Sigh! It can be incredibly frustrating to feel like the vision you have for your business is moving excruciatingly slow. You have zillions of brilliant marketing strategies. The problem is there is never enough time in your day to execute or manage it all especially without a marketing team
I have found the biggest cause is from something called the Marketing Strategy Execution Gap. You need more soldiers on the ground to deploy multiple marketing strategies to free you up to shine as Chief Visionary. You need a marketing team.
You probably already tried outsourcing to a marketing agency only to be disappointed with the results. According to digital.com, 76% percent of small business owners report facing marketing challenges.
The core challenges of marketing fall into these 5 areas:
Generating traffic and leads
Training your team to generating traffic and leads
Lack of resources (budget / people / time)
Hiring talented people
I mean, starting a business is hard enough. Can’t leads just come you? You have a great business idea, right? You should be overwhelmed with leads, right?
After All, There are amazing musicians who, based on their genius of talent, should be worldwide superstars. But instead, they starve and struggle for decades because they were never ‘discovered’ by record labels who can market the heck out of them.
Your genius business idea is no different. Doing all the marketing yourself should no longer be an option.
As the visionary, how will you close that ‘Marketing Strategy Execution Gap’?
Option 1: Outsource your marketing to a bunch of freelancers or to a marketing agency.
Option 2: Hire your own in-house marketing team.
Which is better for you? …
I’ve rounded up 10 small business entrepreneurs to weigh in with their opinion on this decision. Find out the pros and cons they have experienced with outsourcing vs hiring an in house marketing team. At the end I will also share my own experience from everything I have tried over 26 years of being an entrepreneur to help you make a more informed decision for yourself.
Ambroise de La Gorce shares, “Outsourcing and in-house marketing both have their pros and cons. Each option can be better than the other in different situations depending on numerous factors, including type of management, marketing tools used, sprints management, business stage.
In my opinion, outsourcing at the very beginning of the business can offer more flexibility. Recruiting in-house is necessary when the product/market fit is validated, to give more stability to the business. Then outsourcing 20% of the team or so when scaling the business can be interesting to gather the resources we can hardly find on-site.”
Kerry Maybank shares, “I mostly do my own marketing, but I have team members that are great at marketing and create more of the significant pitch documents for us. I also have gotten free advertising by doing interviews with the media.
My company does not have employees. We have team members. People come onboard with exceptional talents in particular areas of the business that significant interest at the time. Sometimes we provide equity if the need is that great or we barter and provide their companies something in return based on our expertise. It keeps costs down, and creates mutually beneficial relationships, while increasing the exposure of our firm.”
David Shares, “We keep our marketing in-house because it allows us to harness our own data and learn to understand how our customers interact with our business. Combining marketing customer data, building segments, and then activating those segments in your communication is something that really draws growth.”
Peter Shares, “You need both. You need in house because no matter how much you pay an outside agency or group of freelancers, no one will care about your business or know your products/services better than you and your staff. However, there is so much to manage and oversee that you need outside agencies that specialize in the various verticals.”
Mark Walerysiak Jr. shares, “I’m early stage, and do all the marketing myself (at the moment). I could see the benefit of outsourcing particular tasks related to content / SEO. The more weedy stuff. But when it comes to telling compelling on-brand stories I would prefer to have someone inside the team and as close to the product as I am. When you eat, sleep, and breathe a product (and not worrying about other clients), you can communicate much more passionately about it in just about any form, and I think the audience can pick up on that. So the preference would be in-house if it’s doable.”
Laurie shares, “Our marketing needs are managed with both internal and external resources. Our internal team has a great deal of experience in marketing and PR – so we can typically tap into our own knowledge and experience for basic initiatives like drafting corporate communications and pitches, social media posts, email marketing, etc. We outsource for marketing tactics outside of our areas of expertise, or if our bandwidth is tight – such as more complex social media campaigns, SEO and digital advertising.”
Gary Shares, “I’ve always done my marketing in-house. I’ve only worked in or ran marketing companies, so outsourcing my marketing would be really weird, lol.
