Design it this way; Market it that way; Don’t ever do X but always do Y. Are you tired of being told how to run your business? Didn’t you start your own business so you wouldn’t be told how to do things any more?
I just want to talk about how you can create the company you desire, without the general ‘cookie-cutter’ viewpoints you’ll (undoubtedly) get from people once you start. Full disclosure, I’m a Marketer and not a large-scale business owner. But, I’m an avid reader and listener who works with small businesses. So, this is just my perspective. It also happens to be how I run my business.
There have been many stories over the years discussing the humble beginnings of well-known companies we see today. From garages to traveling by foot for two years, founders have gone to great lengths to turn their innovative ideas into successful businesses.
Speaking of..let’s start with five ways you can do the same!
Run your business the way you best see fit
The entrepreneurial spirit that inspired you to start a business didn’t tell you to follow other people’s dreams, right? So why would you follow in everyone else’s templates if they’re not right for you either?
While it may depend on what your business is, there are times when the recommendations from other experts just won’t fit. They’re telling you what worked for them and that’s great for them.
But if you’re open to adapting things to the way you believe it will help people better, do that instead! Even if it means suffering/learning through many failures.
In fact many businesses that we know and love today were on the verge of failing. AirBnB, for example, couldn’t get the financial backing to support their venture. Persistence and confidence in their dream helped them climb through the mud over that mountain.
Ultimately, if you’re doing what’s right for your customers (and your employees), you’ll build the advocates you need. Advocates that will root for your company to succeed and share all the great things about it on their own. This kind of word of mouth marketing also happens to be highly coveted.
The biggest successes did not follow ‘best practices’
Heeding advice from experienced mentors is great, but does it align with your vision and/or your core values? If not, then don’t do it!
There are many success stories that were set up to fail but did things their own way regardless. They ended up being great contributions to society simply because they didn’t give up. Often times it’s also because they listened to their audience and remained adaptable.
In fact one thing many businesses have learned over these last few corona-virus filled months has been to be adaptable. This includes learning constantly from your results or hear directly from your customers. Only then can you incorporate what fits in with your company goals.
The trick is to have those values and the vision laid out. Once it’s readily available, you and your team will know exactly how to follow it (more on this next).
You know the vision, share the important aspects with your team
You started the company, you know everything you put into creating it. If you’re the only one who knows and understands this, how will everyone get on the same page? Your team – and therefore your customers – will have no idea what the direction is that you envision.
Share it and share it often. Share your story (as much as you’re comfortable with of course) to help others come along the journey with you. Take their hand (not literally!) instead of having them wander around random paths. Walk them through exactly what it is you want for your customers and/or your company.
This will eventually allow you to scale your company more seamlessly when it’s ready. Get everyone to understand the values and goals of the company. They can use this as ammunition to drive daily tasks, goals, and policies.
Great leaders not only practice what they preach, but they lead. They share how they got to where they are, their ‘why’, and much more in order to connect with people. If you’re not connecting – especially with the ‘younger’ generations – it’s much less likely that you’re going to be successful.
Transparency is the new Black. Be honest and maintain your integrity and people will want to help you rise!
You know the value of your product, design a brand around that
If you haven’t already, create a branding document! Evaluate exactly what you want your company to stand for, value, and/or represent. Create an image of what it will look like in the customers’ minds.
Ask yourself some questions before creating your Marketing plan:
- How do you want your customer to feel when they use your product or service?
- What ‘avatar’ does my company look like, sound like, act like, etc?
- If my product, company, or service were an animal what would it be and why?
- What problem is my product or service solving? What gap does it fill?
These and many more over time will determine ‘who’ your company is, who your customers relate to more, and what the message actually is. Designing your brand around your product may often mean designing it as if it were a person. Allow this to make your life easier and give them a name and personality!
For example: If you have a luxury purse company, you may make your avatar a woman named Sharon in her 40s with a job in Human Resources Management. She’s sophisticated, speaks with intelligence and care, loves to match the purse with her shoes, and spends 2 hours a day on Instagram.
REALLY give her the detail so you can truly picture who your audience is and how they can relate to your content.
Incorporate diverse representation into your business plans
In other words, Diversity & Inclusion AKA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion AKA Diversity of Thought. Sounds complicated right? It really isn’t and doesn’t have to be.
Look at how you can have as many different voices at the table as possible – the key contributors and stakeholders. Each perspective (as long as you remain open to listening to them) will contribute to a much more successful outcome. This will give you a more full picture view of your business and its impact.
In order to get this bigger picture, start with asking yourself questions about your vision and plans. Then expand to ask everyone else – especially those who would be in your target market – what they think! If they don’t resonate with what you’re saying or selling, you can adapt to their needs.
This also includes, of course, asking people from different backgrounds and experiences how they enjoy, perceive, or see a need for your product or service. If you’re selling to markets that perceive your type of service as embarrassing or arrogant, you should evaluate that against where or how you’re marketing.
Happy Business Success!
I hope this helps you remember that no matter what it is you have created to change in the world, do it in your own way. You’ll get so much more out of it than just going through the motions. If you’d like help creating a Marketing Strategy, you can also contact me.