Did you ever talk to someone for a while and realize that they have been needlessly expending a lot of extra time and energy trying to get somewhere the hard way? In my job as a digital media consultant, I see it all the time. Many companies spin their wheels trying to grow their businesses and some end up spinning out of control. Why? Here are a few classic reasons some hard luck companies have missed the boat with regard to inbound marketing.
We’ve Always Done it This Way
Resistance to change can kill a business faster than you can say “chapter 9.” It’s not that change is always good. It’s that some businesses neglect to even consider new opportunities because they flat out are afraid of change. They are afraid to consider what might happen if they try something new. Will we alienate our existing customers? Will someone else do it better? Will the sky fall? I don’t know. What I do know is that hesitation could be fatal. Why have you always done it this way? Is that the best way? Maybe it is. Maybe not. The problem is not doing it the way you’ve always done it. The problem is not knowing why, or if it is indeed still the best way.
Photo Credit: White Mountain Railway Company
We’re Too Busy Right Now
This is a polite way of saying “I didn’t plan well for the future.” I have exercised very little foresight and have overextended myself with all this extra work I must now do to compensate for my lack of planning. Every business plan should include consideration toward growth. Business that doesn’t grow eventually dies. If you’re too busy to grow, get ready to shrink, because your competitors are out to grow and at least some of them will not be too busy right now.
My Business Is All Word Of Mouth
Most of the people who tell me this are not even aware of how much more business they could have. Meanwhile, the rest of the free world tells me that 20-30% of their business comes to them from word of mouth. While I don’t discount the benefit of referrals, I question the business sense of anyone who closes a blind eye to 70% of what their peers have recognized and invested in as a means of acquiring new customers and growing their businesses.
This Sounds Risky
Life is risky. I walked into my office today and found that a third of my coworkers were suddenly participants in a “workforce reduction.” No one expected a thing. Are there things that they could have done differently? Probably. Did they have a plan “B” ready? I hope so. What about you? Got a plan “B” in place should your business start to tank? No? That sounds risky.
This Sounds Hard
Many businesses make the mistake of seeking comfort and stasis rather than growth. They don’t realize that when you feel most comfortable, you are most vulnerable. If you’re happy and content with the way things are, I hate to be a buzzkill but you could be in grave danger. Historically, many things are hard at first, but it’s a good thing someone was willing to step up and do them anyway. Conversely, there are lots of people who will never get anywhere because they are unwilling to do “the hard things.” These are the ones who typically sit around and complain about how hard things are while the movers and shakers keep commerce going.
There Must Be An Easier Way
There is an easier way. It’s what makes my job so much fun: inbound marketing can be a very easy way to grow a business. As we talk together about what’s possible, and we begin to ask the hard questions about why things are the way they are, easier ways get found. Sustainable growth follows. Adaptable plans reduce the anxiety associated with the risks. Ongoing dialog keeps things fresh and relevant. Once again, we are standing in the sun. Make no mistake though, we never stop looking at the horizon and thinking about what tomorrow’s weather will bring. Sometimes it makes things harder, but in the long run, it is the easiest way.
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