailor made for small businesses. So I’m starting out again and this time I’m going to take it one step at a time.
SO WHY THIS COURSE?
This course from How Great Marketing Works is called Get Strategic… Get Results! It has 12 modules which teach you how to market your business step by step. A new module will plop into your inbox every 10 days, but you can study them at your own pace. I like that and it means it fits in with how I work. The course takes just 10 minutes per day – the time it takes to make and drink a nice cup of coffee or tea if you’re me.
I’ve just finished Module One, The Start Point Is Now, and it’s packed with nuggets of knowledge that I’m already starting to apply to my business.
WHAT’S THIS MODULE ABOUT?
The first module is all about laying the foundations for your marketing strategy. Its message is that before you can market, you need to know who and where you are at. That message chimed with me. Before I write anything for my own clients, I figure out what I want to say. Doing this module gave me the time and space to figure out what I wanted to say about my own business. What I learned will be really valuable in helping me build my brand.
WHAT ARE THE TAKEAWAYS?
Here’s a flavour of what I learned from doing this module.
- Self-awareness: I know more about who I am as a business. My brand had grown stale, so it was great to take the time to tune into what made my own business great – and what could make it even greater.
- Overcoming challenges: I learned to pinpoint the challenges that are holding me back, which are common to all businesses –it’s good to know I’m not alone.
- Defining Marketing: It’s hard to define what marketing is, but this module gave me a greater understanding of what it really means. Above all, marketing is about telling your truth.
- Identifying Goals: I learned to set clear goals for myself, and what I needed to do to achieve those goals, which is just as important. I also learned how to make a bold marketing statement.
- Communication: My business is communication, but I still needed to figure out where to find my customers, so I can actually engage with them. The channels people use to communicate with a business are called touch-points, and this module helped me identify those.
- Valuing Strengths: We’re all good at something. That’s often what makes us start a business in the first place. But in the hustle and bustle of running a business, it’s easy to forget that, so this module was a nice ego boost. More than that, it has given me a way to develop my strengths, so I can offer a better service to customers.
- Curing Weaknesses: I learned not to beat myself up! Instead, I now reflect on what I need to improve in my business and what I can do to make those improvements. This will help take me out of my comfort zone and keep moving forward.
BUILDING YOUR TOOL KIT
As I worked through the module, I was prompted to make use of the toolkits. These are worksheets that ask you questions about your business. Answering those questions was a challenge, but the knowledge I’ve gained will really strengthen my brands.
These worksheets helped me:
- Define my business more clearly: what I’m about, why I’m here and what I can offer.
- Identify the methods people use to get in touch with me, so I can communicate with them more effectively.
- Benchmark the progress of my business and identify improvements I can make.
- Identify my strengths and weaknesses and how I can use that knowledge to develop my business.
As I finished each step of the module, a green tick appeared, showing me that I was one step further along my marketing journey.
WHY THIS MODULE IS GREAT
- It’s broken down into chunks that make the lessons easy to digest, so you’re not bombarded with information.
- I’ve already changed how I think about my business and I’m beginning to move out of my old patterns.
- It demystifies the marketing process. It’s full of concrete information and tips that you can apply day to day in your business. You’ll start seeing results right away. I did.
These amazing insights cost just €12 a month – the price of a cinema ticket.
I’m committed now to this process and I’ll blog about each module as I go so you can keep track with me. Here’s a link to the other posts I’ve done so far:
- Module 2 – How to Make Your Dreams Happen – Click Here.
- Module 3 – How to Make Your Products Remarkable – Click Here.