The one piece of advice I would give entrepreneurs that feel weary about or otherwise unable to fully carry out marketing duties, still be involved. As a consultant, part of my job is to learn as much about my client’s brand as possible because the person or people leading the business know the most about their brand. I can help a client focus. I can help a client develop. However, no one can create someone else’s brand on their own.”
Staci shares, “As a new one-woman consultancy, I’m doing it all right now — marketing and business development as well as everything else involved in the business!
Honestly, while that requires more time and effort from me, I think it actually helps build trust and is part of my business values. With me, it’s personal, and my clients know that they can trust Blue Moss for personal dedication and utmost quality.”
Keith Kirkpatrick Principal & Founder of 4K Research & Consulting
I have done all three options throughout my 26 year journey owning 4 different businesses. I once did all the marketing myself. But I quickly found that not to be the best use of my time as the Chief Visionary and Strategist. Just because I know how to do the marketing, doesn’t mean I should be the primary person executing it all. So, then I spent many years outsourcing to freelancers.
While it’s a good choice for one time projects, the danger is you end up spending way too much time vetting and project managing freelancers, which prevents you from acting as the Chief Visionary and Strategist. The other common pitfall with outsourcing is the temptation to hire the lowest priced freelancer. Like with anything else … you get what you pay for.
You risk super sloppy mistakes and oversights that cost you your brand’s reputation. Here’s an example a realtor friend of mine forwarded me. She subscribed to be on an email list from a marketing provider in her industry … to her surprise here’s what the email read:
My realtor friend was so confused! …. Here she thought she was signing up to let this marketing company do her social media posts and email marketing for her. Instead of getting info about the done for you marketing services she was expecting, an email template and an email from a weight loss company came instead. Certainly people do make mistakes. But, when you outsource to the cheapest provider, sloppy mistakes just seem to occur in high frequency.
Marketing is not a mindless task any monkey can do.
When I exhausted my patience for chronic sloppy mistakes from outsourced VA’s and freelancers I decided to let go the reigns and hired a marketing agency to take care of it all A-Z. I hoped outsourcing the majority of my marketing to an agency would remove the project managing off my plate.
I hired Several different agencies, but in each experience I didn’t see the ROI to renew. Instead, I discovered the project managers who were assigned to me were skilled at project managing (which is a good thing), but so many critical details got missed because they weren’t skilled enough in all things marketing. [CONTEXT] There are many great marketing agencies out there who have highly skilled marketers as project managers, but these agencies are often geared to Enterprise size clients, not so much for the SMB community.
What I do now, and my advice to other SMB’s (small-medium business owners) is the 70-20-10 mix.
70% of our core marketing is done in-house
20% is outsourced (one time projects or a specialty area we don’t have in house yet)
10% still is done by me (like recording videos, giving interviews)
I finally found the key to taking project managing off your plate as a small business owner is to make sure the project manager is a well trained Full Stack Marketer.
Ok … there you have it. You just heard from 11 of us about our experiences and opinions on whether it’s better to outsource your marketing or hire your own in-house marketing team.
Whether you decide to outsource or hire in house, the next set of decisions you’ll need to make are things like:
Who should you hire first?
What’s the going rate for this and that?
What is the best marketing strategy they should be implementing for your business?
Where can you go to find marketers who know what they’re doing?
What should you look for when hiring your marketing person/team?
My answer to all of the above questions is this:
I would answer all of these questions differently depending on each unique business owner, bandwidth, budget and brand. If you want to get clarity on best way for you to eliminate the marketing strategy execution gap in your business why not take me up on my free offer? For a limited time, I am offering a FREE 45 Minute Strategy Call to help you work through this.
FREE THE WIZARD
Click the link below and Eliminate Your Marketing Strategy Execution Gap!
QUESTION: What other questions would you add to the list of 5 above? Share your comments and questions below.
You need a quality team behind you if you want to find success in this day and age. There’s no such thing as a one-man show. If your team of small business employees isn’t doing what you want to them to do, it’s easy to get frustrated. Small business is big business. Small businesses with less than 100 workers account for over 98% of all small businesses, and that means your team matters more than ever.
