Becoming a Marketing Consultant

Christian business women might want to use a marketing consultant at some point to assist with getting the word out about their business.  In fact, some business women will become a marketing consultant as a part of their specialty service area.  If that’s your choice, you have many ways to enter into the marketing industry.

Marketing consultants come in many shapes and sizes so it’s essential that you know what kind of consultant you plan to be. That understanding will shape the way you brand yourself, the way you look for clients, and the way you work with clients.

Here are five common types of marketing consultants.

1: Entrepreneurial and Small Business Advisor

Some of your clients will be small businesses that have a physical location such as small restaurants, spas, hair salons, grocery stores and other small businesses.  Your duties will include helping to identify new ways to bring in customers and helps clients plan and execute marketing campaigns.

Common marketing tactics you might suggest include coupon mailers, coupon packs, newspaper advertising, cable TV advertising and joint ventures with other local businesses.

2: Client Acquisition

If this is your niche, you will work with individuals or organizations that deal with higher end clients. For example, investment advisors, lawyers, doctors and real estate agents.  The goal is to bring in more clients. In this realm, however, the tactics are quite different. Common tactics might include web advertising, PPC marketing, buying leads, and magazine or newspaper advertising.

3: Pay Per Click or SEO Consultant

In this area you will focus on the online aspect of marketing to help clients maximize their Pay per click (PPC) or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) returns.  Actually, markeitng consultants in this area usually specialize in either PPC or SEO but not both as these are very specialized skill sets. Clients can range from mom and pop stores to Fortune 500 companies.

4: Branding Advisor

If you work with brand marketing you will specialize in helping companies figure out their brand and core message.  You would help shape both the visual message as well as the intangible message.  A part of your job would be to help figure out things like logos, banners, posters and multimedia and help make sure that everything the company puts out adheres to a coherent message.

5: Social Media Consultant

As a Social media consultant you can help companies in a number of different ways.  You might  specialize in helping companies set up social media in the first place.  You help design Facebook covers and Twitter backgrounds, help register pages, help get a feed going and so on. They help take a company from no social media presence to having one.

Another focus might be to actually help run the social media campaigns.  You would take over the reins and post tweets, post status updates, run contests and create infographics.

Still another  specialty could be in crisis management.  With this specialty you will monitor the social media feeds and jump in to take care of things should negative press start spreading among the social sphere.

These are just five areas that are common in the marketing consultant industry.  You could find your specialty here or in one of many other new and useful areas that would be helpful to others in business.  Each area targets very different customers and uses very different skill sets. Make sure you know which category you fall into before you jump into the industry and you will be able to expect great success in this needed area of work.

Five Common Time Management Leaks and Mistakes

                           “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:”                                                                Ecclesiastes 3:1

Christian women realize that time is not something that can be adjusted.  There are only 24 hours in each day, no matter how much you have to get done.  Being a good time manager is often not about learning how to manage your time well; instead it’s about making sure you don’t make time management mistakes that cause stress and inefficiency in your life. These are five of the most common time management mistakes that people make, along with how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Not Setting Time Limits on Tasks

Some tasks can go over time by quite a lot. For example, let’s say you’re formatting a book to the Kindle format. At first, you might think it’s a piece of cake. But looking into it further, you realize there are all kinds of intricacies to the formatting process.

If you don’t have a time limit, you could easily spend hours and hours on the task, which detracts from your ability to get other things done.

For tasks that could go over time, set a strict time limit. At the end of the time, schedule another time to work on the task, but don’t let it take over your work day.

Mistake #2: Ignoring Not Urgent but Important Tasks

It’s easy to focus your attention on things that are urgent. For example, if the company’s server goes down, that’s extremely urgent and calls for everyone’s attention.

But people tend to ignore things that are important, but not urgent. For example, planning your ten-year goals. Or researching your next marketing tactic. Or networking with potential mentors. These tasks are important, but have no deadline.

Make sure to schedule some time for these tasks.

Mistake #3: Blaming Yourself When It’s Your Schedule

If you always feel like you’re not getting enough done, or if you’re regularly late on tasks, there’s a good chance it’s not your fault. It’s not you lacking in competence, nor your commitment. Instead, you may just have an unrealistically packed schedule.

Learn to say no to requests. Don’t stuff more into your schedule than you can realistically achieve.

Mistake #4: Thinking Busy Means Efficient

There’s a big difference between doing a lot of things and getting a lot done. People often force themselves to constantly be busy, even if they aren’t achieving a whole lot with all the commotion.

Focus instead on high leverage activities. Learn to delegate. Get as much done as possible by looking at your actual end results, not on how much time you spend working on a problem.

Mistake #5: Too Much Time in Meetings

Do you ever feel like you spend far too much time in meetings where not much gets accomplished? Chances are, you’re right.

In any given meeting, try to get clear on the purpose of the meeting. When the meeting starts, go straight for that purpose. Avoid chatting about topics that aren’t relevant. Everyone should leave the meeting with a clear sense of what they’re responsible for.

If timely meetings become a regular issue, set a time limit for your meetings.

