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Digital Marketing: Should You Hire an Employee, Pay a Firm, or Do It Yourself?

14664976_sSmall business marketing can mean the difference between success and insolvency.

What’s your best option for getting started?

I saw this article this morning from Manta and wanted to share it with you… great stuff!

Marketing budgets are tight—even nonexistent—for small business owners. But digital marketing is key to retaining your customers and attracting new ones. Let’s say you’ve set aside a budget or budgeted some time for marketing. Where do you begin?

You begin by deciding which is right for you: hiring a marketing employee, hiring a marketing firm or doing it yourself.

What’s the right move for your business? Here’s a chart with the pros and cons of each of option:

OPTION 1: HIRE A MARKETING EMPLOYEE

IDEAL FOR:Established employers

Businesses with sales that fluctuate throughout the year

Businesses that rely on marketing & advertising to drive sales

Businesses with the revenue to support a dedicated marketing employee

Businesses with the revenue to fund a marketing expense budget to be spent on tools, collateral & campaigns

NOT IDEAL FOR:One-person businesses

Companies that operate on shoestring or variable budgets.

Businesses that generate consistent, sales through referrals, RFPs or other business development avenues

Companies that already have all the business they can handle should not invest heavily in marketing unless it supports a growth plan.

OPTION 2: PAY A MARKETING FIRM

IDEAL FOR:Businesses who can’t afford full-time help, but can support a small to medium investment in order to grow

Businesses who only need occasional help (say, around a launch campaign or website refresh) on a project basis

NOT IDEAL FOR:Business owners who prefer to work daily on-site with their full team

Businesses with largely fluctuating incomes that cannot guarantee paying invoices on time each month

OPTION 3: DO-IT-YOURSELF

IDEAL FOR:Very small businesses that don’t have the option of hiring

Businesses that have been relying on word-of-mouth referrals, rather than marketing for business development

Business owners with marketing training or experience

Owners who supplement their DIY with affordablemarketing tools & products

NOT IDEAL FOR:Small companies with multiple lines of business or complex marketing needs

Businesses heading into a growth period

Business owners unexperienced with marketing concepts & strategies

Business owners without a moderate amount of time to devote to marketing on a regular, consistent basis

If you would like learn more about how you can make a good decision on which option is best for you and your business – AND get a measurable ROI, call Coach Michael Stelter at Advanced Business Coaching, Inc. (262) 293.3166.
To take a Test Drive on our system visit http://abcgrowthacademy.com/guidedtour

To your success,

Michael Stelter

P.S. Please remember that at any time you feel ready and qualified to move forward and acquire the professional help that can enable you to build the business of your dreams, just click here and check out our ABC E-Learning Marketing System™. It’s helping small business owners just like you get the answers and the help they need to build the business they have always wanted.

We created the ABC E-Learning Marketing System™ with the perfect combination of online resources, tools and support to get you out of any financial distress you’re presently experiencing… help you get laser-focused on your highest income-producing activities… and help you develop and then apply the fundamentals that build multimillion dollar businesses. click here to see for yourself.

Case Study: Start Up Funeral Home Takes 18% Market Share

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Funeral Provider

Business To Consumer

 

Client Situation – AT A GLANCE

 

Find a niche and serve it extremely well … the clients will come

CHALLENGES:

  • New provider of funeral services to a market that had the highest concentration of funeral providers per-capita in Wisconsin.
  • Limited working capital
  • Consumer education of the benefits of alternative funeral services

SOLUTIONS

  • Solid 10-year business plan with realistic projections for growth and market share penetration.
  • Business planning included an exit plan for the owners after 5 years in business.
  • Weekly measures of KPI’s
  • Alternative guerrilla marketing strategies to reach their target market
  • Multiple product and service offerings to generate value-add service to prospective client base

RESULTS

  • Investors were secured to allow for additional cash flow needs
  • Non-traditional marketing methods focused on relationship-building strategies with prospective clients and strategic partners.
  • Annual growth rates ranged from 23%- 57%
  • After just 3 years in business, 18% of the funerals conducted were performed by this provider.

HERE’S THE STORY

Less than 4% of business that started 5 years ago are doing business today. Those numbers reduce to 1% when you look back 10 years. Those numbers are not encouraging, but entrepreneurs are willing to face the challenges in hopes of overcoming the odds to achieve success.

