Industry peers, work colleagues, and business media all tell us the things we need to be doing to grow our business.
However, even for growing businesses, there’s not enough time or money to do everything. So, we’re left with questions like, ‘Where do we start?’ and ‘Who do I hire first?’
Small businesses have to maximize the effectiveness and contribution of every investment and every resource to grow. Acquiring new customers is a priority – with or without a team member dedicated solely to sales or marketing.
Sales and marketing cannot wait if you want to grow beyond where you are. So, what do you do if you’re short on time to do it yourself and don’t have enough money to hire someone else?
Let’s answer that question.
Marketing Your Business Before A Marketer Is On Your Team
It’s time to think about marketing your business without a marketing person on your team and introducing a strategy referred to as ‘marketing by committee.’
It’s important to learn how to leverage your existing resources to market and grow your organization.
Grow from where you are.
Most business owners hesitate or fail to market their business for one of four reasons:
1. They believe customers will find them as long as they create a great product or provide excellent service.
2. The business owner doesn't have enough time to serve customers, lead the team, and market the business.
3. The company doesn't have enough money to hire marketing help.
4. Marketing isn't the business owner's expertise so they don't know what to do.
Sales fuel the growth of your organization, which means you must start marketing your business where you are with what you have and what you know to become what you envision in the future.
Don’t wait. Get in the marketing game.
Get your team to buy into the bigger idea.
In small businesses, it’s common for one team member to do multiple jobs as the company gets off the ground.
You can also share the responsibilities of one job with multiple people. However, it’s important for them to view their assignment as more than another to-do on their list; it’s how the organization will grow and take better care of them.
Getting your team to have this perspective requires getting them to buy in. To gain buy-in, use these principles:
1. Know your team. Identify the team members that have extra capacity, respond well to challenging assignments, enjoy the variety of a side project, or show an aptitude for marketing.
2. Start with the why. Tell each team member why you’re enlisting their help and why their marketing assignment is important to the organization.
3. Acknowledge what's in it for them. Whether it be recognition, new work experiences, or one-on-one mentorship, lean into what will motivate that person and find a way to provide it.
4. Find something for them to stop doing. Automate, delegate, or eliminate something previously on their plate to permanently free up their capacity.
The key would be to make the tradeoff decisions as the leader to avoid overwhelming your team.
Don't add too much too soon.
It’s easy to overwhelm your team when you’re asking them to step outside of their comfort zone and add more work to their plate. Give them the best opportunity to succeed.
Maximize your team’s effort and your ROI by limiting what you work on and focusing on a few marketing channels and initiatives at a time.
Be sure to first delegate tasks you’re currently doing so you, the leader, are freed up to drive the organization’s growth. What’s on your list today is likely what you’re going to feel most confident training your team to do.
Define and delegate marketing responsibilities to current team members with our Wheel of Marketing. This resource is a marketing task delegation tool outlining the core functions and responsibilities of marketing, and it walks you through a simple process of divvying things up, guaranteeing everything is covered.
Your First Three Marketing Hires In Order of Importance
All too often, we’re the lid to our own growth. Sometimes, it’s due to cost which is understandable. Other times, it’s because we’re not quite ready to delegate – which is also understandable – but if you can afford help, even if it’s subscription-based, fractional help, allow us to make the case that you get that help.
Because while you spend your time juggling all of your various marketing responsibilities, you don’t have time to do what you’re supposed to be doing as the leader.
And unfortunately, these tasks often take longer than they should because you don’t know how to do the marketing task you’re supposed to do.
Here’s who to hire – and not hire – in order of importance so you can get back to what only you can do.
Hire a marketing generalist first.
The first marketer you hire has to be able to do a lot of things and balance a lot of responsibilities.
Ideally, you’d hire someone capable of immediately taking the marketing tasks you’ve been doing on your own while also adding a layer of expertise and experience.
Job titles for this role could include marketing assistant, marketing coordinator, or marketing manager based on your organization’s budget and desired skill level.
Don't hire a creative first.
Most entrepreneurs assume that marketing is a creative function.
While there are definitely creative elements to marketing, creativity isn’t mandatory with your first marketing hire.
You’re looking for a task-oriented operator who likes getting stuff done. The person should be capable of organizing, managing, and executing multiple projects simultaneously.
Hire specialists to improve and expand your marketing.
There will be certain functions or skills your generalist doesn’t have that your organization needs to improve the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
With your second and third hires, consider hiring a marketing specialist capable of adding essential skills to the team or additional focus in a key area that’s driving results.
Common roles include graphic and web designers, writers, web developers, and audio and video editors.
With a generalist in place, your specialists will already have a project manager or supervisor to oversee their work so nothing more gets added to your plate.
Contract first, hire second.
If you don’t have the budget to hire a full-time employee or if you’re not confident that you’ve figured out exactly what you need, consider contracting the role first.
This approach allows you to grow into the role financially, determine what you need the role to do for the organization, and find the right person for your full-time position while limiting the risk to your organization.
Here are some conversation starters for you and your team to consider.
If you had more marketing support, what tasks and responsibilities would come off of your plate?
If your current marketing responsibilities were handled by someone else, what would the additional capacity enable you to do to support the growth of the business? What would more help make possible?
What specialized skills or expertise do you feel you and your marketing team need to elevate the quality and effectiveness of your marketing efforts?
Create a job description for your next — or maybe even your first — marketing hire with the help of our Marketing Generalist Job Description Template.
You can quickly copy, paste, and modify this template to clarify your vision for your marketing hire.
Don’t prematurely take on the financial burden of full-time staff positions. But if you’re ready to take the next step in hiring a contractor, let us help you identify how we can help.