Impatience has served entrepreneurs well, resulting in innovations and solutions to help us do almost anything faster. As a result of our impatience, we entrepreneurs expect everything to happen fast and according to our preconceived notions of when a desired result should be achieved. With our expectations high, we can reach lows easily when a particular result has not been realized as we had hoped.
Too often, business owners get into a mindset of building and then not continuing to build with momentum, but stopping and waiting to see what happens. Momentum is key to success and growth entrepreneurs understand this. Five areas that I have seen business owners mismanage that sabotage their ability to get desired results are with their strategy, branding, messaging, website, and awareness.
1. Strategy: You developed an awe-inspiring strategy you could not wait to implement. Then money becomes your nemesis, and you decide to put off doing certain things. You have gotten caught in an expense versus investment mentality and have forgotten the other resources you should be leveraging to build strategic momentum into an effective and ongoing implementation plan.
2. Branding: In our CRISP study, the same percentage of no growth companies claimed to have a brand compared to those who had high growth. The BIG difference? Growth companies left no stone unturned or communication unchurned in reinforcing branding. Additionally, their branding went beyond the look and tagline and into what it feels like to do business with them. What is the story behind your brand? How are you carrying your branding into the experience of doing business with your company?
3. Messaging: You put a great deal of thought into what you say about your business, using wording to sound different than anyone else, avoiding the jargon so many get caught up in your industry. You have solidified your mission, vision, values and messaging to truly distinguish and bring out the personality of your company. It is time to put action into your words. Reinforce what you say by what you do and why you do it with a campaign to a targeted audience. Verify your results with case studies and testimonials.
4. Website: You built a new website or re-launched one, excited by the click-happy customers who will find your business. You announced it as a whole, but after the initial high fives, nice site, etc. … nothing. Leverage the site as the sales and connection tool that it can be. Identify specific areas of the site worth connecting customers and prospects to in a targeted communication. Make connections to your site through social media in relevant ways. Make sure you have done the basic optimization protocol and tested its search-ability the way a prospect would search, and then consider additional optimization tactics.
5. Awareness: You have gained regular exposure in a variety of ways through your marketing efforts, and have even had people say “I see your name everywhere,” and yet you aren’t getting the contracts, sales or inquiries you expected. Being seen everywhere is not as important as being seen where it counts. Second, when you do get exposure, are you capitalizing on it in all the ways you can directed toward those you most seek to engage and serve?
While the idea of “build it and they will come” works in Hollywood movies like the Field of Dreams, what really gets people excited about a business is one that engages them, appreciates them, reminds them, stays in touch with them, continues to build with them, and serves them like no-one else.
Sherré DeMao is author of the nationally acclaimed books, 50 Marketing Secrets of Growth Companies in Down Economic Times, www.50marketingsecrets.com, and Me, Myself & Inc., www.memyselfandinc.com, Her column seeks to help business owners build and grow sustainable enterprises and businesses with economic value and preference in the marketplace.