When your team doesn’t do what you want, you don’t have a team problem. As much as it hurts to admit, you likely have a leadership problem. Before you blame yourself, take some time to reassess the situation. Learning how to be a great leader is all part of mastering how to start a business. All hope is not lost. There are many things you can do to get your small business team back on track for success.
1. Hire the Right Employees
If you’re noticing a trend in dissatisfaction amongst your current employees, you might not be hiring the right people to begin with. It’s worth being choosy with your team members in this era. When you hire the wrong people for the job, they don’t enjoy the work they do, and you won’t be impressed with their results.
Remember that the most experienced employee might not be the best fit. You’ll need to weigh things like company culture, expectations, and experience level when making a decision about who to hire. In addition, make sure you’re presenting your company and the role accurately. The internet job platforms are full of poorly described positions which will only lead to more confusion.
2. Improve Employee Happiness
How are your employees responding to their daily work environment? Is it full of stress, confusion, and dissatisfaction? If so, you need to reevaluate employee happiness. While nobody should expect to have a fun, exciting day at work (at least, not all of the time), that doesn’t mean it can’t be a satisfying, stress-free place to be.
There are new ways to improve employee happiness that don’t cost you a thing. The first is simply delegating work effectively. When employees feel they’re reasonably able to handle their daily tasks, they perform better. We’ve all dealt with the stress of not being able to meet deadlines and requirements.
Finally, one reason your team might not be doing what you want them to do is because they’re spending too much time on inefficient tasks. So many of our workplace practices today can be automated thanks to new technology. Yet, so many small businesses, in particular, are still holding onto the older ways of doing things. The older way tends to take longer, be inefficient, and wastes valuable time.
Your employees likely know more about these inefficient tasks than you, and they should be your first line of defense for solving these problems. Your employees time is valuable. How much of it is going to waste doing things that could be automated or skipped altogether?
Conduct regular team meetings to discover if there are any areas you could invest in automation, artificial intelligence, or modern solutions. The cost of implementing these programs likely will be more than worth it in the long run.
Your business needs strong leadership that pays attention to your employee’s mindset and feelings. These tips above help you put your small business team first so you can get more done together. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-do stress of being a small business leader, so taking the time to notice where your employees need support is key.
Even just taking the initial steps to bridge these gaps in communication will go a long way to repairing employee morale. Your employees want to do their best. Make sure they’re in a position for finding the most success.
QUESTION: What is 1 key aha you’ve had from thinking through these 4 tips? Share your comments and questions below.
Let’s face it, onboarding new employees and training them can be a pain for everyone, but it doesn’t have to be. At the end of the day, both the company and employee would like the new hire to be able to get to work sooner.
However, employees’ success at the company often relies on their level of confidence and competency that only a proper onboarding experience can provide.
Once you have the right people on the teamthe list of employee onboarding best practices below will help you get the best of both worlds:
Onboarding Tip #1. Utilize Micro Learning
According to Stephen Baer, Head of Creative Strategy and Innovation at The Training Arcade, microlearning is a unique training technique that companies can implement in order to help employees retain what they have learned.
This is important, according to a concept known as Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve, which describes the way people tend to forget what they have learned after 30 days when no effort is made to retain the new information.
Case in point — I was videotaping my son’s high school soccer games all season, but then did not use the camcorder over the summer months. After my 90 day hiatus I somehow forgot how to delete old videos. It took a half a dozen tries for me to jog my memory.
So, when you’re onboarding new employees microlearning serves as a solution to this problem, as it relies on a series of small learning modules designed to offer employees a more effective way to retain information.
Onboarding Tip #2. Help New Employees Feel Connected to the Company
In a recent article for Inc. Magazine, James Sudakow, author of ‘Picking the Low-Hanging Fruit … and Other Stupid Stuff We Say in the Corporate World,’ writes about the importance of helping new employees feel connected to the company during their onboarding program. This is foundational for creating high performing teams.
