Is Learning Part of Your Marketing Budget?

Why workshops can save you money in the long run.

The learning curve for most entrepreneurs in a start up is quite steep. Why? Because even when it’s not your first trip to the ‘Trep Rodeo, you’ve still got things to learn. One of the biggest things to learn is marketing. Especially when you are a staff of one and your budget is limited. Since marketing is the main thing that brings you business, then learning about it should be in your budget from day one.

After doing a bit of research, I’ve found that all business sites agree: you don’t have a business if you aren’t marketing it. Why? Because marketing brings in customers and customers keep your business going. Sounds simple right? Well unless you’ve either opened a marketing business or happen to come to entrepreneurship with a marketing background, it’s not as simple as you think. And not knowing how to properly market your business and use your allocated marketing budget properly will waste time, money and opportunity.

The Small Business Chronicle estimates that calculating your marketing budget is best done by using a percentage of your gross revenue to determine what your budget should be. Don’t have any revenue yet? Then use your projected revenue and build marketing in to your start up costs. For example:

Projected revenue of $75,000 x 4% of that revenue = $3,000/year 

So how much is that per month? $250. That’s it. What’s better is that a lot of the tools that you can use in marketing are free. Yup – FREE. That could free up a lot of your budget for the one thing you might not have: the knowledge to use those tools successfully. After all, if you are going to allocate valuable revenue to growing your business shouldn’t you maximize the ROI?

This is where workshops come in. Not only do they provide you with some of the knowledge necessary to complete basic marketing tasks but they give you an opportunity to test drive the professionals whose services you may end up needing. They also provide you with the ability to have a more productive conversation with those professionals if you decide to go ahead and use their services. If you have no idea what might be involved in marketing for your business, it’s a lot more work for the professional to educate you before they make recommendations that you can understand and be willing to fund.

Workshops can run from free to the thousands. I’ve certainly looked at my share at the higher end of the price spectrum and thought, “Wow – I can’t afford that.” But when I look at the tools necessary to make my business a success, I know I can’t afford not to. Either from being able to do it myself or making sure I connect with the right professional for the job.

So here’s my marketing message: there are workshops that are beneficial for your business and are in your budget. At My Office Canada currently offers workshops that focus on developing the skills of entrepreneurs and small business owners and does so with an eye on your budget.  From free to individually priced by the provider, all are affordable, accessible and provided by vetted professionals that I’ve worked with. Oh yeah – I happen to own At My Office Canada as well. But if you think that means I’ve got double the budget to market with, well, that’s definitely NOT the case.

What I do know is that it’s doubly important for me to make every marketing dollar count. Being a staff of one and having to promote two businesses means I REALLY know what it’s like to maximize my return on investment and my goal is to make sure you get the best value possible, either from a blog post that I write or a workshop that I offer. And that’s something I’ve known since day one.

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