Bowl of Spaghetti Theory Wastes Time and Focus for Small Biz

BowlofSpaghettiThere are so many ways to market your business today, mostly thanks to the Internet.  Chris Nastav has made some great points on Small Business Daily about many of these online networking opportunities and, I agree, that many have become quite a fad.  One that has some business owners spending hours a day simply managing their social networks and not their business.

I truly believe in face-to-face networking and have been doing it since I started my business nearly eight and half years ago.   I was so intensely focused that I would be off to some kind of networking event every day, even spending some days at a breakfast, lunch and happy hour.   Then came the social networking sites and everyone and their dog was all over each and every one of them.   I was exhausted and took a step away from it all and what I realized was that I was taking the “bowl of spaghetti theory” to networking – this is the complete and total antithesis of what I preach about marketing.

Instead of being targeted with my time and energy by attending events and utilizing social networks that would, well, work for me, I was flinging everything I had in about 10 different directions – much like taking a bowl of spaghetti, throwing it up on the wall and seeing what sticks.

What I was doing was wasting a lot of time.  Since then, I’ve knocked myself down to only attending key events with key organizations and knocked my social networking focus down to four top sites.  (Seriously, who are these people who have ALL DAY to do this?)

I use the networking approach here because it’s something everyone can understand.  You’re in such a hurry to drive business that you aren’t being targeted or probably even all that effective.

Networking is one of the best ways to market your business, but unfortunately so many small businesses take this same approach in their overall marketing.  Small business owners think they should be advertising so they do…every where they can but fail to reach their audience and say what they need to say.  This carries over to direct mail, direct email, branding, public relations and even utilization of social networks.

Here are some things to ask yourself and discover how effectively you’re marketing and running your business.

  • Take a step back – make a list of everything you’re doing to market your business.  Now cross off the ones that have not yielded any kind of return whatsoever.
  • Define where your customers are – What networking groups/organizations are they part of?  What media do they read? Make a list of who your customer is; really define them in every way.  It will lead you closer to them.
  • Define what it is about your business that customers should be interested in. Make a list and begin to develop brand statements that quickly and concisely communicate to your customers; create interest.  These should be used in every marketing element you utilize.  In public relations we call them key messages. In networking it’s your elevator pitch.
  • How can you position yourself and your business utilizing 30 minutes to one hour a day and two additional hours a week on networking? Remember, you have a business to run and your time is precious.
  • Finally, take hold of your marketing opportunities by outlining time each day to commit to creating interest and awareness in your business. Make sure it’s targeted, communicates your business effectively and reaches your target audience.

When you really tighten your target audience you will become much more effective in generating sales and business.  Example:  If I advertise or get publicity in a health-oriented publication for my (hypothetical) organic food business I’m more likely to increase sales and fast.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Don’t stretch yourself too thin and get caught up in what you think you should be doing, or what trends seem to saying you should do.  Zero in on what works for your business.  Put time and energy where your customers are and they will find you.  Your business will become successful because you put effort into being focused, targeted, efficient and effective.

Jennifer Fortney, Cascade Communications and SmallBizPRMadeEasy.com

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  1. […] You’re using the much hated “Bowl of Spaghetti Theory” when it comes to PR.  You think more press releases are better and you just spam it to everyone […]



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