Imagine the heat wave sort of day. You sweat even thinking about being outside. Now place in this desert of a day an in-ground, crystal-clear pool. Three feet on one end, twelve feet on the other with a big diving board. Now the big question, how do you get in? Jump, dive, cannonball, jack knife…the possibilities are nearly endless. But there is one way to NEVER get into a pool…by using the stairs.
Go all in
This also is true for most small businesses that I work with. Those who are not having any fun are those who stick their toes in the water and walk away because it feels cold. Translated into business, they run one business card sized advertisement for the shortest contract period possible. They “renovate” the inside of their store with two or three streamers hanging haphazardly from the front counter. When they don’t see an immediate boost in business, they slump their shoulders in the shallow end of the pool saying, “This is no fun. Pools aren’t exciting. Advertising doesn’t work. Customers don’t appreciate the work that I do.” That is no good!
Business ownership is about thrill, adrenaline and change. It’s about living like no one else and having the control over your own future. It’s about jumping right into the deep end and feeling the full-body sting of cold water on hot, dry skin. You question your sanity for a single moment. Then you come up for air and feel amazing. Wet and amazing.
Of course, this doesn’t mean to be reckless. Unless you are in the polar bear club, you don’t jump into a pool when it’s freezing outside. You don’t jump into a public pool without a bathing suit. It’s not always wise to go as big as you can, out of the gate. Research market conditions, collect data, analyze your financial ability to impact your local community. Know exactly what you are doing, before a drop of chlorine water touches your skin.
Here is some real, practical application from my experience.
It works. That’s why AT&T spent $2.9 billion in advertising in 2013 and many, many other companies. Now in real application, you can duplicate this for your own small business (yeah, really.) I recommend spending no less than 5-10% of your gross earnings on advertising. If that’s only $200/month, then that’s fine. But be realistic and understand that you are investing in business growth. Find the marketing mediums where that’s a realistic figure and explore. Talk to sales people, but don’t let them dictate your business. Ask for evidence and testimonials. You can even ask for references of their current clients. Get your money together and go all in with it. Don’t doubt.
That is jumping in with both feet. I encourage you to do it. You will always learn more, and be much happier with your overall business. Because with that behavior, no matter what happens, at least you really tried.
Use existing resources
Do you have spare time in between customers? Design a website (EVERY small business needs a website), build a mailing list, schedule a month’s worth of posts for your business Facebook page. Post a video of your store or just talk to your fans on camera. Attend networking events with surrounding businesses and send them customers. 9 times out of 10, they will reciprocate. Often times, all you need to generate business is to let people know you are there!
I work with a company outside of Nashville that has created a mascot character for their restaurant. When business is slow, the owner puts on the character costume and dances by the side of the street. Now, many people come in to the restaurant because they’ve seen the dancing “Crazy Clown.”
What kind crazy things have you done with your business? Let me know in the comments.