Every year this time I ask readers and clients…especially clients…what they’re planning on doing next year.
- How will you improve?
- How will you grow?
- How will your business improve it’s reach?
A disturbingly high percentage of people respond with something like this;
“I’m going to try harder…”
“I’m going to work harder…”
Candidly, this is the most horrible business strategy ever! Why? Because it’s not a strategy at all. Don’t let yourself fall victim to this trap!
This is a great opportunity to talk specifically about web marketing, since that’s the primary focus of this blog. Many people out there right now have some smart things on their to-do list for 2011. They might include:
- Start a blog
- Launch a new product
- Do more prospecting
- Get more sales people and/or affiliates
These are smart items to accomplish. Go for it! I am also an advocate of “try harder…” and “work harder…”. Let’s not misunderstand each other. It is important to work hard; just know that working hard isn’t a strategy. Starting a blog isn’t a strategy. Launching a product isn’t a strategy either. Let me clarify…
The difference between an asset and a strategy
Everything mentioned so far is an asset. Your energy…and the amount of energy you decide to put into your business…is valuable. It’s an asset. It’s an important one. So is your blog. If you’re going to launch a new blog this year, that’s great! It’s an asset. So is a new product. These are all assets, and a successful business needs to have strong assets. Just don’t mistake an asset for a strategy.
I see business owners make this mistake all the time! They create checklists, and they run through everything, convincing themselves they’re working hard and doing the right things. They’re acquiring assets.
- Launch a blog…check!
- Create a Facebook business page…check!
- Create a new product or service…check!
- Put in a few more hours each week…check!
- Hire a new assistant…check!
You’re piling up assets, but there is no STRATEGY anywhere in sight! So my question to you is…what is your STRATEGY this year? I don’t care much what you want to accomplish. That is highly personal and subjective. You can set whatever goals you want. Whatever edifies you and motivates you…go for it!
Want to make a hundred thousand dollars this year? Great. A million? Great. Goals are important, but they’re very easy to set. We all know the importance of having goals and writing them down. What we need to FOCUS on is strategy. Most of your business plans contain 90% asset aquisition, and very little strategy. This is fun for a month or two, because you get to be busy, and you get to check things off your list, but after a short while it starts to become apparant that nothing is really happening.
- Have you ever started a website, and it just sat there accomplishing nothing?
- Have you ever launched a new lead generation system that cost you some money but fails to pull it’s weight?
- Have you ever hired someone that doesn’t add to your company’s bottom line?
These are all examples of assets that have been mistaken for strategies. Let me explain…
The problem is that when we mistake assets for strategy, we end up with a bunch of assets that aren’t performing. If you buy a rental property, you have an asset. But if you fail to manage it properly, it turns to crap over a period of time, and you end up with a liability that just ends up costing you money. That’s what assets do when you don’t attach a strategy. So, make sure you have a strategy!
What is your strategy?
Want to start a blog? That’s a terrific, powerful asset. Congratulations! Now…what is your strategy?
- What specifically do you want your blog to accomplish for your business? Brand awareness, lead generation, sales, client engagement?
- What schedule will you follow to produce content for your blog on a consistent, regular basis?
- What specific tactics will you employ to drive traffic to your blog? SEO, PPC, social media, etc?
- What metrics will you use to TEST and measure your growth?
- Why are these specific metrics important to you?
- How often will you visit these metrics, and if things are not on track, what will you do to GET on track?
These questions are the BEGINNING of what it takes to create a strategy, and some of them aren’t necessarily easy to answer. You might have to do some research. You might have to do some networking or hire a consultant to give you some perspective. I do consulting by the way :-)
The ideal asset to strategy ratio
Do you see the difference between an asset and a strategy? Do you see how essential it is to have one strategy for every asset you have? An asset without a strategy quickly becomes a liability. MANY of you have a lot of liabilities on board that are costing you a lot of time and money. You can cut them loose, or you can put them to work for you.
Importantly, when it comes to marketing most of you guys (for those of you who don’t know, I work with and write this blog for a specific type of small business owner) only need a few marketing assets. 2-3 strong lead generation systems coupled with a strong marketing strategy WILL produce more leads than you even know what to do with.
Are you marketing efforts getting that type of results in your business? If not…it’s time to develop a STRATEGY that works for you!