Sudakow notes that one of the primary reasons employees decide to leave a company within the first year of being hired is due to a misalignment of expectations. However, this can be prevented by ensuring that the employee feels a strong connection with the company from the beginning. This means linking the onboarding process with the company’s values, and implementing ways in which new employees can build relationships within the company.
Onboarding Tip #3. Give New Employees Space and Time to Acclimate
Generally speaking, most new employee onboarding experiences are overwhelming, both for the new employee and the company. Negative onboarding experiences can leave a lasting negative impression of the company in the eye of the new employee. Not too mention, providing the new employee a boring day of filling out paperwork and reviewing the employee handbook can lead to information overload.
Give new employees their training materials and employee handbook before their first day, so they can spend some time looking them over and getting comfortable with their job expectations before they arrive.
Allow new employees time to get comfortable in their new work space.
Space the onboarding experience out over time.
Get creative and gamify the onboarding experience to make it less boring.
Provide the new employee with a mentor, coach, or go-to person who they can feel comfortable approaching with questions.
Onboarding Tip #4. Go Digital to Make Onboarding Efficient
A recent article published by the Human Capital Institute notes that a good onboarding process should get new employees engaged with their work as quickly as possible. In 2018, achieving this means relying on digital tools which make the onboarding process more efficient.
Today there are various tools in existence which help place important information in an easily accessible digital location that all employees can reference, while other digital tools provide easy ways to craft tutorials and onboarding lessons. Still, some digital tools offer ways to make paperwork signing a breeze.
A successful new hire onboarding process leads to better employee retention and performance. Therefore, it’s important to spend some time thinking about your existing onboarding process to ensure that it is as good as possible. We hope these innovative best practices are helpful in assisting you with designing an up-to-date and highly successful new hire onboarding process.
Be sure to download my free checklist on Creating High Performing Teams here:
QUESTION: What is your #1 biggest frustration when you are training new employees for your business? Share your comments and questions below.
Everything I learned in life, I have learned from pain. I have learned nothing from (success) and pleasure.” @RickWarren Don’t waste your pain …
A painful time in my life as an #entrepreneur was having to put out fires from the hospital bed. My office manager/production manager really showed her true colors when I was in labor with my 3rd child in 2004. She couldn’t handle the stress of an upcoming 1,000 person event we were producing and threatened to quit on the spot if I didn’t put out the fires that were happening.
I made the crazy mistake of actually taking her calls in between contractions 😳 which led to me giving bad directions, causing more problems, as I was not clear headed at all. 😦
To make things worse, she actually walked into my hospital room and dumped a pile of urgent paperwork for me to fix, giving me an ultimatum of quitting on the spot.
I was taken by total shock 😱 at how she was handling this, especially since my previous managers never acted this way when I had my first two children.
I was angry. 😡 😡 I felt completely robbed 😩 of enjoying even one day with my newborn. But, there was a lot riding on this event and no one in the wings who could replace her immediately.
So, there I was lying in my hospital bed, working to put out the fires because I wasn’t willing to risk the negative impact of potentially taking a $400,000 loss if I didn’t step in.
The key lessons I learned that day was:
➡ Never assume someone will make a good manager just because they were a good worker bee.
➡ Always have a 2nd string who is trained as a backup.
➡ Never make yourself the backup.
➡ Always get a personality assessment done prior to choosing your managers to validate you have the right people in the right seats.
➡ Always update your team’s job description with clearly written expectations. (yeah, my mistake that year … the production manager part never got updated in her written job description)
I hope you’ll apply these lessons in your business and avoid the painful consequences I had to endure.
QUESTION: WHAT WAS A DIFFICULT CHALLENGE or PAINFUL TIME IN YOUR BUSINESS THAT YOU LEARNED THE MOST FROM❓ –– please share your comments below.
Don’t waste your pain … share a key lesson you learned to help others.
The backbone of a great business is the people working hard to make it a success.
If you’re a ‘one man band’ looking to expand your services, you may have the capital and experience to know what you need from a ‘dream team,’…but you may not be 100% sure on how to go about finding them.
This post will run through a seven-point checklist for hiring your dream team to help you ace your search and hiring Dream Team.
