Small businesses can take advantages that a marketing consultant can bring by controlling commitment and costs
I know what it is like to run a small business. I am the Managing Director and the Marketing Director of a small engineering company. I know just how difficult it can be to control costs and just how important it is to maintain a healthy cash flow. In the early days, I had tough decisions to make and I had to balance the needs of the company against the interests of the Bank Manager.
This was particularly true when it came to securing the competencies that we needed. For instance, we had to establish an IT network, but we didn’t have the in-house expertise to set one up or maintain it. There was no way that we could afford to employ an IT expert – even on a part-time basis – so we had to look at buying in just what we needed, when we needed it.
That is the role of a consultant. Nowadays, my engineering company largely runs itself. The rest of the team look after day-to-day affairs and I maintain oversight, allowing me to free up time for my passion – marketing. I have a number of private clients who use my services on a wholly flexible basis. With some, I have regular input whilst with others, I serve their needs only when they need my advice. The clients in question use me as their ‘de facto’ marketing function and the flexibility this provides safeguards their financial security.
For small companies requiring a marketing consultant in Reading, Newbury or Swindon, or anywhere in Berkshire for that matter, I represent a fully flexible, affordable solution to their marketing needs, without them having to make the commitment that comes with employing a marketing manager. It suits them and it suits me. I am proud to have helped these companies grow.
For many of my clients, I have been there when they have taken the first tentative steps towards sustainable growth. It is not just about their marketing strategy – which is key to everything they do. I have helped them with the tactical delivery too. I have helped clients design and optimise their website, designed and produced their sales sheets and catalogues, organised their participation at trade shows for the first time, and helped them find and set up overseas distributors.
But as well as the marketing, I have helped them professionalise and streamline how they operate. I have helped them move from spreadsheets to proper CRM systems, training them in their optimal use and tailoring the systems to their particular needs. I have sorted their cash flow organisation, their credit control, their payroll, advised on ISO accreditation – anything that an experienced managing director can impart to make their businesses smarter.
So, what should you be looking for in a Marketing Consultant? I would advise that you ask the following questions:
Can I afford Marketing?
The answer is simple. Can you afford NOT to market your business? If you are wondering why your business is not as healthy as you would like, then maybe you need to market it, properly. And by the way, not marketing your business is exactly what your competitors are hoping you will do. If marketing didn’t work, nobody would do it.
Can I afford the commitment of a marketing employee?
If you feel this is too much of a stretch, you should be thinking of bringing in a flexible and affordable Marketing Consultant. In my case, I offer services that the client tailors to their needs. As much or as little time as they need, and in line with the budget they want to devote to their marketing. Then, as time goes by, they have the flexibility to increase what they do and what they spend.
What should my Marketing Consultant look like? The ideal marketing consultant should have:
Experience – Qualifications are all well and good, but nothing beats experience. If they have qualifications, they should have a minimum of a level 6 Chartered Institute of Marketing Diploma (equivalent to a degree) or better still, Chartered Marketer status.
Wider Business Savvy – Do they know what it is like to run a real business? Do they understand the pressures that small businesses experience on a day to day basis? Have they got business skills beyond the confines of marketing?
Flexibility – Many marketing consultants demand a time-commitment from their clients. It may work well for them, but you need to be in charge. Find one that allows you to tailor their service to your needs.
Passion & Creativity – Do they understand (and love) your business, can they think creatively, are they organised, knowledgeable, outgoing, connected and possessed with common sense?
Plain-speaking and well-written – Marketing is all about communicating ideas. If the consultant cannot speak plainly or write clearly, then how can they help you to communicate with the wider world?
The benefits for those companies I have worked with are clear. The most important of these is increased profitability. Not just increased revenue, but thanks to the cost-effective manner in which I approach my work, and the great return on investment my clients receive, it is profitability that is increased. Marketing works. If it didn’t, people wouldn’t bother.
For those looking for a marketing consultant in Reading, or Newbury or Swindon, I can provide them with a service that is flexible and affordable (as well as all of the above qualities). For a free initial consultation, contact me on 07902 290165 or email me on email@example.com. Alternatively, you can use the contact page by following this link.