Two weeks ago late on a Tuesday evening my husband and I were both working in the office and we started chatting about my business, networking meetings I was attending over the next few weeks and then we moved onto the wider subject of marketing. At some point one of us, I can’t remember who, made a comment about marketing literature and straight away all the dots joined up and I could see how having a new piece of marketing literature could be really helpful for my business.

Tip number 1: The best way to generate new ideas for your business is to have conversations with people who understand what you do – sitting and looking at a blank piece of paper never works.

So we had an idea and the next thing to do was to map out, in broad terms, what I wanted the literature to achieve, how I was going to use it and what it should include.

Tip number 2: With any marketing activity spend some time thinking about how you are going to use it before you start on the implementation.

I was booked into a networking meeting six days later (or actually five days as by now it was the early hours of Wednesday morning!) so was it possible to get this produced in just five days?

Tip number 3. Set a deadline – otherwise it will never happen.

First job next morning was to chat to my long-suffering designer Phil to check if this was practical – absolutely yes, so I switched on the answerphone and set to work writing copy. Now this is the bit that some of you may think was difficult but of course I have been writing/talking about my business for nine years so I had all the source material.

Tip number 4. Do not panic if you need to write about your business – we all have source material – your website, adverts you may have run, blog posts you have written or just imagine you are talking to someone at a networking meeting.

Everything then went off to my designer and the proof came back – disaster – it just wasn’t working! I didn’t have time to think about it then as by now the answerphone was full and in-box was overflowing so I “parked it” at the back of my mind and got on with my day; just occasionally stopping for a moment (e.g. when waiting for the phone to be answered) to think how it would work better.

At the end of the day I had another look – and yes the solution came to me immediately. The problem was the order of the pages – switch those round and it worked perfectly.

Tip number 5. Successful marketing activities are the result of trial and error – it is very rare for them to be perfect first time. Do not panic if your artwork doesn’t look right initially – it is a process and stepping away from it and clearing your head is the best way to solve a problem.

Next was  proofing and this is where I can get carried away – in the search for perfection! So I allowed myself one set of amends for re-wording, a subsequent amend for typos and then I stopped. That was the most difficult bit for me because there is always room for improvement but…

Tip number 6. The search for perfection just stops things getting done.

3-30 pm on Monday, five days after I had the original idea, I picked up my new literature and an hour later I was giving it out at the meeting as planned. I also used it at two other networking events that week.

Tip number 7. If you have a piece of marketing collateral produced make sure you use it – straight away! Otherwise you may find it many months later languishing in a box in the corner of your office.

Finally, I entitled this piece “Spontaneity”. Regular readers of this blog will probably have realised I like to be organised, indeed those of you who know me may well say “obsessively so”. But of course in my business this is the only way to be because magazines do not get designed, printed and distributed without deadlines… and lots of lists!

Tip number 8. However I always leave time in my schedule to fit in unplanned activities. Yes it may mean juggling to find the time but sometimes the best ideas are spontaneous and one of the joys of being your own boss is that if you have a good idea then you can make it happen – immediately.

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