Funeral Service is a business that most people don’t know, or understand, but is one of those things you don’t think about until you need. Understanding the business model and being very clear on the products and services needed by your target market were the keys to success for these Start Up business owners. After meeting the owners and investors, we conducted an in-depth Evaluation / Alignment with the team members, vendors and suppliers. From those meetings, we were able to create a clear picture of their desired results.

When Advanced Business Coaching was introduced to the owners, we generated a 10 year (long-term plan) , a 36 month Road Map with success metrics and milestones and a 1-year action plan that would be visited monthly to ensure the Road Map would be followed. Quarterly meetings were held with investors and team to ensure that transparency of all ac- counting and activities was achieved. Immediate focus was placed on dividing roles and responsibilities of the principles of the business. The Organizational Chart for High Performing Companies was used to establish balanced growth and accountability. Empowerment measures were put in place to allow for key decisions to be made with- out unnecessary meetings.

The needs and wants of the Baby-Boomer demographic was a key component to the establishment of the marketing programs being developed. Focus groups and over 100 interviews were conducted. From this information, a plan was developed to deliver ‘education-based’ presentations to all interested parties. By diverting marketing/advertising dollars from traditional ‘image advertising’ to more direct-response approaches, the client was able to spend 50% less than industry averages and produce 3 times the results.

The first 24 months was time to develop systems and processes to maintain contact with prospective clients. Innovative marketing strategies and educational seminars were implemented to encourage regular contact between prospects and business owners. Strategic partner relationships were formed to find additional connections with their target market. After 5 years in business, market share is currently 18% and growing. What will happen in the future is still being determined, but growth rates continue and families happily call when the need arises

To take a Test Drive on our system visit http://abcgrowthacademy.com/guidedtour

To your success,

Michael Stelter

P.S. Please remember that at any time you feel ready and qualified to move forward and acquire the professional help that can enable you to build the business of your dreams, just click here and check out our ABC E-Learning Marketing System™. It’s helping small business owners just like you get the answers and the help they need to build the business they have always wanted.

We created the ABC E-Learning Marketing System™ with the perfect combination of online resources, tools and support to get you out of any financial distress you’re presently experiencing… help you get laser-focused on your highest income-producing activities… and help you develop and then apply the fundamentals that build multimillion dollar businesses. click here to see for yourself.

 

 

Case Study: Family Trade Turns Into The Family Business

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Residential Painters

Business To Consumer

 

Client Situation – AT A GLANCE

 

Just because he knows how to paint, doesn’t mean he knows how to run a painting business…

CHALLENGES:

  • Finding the working capital to meet payroll and material expenses.
  • Finding qualified workers
  • Development of replicate-able systems to build a solid business.
  • Limited understanding of business financial reports and the value the information brings to the business.

SOLUTIONS

  • Solid business plan for slow and steady growth of production and overhead costs.
  • Clear understanding of the 5 major areas of the Organizational Chart for High Performing Companies
  • Balanced efforts in all work-rooms of the business
  • Utilization of employee pre-hire assessment to determine learning traits and skill-sets.
  • Value-add relationship for all customers to ensure repeat business and active referrals.

RESULTS

  • Business growth is within 5% of plan numbers.
  • Employee retention is well above industry averages
  • Cash flow needs have been met and no additional financing has been needed since year 1

HERE’S THE STORY

In the 19th and early 20th century, it used to be a tradition that sons were taught the trades of their fathers.  The sons would learn the skills of their father as they were growing up.   This is what led to this new business owner getting bit by the ‘entrepreneurial’ bug.

He is a 3rd generation painter, but rather than work for someone else, he decided he wanted to own his own business.  But, as most business owners know, there is more to owning a business than just delivering the quality product and service you sell to your customers.

An existing client referred this business owner to Advanced Business Coaching.  When we first met this owner, he was extremely frustrated with the Business Owner / Business Leader,  Marketing / Sales, Systems / Team and Customer Service/ Customer Care areas of his business.  Defining each area and separating the principles, practices, measures and metrics for each area, we were able to put together a plan for balanced growth and his frustration lessened.

