Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m a marketing geek through and through. I don’t just watch ads, I study them. I weed through my email looking at subject lines to determine what captures attention and what doesn’t. I love reading trade publications devoted exclusively to marketing. I collect packaging and mailers to help motivate me when I’m starting something new. And yes, I even go to conferences on a regular basis to improve what I know. Like the email conference I attended a week ago.
I love email, I really do. I have quite a few newsletters that I make priority to read each week. And though I get more than my fare share of spam that I delete immediately, I still browse through the subject lines looking for interesting ways of capturing attention in less than 100 characters.
So I looked on with interest when I received an email this morning with this as its subject line:
Build a six, even seven figure business and beyond using just a few simple strategies
It’s not unique in any way; I receive similar claims all the time. And I’m willing to bet you probably have received something similar to this a time or two yourself.
Here’s the thing. A subject line like this looks good on paper (or in this case an email), but you and I both know that isn’t reality.
There is no way an 800 word essay is going to reveal all I need to know about growing my business to a six or seven figure business. It can’t teach me what I need to know, show me what I need to do, or tell me what I’m missing. The author has no idea if I’m currently making a $1 a year, or have already achieved the six figure goal.
If I’m still working on creating my first product and establishing the channels in which to sell it in, seven figures sounds like a dream … and in many ways it is.
And this is where most of us get into trouble. Because the people writing articles like this have good intentions. In fact, I’ve written a few like this myself. And more than likely the writer is revealing great information that could truly benefit your direction in many ways. But something is standing in the way.
It’s called the “you simply don’t know what you don’t know” principle. Here’s how it works.
Lets say the number one item in the article tells you to get sales as quickly as possible. There’s just one problem: you’ve never sold before. So while the author makes it look easy – it is in fact something he does every single day – to a person that’s always had a job, never sold a day in her life, and hasn’t even read an article before on sales techniques, the task may seem overwhelming at best.
Getting sales makes sense; you know you need to do that to grow a business. But in reality, you have more than one problem preventing you from even achieving this goal (and this is only the number one item on the list).
- Your product or service may not be solidified, and refined in such a way that people can understand it when you present it to them.
- You may have no idea what price to charge.
- You might not understand how to network effectively to reach out to those that can help you the most.
- Your website could be so simple, its not effective in capturing the attention of anyone who could potentially choose to do business with you.
All of these things come with time. It comes as you learn from the things you do. It comes when you build a foundation of knowledge to build on. It comes from experiencing something that helps you put the pieces together, to form a clearer picture of where you came from, and the road you must take to get where you are going to.
And that’s something you can’t achieve from reading an 800 word essay, no matter how well it’s written.
But there is something you can do today to help move you in the right direction.
Do something. Anything. As long as it is related towards moving your Big Idea forward. Any action you take today will be a step forward in your learning curve, and help you move that much closer to making your dream a reality.
Prioritize. So many people put the wrong things first. A beautiful website, amazing marketing tools, and a product design that is out of this world are all things that can hold the attention of a small business owner who is nervous about taking a step that will put them on display in front of the world – that’s a scary place to be. But it won’t tell you what you truly need to know – if you have a product that will sell. Get the product sellable, then get people to buy. (Yes, there really is something to that advice.) You’ll learn a lot by getting it into people’s hands. Then you can build and grow from there.
Adapt. Never focus in on one version of your plan. What gives a small business owner a strong advantage over a larger company is the ability to think and act quickly. If you see something working, do more of it. If you see something that isn’t working well, change it. Never be afraid to move into new directions to gain more results.
Network and share. One of the hardest things for a person to do who has never been in the small business arena before is to network. How do you find the right people to get you where you’re going? How do you find the action takers? The key is getting out and getting in front of new people all the time. You never know where your inspiration will come from. You never know when you’ll have your biggest growth spurts. By seeking out interaction all the time, you’ll find some things work and some things don’t. That’s why you do a little every day. Over time, they add up in a big way.