With so many net opportunities to sell your value are you sure you can keep selling yours in the same old way?
If you know you can’t how do you know where to change your ways?
Watch my video on Packaging for the new channels.
Five Tipping Points for You to Decide.
There is a real divide between business people who swear by and swear at Web 2.0.
To Social media “moguls”, even questioning Web 2.0 is so old-school!
They say, “Unless you get known and seen on your blog, their blogs, tweet about it and post on LinkedIn and Facebook, you will never get credible as an expert or grow your brand with prospects!”
“If you aren’t getting business from social media, then you just don’t have good content or you aren’t online enough.”
I add; no one wants to be sold but everyone wants to buy. Social networking allows you to become trusted and provide bite-sized pieces of value to prospects before they are ready to buy.To entrepreneurs and owners whose firms live on creating qualified prospects and personally closing sales, the impact Web 2.0 has on running their P&L’s is at best a mystery and at worst a narcotic.
“Nobody ever buys from me without establishing a trusting, personal relationship; the only profiteers on the Internet are those teaching others how to make money on-line”
“The web commoditizes everything, the only people you are attracting on-line are your competition or wannabee buyers without money or a clue.”
I personally don’t see most buyers of B2B products and services, especially owners of established companies using social media beyond websites, especially to find and choose suppliers.
So what should you be doing on-line (beyond the basics of a great website, SEO and customer communications?)
Here are five tipping points for you to decide.
Circle Yes, Maybe or No for each Tipping Point below.
- Tipping Point One. Does your economic buyer do more than Google your business name, your competitors or your industry’s key words when deciding to buy what you sell? Yes, Maybe or No
- Tipping Point Two. Is your product or service rated, judged, influenced or approved by others who go on-line to learn about your firm and its value? Yes, Maybe or No
- Tipping Point Three. Do your customers or clients interact with each other or belong to a definable on-line community? Yes, Maybe or No
- Tipping Point Four. Are there others selling your product or service who can track profitable sales back to leads or customers they found through social media? Yes, Maybe or No
- Tipping Point Five. Is there an employee, vendor or partner who is willing to do your blogging, tweeting and other social media on commission or get paid paid-for-performance? Yes, Maybe or No
Add up your Yes’s, Maybe’s and No’s. Whatever you have the most of should drive your commitment to social media.
Regardless of your answers and your decision, as a business owner, it’s your responsibility to profitably grow your business. Keep the following in mind.
Awareness, trust and conceptual agreement is one thing, qualifying a decision maker who has time, need, authority and money for your product or service and buys is the only measure of profitable growth.
Direct mail response marketing gave advertising a measurable ROI; something will come along to make social media accountable.
Now I guess I should go post this on my blog, tweet it which will feed into my LinkedIn and Facebook accounts so all the social media experts can blast me and business owners won’t read it!
If you run or work with a small business, how many times have you said or heard the phrase, “We all wear several hats” to explain how work gets done? In these times, everyone is working harder and doing more with less. But in this ADD world of constant distractions, when are multiple hats more of a burden than a blessing?
Why Must We Wear So Many Hats? It will always be a challenge for a small business to get all its work done. Staffing up to run sales, production and the office in turbulent times often means sharing work. Today’s organizations may be leaner and flatter, but all the technology, systems and controls have created the need for many specialists whose unique skills are only needed on a part-time basis. So, sales staffs take on marketing responsibilities, software specialists manage hardware and the back office also serves as the front office. So, when is it an excuse and when is this fair?
Wearing multiple hats in a small business works when staff is proactively dealing with tasks and challenges. For example, if people know whose part-time task it is to communicate with customers before there is a problem or evacuate the building before there is a fire, multiple jobs are fine. Also, if multiple hats give a company the ability to focus on root causes, that’s fine. An example of this would be a cross-functional task force, assembled to reduce the reasons mistakes are made.
Wearing multiple hats is an excuse when staff is called upon randomly or by “who has time” to reactively solve a recurring problem. If your people are pulled out of their office jobs to make deliveries whenever sales people exceed quota, this would be an example of poor planning. Also, if part of someone’s job is to regularly redo the work of another, this is dealing with a symptom rather than the root cause of someone else’s poor performance.
Three things to do to make sure multiple hats work:
- Make sure people clearly understand the outcomes you expect. The mark of any good small business employee is their embracing of the goals of the business. If they are not working toward selling, delivering, developing or protecting the business, then why not?
- Staff must be personally accountable for their actions. Small businesses cannot provide direct supervision of anyone. The best staff works under general supervision and manages themselves.
- Any small business needs to ensure it is structured to implement its tactics. For example, if the firm wants to meet the unique needs of different customer segments it best not be organized regionally. Too often small business stays organized to implement old tactics despite claiming it is pursuing new opportunities.
Small business will always wear and lament they wear too many hats. Make sure the multiple hats are helping more than they are hurting.
In 1918 US Senator Hiram Warren Johnson said, “The first casualty of war is truth,” but in 2010 I say that the first casualty of our great recession is trust. In this dubious recovery, many business owners tell me they plan to expand their businesses if they could only trust:
- Their customers to pay on time
- Their bankers to guarantee lending terms even at higher rates
- The political insanity to stop
Well, they and it won’t. But I am watching the most successful business owners learning to run their businesses like a game of “wack-a-mole.” They don’t know where the next menace will pop up, but they do know one will appear and they have learned to trust their ability to beat any threat down.
What and How to Trust
As a younger executive, my bosses told me to “trust everyone, trust no one.” Because I took it literally, it seemed so insincere. But later, after starting out as a naïve business owner risking everything, I learned what it really meant, “Follow the golden rule but protect your assets.”
But now after these last 24 not-business-as-usual months, “Trust everyone, trust no one” is insufficient because:
- Lawyers say a contract is less of a promise and more a guide for resolving a dispute
- Government voids time-honored commitments but then create new ones with little rhyme or reason
- Buyers will save themselves first at any cost to their vendors
But trust is an essential ingredient to profitably grow a business. An owner must trust there’s a demand for their products, and that loyalty among their staff and suppliers will come through. So how and what can a business owner trust? My advice in 2010 is to trust yourself and remember the old saying; Age and experience will always beat youth and energy.
Recognize that your intuition and judgment are only getting better. No one can take away your experience, education and expertise. It is more valuable than the news, money or even a consultant!
Develop the confidence and conviction you need to profitably grow your business in 2010. And trust yourself. The best reason why you will make good decisions is that you will believe in them!