As with most business owners, his talents were in the Product / Production area of his business.  Establishing the Vision and Culture of the business was the corner-stone of all future growth.  Once that was written and confirmed, we started the search for team members that would thrive and grow within that culture.  Utilizing group hiring processes and pre-hire employee assessments we were able to save time and find qualified employees that were comfortable delivering the quality work that was important to the owner—and his customers.

Creating a shared risk/reward compensation plan for all employees was an important part of the business model that contributed to the first years Family success.  Having all employees concentrating on cost containment, productivity and efficiency led to better than planned job profit analysis and high than expected income by the team.

For the small business owner, finding balance in their business is imperative to sustained growth and long-term success.  Working in all areas of the business to achieve the most important things that would contribute to strengthening the business.

Focus on delivering customer expectations was the biggest area of concentration over the first few years.  Happy customers provided quality referrals, held ‘open house’ parties to show neighbors and friends their newly painted home, and made took advantage of opportunities for the owner to do interior work that kept his team working year round.

To take a Test Drive on our system visit http://abcgrowthacademy.com/guidedtour

To your success,

Michael Stelter

P.S. Please remember that at any time you feel ready and qualified to move forward and acquire the professional help that can enable you to build the business of your dreams, just click here and check out our ABC E-Learning Marketing System™. It’s helping small business owners just like you get the answers and the help they need to build the business they have always wanted.

We created the ABC E-Learning Marketing System™ with the perfect combination of online resources, tools and support to get you out of any financial distress you’re presently experiencing… help you get laser-focused on your highest income-producing activities… and help you develop and then apply the fundamentals that build multimillion dollar businesses. click here to see for yourself.

 

 

Case Study: 27% Growth While Owner Is Away

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Heavy Equipment Repossession 

Business To Business

 

Client Situation – AT A GLANCE

 

Business Is Reorganized To Allow 27% Growth While The Owner Is Away!

CHALLENGES:

  • Revenue streams were concentrated 60% on 2 clients.
  • Partner disengaged from the business.
  • Employees compensated by salary with incentive pay or production goals
  • Loosing $50,000/month

SOLUTIONS

  • Established Key Performance metrics in Production, Sales and Customer Service.
  • Adjusted compensation plan adjustment to provide above-average income to strong producers
  • Diversified customer base so that no customer is responsible for more than 20% of monthly revenues

RESULTS

  • Made necessary expense reductions to get to Break Even within 60 days.
  • Negotiated a transition of 100%business ownership to manger-owner.
  • Margin contribution goals from all producers with incentive pay for strong performance.
  • Increase Sales by 135% in 2 years
  • Created an Organization that allowed the business owner to be away from the business for 6 months.

HERE’S THE STORY

Frustrations of business ownership, flat sales over the past 4 years, lack of employee productivity and accountability, and a partner that was disengaged from day-to-day operations while continuing to take a significant salary were all symptoms of the pain being experience by this service provider to the financial services industry.

An existing client referred this business owner to Advanced Business Coaching in hopes that we could provide a path through the challenges they were experiencing.  After a thorough Evaluation / Alignment with the client, team members,  vendors and suppliers, we were able to see a clear picture of the current   situation and present a 36 month Road Map to achieve the longer-term goals envisioned by the business owner.

Immediate focus was placed on expense reduction and strengthening the  balance sheet of the business.  Cutting costs, liquidation of assets and alternative financing options were evaluated and implemented over the first 60 days to stop the ‘financial bleeding’.  During this period, we also  developed a clear understanding of employee productivity and how that   related to Margin contribution to the business.

Development of a new compensation plan that rewarded high performing   employees was implemented within the first 90 days.  Adjustments in  employee new-hire process, employee assessments, supervisor deliverables and clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of all employees created a pro-active environment of growth and profitability for the company.

Over the first 12-24 months, regular team meetings focused on short-term deliverables for each department, combined with updates on company successes and failures, created an culture of trust within the team and a willingness to work together to grow the business.  At the end of the second year of working together, revenues had increased by 135%, while net profits grew to 11.5% monthly.

The strength and commitment of the team was proven when the owner was afflicted with a life-threatening health condition.  He was completely  disengaged from the business for over 6 months.  During that time, the  Advanced Business Coaching Leadership team provided leadership insight and guidance and direction the business management team.  During that time away,  the business revenues grew by 27% and net profits increased by 32%.

