Advice from Paul Chapman, owner of The 5-15 Marketing Company

What is the most important thing you have to do as a business owner? It’s a simple question with a simple answer: get and keep customers.

All the other things you do day to day are important, but without a steady stream of money coming in, you don’t have a business – you have an expensive hobby.

Sounds obvious? Yes, it is, but ask yourself this: how much time have you put aside today to solely focus on getting and keeping customers – or, as it’s better known, marketing?

The good news is there are loads of easy and cheap ways of taking control of your business’s future. Here, marketer 
Paul Chapman 
offers some tips:

Name your price

Running a business means you get to choose when you work, who for and how much you charge.

Whether you charge your time at £30 or £300 per hour, a universal truth is there are always people happy to pay either.

Lots of people will pay more if you offer them a premium service – busy people love their holidays but don’t have the time to book it all. They will happily pay a bit extra for your guidance. Some love it cheap and cheerful – they don’t want to pay more and won’t need any extra service.

The key point is there is money at either end of the market but the offering – not just the price – needs to be “right” for whoever you choose to target.

Think like a marketer

This is not just about doing more marketing, you have to think differently. The reality is you can’t significantly grow your business by being better at being a travel agent but you can through better marketing. If your thoughts are only ever trapped in the day-to-day work, you can never really grow your business.

Make time

If you don’t make specific time available to focus solely on your marketing, it won’t get done. It doesn’t need to be an onerous task. Just put some time aside first thing in the morning – 60 to 90 minutes is ideal – with no phone, no email and no distractions. Spend time on your marketing and you will be amazed at what you can achieve. Do this three or four times a week and you can change your business for ever.

Show your most important asset some love

Your most important asset is not you, it’s not your staff and it’s not really your customers – it’s your database. That is, your list of current and previous customers and anyone who has enquired about a holiday. All these people know you better than someone they have never spoken to before, which puts you in the better position to take money from them, and for them to be happy about it. But, importantly, you have to keep in touch with them.

Finally, remember, doing something rather than nothing will always get better results – it doesn’t need to be perfect!