In my observation of and work with numerous business owners around the world, there’s one thing which differentiates the wildly successful and wealthy ones from the struggling and broke.
Struggling business owners will spend time to save money, whereas successful business will spend money to save time. Why is that an important distinction? Because you can always get more money later, but you can never get back more time. So you need to ensure the stuff you spend your time on makes the biggest impact on what you can do yourself for the betterment of your future!
This is called LEVERAGE and leverage is the best kept secret of the rich.
These big impacting, leveraged activities are the things that make up the key 20% of the 80/20 rule, best known as the Pareto Principle.
If you want more success you need to start paying attention to and expand the things that give you the most leverage for your business and of course profit.
There are various areas of your business where you could start looking for leverage points. You may look at getting 50% better at your negotiating skills, which in turn may help you negotiate with key suppliers and get an incremental improvement in your buy price or fees. While this is a great start, at the end of the day you might have improved your process and bottom line marginally. What you are looking for is exponential improvement, not marginal or incremental.
By far the biggest leverage point in any business is marketing. Not advertising, but true, time tested, coherent, and consistent marketing. If you think back to any major staple business - hardly any of them started big and or with substantial funding. They all start just like you are starting - small and fragile with little money and a lot of hopes and sleepless nights. But what got them to be huge is consistency in their efforts.
If you get 10% better at marketing, this can have an exponential or multiplying effect on your bottom line year oner year. Willie Sutton was a prolific American bank robber, during his forty-year criminal career he stole millions of dollars and eventually spent more than half his life in prison. At some point during his sentence, he was asked by a reporter why he had robbed so many banks - why not do something else? According to the reporter he replied: “Because that’s where the money is.” When it comes to business the reason we want to focus so heavily on marketing is the same - Because that’s where the money is. Maybe not right away, but sustainable self-sustaining easy money is what all businesses strive for.
What is Marketing?
Most people see marketing as advertising or branding or some other vague concept. While all these are in fact associated with marketing, they are not one and the same. In fact, these are factors that get addressed through marketing as you check off your relaying to-do list.
At Unthink, we have a simple and jargon free definition of marketing:
If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign “circus coming to El Paso Sunday!” that’s advertising.
If you put the sign on the back of the elephant and walk it down into Jacinto Plaza that is promotion.
If the elephant wakes through the mayor’s flower bed and the local newspaper writes a story about it, that’s publicity.
And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, thats’ public relations.
If the town’s citizens go to the circus, you show them the many entertaining booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the circus and answer any of the questions, thats sales.
If you planned the whole thing, well that my friend is marketing.
Strategy is how you plan for your ideal market to know about you, like you and trust you enough to be a customer or send you customers. Every step, like promotion, ads, PPC, SEO, website building, social media posts, printed ads, content marketing, email marketing, pricing - those are just tactics.
Many Things Have Changed, Including How We Market Ourselves and How We Leverage
Albert Einstein was once giving an exam paper to his students, it turned out he had given the exact test the previous year. A concerned student alerted Mr. Einstein:
"Excuse me, sir!" said the student, not quite sure how to tell the genius professor.
"Yes?" said Einstein.
"Um, eh, it's about the test you just handed out.."
"I'm not sure if you realize, but this is the exact same exam you gave out last year!"
Einstein paused to think for a moment, then he answered,
"Yes, it is the same test but the answers have changed."
Just as the answers in physics change as new discoveries are made, so too do the answers in business marketing. Once upon a time getting listed on Yellow Pages books was enough, then it was getting a website, then it was getting listed on Yelp. Now things aren't so straight forward. As a result of this many tend to be distracted by the many marketing tactics and 'opportunities' given to them. In New Jersey, we have several clients who often propose to leave us for the new guy who has cold email them or called them. We call this the 'Shiny Object Syndrome" - business owners chasing the next new thing in marketing trying to do what is 'hot' and or maybe they have just found out about! But in reality it has been a passing fad for quite sometime and many business owners would know this if they would just ask a professional. This causes many businesses to spend wrongfully on efforts that are no where near relevant to them. Which happens a lot!
Leverage is the reason why many of us invest in stocks, we leverage the work of experts and leaders heading large public corporations. As a matter of fact, as of this writing (June 2017) I have been personally investing in Carvana it has yielding great for many of us! Tom Handy, agent with New York Life will attest to how leverage is a critical factor to wealth, he advices all his clients to take the right steps even if they are small steps as soon as possible by saving first, then protecting current wealth through insurance and then through investing. Other's help communities as they leverage networks others have put in place to better serve those who are open to being helped such as LegalShield agents Cecilia and Andy Pacheco in El Paso, TX. - Regardless of what you do, you must always look for ways to leverage other resources.
Believe it or not, we at Unthink get fired a lot by client companies who get caught up in this TACTICS mentality, where they cannot differentiate strategy from it and thus never figure out the big picture of the how and why. The may expect a lot of hot SEO, video, podcasting, pay-per-click, advertising, etc. and when they don’t think we are doing that for them - they get frustrated and fire us. There is a big picture behind each piece of data, like going to a doctor - you may be able to figure out what your condition affects but knowing what else is affected and the inner workings of everything - is a professional’s perspective that you may not fully understand but that doesn’t make it wrong. Marketing is the same, it requires strategic, higher level thinking - that is trained for and 90% of business owners lack this strategic mentality.
If you are looking to leverage your growth you may want to consider talking to a professional bookkeeper who happens to also help non-clients and clients with securing low interest business loans through private lenders, Blue Pearl Bookkeeping. For getting your business positioned into the 21st century and start building a lead nurture funnel, you may want us to get started helping you build a great but affordable website first. We can then move on to creating a strategic marketing plan for online and offline.
We help small business.
Related Article: Can Inbound Marketing Really Help My Business?