To take a Test Drive on our system visit http://abcgrowthacademy.com/guidedtour

To your success,

Michael Stelter

P.S. Please remember that at any time you feel ready and qualified to move forward and acquire the professional help that can enable you to build the business of your dreams, just click here and check out our ABC E-Learning Marketing System™. It’s helping small business owners just like you get the answers and the help they need to build the business they have always wanted.

We created the ABC E-Learning Marketing System™ with the perfect combination of online resources, tools and support to get you out of any financial distress you’re presently experiencing… help you get laser-focused on your highest income-producing activities… and help you develop and then apply the fundamentals that build multimillion dollar businesses. click here to see for yourself.

 

 

Case Study: Sales Increase By 53% In 14 Months

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         Furniture Retail 

    Business To Consumer

Client Situation – AT A GLANCE

 

CHALLENGES:

  • Owner was working 80+ hours per week
  • Family life of the owner was stressed due to limited time
  • Retail sales had been stagnant over the last 3 years
  • Cash flow was tight and the business had been hovering at break-even for about 3 years.

SOLUTIONS

  • Established Key Performance metrics in Marketing, Sales and Customer Service.
  • Find, hire and train qualified staff to convert leads to sales.
  • Create innovative marketing strategies to bring IDEAL clients into the store
  • Clarify roles and responsibilities and accountabilities for team so the owner didn’t have to do it all.

RESULTS

  • Found qualified staff to absorb 60% of floor Sales time so the owner could do what he did best—Marketing
  • Within 3 months, owners time had reduced to under 35 hours / week.
  • Re designed Marketing plan increased leads and reduced advertising costs by 37%
  • Increase Sales by 53% in 18 months
  • Won Franchise of the Year award 18 months after starting.

HERE’S THE STORY

Frustrations of the amount of time required to run the business, flat sales over the past 3 years, and limited amount of household income coming from their franchise investment were just a few of the emotions being shared by the business owner we first met.  The owner and his wife had purchased a  specialty furniture franchise  offering high end beds and mattresses in hopes of living the dream of having control over their lives, more time to spend with their 3 children and making enough money to allow them to live their upper middle-class life style.

This business owner heard about Advanced Business Coaching when we were speaking at a local Chamber event and talked with us after our presentation.  He was clearly frustrated and had hopes that we could provide a path through the challenges he and his wife were experiencing.  After a thorough Evaluation / Alignment with the client, team members,  vendors and suppliers, we were able to see a clear picture of the current   situation and  developed a plan to over come some of their immediate challenges and achieve the longer-term goals envisioned by the business owner and his wife.

Immediate focus was placed in 2 areas:  1) Finding qualified people to do the education / sales work at the retail store  and 2) a review of the current Marketing /Advertising program to make sure there was a ROI on that investment.

Utilizing pre-hire assessment tools, newly formed job descriptions, realistic sales expectations and re-worked compensation plan, we were able to put 1 FT and 2 PT people to work within 90-days.  This allowed for more of the owners time to work on implementing a more effective Marketing plan.

Development of the Marketing plan required first-hand knowledge of what the customers really valued from the business.  A series of focus groups yielded a few surprises:  They loved the passion of the owner; they valued the on-going education provided by regular contact with the store and that price was not as important as  the sales and customer service experience.

As we trained and educated the new team members, and implemented the new Marketing Program to reach more of the ideal client base, sales began to rise above LY levels in month 4.  Over the next 14 months, retail sales from this location had increased 53%, the owner is spending less time in the  business and finding more balance in his life, and his location won Franchise of the Year for the “Most Improved Franchise”

To take a Test Drive on our system visit http://abcgrowthacademy.com/guidedtour

To your success,

Michael Stelter

P.S. Please remember that at any time you feel ready and qualified to move forward and acquire the professional help that can enable you to build the business of your dreams, just click here and check out our ABC E-Learning Marketing System™. It’s helping small business owners just like you get the answers and the help they need to build the business they have always wanted.

We created the ABC E-Learning Marketing System™ with the perfect combination of online resources, tools and support to get you out of any financial distress you’re presently experiencing… help you get laser-focused on your highest income-producing activities… and help you develop and then apply the fundamentals that build multimillion dollar businesses. click here to see for yourself.