Wow, how is it almost February? With the rush of getting everything ready for IUSA and Photo Pro Expo this week on top of wrapping up our I Do wedding event for photographers, January has been a blur for Sarah and I and our team. That can be a scary feeling if you’ve set big goals for 2012. Realizing that now you have 11 months left to achieve them. The clock is ticking for all of us. So how should we make the most of our 2012? How can we make sure we’re keeping our calendar booked with the right clients who want to do business with us and not wake up in a panic worried that we don’t have enough in the bank to cover our costs?
As we’ve been talking to our community this month, it seems like many of us are on the same page. In a world where 4th quarter burn out runs rampant due to the busy-ness of the holiday season, it’s easy to look up after catching your breath, only to wonder how am I going to get clients in the door this year?
We’ve done a lot of our planning for 2012 at The Joy of Marketing and Sarah Petty Photography because we have big goals for this year. And right now is the perfect time for you to sit down and do some work on your business and how you’re going to keep your calendar booked. I thought it might be helpful to share with you a little bit about our process to make sure we have revenue all year long so that you can make it work for you, too.
1) We always start with what we call putting in the big rocks. The big rocks are the things that we KNOW we’re going to do every year without fail. So for us at The Joy of Marketing it’s our online events, certain new product launches and activities that require a lot of time and resource from our staff. At Sarah Petty Photography the big rocks are our charity events and other events we do with local small business partners as well as our direct marketing pieces that we do to attract high school seniors in the spring and children / family clients in the fall. The big rocks bring us the most clients, too. So it’s important that we make sure we have allocated the time and the budget to fit these in to our year. Without them, it’s impossible for our business to grow.
2) Sure we do lots of other marketing activities throughout the year besides the big rocks, but those activities are smaller when it comes to the amount of budget we spend and the amount of effort and time. Those smaller activities are what we call the sand and the water. It might be your auction displays, your social media efforts, gifting your best clients, co-marketing with other small businesses, charitable marketing, your holiday card, and holiday cards for your clients. They are the things that we need to do to keep our phones ringing in between the big rock activities.
And right here with the sand and water is where we see a lot of small business owners going wrong. They forget to put the big rocks in first and instead busy themselves and their budget with sand and water activities. Are you constantly chasing small opportunities that don’t yield high return? Do you look up a few months into the year and realize your budget for the year is already spent, struggling to keep your head above water? When you get to this point, it’s too late to fit in the big rock activities. You’ve already spent your budget.
If you don’t want 2012 to get away from you and you want to make more this year than you did last year . . .
If you feel like your run your business by the seat of your pants and you’re scared you can’t continue this way . . .
If you’ve had at least one situation where you’ve awakened to realize you don’t have enough clients booked to cover your costs . . .
And if you’re not sure how to best spend your marketing budget – or what your budget even should be . . .