Over the past few years, I have seen many small businesses come and go. That’s nothing new. There are many reasons why many small businesses don’t live up to the initial expectations of the entrepreneur – poor planning, poor timing, poor guidance, etc. But lately, there is no shortage of marketing gurus and strategists that claim to hold the answer to all of their business woes, even if they have to lie to get customers on-board. I recently attended a much-hyped conference and literally watched as a “guru” ripped off someone else’s sales process and claimed it as her own. The audience was mostly filled with newbie entrepreneurs who may have not made the rounds so they were enthralled with her message. I, on the other hand, was appalled.
Some of these gurus tell would-be entrepreneurs that its important for them to “get their numbers up” – meaning, in this new day and age, the fast way to business success is to build a large list, amass a huge Twitter following, and accumulate TONS of “friends” on Facebook and LinkedIn. The more people you have access to, the more money you can make. But few actually tell people what they need to actually DO once they have connected to all of these people.
The truth is, the secret to business success won’t be found in a secret sales system or blueprint. Even with the advent of social media tools, the core path to success still involves some very traditional principles – differentiation, value-added products/services, marketing prowess, strategic planning, and financial acumen. Yes, ALL of these pieces.
So instead of focusing on how many friends you have, figure out how many customers you need to make a profit. Instead of trying to strategically gain new Twitter followers, strategically plan the next 6-12 months of your business and determine how your product or service adds more value to your customer base than your competition. Because at the end of the day, if all you have is 10,000 “fans” but no money feeding you business, you have groupies, not customers.