Getting Over the One Million Dollar Hump


What do you get when you mix a fervent strategic brain with a group of marketers representing companies that range from fashion design and media sales to new technology looking to increase revenues?

Answer: A whole lot of great questions plus answers that unlock some of the “tightly locked” secrets of getting over that first million-dollar hump.

Held at the newly branded Staples Canada flagship store on University Avenue (oh, what a store!), the group gathered in a presentation space designed specifically for such events. It’s all part of Staples’ new concept as The Working and Learning Company—but enough about that.

We were there to hear Maguire Marketing Group founder and owner, Michelene Maguire, give us some pragmatic advice (and a bit of tough love) about getting to the next level for the “smaller business”.

Some nuggets to remember (because we can’t insert a hologram of Mich here):

Strategize and plan your dollars wisely

Marketing budgets should be based on a percent of projected revenues (for specifics refer to a previous blog.) At the million dollar level, this is likely a figure around $40-60,000. That’ not a lot when you consider it needs to include everything: strategy development, market analysis, planning and implementation. It means that for most companies, the analysis and strategy needs to be internal – so find out how to do the first two or you’ll blow your budget before you get started.

Revenue is always the best metric

Are you counting page bounces, social traffic, search rankings, followers? Okay, so this sounds dead simple and a bit scary. The best metric? Track revenue. If you are selling more, you know that what you are doing is the right thing. Now, that doesn’t mean that you don’t regularly look at the other measurements. But don’t kid yourself either. Followers make you feel good but they are not the same as actually dollars spent.

Discipline, discipline, discipline

In smaller business, it’s all about discipline. If you think about it, the answer is obvious. A marketing person in a larger company is told: “Here is your plan, here is are your priorities today. In your own business, you are THE ONE —spend a day trying to set up some kind of social media platform on your own, and before you know it, you’ve given away a few hundred dollars’ worth of your time (and probably missed dinner along the way).

Going back to the budget again, look at what is available in terms of what you have to do, and then divide up the numbers as well as your time. Outsource implementation that takes you away from selling or doing what brings value to your business. And yes, this takes discipline.

These are just a few highlights.

Did you miss our last workshop?

Don’t worry, there will be more sessions. This is a topic that Michelene Maguire is passionate about. She feels the backbone of North American’s economy is small business. If you want to be personally invited to the next talk or event, pop us an email to give us consent at