Tag Archives: Business

Just measure it

Running a business has to be among the most stressful things you can do: you don’t always get to make all the decision but in the end you’re responsible for all the mistakes and somehow you still need to sleep at night.

I take the view that stress is caused by lack of information. (And if you think about it even if you have all the information you need today, you can never have perfect information about what will happen in the future.)

So it follows from this that the way to deal with stress is to get better information; find something to measure and measure it!

How do you choose what to measure?

Obviously just recording everything will not help: the key thing is to measure stuff that helps you build good business information to back up good decision making.

So the skill is to identify the right information that gives you an accurate picture if what’s going on. This is going to be specific to your business individually, but it will be based on a thorough understanding of what constitutes “good” – which sales or customers you target, how much output is reasonable.

This may sound pretty obvious: I’m an accountant and I think that more numbers are the answer!

In truth most businesses have more financial data than they not what to do with; probably causing more stress rather than helping. But knowing that you financials aren’t good enough doesn’t help you work out what to do differently. You need more detail to give you better information and this can radically change your perception of what’s going on too.

Last year I worked with a new restaurant who felt they needed to increase their marketing efforts because they were not attracting enough customers.

But when we looked at the figures that were available from the tills and booking systems we could see that they were getting more customers than they had expected but actually the spend per head was too low because of mistakes in menu pricing and too generous special offers. Also they were turning away diners on Friday and Saturday nights but struggling to get bookings at other times.

So the answer wasn’t a simple “Do more marketing” it was more nuanced; increasing some prices and focusing special offers on the times when they wanted more business.

This not only improved their sales numbers, but made more profit as well.

In our world of cloud based applications it is now becoming much easier to get access to information, although you still need to be clear about what presents useful, actionable messages and what just adds to the confusion.

The key thing is to work out what the information you are collecting says about what you need to do to drive your business forward; what to change but also what should stay the same.

It’s worth spending some time thinking about this, and if you need help get in touch to ask about a free information review.

Get more bang from your marketing bucks!

One of the underlying themes of the Food For Thought workshop was targeting efforts to make sure they provide good value for money.

In small businesses it often feels that life would be easier if only we had the budget/ resources/ personnel available to large competitors. However every business, large or small, has more opportunities than they have cash to invest in; there’s always competition for extra funding.

So it’s vital that marketing spend is targeted and planned to ensure that it delivers the best return.

At the workshop Hayley Reynolds of Devon based firm RAW Food & Drink PR & Marketing shared her advice for using PR to successfully promote food and drink businesses.

Hayley works with a huge array of iconic brands in this sector, and she used case studies from some of her recent clients to illustrate what has worked to get her clients the coverage they are looking for.

1. Know your target audience
Who is your ideal customer? Understand what they like about your product and where they shop, what they read, and potentially what other brands they are interested in.

This information allows you to select the right publications to reach those key customers and saves expensive mistakes from putting the right marketing in the wrong place.

2. Know your objective
Next, what response do you want from your marketing campaign? Again this helps to target your efforts in the right direction.

The example that Hayley gave was when a product is only available in a handful of west country outlets. A glorious review in The Sunday Times food supplement will not necessarily deliver the sales uplift that you might expect as the majority of readers will be unable to buy your product.

In this case local coverage, or a focus on trade press to attract additional stockists is a more effective use of your marketing budget.

3. Know the opportunity
Hayley showed us some of the success she’s had by carefully targeting the right publications with the right stories.

Carefully crafting a story that appeals to a magazine editor and will entertain their readership potentially allows them to find ways to promote your product without requiring fully paid advertising space.

The result of this is that your cost is lower and the marketing is likely to be more effective because the writer’s enthusiasm for the product will come across to the reader.

The key factor here is to understand who the readers of each publication are and how this compares to your target customer’s profile.

Taking time to work out where to put your marketing ultimately means you can make your marketing spend work harder for you.