Telling the truth about SME life today

Rule 6: Keep and win new customers every day

I learnt this rule from a very wise man called Martin Howey. Not long after I’d set up N5, I was talking with Martin, and he asked me what was the most important thing that I had to achieve if my business was going to be successful.

Its an awkward question, but I finally settled on “getting new customers and keeping the ones I’ve got”. In other words, marketing.

Martin agreed: as long as I was getting a regular flow of new customers and keeping the ones that I already had, then everything else in my business could and would be taken care of but without that regular flow of customers, I didn?t have a business at all.

He then asked me what I’d done first that morning. In common with many people, I suspect, my answer was that I’d checked my email, checked the voice mails, briefed the staff, made a couple of phone calls and started doing some work.

“That’s interesting,” he said, “but when are you going to do the marketing today?”

“I hadn?t planned on doing any today,” I replied.

“But you said that marketing is the most important thing for the success of your business, so why would you not only not do it first thing in the morning but not plan to do any at all today?” Martin asked me, surprised.

It was a salutary lesson, and one that I implemented immediately. From that day on, I’ve established a regular routine. My working day begins at 7.30am. I arrive, shut the door and hang up a sign that says “Do not disturb unless building on fire”. The phone is off the hook, email turned off and I spend at least 90 minutes on marketing for my business.

This is probably the most productive habit I’ve ever developed. When I emerge from the office to confront the rigours of the day, it doesn’t really matter what happens because I’ve already done my marketing. This has ensured that our business has always kept on the front foot.

It’s a habit that I commend to you, especially if marketing isn’t what you are good at. Most business owners find marketing difficult, it’s a chore, its out of the comfort zone. If that’s you, then you’re at even greater risk of not getting the marketing done unless you get into the habit of making it the first thing you do every morning!?

Nigel Botterill’s book, Botty’s Rules (Vermilion), is out now through Amazon and good book stores.

ReadBotty’s other rules:?

Rule 1: It’s all your fault
Rule 2: Data is your most valuable asset
Rule 3: Become a marketer
Rule 4: Follow up, follow up, follow up
Rule 5: Give customers the chance to pay premium

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