It’s easy to get caught up in the “there’s so much to be done” aspect of running a small business, especially when it comes to the never-ending grind of digital marketing. But every so often it’s critical for small business owners to stop and assess how far they’ve come. This is important not only in terms of growth and sales, but also to remind themselves of what HAS been accomplished towards amassing small business marketing assets that can be leveraged for future business development. It’s been my experience that periodic asset reviews not only provide valuable information in what’s working or not working, but go a long way in helping business owners find that “sweet spot” of entrepreneurial satisfaction that comes with building something from nothing and watching it rise brick-by-brick from a mere idea.
With an Inc. magazine article by Matt Ehrlichman defining the 5 Characteristics of Entrepreneurial Spirit as passion, innovation, optimism, calculated risk-taking and execution, making a habit of reviewing marketing assets in order to determine whether your methods are effective, enriching and still moving in the direction you intended is a must for every entrepreneur. Ehrlichman points out that, “The average person rarely considers how ordinary things can be made better or improved–those with the entrepreneurial spirit can’t help themselves. They are continually questioning why things are done the way they are and aren’t afraid to go against the majority to make changes.”
What’s a marketing asset review? I started doing this early on in my business, not only as a way of gauging whether I was hitting my marks in growth and satisfaction, but to remind myself of all that had been accomplished to date. I wrote an article at the three year mark of my business called “The Mad Scientist Approach to Small Business Marketing” that inventoried just a few of the marketing assets I had amassed in just 156 weeks, and I encourage my clients to do a similar review on a regular basis. Here are a few areas that are worth revisiting at least once a year to see how far you’ve come and measure the entrepreneurial equity you are building.
1. Relationships created. Make a list of the successful relationships, partnerships and associations you have made in the past year. How have they enriched your business? Have you used them to the fullest potential?
2. Branding and promotional materials developed. What have you accomplished towards a solid brand identity and development of promotional materials? Don’t forget to count the time and effort spent to establish and build your brand.
3. Research and groundwork accomplished for new products and services. Are you moving forward on the ideas and plans you have made? Don’t focus as much on how quickly but instead pay attention to how steadily you have moved towards your goals.
4. Maintenance of social networks, website, email marketing and blog. Have you succeeded in telling your story across different communication channels? Again, don’t focus on what you thought you could get done, but on what you have accomplished.
5. Information collected. How much information about your target market and their buying habits have you collected via analytics, email lists and surveys? The availability of real-time information to guide future promotions and product development is a valuable asset.
Periodic marketing asset reviews can make the difference between feeling like you’re spinning your wheels or seeing that each step along the way is leveraged towards building a strong foundation of solid marketing assets to launch bigger and better promotions, and ultimately lead to experiencing that sweet spot of entrepreneurial success.