I do a lot of seminars for small businesses including “Email marketing with Constant Contact” and “Internet & Social Media Marketing for Small Business”. I get attendees from across the whole spectrum of small businesses from startup solopreneurs to established multinational companies. I love speaking to other small business owners and I’m always fascinated by how people earn their money.
Most people come to the seminars with the hope of learning something that they can use in their business and I’d like to think that they don’t go away disappointed. However it’s also common to see people that shouldn’t really be there from the perspective of where they are in their business cycle – they don’t yet even have a business, just an idea or a converted hobby, but expect to find answers about how they should market themselves.
I’ve started including a slide in my presentations that I hope gives them the message about what they should be concentrating on – I call it “The hierarchy of things” and it goes like this:
#1 Start with your company, product or service. Get this squared away first. An idea for a company, product or service isn’t a business. A business without clients isn’t a business. If you don’t have your company, product or service set up STOP and don’t go any further until you do.
#2 Get your website up and running. This is no longer optional – you will be invisible without a website. And a website is always yours – you “own” the domain and all the content.
#3 Only after 1&2 are completed should you explore Social Media, Email marketing and everything else. If those things don’t lead back to a website that succinctly describes your services then you are wasting your time. And remember Social Media is never “yours” – Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn can change their offering on a whim (and often do).
When I show the slide I just hope it doesn’t come over as too mean-spirited – but it is the truth and sometimes you have to be brutally honest before people start completely down the wrong path.
“Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.