Do you Exercise your Business like your Body?
Being a squash player for many years, I’m no stranger to exercise. And, to supplement my squash and improve my fitness, I’ve recently taken to the gym and spinning. There’s no doubt that, whilst I ache a bit (age and maybe overdoing it), my energy levels have soared. At over 50, it takes some effort and discipline to keep old bones going and to prevent midlife excesses from reaching my midriff. I find that the boost I get from physical activity benefits all aspects of my life. But, this is not a blog about exercise per se. It’s more about exercise as a metaphor.
This new form of exercise (for me at least), set me thinking while I was on the cross-trainer. We had a challenging recession. Despite the obvious need to drive new business and retain current clients, our customers ran scared. Those large corporations that turned off the tap, ensured that many of our longstanding customers bolted everything down and either ran for the hills or locked up what money they had and kept it for a rainy day.
Despite fears relating to Brexit, those days have largely gone and our business has grown significantly since those tougher times. But what has this got to do with exercise, you might ask? Well, my question is ‘what energises your business?’ Who are the people that make it fizz? Where does the impetus for change and growth come from? Which elements of your marketing will propel your business forward? If there is no forward momentum, how will you grow?
We took some important actions following the recession and looked to energise and revitalise pretty much every aspect of our business. Just a few of the steps we took included:
- Analysing competitor offerings and price and our own price positioning
- Looking at what customers valued and what elements were unnecessary
- Enhancing reporting and communication
- Considering how we structured and ran campaigns
- Staffing and especially what we needed to move forward
- Marketing and, in particular, where we deployed our efforts for sustainable growth
- Changing our CRM system to enhance productivity
It has taken a while but consistent focus and effort have paid off. From a marketing standpoint, we decided that we needed to get onboard the social media train and provide content that the search engines would like in order for them to rank us. Historically, we’d languished on Page 3 or lower.
Nowadays, we spend time every week writing blogs like these. We now have over 270 blogs on our site on topics surrounding lead generation, telemarketing and social media. We produce videos each month and have recorded podcasts and designed Infographics that could be interesting for our website visitors. As a consequence, we have a favourable ranking on the search engines, regularly on Page 1, that bring us excellent sales leads that we have converted. That’s because when we receive new leads, our offering is more compelling. And when we run campaigns, we are in a much better position to deliver that means longer campaigns and customer retention.
But, did that happen overnight? The reality is that we’ve been consistently evaluating what we do over several years. We’ve been producing blogs and other content on a weekly and monthly basis for 4 or more years. It has taken constant effort to get to a position where we reap the benefits.
We often explain to clients that lead generation, certainly at more senior-level and higher value sales, is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to be fit to get to the finishing line and it takes time and practice. I love the old golf expression ‘The harder you practice, the luckier you get.’ It takes patience and hours of effort.
Business is very much like exercise. The challenge for many people is where to start and mustering sufficient conviction to take the first step. It seems like a mountain to climb. Then, all too often, business owners and managers give up too soon before they reach the summit. It’s a bit like the New Year’s resolution to get fit. You join the gym on 1 January and by 15 January, the desire to continue has all but evaporated.
We didn’t suddenly hit nearly 300 blogs overnight. But, it started with the first one and then became a habit. It works for us so we make sure that we continue on the treadmill. But, it wasn’t until year 2 that it even started to drive visitor numbers that, in turn, ultimately generated sales leads. We could have abandoned the strategy at any time during that period.
Whatever habits you need to break or begin to energise your business, it starts right now. Stop putting it off. Spend the time necessary to propel your business forward. Make decisions and take actions that will benefit the long-term.
As a final aside, there’s definitely a correlation between fitness of mind and body and there is definitely a link between the mental and physical energy you have personally and what you can achieve within your business. So, go on. Don’t wait for the dregs of mulled wine and the last of the Christmas turkey before you get up off the sofa. Go and do some exercise today. You’ll feel better for it. I promise.
GSA helps businesses become more effective in their marketing and business development. We run outbound telemarketing campaigns and also, with our experience, guide companies through the maze of marketing choices. We help them make the best choice and spend their budget wisely. If you’d like to know more, give us a call.