With apologies to one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert, I want to ask you to assess your marketing with a cold eye and an honest look. Tell me.....is your marketing system based on the wish, hope, and pray method? Here are some signs that it is:
1) No one in your organization has a clear mission of responsibility for creating and running a constant marketing system.
2) Marketing falls to the back of the list after client services, bookkeeping, scheduling, errands, and dusting the office.
3) Networking in the community and on the Internet is catch-as-catch-can and is handed off to the least busiest person.
4) You have no idea how many new customers you have gained in the last 30, 60, or 90 days.
5) You have no idea how many customers you haven't heard from in the last 30, 60, or 90 days.
6) You don't really like to market, think it is hard to do, and believe that great customer service alone will do the trick.
7) Your marketing system consists of trying to upsell existing clients when they are in (think about the hair salon syndrome....you can't get out of there without running the gauntlet of hair product, make-up, and spa service suggestions every single time you are there).
If even one of these hits home, you are in the wish, hope, and pray mode and you need to get out of it, fast! Consider your business as a three legged stool, the three legs being marketing, customer service, and expertise. Each of the three legs is completely dependent on the other two, as the stool won't work without them all.
* Your expertise is what you do, your magic, your passionate purpose.
* Your customer service is all the things you develop and carry out to ensure your customers get 5-star treatment, including how you take care of displeasure and disappointment when it occurs.
* Your marketing is a planned, ongoing, automated system that feeds you a constant flow of potential new customers.
Each leg of the stool is key, and each is as important as the other. If you have sawed off a leg by your disinterest, busyness, or avoidance, I suggest you wish, hope, and pray before you sit yourself on the stool. You may balance for a little while, but in the end you'll be on the ground. And that's one place no entrepreneur wants to be.

Author's Bio: 

Sue Painter is an expert at setting up marketing systems for solopreneurs and small business owners that create an automatic flow of new customers. You can get her twice-monthly e-zine by subscribing at http://www.confidentmarketer.com. Sue works with entrepreneurs in the U.S. and abroad to help them stay in business and become financially successful.