Don’t let your marketing dollars get stuck in the vending machine.

It happens to everyone. It’s like a rite of passage. You go to the vending machine to get your chocolate fix and buy a bag of Raisinets. You put your money in the machine but your candy gets stuck on its way out.

You’re bummed out. You weren’t expecting this to happen. You’re faced with the decision of putting more money in the machine to get what you want – or calling some number to complain, (do they ever answer?) knowing you will never get your money back.

Doesn’t it stink when you spend money and you don’t get what you pay for? Or you have to pony up more money when you thought you wouldn’t have to? Especially if it’s for your business!

First off, when you spend money in your business, think of it as an investment. Don’t just think of it as an expense. That way you will be in the mindset of getting a return on your money, which is really what you are paying for.

Let’s pretend you are considering hiring a marketing consultant to redo your whole brand. Here are 5 things you can do as a business owner to make sure you get what you set out to get in the first place.

  • Is the fee a one-time fee or will you pay as you go? How much time does the fee cover? One week, six months, 20 years or as long as it takes to get what you want? It’s important to be really clear about the length of the engagement. That way, there will be no surprises.
  • Does the fee cover advice and implementation? Sometimes you will get advice to do something, and then you will have to go implement the advice and pay again. For example, your marketing person may advise you to create a company brochure. But what if the fee didn’t include the cost to actually create it? You’d have to pay again. Total stinker. You wouldn’t even get your Raisinets.
  • Rounds of edits. Most marketing plans include 2 or 3 rounds of edits. Find out the pricing for each additional round (the 3rd or 4th). Use your edits wisely so you don’t have to spend extra money.
  • Communication updates. So many marketing people are highly creative and have amazing ideas. But occasionally they seem to fall off the face of earth and are nowhere to be found. Make sure your marketing person gives you weekly status updates, so you can track your progress. It’s the worst feeling in the world to pay for marketing, and get no status updates! Try paying as you go for marketing help. That way the marketing person has skin in the game and will need to show up.
  • The scope of the project. You need to be clear on what you are specifically paying for. For example, if you are paying for a website design and a logo, that is all you will receive. If it turns out that you need a Facebook business page, that will be more money. Just make a list of what you are paying for, so you can get what you pay for and stay on track. Wait a minute – don’t make a list. Ask your marketing person to give you a proposal and an outline of what you will get.

There you have it. No more marketing money getting stuck in the vending machine. It’s time for you to get your Raisinets.

Justin Krane, is a Certified Financial PlannerTM professional and the President of Krane Financial Solutions.  His savvy, holistic approach to financial planning allows clients to unite their money with their lives and businesses with sound financial decisions. Using a unique system developed from his studies of financial psychology, Justin partners with entrepreneurs to create a bigger vision for their business with education and financial modeling. Follow Justin on Twitter @justinkrane.