The One Thing!
I have written previously about the obsession with THE ONE THING
. In the case of my earlier article, it was the THING
that you, as a business owner, feel could turn around your business or make a big splash, if you could only get it Just Right
. My point in that article is that you need to step back and consider what you’re trying to accomplish, to see if that THING will actually move the needle, or if it is more of a “shiny thing” that you’re chasing, in hopes it will fulfill its perceived promise.
There’s another kind of ONE THING that can have an enormous impact on your business: Clarity of Communication. This breeds and establishes Understanding, which is not the same thing as simply communicating…
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You started out putting together something that you could call a Business Plan, right? If you had some help, or needed one to present to the bank or some investors, it was probably pretty detailed and held most everything you hoped to accomplish and how you would get there, all in one hefty document.
Then you launched your business, and got down to the day-to-day of keeping things going and growing.
The months and years flew by. Some products and services took off, and others flopped. You made adjustments, and kept at it. You marketed to your select audience the best you knew how, taking advantage of every free or low-cost method you could find so you could keep costs down. Your strategy, such as it was, was “Keep Things Going!” It worked for awhile…
Now it’s been several months or probably years. You’re working like crazy, but the return has slowed. Even if you’re getting new customers, you’re not getting as many return customers. Your products and services have changed a bit (or a lot..), but not much of the other pieces of the business framework has. You’re still not as profitable as you need to be to REALLY be making a living. You keep looking for things you can alter a bit or tweak to squeeze out more, but you’re running out of options.
Working with the swirling realities of digital and social media marketing can feel like trying to quietly tread water in a really nasty river rapids that never ends….and then there are the rocks to avoid. As a business owner it’s hard enough. As a marketing professional, it is mind-numbing at times….still, that’s part of what I do and I confess to a kind of the same excitement as that metaphoric water-treader.
I have recently started working with a client who floored me by having something I have not seen in a long time at similarly-sized businesses: an actual Marketing Plan
The business owner pulled it up on her laptop and I wanted to hug her…
This isn’t to say that other business owners haven’t spent time thinking about their marketing, but this owner had taken the next step and mapped it out for the next year….and even looked beyond. I identified a number places in the plan where I can add tremendous value (hence our starting to work together…), and we began to discuss the goals, measures and value we can bring to the business. I am totally psyched to begin this project!
Still in the early years of your business and riding the revenue roller coaster? Yeah, me too.
Things are Really Fat for several months (maybe even longer…), so you focus on project delivery and all of the work that entails. Make those clients happy!!!! Things lighten up a bit, so you take a TEENSY breather (maybe a couple of actual days off in a row….what a concept…).
Things continue to back off, you realize that you’re experiencing the business equivalent of “the pig in the python
“, and you’re staring at a mostly empty pipeline. This is not good. You redouble your efforts on business development, lay out some ads, reach out to some referral sources, revisit your business Facebook page (wow….when was the last time you DID that!?), hit those chamber of commerce lunches, contact some leads, and engineer an email campaign, but getting meetings is hard and they all seem to be too busy or in “let’s talk in about 60 days or so” mode.
Again, not so good.
English: Albert Einstein Français : Portrait d’Albert Einstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
“Easy” is a temptation.
I work with many clients who take the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach to their digital and social media marketing, because “How hard could it be? It’s just Facebook??!” Besides, they each have a business to run, customers to satisfy and entice, meetings to attend and maybe even employees to work with.
After spending time with each of them to discern their business and marketing goals, I begin to walk them through some of the opportunities and challenges they face and the different ways to optimize and engage, based on the goals and resources available. As we begin to dig into the strategy and planning, each of these business people begin to see the advantages of “doing it right” and where their current process might be falling short, hurting their business.
Which Tribe do you belong to?
That seems to be an over-riding, occasionally unsaid, concern in our society. Conservative or Liberal? Religious or Agnostic? One percent or ninety-nine percent? Blue collar or white-collar? Introvert or extrovert? College Graduate? Technical? Gender? Race? We have innumerable ways of identifying, classifying and limiting the understanding of ourselves and those around us. Labels and categories carry assumptions and expectations, whether they’re true or not. And how much of this relies upon context? It’s something that has challenged our species for all time and it doesn’t seem to be getting better….
That’s a pretty broad brush with which to start a conversation.
Is there an actual name for the time between Christmas and New Years? If there isn’t, there should be…..it always feels just plain weird to me.
That said, it’s that time when I take a look back, past the shredded wrapping paper, immense amount of food and goodies, emergency trips and 2016 business planning to the Top Five Posts for December. There’s always a lot to be learned and reminded of, and these articles do the trick!
Lots O’ Social Media
You want “The Short List.”
This list gives you the best information for your business, and let’s you understand what will make your digital and social media marketing work so you can get back to work. I have collected these 5 articles from around the web as the best of the best for October. Read them all, then figure out how you can execute on them, based on your goals and resources.
Ultimate Blog Post list
You’ve got a blog or intend to start one, but are REALLY
intimidated by the idea of having to come up with posts every week (or however frequently you have decided to publish…). I scan this list regularly to jog my creative juices and come up with new ideas. This article is by Russ Henneberry
Social Media Expectations
There are still a lot of entrepreneurs and small businesses that are guilty of “magical thinking” when it comes to what social media can accomplish for their businesses.
When you go searching around the web for ideas to improve your digital and social media marketing, you’re confronted with the same thing I am: a TON
of information! You don’t have the time, the patience, or maybe even the depth of expertise or comfort in a lot of these areas to know who’s reliable or who’s just selling something. This article by Carol Stephen
helps you stay grounded.
The acronym ROI (Return On Investment)
is so easily bandied about that most of the time you think you know what it means, and you’re wrong. I learned so much by reading the works of K.D. Paine
that I want you to become acquainted with her and her work. Most of the time, what you really want to know is the CEA (Cost-Effectiveness Analysis)
, which “compares the relative costs and outcomes (effects) of two or more courses of action.
” This article will help you get the difference so you can figure it into your calculations for resources and costs.
Social Media and Competitors
If there really is “nothing new under the sun
,” then it makes particular sense to check out what your competitors are doing (successfully and unsuccessfully…) on social media. This article by Matt Walker
, CEO of Main Path Marketing
, outlines some great tips and a good starting methodology to figure out how other companies’ social media strategies, altered to fit your business, can help you. Competitor research is something that a lot of small and medium businesses miss, and it can be a real gold mine.
Networks and Communities
“Networks connect; communities care.
” In this Harvard Business Review
article, Henry Mintzberg
, a professor of management studies at McGill University in Montreal, touches upon the roles of each kind of construct. In my business I work with clients to understand the opportunity and value of each kind of construct (network, audience, and community) and ensure that businesses approach them in ways that drive the greatest value. If you want to get a handle on the differences and challenges, this is a great place to start.
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It’s enough to drive you nuts…
I mentioned in an earlier post that I am working through the vision and goals for my business networking chapter. Having arrived at a pretty good idea of how these are different, I run across a number of online discussions about the difference between the vision and the mission.
Sigh….so, I can either ignore this or continue my research and discover if there is anything here that will help me and my team come up with something that will truly help our group. I’m always up for learning more, so here we go!