In my early years as an entrepreneur, a wise mentor taught me about the “just enough” principle. “An entrepreneur’s to-do list is endless,” she said. “If you ever want to be able to work less than 60 hours a week, you need to figure out how much of anything is just enough.”
The one area of entrepreneurship that probably generates the longest to-do list is marketing. When you think of all the ways you could potentially market your business, and compare that to what you are doing now, the implications can be terrifying. Even if you worked 100 hours per week and had a marketing budget equal to last year’s total revenue, you could never tackle it all.
But if you can determine how much marketing is just enough to bring in the level of business you want, as well as pay for itself, you can create a functional marketing plan that allows you to sleep at night. The trick is finding that just-enough point.
Take networking, for example. If you attend three networking events per week, and at each one you make three or four useful contacts, is that enough, too little, or too much? Well, that depends on whether you have enough time to follow up with the people you meet.
If you are able to follow up with each of your new contacts appropriately, a three-times-per-week networking frequency is sustainable. But if find you are scrambling to make contact with that many new people before they forget who you are, you’re probably attending too many events. You’ve exceeded “just enough” and are now wasting your time.
The same principle can be applied to prospecting. At what point do you stop adding new leads to your prospect list, and reaching out to people who don’t yet know you, and instead concentrate on closing sales with the folks you already have in the pipeline?
Take a close look at the prospects you already have. Have you followed up with every one of them within the last thirty days? Or if you already know their needs are urgent, within the last ten days? If not, you should probably slow down on collecting new leads and spend more time on follow-up. Or if you’re on top of all your follow-up activities, you should back off there, and focus on adding new prospects to your list. Either way, you should stop at just enough.
What about publishing an ezine, writing a blog, or sending email broadcasts or postal mailings? How often is just enough to publish or mail? The answer will vary depending on your goals. If you are publishing or mailing to increase your credibility or build relationships with your audience, you’ll be seeking different results than if you are trying to elicit a direct response in terms of enrollments or purchases. But there is always a just-enough point to be found.
With a blog, for example, try this experiment once you have some regular readers. Write a new post weekly for two weeks, then twice a week for two weeks, then daily for two weeks. Keep track of how much time it takes you, how your readers respond, and what impact it appears to have on your goals. Then go the other direction, and post only twice per week for two weeks, then just weekly for two weeks. What do you notice?
You’ll likely discover there is a sweet spot, where the amount of effort you put in correlates to what you get back. Going beyond that point and doing more has little additional impact, but doing less than the required threshold reduces the payoff so much that your efforts seem wasted.
No matter what marketing approach you choose, the secret to finding the just-enough point is to start looking for it. Instead of blindly trying to do everything, or blithely ignoring what you don’t seem to have time for, become rigorous about comparing what you are doing to the results you are seeing.
Determining how much marketing is just enough may turn out to finally be the answer to finding just enough clients.