#1. Define The Role
Whether it’s your first hire as an entrepreneur or your 20th, taking on new staff always presents challenges. As CEO, it is your job to ensure that you make the right choice with your new candidate, as you could potentially lose out on profits once you factor in the cost of advertising, recruitment, administration, and so on.
First, make a list of all the core competencies you need from the new hire. If you are relatively new to the business, this may mean that you would be looking for someone with a range of talents. Or, at least someone who is willing and quick to learn, provided they excel within certain areas, e.g. sales.
If you’re more established, you may be looking for a highly skilled team member to carry out niche processes. A ‘jack of all trades,’ in these cases, may not be such a good fit. Conduct lots of research by looking at advertisements for similar job roles in other companies, taking note of the going rates of pay, qualifications, years of experience, etc.
If you are looking for a particular task, like a website build or social media management, you can avoid taking on a full-time marketer and instead break up these duties into discrete tasks, projects, and contracts. Find a suitable remote worker from Upwork or PeopleByTheHour to do the jobs instead, saving you a lot of money.
#3. Define Your Values
To ensure that the new hire fits in with your company culture, you will first need to explain in clear terms what your company cultureis.
Go back to your original business plan and forecasts for the next few years. and identify the traits you need to help you achieve the vision you have for your business.
#4. Define The Behavioral Attributes
Recruiters use psychometric tests to help them match the best personality types to varying job roles. Every company’s requirements will be different, even if the positions perform the same function.
Many of us have heard of the Myers-Briggs personality test, but for recruiters, this personality test reveals little about a candidate’s employability. A test called The Big Five is preferred over Myers-Briggs because it provides more insight on a person’s negative traits.
‘The Big Five’ can be tested in different ways. However, they work by giving people a score on the high-low scales of:
The language of these terms can seem alarming. However, it is important to remember that for certain roles, things like high agreeableness may not prove so useful (in negotiation roles, for example). Building a good sales team takes time and dedication — don’t be rushed into hiring ‘green’ salespeople as your profitability will plummet.
#5. Shortlisting Candidates
Once you have crafted your job role and defined your company values and key personality traits, it’s time to advertise and start the process of selecting candidates.
Prioritize your list of skills and behavioral attributes and give each of your potential candidates a score.
Once you have made your list for interview, decide how you’re going to assess their capabilities effectively. You may want to consider:
Interviews in front of a panel, or in groups
In-tray exercises where you give interviewees a task to complete representing one of their core competencies
Presentations (if you’re recruiting for a sales or marketing role)
It’s recommended that you find out as much as you can about the candidate’s previous roles, and it’s also worth snooping around on social media to get a feel for them.
#6. Successfully Onboard The New Hire
Hiring your dream team doesn’t end when you draw-up their contract. It is commonly believed that it takes around 90 days to get your new hire up-to-speed and working productively.
Providing a thorough training and onboarding process takes time and careful planning.
Make training manuals, record video tutorials of ‘on-screen’ processes and provide all you can regarding automated tools to help them reduce time and error in mundane tasks.
You can find a range of automated solutions for every industry, things like:
Plugins that can schedule social media posts, blog content, and inventory, all through your online storefront — train staff once, and you won’t have to keep asking them to do the same, mundane tasks
Financial automation tools can manage bookkeeping and accounts, generate invoices automatically, calculate sales tax, etc.
Chatbots and automated customer order tracking systems can streamline customer service tasks
RFID sensors and automated health and safety compliance software can be utilized for manufacturing and supply chain services
…the list is ever-growing and investing in new technologies, as well as staff, will help your business grow.
#7. Motivate Your Team Members
Once you have introduced your new staff and systems into the mix, it is down to you as a boss to do your best to provide a positive and productive place of work.
Do bear in mind and plan financially for your staff to leave, or for their jobs to ‘expire’ as time goes on. As a business owner with a company on the rise, the skills you need in the beginning may not be as useful to you as time goes on.
Also, plan for your company culture to change and diversify in terms of personality fit, as the number of roles and operational complexity increase.
QUESTION: What’s your best tip (or question) on hiring great candidates? Share in the comments box below.