It's party time. We’re celebrating 12 years of running a successful small business. This is an aha moment. It’s been such an integrated part of our life, Centerline Farm hardly seems like a business. It was built around a dream of living out in the “country”. Based on a passion for all things equestrian. Somehow it turned into a community of people who share a love of horses, the sport and the adventure.
Like many small business owners, at first, we were in way over our heads. The learning curve was ridiculously steep. We bootstrapped the farm, as we turned potential into reality. Sometimes it really sucked. Now, most of the time it’s simply great.
Here’s the point. Lots of businesses are a result of one’s avocation. However getting from that passion to a “day job” is a gigantic leap. For some, it never becomes full-time, and that’s OK. Regardless, to grow from avocation to successful occupation, the small business entrepreneur must start by doing these 5 things:
With some good luck, smart choices and lots of previous business experience we were able grow Centerline Farm into a profitable and fun business. We’ve downsized a bit – but it’s still a joy. And what I realize now, the most important thing is learning how to do this: Keep it real, be true to yourself, and live the moment.
Let’s get the party started.
The Year of Blogging Honestly: Day 3
I'm an avid Podcast listener - Fresh Air, BBC's Kermode & Mayo, Maron's WTF & anything Slate. A new favorite is The Gist with Mike Pesca - topical, short, & sweet. I especially liked the podcast from last week with author Stephen Dubner: "Freakonomics is Basically a Peanut Butter Cup". To paraphrase:
"...Working with Georganne, it took less then 2 hours to develop and start implementing a focused business plan. I’m thrilled that my investment paid for itself in less then a month! "
It's a blast to see clients have a major "Aha!" moment. Like when they see the benefits of targeted marketing campaigns vs. hit & miss activities. While concentrating on the day-to-day aspects of running their business, the basics of effective marketing are often overlooked. My own Aha moment was remembering to drink my own champagne. As I was developing consulting services to offer Tiger Team Marketing clients, I put them in practice myself.
One result was the development of a simple program that leads Tiger Team clients through the process of mapping out their marketing strategy: " One-Page . Two-Hours . Five-steps". By focusing on business and marketing best practices, I provide a a framework that guides clients through common discovery & planning exercises:
1. Deciding their business & marketing goals
2. Describing their customers
3. Defining their products
4. Developing a marketing plan
5. Doing it: setting a budget, creating a specific set of activities & deliverables, determining a timeline
Typically we begin with a Kick Start coaching session that helps the client take an outside-in view of their company. This builds a framework for the marketing conversation they want to have with their customers. From there we brainstorm on the strategy & plan. After the coaching session, the client is likely to engage with Tiger Team for implementing the plan in a way that best suits their needs.
It's a great journey as I continue to drink the champagne & go through my own 5-steps, making continual improvements along the way. Check out the Tiger Team website, updated to create more focus on the small business market. Another step towards achieving my own business goals. Let me know what you think!
Georganne Benesch is the principal of Tiger Team Marketing, CMO of Centerline Farm and a over zealous Yoga practitioner. With 25+ years in high-tech product marketing, she consults for start-ups, small businesses and technology companies.