I asked people the other day who they modeled their business after. The answers were interesting. Some said their dad. Others said they made businesses for their children. In most cases, I wasn’t sure that I’d asked the question the right way, or that it had been interpreted the way I meant to ask it. My question was: your business isn’t a beautiful and unique snowflake, so what kind of model are you following?
It can be tricky, but it definitely is something to answer, if you want to feel like you’re following a path towards success.
I’m a co-founder of Third Tribe Marketing, a private membership site where we talk about online marketing. It’s been the best thing I’ve done in 2010 so far, and I say that because I’m really enjoying the interaction with the over 2000 members, and because I’m making money (or at least getting more effective, in some cases) thanks to the information I’m finding in the forums.
I thought I’d write about how I use it.
Everything we do to be successful comes from little victories. When someone takes notice of our success, it looks like something big. It feels like one big moment. But always, and I mean always, it comes from a series of little victories. Look at the successes you’ve had. Did they all come at once? Or did you build up from nowhere to somewhere to somewhere better to a quick fallback to a new success, and then pow? Right.
In August 2003, I decided to get healthy. So did Kat. We started with nutrition. We lost a little weight. Then we lost some more. We worked on our fitness. Then we did even more. Then I got into running. And by November 2004, I ran and completed a trail marathon. I sure didn’t wake up one morning in November 65 pounds thinner and start running. It was built on several hundred (thousand?) little victories along the way.
First off, I should say that I loathe Chatroulette. It’s a service that lets you randomly video chat with people, and then shuffle to move on to another random person. I went on once for 20 minutes, and found mostly depressed looking guys and naked men (about 1 in 5 shuffles was a guy’s bits).
But the other day, Mashable posted a video that Ben Folds had done, where he would sing spontaneous songs to whatever he saw on the screen during Chatroulette. He calls these “ode to Merton,” and the backstory there is that this other person, Merton, would sing songs to people that connected with him on the service. Ben Folds, being something of a celebrity, has since overshadowed Merton in some senses, while still paying homage. But that’s not really the main point.
I’m redrawing the ways I do business, the ways I connect with people, the ways I spend my day. It’s a process that requires a lot of thought, a lot of reconsidering, a lot of paper. It requires asking myself tough questions, and deciding whether or not I can handle the answers. It requires a lot of shutting out of the outside world, and thinking inwardly. I thought I’d write a bit about the process, because so many people asked. This has precious little to do with social media marketing, but everything to do with human business.
As With All Things, Goals First
I decided to tell myself the story of me, the story of me for the next few years. This comes from my experience with Don Miller’s book. In my efforts to determine how to conduct my business and my life, I started with goals. I won’t share the details, but I have goals for (in no order):
I was talking to a friend who runs a mobile massage business. She takes her table to you, does the work at your office or home or wherever. It’s great for people who maybe can’t leave the office, but could spare the extra hour within the day, or who could benefit from having a massage at home after a long day. Might be great for stay-at-home parents, too. We were talking about marketing, and what she’d done so far to get herself more business.
First, understand that the best clients for this kind of business are local-ish, have some discretionary money, and are hopefully shooting for being a repeat customer (that would work best for her business).
If you’ve got the powers that be convinced that social media’s the set of tools you need, or if you’re the one making the decisions and you feel hooked, but don’t really know where to start, I’ve got a few ideas for you that might get you going down the right path. You might want to bookmark this one. I make that really easy with the “Share This” button at the bottom of the post.
Here are some ways you could get the ball rolling:
If you’re a company considering using social media tools for business communications, marketing, sales, etc, you’re no doubt wondering about how much time it will add to your already busy day, especially if you’re a smaller business. The answer varies depending on how you’re using it, how many platforms you’re engaging, your goals, and more. But we can still walk through some potential recipes and give you a sense of what will take time, how you might budget for it, and how to consider your engagement efforts. From a business perspective (and you can stretch this for non-profits and other organizations), it comes down to a mix of prioritizing and satisfying customer needs. Here are my thoughts on scaling social media.
Methods of Engaging in Social Media
First, let’s level-set what we’re talking about here. When I talk about scaling your efforts, here are the efforts I’m talking about:
I’m at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas. It’s been called “spring break for geeks,” which is definitely the vibe. To the plus, lots of people are making lots of relationships and connections. I think the networking is unsurpassed. Startups are a big deal here, and I think people are going to see some good things coming out in the tech scene (though I didn’t really hear of anything especially giant or buzzy). People have been so very nice at this event. I’m so happy to meet people that I’ve only seen from online. That’s a wonderful thing. I’m glad you met me.
But I want to talk about more. I want to do more.
For this, our next in the Kitchen Table Talks series, I’m going to emphasize a point I was trying to make about business cards: namely, we shouldn’t just hand them out willy nilly. We do it because we’re not sure what else to do. But we don’t always need to end a face to face interaction with trading business cards. Here’s more: