I’ve been running my creative services firm for about 10 years now. I must admit that my earlier years in operation were fraught with needless errors. You’d think that some of my biggest missteps involved a shabby business plan, funding issues or something along those lines. No, some of my costliest mistakes were found in the area of timing.
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After the first year or so in business, I started to recognize patterns with respect to revenue. There seemed to be certain points on the calendar that were problematic for my operation. On the contrary, there were other times that were great. So, I began to examine these occurrences more. I’d comb through old invoices and emails, trying to figure out if I could uncover anything that would offer guidance.
Lo and behold, things started to make sense. Initially, I thought my business was simply subject to the whims of happenstance. However the more I looked, I realized that most of what was going on was cyclical.
After briefly basking in my mini-epiphany, I quickly moved to develop a calendar-specific marketing plan. I encourage you to do the same; carefully examine the calendar and try to figure out where you are weakest and most active. Here are a few places to start:
Survey Your WeekMy former sales trainer once told me I should make key sales calls on Friday as opposed to Monday. His rationale was that the person I’m talking with would most likely be more receptive and relaxed when going into the weekend. He warned that Monday morning would be tough as this potential customer would be enveloped in meetings, voicemails and a new long week. Your business may also have certain days that are more advantageous for activity. Recognize these days and focus more resources on these keys times.
Between Holidays/SeasonsMost small businesses will ramp up for major holidays and seasons when creating a marketing plan. However, many suffer a sharp decline in activity following these times. So it stands to reason that your business develops an aggressive plan that will counteract this pattern – maybe offering some of your best incentives right after these times.
Fiscal PlanningI am involved in a lot of B2B work. I started to realize that the companies I work for had varying fiscal calendars. Hence, budgeting for these companies was done at different times of the year. I started to jot down notes as to when these times where so that I could lobby to have these companies write my services into their budget before their new cycle. If your company does any B2B work, you too should be cognizant of these times. I don’t know about you, but I grew tired of hearing, “It’s not in the budget.”
Most likely there are many other times and cycles that are vital to your specific business. Catch on to the patterns, and you’re sure to have a stronger marketing plan.
Walter Dailey provides leadership for Dailey Sound Vector – creative services firm that specializes in radio ads, jingles, branding campaigns and commercials for small businesses throughout the country. Ask Walter your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org