One of the first books I ever read on entrepreneurship was The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. That book was so clear to me in understanding how to build a successful business. It spoke to the heart of the people who start small businesses - people with a passion - and how they struggle because passion doesn’t typically come married to the skills to grow a company.
So where do you stand on the spectrum of marketing greats? Think you can't be called a marketer? If you own or run a company than you'd better be. With over 28 million small businesses vying for attention, the ones who survive are the ones who know how to stand out online and how to leverage their capabilities.
It's hard to be in the marketing space and not be familiar with Gary Vaynerchuk. The wildly successful entrepreneur, internet personality, author and investor has a personality that's larger than life. Whenever I see him come across my monitor or smart phone, I stop scrolling because I want to hear not only what he's saying but how he's delivering it. He reminds me of the uncle at the family reunion who deliberately spits knowledge between sips of cognac and purposely controversial opinions.
Let’s be clear – online marketing is much simpler and more effective compared to traditional marketing. That’s why digital ad spending has surpassed TV ad spending. Yet, this doesn’t mean that you should opt for the first marketing method you find and start a marketing campaign right away. Similar to traditional marketing methods, not every online marketing method is equal. Some of them are better for specific industries while others work only in specific situations.
Some of us love to create and we put our souls into sharing what we create with the world as soon as possible. We run toward the feedback, good or bad. Others, like the old me, create and labor over whether every "t" is crossed and every "i" is dotted. We tend to compare what "they" did when they launched or to consider whether the intended audience will like it or love it. Should we work on it a little longer?
Why hasn't starting a business moved beyond talks about passion? Who is the person who started this conversation and why, all these years later, are we still wrapping the two concepts together and adding a pretty bow?
The first time I started a business, I was at college. It sounded like a good idea, I had a partner with complementary skills and we were broke. As soon as things started happening and money started coming in the door we got overwhelmed. We had no idea what we were doing.
When I meet with business coaching clients today, many start by telling me that they're "all over the place" or that they "just need some direction."
There’s Oprah. And then there’s Harpo Studios, her multi-media production company.
She is a brand. Her company is a brand of its own.
As a small business owner, you are a brand. Whether you sell candles, advice, train people or heal people, you became a brand the moment you went out into the marketplace. You are sharing messages that you believe to the public. You have a vision for how you see the world getting better because of your mission.
Your business could not exist without your talents, skills and personality. Look around. You probably know several brands that are struggling because they haven’t embraced these facts.
If you're like many small business owners then you are working long hours and putting in incredible amounts of work with no consistent sales. You have some great months and many more not-so-great months but you love what you do. You're trying everything you see others doing to market yourself but the results are short lived.
The first thing to consider when you are developing a content strategy are the why, who and how questions. This is very important for you to know your purpose in content development, target audience, and how your services can be of great value to them.