Thursday, September 13, 2007

Why you need a marketing budget

One of the things I love about working with entrepreneurs is that they are, very often, incredibly passionate about what they're doing - whether it's creative writing, or personal/business coaching, or making handcrafted organic soaps (you'd be AMAZED how many people make handcrafted organic soaps!). They start their businesses because they think they've stumbled on something great - and they want to share that with the world. This is a beautiful thing.

One of the areas, however, where I constantly notice entrepreneurs getting stuck is that, because they are so passionate about what they do, they pour everything they have into the product or service that they're trying to build a business around, and they scrimp on their marketing efforts, hiring the cheapest designer for their identity and website or - even worse - deciding that they "can't afford" to hire somebody and try to take on the whole shebang themselves. In rare cases, this works out just fine - I was lucky enough when I started the zen kitchen that I was a very capable designer (after all, it's a design studio), and was able to learn a number of things myself fairly quickly. All too often, however, the DIY route doesn't go so well. Oh, sure, the company will do okay - maybe even succeed for several years - but at a certain point, the DIY route proves to be too much work for too few results.

Here's the thing: if you're a designer, your business is design. You've likely spent years learning design, and you know yourself and your intended business well enough (quite often) to do your own marketing and design; and indeed, you should - since it's the best way to show potential clients what you do. But what if you're NOT a designer - what if you're a coach, or a soapmaker, or a writer? Which would you rather be doing - the stuff you're good at and you truly love to do, or learning how to code websites, or use templates, or design logos? And if you've spent the time learning all this, are you satisfied with the result? Does it speak to you and what you do, and does it convey this message clearly to the people who need to hear it?

It's altogether possible that it does. But it's much more likely that it won't. This is why it's important to figure out a marketing budget and spend it on getting the right people to help you market your business - because not only will you get better results, you can take the time you save and spend it on more important things - like, say, running your business and living your dream.

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