Heather Hobden from BHH ProgressAs business advisors, we spend our working lives where sometimes angels fear to tread – working with company owners on how to leverage greater profitability (and pleasure) from their businesses.

It’s both a privilege and a potential minefield, but we are what we are, so we take our own advice.

There are plenty of business advisors, consultants, coaches or whoever out there, ready and able to work at the turnaround end of the market. We don’t. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that work – we’ve done our fair share and earned our spurs on the battlefield. But what we do is focused at SME owners and leaders who are already doing well and are at the point where they can see that there is more they could achieve, recognising that it’s time for support. In other words, we have a clear target market.

So, in Koogar’s valuable space, why am I talking about business advice?  Simply, because what Koogar do is immensely valuable in the right time and the right place. I’m an enthusiastic (and occasionally quite good) clay pigeon shooter.  So my shotgun is useful – in the right place.  Not so popular in the supermarket!  In other words, the right tools in the right time and place.

And it’s the same with marketing – it’s an essential, valuable and flexible tool when used well and for clearly identified ends. And that’s where a lot of companies go off track. It’s too easy to call for marketing activity because sales are down.  But why are they down?  When did it start?  Are we sure of the causes?  Did our target market change?  Is our database dead on its feet?

Our strapline is Analyse, Act, Advance, and it applies to every area of a business.  So let’s take a look at how this applies to a company’s thinking on marketing…

Sales are down, or we want to increase sales for growth.

So, some key questions;

  1. Do we have clarity as to our target client base? Have we identified the client characteristics we do want, as well as the ones we don’t? (No point in working our socks off to service lots of clients who make us 10p each in profit, as opposed to a more select number who each give us £1,000 in profit.)
  2. Is our planned target base the same as the present client one, or is there a planned shift?
  3. Have we worked the numbers – how many extra clients can we deal with before we need additional staff and materials?
  4. Are we able to provide our marketing expert with lots of data and information on our target clients? This increases their ability to make a real difference. Of course, they’ll help with this, but they’ll be reassured and greatly helped by you knowing your own detail.

Once we can, robustly, answer yes to all of these, we’re ready to talk to the marketing experts. If not, we’re going to be shooting at the moon…..