If you avoid these five time management mistakes, you’ll likely be more efficient than the majority of your co-workers.

Are You Focused on Your Goal?

Are you a business woman who has written a solid, focused, measurable goal for your business?  Are the next steps you intend to take to meet your intentions and expetactions clear? In order to reach bold goals in your business you have to write ones that are specific, measuarable, attainable, reachable and timely.  This results in creating a SMART goal. With written goal setting a business woman knows what to reach for therefore it’s not a surprise where you end up because you plan the course of your steps. 
The Bible encourages a woman of faith to move forward with confidence; even if you don’t feel certain at all times on each step:  

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”  Philippains 3:13-14 (The Message).

If you haven’t written your goals what are you waiting for?  Do you have a vision of where you want to go?  Have you prayed about the direction of your business and life?  If the vision you see in your heart is beyond anything you would determine for yourself, it is a great God-sized vision waiting to be embraced. If the vision is a bit scary and overwhelming don’t back away.  Write it down so the vision is clear.  Turn the vision into a goal statement with SMART goals and keep your eye on the goal “where God is beckoning” the woman in business to go.

Top Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Fail

Every year thousands of businesses launch. Every year thousands of businesses fail. In fact, business experts say that one in five businesses will fail within just a few years of launch. The actual numbers are probably quite a lot higher. You don’t want to fail. You want to succeed. When you know why entrepreneurs fail, you can properly prepare for success. Here are the top reasons why entrepreneurs fail.

#1 Lack of research – It’s vitally important to make sure there’s a market for your business before you launch. You have to research both demand and supply. Who is providing the same products or service? What problem are you solving for people? Who are your prospects?

The research phase of launching a business is one of the most critical. Without proper research into supply and demand, you’re not going to be able to position your business successfully. Very few businesses succeed without solid initial research.

If you’re unsure how to research your business idea, talk to an expert. Get help. Speak to other entrepreneurs you trust. You don’t have to share your idea with others, but rather learn how to research your idea.

#2 They don’t understand their market – This also relates to research but it’s a different kind of research. Before you launch your business, it’s vital that you know exactly who you’re marketing to. Why? Because you need to position your product or service to meet their needs. If you don’t understand their needs, you may miss out on profits.

#3 They don’t understand cash flow – Cash flow is essential to survival. Actually, poor cash management is perhaps the most common reason for business failure. Entrepreneurs must create a budget. They have to be realistic about how much they expect to earn. And they must have a tight rein on their expenses. In order to pay the bills, you need to have cash coming in on a regular basis. Cash flow is essential to survival.

#4 An inability to market – Not everyone is a marketing genius. It’s important to realize that marketing is essential to success. If you don’t have a solid marketing plan, your business will not thrive. In business, the old “if you build it they will come” mentality just doesn’t work. If you don’t like or understand marketing, then hire someone who does.

#5 No business plan – Many people believe that a business plan is only necessary if you’re seeking funding. This is not true. In order to achieve your goals, it’s important to plan how you’re going to succeed. Your business plan is your road map to success. Don’t skip this important step.

Take heart and think positively. While one in five businesses fail, the others succeed. Research, plan, and understand your market. Commit to marketing and manage your accounts with solid accounting and cash flow management. You’re destined for success!

Why Referral Networking Is Everything

Referral networking is perhaps the best tactic to grow and sustain a business. Referral networking is the process of gaining referrals from friends, associates and satisfied customers. You work with other respected and quality companies to support each other to grow and prosper. It’s easy to implement and the results can last a lifetime.

Here’s why referral networking is everything to your business marketing plan:

#1 Referral networking is a testimonial from a trusted source. Think about who you would rather do business with. Would you rather do business with a company that was referred to you from a trusted friend or associate, or with a business you have no information about?

Chances are you’d rather do business with a company that was referred to you. Most people would. Why? Because it removes some of the risk of doing business. When you get a referral from a client, friend or associate, you’re getting a pre-qualified customer. Your work is half done.

#2 Referral networking offers a win-win situation. When you network with other companies to refer each other, you’re not only growing your business – you’re helping others grow theirs. There’s a tremendous satisfaction with this experience. Additionally, you begin to build a strong community of supporters. When you align yourself with a group of business owners all motivated to help each other succeed, powerful things can happen.

#3 Referrals open the door for long-term relationships. When a customer comes to you because you’ve been referred, they have a different attitude. They’re generally looking to establish a long-term relationship with you. When you can offer them a good customer experience, you have likely gained a customer for life. Referral networking is great for long-term success.

#4 Referral networking is inexpensive. It doesn’t cost you anything to earn a referral. It’s a free marketing tactic. That means the return on investment (ROI) is 100%. There are few, if any, other marketing tactics that have that ROI.

#5 Referral networking provides you with time. Instead of pounding on doors and looking for customers, they’re coming to you via referrals. This means you can spend your time making money and satisfying your existing customers. It’s a much more enjoyable and economical way to do business.

Referral networking only works if you provide a fantastic product or service. A good customer experience will help motivate every single customer you have to refer others. Word of mouth will spread and your business will continue to grow.