“Feed you business and your business will feed you!”
In recent years this cliché’ has come to mean feeding your business a balanced diet from the 4 business food groups:
Most business owners see these four groups as two spending categories, however these MUST be 4 spending accounts in your ledger, if not you’ll have an empty calendar and an empty bank account. In the past year, a fifth business food group has emerged, Social Media. Let’s take a quick look at the traditional four and how they relate to the latest addition.
The concept of the highly educated professional is not new, but education is so much more than course work and technical expertise. Education includes investing in mentoring for you and being a mentor to others. It also includes becoming a member of your Professional Associations.
How much should you spend on education? Three to five percent of your gross business income. If you are still in the first 2 to 3 years of a new business, double that! If you are still operating off your business loan or investment funds, six to 10 percent of total yearly expenses should be budgeted to education.
Public Relations, Marketing & Advertising:
When it comes to Public Relations (PR), Marketing and Advertising, the situation becomes a little more complex. The first problem is that in most small business owner’s minds, these are synonymous terms. THEY ARE NOT.
“Public Relations” is the establishment of you and your company as THE recognized expert within a specific demographic, geographic and/or professional group. This is also known as “Branding.” Thus Public Relations is the process of Branding. At this stage, it is almost irrelevant what your PR says as long as it positions you as the expert’s expert.
“Marketing” is association of your established brand with products and or services in the mind of a particular person, demographic, geographic and/or professional group. A “market” is that identifiable person, demographic, geographic and/or professional group. While Public Relations is the process of “Branding,” Marketing is the process of “establishing the Brand.”
“Advertising” is the establishment of a sense of need for a product or service in the mind of you market. Even if your market knows your name (brand) and your products/services, if they do not know that they need your products or services, they will never buy! On the other hand, if they “feel the need” and you have established your brand, they will seek you out.
So how much should you spend on PR, Marketing and Advertising? The answer reflects the progressive nature of this process. In this case, one sum of money should be allocated for the entire process of PR, Marketing and Advertising. At first, the entire amount will be spent on PR, with little Marketing or Advertising. Your target market needs to know you are the expert. As you become the recognized expert (1 to 2 years), spending on Marketing increases and spending on PR decreases. This will overlap the 1 to 2 years for PR. Finally, you will be established as the expert and your brand will be established in your market by your Marketing. This is when you will begin to shift spending to Advertising. Again their will be overlap, but don’t expect to spend much on advertising until at least 1 year after you begin a well planned PR program and at least 6 months after you begin a highly targeted marketing plan.
How much should you spend on PR, Marketing and Advertising? If you want success, spend 10% to 20% of gross revenue. Again, if you are a start-up still operating on loans or investment capital, budget 20% of that money per year for this process.
Entrepreneurs are using the newest Internet trend, professional social networks. Services like LinkedIn, Konnects, Ecademy, Plaxo and even Facebook provide professionals the opportunity to meet and collaborate with colleagues worldwide. These professionals fall into two distinct groups who utilize social networks:
- Those for whom the emphasis is on the word “network”
- Those for whom the emphasis is on the word “social”
Those who emphasize the word ”network” seek to promote and expand their business. Those who emphasize the word “social” seek to promote and expand their Christmas card list. Social Media Marketing is the systematic approach to using social networks and other “Web 2.0” and “Web 3.0” technologies as a part of an all-inclusive marketing plan.
In less than 6 months, through Social Media efforts alone, one business:
- Secured TWO Book Contracts with mainstream publishers
- Contracted FOUR Full-Fee Speaking Engagements
- Secured the Keynote Address for the largest international convention in a new market niche
- Obtained a monthly column in the largest distribution industry magazine in a new market niche
- Contracted a Consulting Deal in a new niche market
- Contracted with TWO FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS to provide consulting services
- Served as a consultant to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
All this for the investment of an hour a day and NO MONEY!!!
Anyone who wants to increase their profits will get great results if the just remember:
Feed your business and your business will feed you!
About the Author:
Dr. Maurice A. Ramirez is a professional speaker and founder of the consulting firm High Alert, LLC. He assists companies to align business continuity plans with personnel and customer behavior during adversity. Board certified in multiple specialties, Dr. Ramirez serves on expert panels for pandemic preparedness and healthcare surge planning. He is Founding Chairperson of the American Board of Disaster Medicine and a Senior Physician-Federal Medical Officer. Dr. Ramirez has a new book: “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Disaster Preparedness,” which is now available on Amazon. His website is www.High-Alert.com.