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8 February 2016



The essential guide to Starting Up & Growing your Business

Barrier 4 – Muddled Marketing

Nine out of ten of the fastest growing and most profitable small firms succeed through focus, differentiating their core product or service, and understanding their customers’ needs.  The key for small businesses is to stick to a clearly defined and focused Marketing strategyMany businesses diversify too early and lack market focus.

Wanting to add to your product portfolio or service offering is a good plan, but you need to build your ideal client base, and establish their loyalty on solid foundations during start up to growth phase. (see my article on the 5 Stages of Business Growth).


Headless Chicken

Finding and targeting your client market however, takes dedication to research, instead of running around like a headless chicken in all directions.  You have to determine the best channels to find your clients before wasting inordinate amounts of time and large sums of money marketing and advertising in the wrong arenas.

When starting Alluxi Consulting, I went to every possible networking event and spoke to as many people as I could about my service and how it could benefit their business – getting to know many other consultants, business coaches, and mentors who were all (quite rightly) doing the same thing.

During one such event the owner of a local printing business was surrounded, like circling vultures, by 3 of us consultants/coaches all vying for his interest and business.  The poor guy looked completely bewildered and I decided to step away from the conversation.  The event had attracted half a dozen businesses similar to mine, and the other attendees were sole traders (myself included) who were probably not going to be interested in my services.

I quickly learned from my initial, somewhat erratic, marketing approach what my ideal client profile looked like, and started to only attend forums where I would meet my target market. This has been a successful route to market for my own business, and has started to bear fruit, putting me in front of my ideal clients, to whom I can provide real value.

Thankfully I didn’t waste too much time or money reaching this conclusion, but there is certainly an element of trial and error to a business marketing plan, especially when you are first starting up.  Putting some thought into how you’re going to market your wares is essential to conquering business growth, but you need to test it to make sure its right for you.

Untangling your Marketing

It’s not complicated to streamline your efforts.  Follow my timeline to develop your marketing system over time.

1. Who are your clients?

Defining your market should have been part of your business plan (remember my blog about Planning).  Set out the profile of your target clients to focus your efforts.   Eliminate those groups of maybe’s or never’s that will reduce your marketing effectiveness and cost you time and money.  Ask yourself questions such as

  • What are my clients age, gender, professions, income
  • How do they think – their interests, value, attitudes
  • Where do they go to learn? B2B networking, B2C shows, exhibitions, online websites, social media, offline publications, magazines, trade papers, leaflet drops etc

2. How do you reach them?

Create a logical, rational plan.  Armed with your client profile you can then research how to reach those specific demographic client groups.  At this point you also have to think about your budget, and a steady growth plan.  There’s no point spending thousands of pounds to advertise or market through one channel if you’re not confident it will generate sufficient leads, convert to sales, and generate enough profit margin to pay back the cost of that advertising.

Again, some ideas and testing is required.  Spread the risk and effort over a number of carefully selected channels and monitor the outcomes carefully to fine-tune your message and where you get the best results.

3. Stamina & Staying Power

Results are not instant – overnight success is a myth.  Those products we perceive have become an overnight sensation have actually been bubbling away in our subconscious for months or even years, we just haven’t paid much attention to them.  Then all of a sudden – WHAM!  They hit the headlines with a punch.

You have to consistently market your business, product or services over a period of time, monitoring the results regularly and tweaking the plan to really exploit those channels that start to show good results.  Persist with those that may not be creating the highest volume of leads, but show a slower, steadier growth.

The success of your marketing campaigns depends on consistency and repetition.  Some Marketing experts advocate trialling over six months before deciding to ditch a particular path.

4. Avoid the Latest Fads

Don’t get diverted or distracted by the latest marketing fads, especially in the social media environment which, let’s face it, is still in its infancy.  Even social media marketing works for the same reasons as other marketing techniques – by clearly identifying a narrow target market and consistently and regularly implementing campaigns.

Shifting away from your clearly mapped straight and narrow path will not guarantee your marketing success.  Only move on to the next option if it fits with your business plan and you have the discipline to see it through.

In summary, there is no Silver Bullet to make your marketing successful, it requires your discipline.  Define your goals, create and implement the plan, frequently monitor and tweak the campaign results, and above all – be patient 

Next Week

Barrier 5 – Information Chaos – Good information equals good decisions.  Information chaos halts growth.  Getting your information flows, systems and processes set up, right from the start, is critical to managing a steady growth plan.


Alluxi is here to offer you support through these times of change, bringing a facts and figures approach to evolve your business and realise your goals.

As a first step towards identifying your current business challenges and evaluating where your future opportunities exist within your business, we invite you to complete the in-depth Alluxi Business Success Scorecard delving into the 10 key critical success areas.

Take 15 minutes to respond to the scorecard and get your results within minutes.  You’ll have the opportunity to book a follow-up Productivity to Profit Breakthrough Session to find out how you can implement rapid and measurable improvements.