How to Drive Business Without Driving Yourself Crazy
Presented by Anita Campbell
Small business people have similar types of concerns they deal with.
For instance, how do you market online without it taking over your life?
Ten Common Sense Tips
September 23, 2008
- Make friends, even with competitors. Word of mouth referrals come from unexpected places. You get more done by partnering than by trying to go it alone.
- Be ubiquitous. This is how you build your brand (personal
and company). Spend time not just on your own website, but develop
communities everywhere (social networking/social media). By using her
staff to "divide and conquer," Anita has a presence in 18 communities
(some more active than others). Don't just blindly focus on the big
sites only; spend some time searching through and picking the right
sites to be involved in. You need to determine which are right for you
to invest your time in. Don't just "hang out" all day spending time
- Protect and defend your brand. We don't have the budgets of
companies like Dell or Microsoft, but we can put in a targeted effort
on social media sites. One thing you have to do is protect your brand:
on any social media site that allows you to attach a name or "handle"
to your account, go out and reserve that name to prevent anybody else
from acquiring it. For instance, she signed up on Twitter for anitacampbell, even though she's actively using smallbiztrends, just to prevent somebody else from getting the anitacampbell account. She posted one update to anitacampbell pointing people over to smallbiztrends
to follow her. Spending an hour or two one afternoon reserving
individual and business names at social media sites can save you a lot
of potential grief on down the line.
- Figure out your revenue model. Early. Goal is to find
something to sell that is moderately priced and has a relatively short
sales cycle, even if you also have more expensive products/services.
Many of us are "accidental entrepreneurs." Make sure what you do to
generate revenue online is consistent with your revenue model. If your
business model is lead generation, you may want to consider a free
- Stick with it. People say half of being successful in
business is showing up; Anita says the other half is sticking with it.
Most people give up way too soon. Either they run out of cash, or they
assume things just aren't working out and give up. There are very few
overnight successes (unless you consider "overnight" to be measured in
terms of years).
For instance, Anita started her blog in August of 2003. It took her
14 months to get to 100 subscribers. Another year later, she had 311
subscribers. Three years in, she had over 4,000. Four years in, 83,300.
Five years on, she has over 200,000 subscribers. It's the "network
effect -- in the early days, you reach out and touch people, but it's
very few people. But they touch others, and the ones they touch reach
out to their networks, and it starts to grow exponentially. The pace of
growth accelerates as time goes by -- but if you give up too soon, you
never get to that point.
- Outsource. Partner. Sooner. More. This is the
toughest thing for small businesses. We tend to be concerned about
expenses, but the more people you have behind your business, the faster
you'll grow. Start with independent contractors if you can't hire
permanent employees. Find trusted service providers -- ask colleagues
for recommendations. Partner with other companies.
- Learn a little technology. Otherwise, you'll spend more
money, everything will take longer and you won't get the best from your
service providers or staff. You need to know some tech to effectively
communicate with your service providers. Read tech blogs, even if they
seem to be over your head. You'll pick up something.
- Get organized! Between site logins, calendar events, service
providers, etc. you'll waste a lot of time if you're not organized.
There are online servicew where you can create a "dashboard" page for
yourself that allows you to easily access everything you need from one
place. She has a private page on NetVibes, but there are other services
coming up that allow the same sort of thing. Find something that works
- Plan. Prioritize a confusing landscape. Anita has three
levels of priority and allocates her time and attention most to the top
priority (her website), less to the second-tier items (e-mail, SEO,
blog, etc.), and "as available" to the third tier. Her top priority is
her website, so she spends the most time on making sure it's up to
date. Website will not be the top priority for everyone. Each business
owner will have to determine for him/herself how to distribute
- Keep a sense of humor. Something's bound to go wrong. Things
that seem like tragedies can turn out to be wonderful. Her site was
hacked on Christmas Eve. At the time, she didn't know what to do -- but
in two weeks it had turned in to a great war story. People whose blogs
had been hacked were looking to her for information. There's always a
silver lining, so don't let setbacks get you down.
Learn more about the ways Diane can help improve the performance and profitability of your business web site, or request a no-obligation personal consultation, by visiting www.NineYards.com.