Scale Up Skeletons #10 – Inconsistent marketing

In this final pre-Christmas edition of the blog, I’m going to talk about something that has been an issue with my own business – and something that I know many businesses suffer with…

The story:

Like many small business proprietors, my workload is not steady… you spend weeks touting for business with clients that have many other priorities and distractions and then three projects land at the same time!  You then spend the next few weeks focussed entirely on delivering those projects and, guess what, when they are finished, you haven’t got any new projects lined-up, so you start franticly reaching out to contacts and touting for business.  And, thus, the cycle continues…

It’s the same for all early-stage businesses, whether you are offering consultancy services or a new technology or product.  It leads to surges of activity within the business, which inevitably lead to inefficiencies and missed opportunities.

The impact:

I’m fortunate in that our financial situation doesn’t depend on a regular pay-cheque coming in every month (it was this that allowed me to even consider going self-employed).  It does still cause stress, though – nobody likes uncertainty. 

Marketing your business under stress (i.e. when you don’t have enough customers) is also likely to lead to poor decisions; I have caught myself offering services to people who don’t need them or who don’t actually have money to pay for them.  It also leads to inconsistency and lack of clarity in the “product offering” (something I’m always coaching my clients to do, but don’t always do myself!)  For companies offering a physical product, it can lead to engaging with the wrong customers, necessitating lengthy and expensive product redesigns and customisations.

Putting myself in the shoes of a purchaser, I know I would only engage with someone that I trust to deliver; and trust is built on consistency.  So any lack of consistency will almost certainly lose business.


An organisation’s brand is built over time and this needs consistent input, nurturing, and review.  Looking around LinkedIn, there are some great examples of people that post consistently and regularly – I know exactly what they do, whether that be writing engaging content, offering a technology or service, performing research, or investing into start-ups.  I know I need to learn from them.  Similarly, at trade shows, there are some companies that you instantly “get” what they do without needing to walk up to the stand and ask.  I like situations like this as you know you are not going to be wasting time when you engage with them.

I now have regular calendar slots to review and update my LinkedIn profile and have a regular cadence of attending events and reaching out to contacts to maintain my profile with potential clients.  This is good practice in any business.

When there is too much work, you worry that you might not be paying enough attention to friends and family, and when there is too little you still don’t pay enough attention to friends and family as you are focussed on finding work!..  I guess the lesson here is to always put friends and family first.  They will be far more enduring and rewarding than any project that you might get involved in.  Downtime over the Christmas and New Year break is a great opportunity to reconnect with friends and family – I certainly intend to use it (in-between delivering those 2 last minute projects!)

Telegraph Materials offers advisory services and practical support to fast-growth businesses bringing new materials-science based technologies and processes to international B2B markets. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: