How I work with business owners

How I work with directors and business owners

Business owners and directors wear many hats in the early stages of growing their business but there comes a point when you have to decide whether to keep doing all the work yourself or hire someone to take some of it off your hands.

Marketing is a great example of an area of work that lots of MDs and owners start off doing themselves in the early days. If you need that time back now to do other things, then the simplest and most cost-efficient thing to do is to hire a freelance marketing director.

I work with directors and business owners on retainer, and in this post I’ll explain how I do it. If you’ve never hired a marketing consultant to work with you in this capacity before then read on to find out how it works.

What you can expect when you hire Make a Brew

At the start of every new relationship with a retainer client, I get to understand what their goals are so I can ensure this is reflected in the marketing strategy and plans that follow. 

Regular planning sessions are critical to making sure that everyone is on track to complete the actions assigned to them in the plan. These sessions are a good opportunity to close actions and create new ones.

Open communication is essential to the way I work with business owners and directors, but how often we communicate is entirely up to the client. I have some retainer clients who like to be updated weekly and others that I only speak to once a month. 

Between these calls, I’m busy working on implementing the plans my clients have agreed for their business. 

Perhaps the best way to explain how I work with my retainer clients is to show you.

Case study 1 – a UK-based print machine seller

I was brought in by the operations director of a printer and consumables business to provide them with much-needed marketing support. Previously, the managing director had taken responsibility for all of the marketing in the business, but it was taking up too much of his time.

Since I came on board, he has been able to cut back on some of the overtime he was working, which has freed him up to do other things.

Already, in just a few short months, I’ve worked closely with the operations director to: 

  • Create a marketing strategy (including helping them to gather all of the critical information that goes into that – SWOT analysis, competitor analysis, etc.)
  • Identify initiatives that will increase their business revenue from three to five million pounds by the end of 2023
  • Support them with an exhibition, including a follow up email campaign
  • Commission an SEO audit for their website 
  • Map out a content calendar with campaigns for 2023 including reaching out to editors of industry publications to engage with them early-on

The MD is now able to do what he does best and stay up to date with developments in the printing industry without feeling like he’s neglecting the company’s marketing. 

Case study 2 – welfare and pump equipment business

This Sheffield-based business handles welfare and pump equipment for getting rid of waste, particularly in places “off-the-grid”. I work with the manager who has a vast amount of product knowledge, and we typically catch-up every couple of months. 

This type of relationship works for the company because they can be hands-off, leaving me to get on with the job. They don’t need to spend their time caught up in meetings or managing a team of staff. 

Since I started working with the business, I have:

  • Commissioned a review of the content on their website (this is really important for their reputation, visitor engagement, and search engine rankings)
  • Set up an account and a template for them on an email platform (MailChimp) 
  • Standardised and formatted their health and safety documents so it’s all on-brand
  • Planned campaigns and started the implementation of their of marketing tactics

Already, we’ve achieved a lot and there are still many exciting opportunities to explore. 

What’s a retainer, and how long does it last?

When you hire a consultant or other freelancer on a retainer, you are paying for them to hold a certain amount of time to work on your business every month. You’ll agree how much time in advance, but it could be a set number of hours or days. 

How long this arrangement lasts depends on a number of things, but typically I ask for a six month commitment from my clients. 

In my experience, six months is the minimum amount of time it takes to make a real difference to a business. The marketing culture and sales/customer experience cannot be changed permanently in less than six months.

Laying the groundwork is essential for successful change and it starts with making powerful connections across all departments and getting the sales team really excited about marketing.

Dramatic increases in trust, traffic, leads, and sales through any marketing initiative or campaign cannot be done in under six months. 

As an example, I’m working with the chief executives of a Robotics company to rebrand nd market their technology offering to attract venture capitalist funding of between two and four million pounds for the business and that requires at least a 12 to 24 month commitment.

In that time, I’ll be rolling out their new brand and making sure that the business has the right brand guidelines and that it’s integrated it into the company’s marketing plans and the tactics going forward.

The key takeaway

If you’re a director or an owner-manager trying to do it all, then it might be time to consider bringing in someone to help. Having a freelance director on a retainer is a great compromise between doing it yourself and taking on employed staff. It’s a cost-effective way of making real change without committing to taking on a whole team. If you’d like to find out more about how I could help you, get in touch with me today, and let’s have a brew.