Several years ago, I helped a family-owned business that was struggling to grow. The founders were working harder than ever, yet their growth rate had stubbornly flatlined year after year.
It didn't take too long to uncover the root cause of their stagnation: they boasted an impressive operational setup and employed over two dozen people, yet just one person was tasked with any marketing or sales responsibility. As I quipped to the owners, if you allocate less than 5% of your resources to growth, should you really be surprised when your business doesn't grow very much?
This is far from an isolated example. Having worked with hundreds of owner-run SMEs, we've found that almost all of them stifle their growth potential by simply not marketing enough.
(They also tend to not market well enough, but that's a conversation for another time).
The irony is that entrepreneurs usually spend most of their time marketing when just starting out, because you obviously can't survive for very long without any customers. But that quickly changes as their business grows and the demands on their attention multiply.
It's easy to forget about marketing when you have customers to look after, employees to manage, suppliers to coordinate, and a diverse assortment of financial and administrative activities to juggle. However, as important as these are, marketing and sales remain the only activity that directly drives organic growth.
How much of your capacity did you invest in growth today?