Last time we covered the painful, expensive mistakes made by Big Dumb Companies. That was fun, but the clever Michael Martine had the brilliant idea of talking about what small companies do that’s just as dumb.
Which saved me all the trouble of bending my brain to think of a post topic, so yay for Michael.
This week I’m going to try something new. Instead of giving you one post that’s zillions of screens long, I’m breaking the post up into more manageable chunks. We’ll see if you guys like it or freak out to get multiple posts a week from me. Let me know!
So today you get Dumb Thing #1:
Dumb Thing #1: Deciding you’re “Just Not Good” at marketing
I hear this all the time from solopreneurs. “I have the best handknitted dog sweaters/organic tattoo parlor/gourmet hair products in the city, there’s no one else coming close to putting out stuff as nice as mine. I’m getting some clients here and there, but you know, I’m just not good at marketing. I’m working 18 hours a day, so I figure it’s got to work out eventually.”
Do you tell the IRS “I’m just not good at bookkeeping”? (If you do, you might want to rethink that.)
Do you tell your vendors “I’m just not good at paying invoices”?
I can’t remember who I’m stealing this from, but if you’re going to decide it’s ok to give up on marketing, you might as well take all your working capital to Las Vegas and blow it on whatever combination of hookers and drugs that might appeal to you. It saves time, and the end result is the same.
It’s not rocket science
Business is about relationships and solving problems. Marketing is just communication about those things. If you have a working language center in your brain, you can get good at marketing.
A strongly related dumb thing is thinking you can turn the whole shebang over to an ad agency. (See: Crucial Facts Your Ad Agency Forgot to Mention). Agencies have useful resources, but they’ll never know your business or your customers like you do. And most agencies that handle small business are, frankly, terrible. (A few are amazing. But I’ve seen a lot of terrible.)
You need to know your marketing message so well it’s completely second nature. Know your unique selling proposition, know your benefits and your features, know your individual story, know your customers, know the media that make sense for those customers and that message.
Then and only then will you be ready to make good use of an agency. Until then (sorry), you have to get good at marketing.
Let us know in the comments what about marketing you just don’t think you can get good at! We’ll help.
7 Dumb Things Small Businesses Do
- #1: Deciding You’re “Just Not Good” at Marketing
- #2: Going Without a Business Plan
- #3: Getting Upside-Down
- #4: Thinking It’s About You
- #5: The Worst Number
- #6: Ingratitude
- #7: Following the Herd