Anyone who’s started a business and thought about growth strategy will attest to it being an overwhelming minefield. When budgets are small and there are margins to keep, how do you excel through marketing but not overcapitalise?
Marketing guru Racquel Collard has some good ideas.
As the founder of SMB Marketing Solutions, Collard has built a wealth of knowledge for entrepreneurs who want to take control of their business and explore marketing options.
In her new book, “Marketing Launchpad”, which is released on March 20, Collard lays out the importance of defining who you are, branding, content marketing strategies and key messaging guidelines.
Here, we sit down with Collard for a deep dive Q&A into her best advice for anyone seeking to take that next big step.
Big congratulations on the upcoming launch of your new book! What is one of the biggest takeaways that you hope women get from reading it?
Thanks! It’s an exciting time for me! Writing a book was one of my big bucket list items, and being able to build a business that meets my other needs around it is absolutely wonderful.
I want women to build the types of businesses that they want to run.
Not being beholden to someone else’s idea of what success looks like for them. With that kind of freedom, we can live our best lives and be the best versions of ourselves, while having the impact we want to have in the world. And who doesn’t want that?!
My hope is that this book will help women do just that.
Your book packs a lot of useful information into a clear framework for women to begin marketing their businesses– what was the writing process like for you?
While I was going through my initial “brain-dump”, I was also working with clients, and honing the worksheets and processes with them. Through that work, I could see what worked, what didn’t, where I needed to expand information, where I could cut information out, and so on. That live feedback was gold during the writing process.
Then, after extensive editing, I was fortunate enough to have some amazing beta readers who helped me refine it further. This helped me focus on the important parts, cut out a lot of jargon I didn’t even realise I was using, and make it easy to understand regardless of the person’s business background. And through all of that, my amazing book coach, Athena Daniels, helped keep me on the straight and narrow too!
What made you decide to focus on helping women in small business and female entrepreneurs?
As I say in my book, “…the economic cost of gender inequality globally amounts to USD 160.2 trillion because of women experiencing unequal access to education, employment, financial resources, power and opportunities to participate in decision-making in most societies. I am striving to help change these statistics using successful self-employment and business ownership as the tool of choice.”
On a personal note, I’ve spent a lot of time running marketing teams in very male-dominated industries, and I found, through working with my female clients, that I was deriving a lot of joy and personal satisfaction from helping women, often women with similar corporate backgrounds to me, build the types of businesses that help them achieve what they wanted out of their life and their business, beyond cashing a pay check.
Plus, the vast majority of the business and marketing books out there were by men, and they approach business and marketing very differently to me, so I thought if I shared my approach, that could help other women wanting to set up their businesses, their way. And a book can reach more people than I can one-to-one!
As a female business owner, and having worked with so many other women through coaching, how have you seen marketing knowledge become a catalyst for business success?
Most of my clients come to me because their marketing isn’t working, or they don’t know where to start, and many of them hate what they perceive marketing to be.
The reality is, there isn’t any one perfect way to market your business. You are different from other business owners. What you want to achieve with your business isn’t the same as the next person’s goals. Your personality traits are unique to you. So how you market your business is different to how the next person can market theirs.
That said, there are some fundamental marketing ‘things’ you need in place so that you can market your business is a way that makes the most sense to you. And that’s what this book covers.
Marketing is the only way I know of to grow a successful business.
I’ve rolled out these fundamentals over and over again, across many industries, in many business sizes, and at many stages. I know it works. It’s just a matter of finding the way that works for you. Once you find that, marketing isn’t that horrible thing you avoid, it becomes an integral part of your business success and a catalyst for growth, and it doesn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth.
What’s your overriding motivation?
I love what I do! I love marketing – when it’s used for good and not evil. And I love helping women build the business success they want. I find working with women in this space such a rewarding experience that it’s no longer a hardship to get out of bed in the morning and push myself to be motivated to get the corporate job done.
I’ve designed my business in a way that brings me joy – and delivers the motivation that goes hand in hand with that satisfaction – all while still having the lifestyle I want. And I want that for every woman who wants to build her own business to give her these things.