Health Food for Business
Mar 19, 2014 | Posted by etc | comments (0)
Becoming an entrepreneur is such an amazing journey. In many ways, it parallels becoming a new parent. New parents live and breathe the air of anticipation before the arrival of any child, preparing, hoping, and dreaming. But the childbirth classes prepare you for one 24 hour period, after which they plop a living breathing and sometimes screaming human being into your arms, life turns upside down, and no one bothered to tell you what to do with the kid now that you have her. It can be the same with starting a small business. No matter how prepared you think you are, few are prepared for how drastically your life will change, nor does anyone coach you on how to obtain the skills you do not possess and need, well like immediately. But, as with parenting, a little naivete before you begin is always helpful. Without a little confidence to start, no one would attempt anything new, nothing new would ever get to market, and the world would be a very small place indeed. Fortunately, some things? You learn as you go.
But despite the normal levels of chutzpah flowing in any red-blooded entrepreneurial veins, it still amazes me that most companies launch without knowing what business they are actually in. How do I know this? Because of the following simple scenario: someone walks into my office and wants a new brochure. They are usually very excited to tell me about their vision for the piece. It must look sharp, with pictures of their great product. Then I ask them about what they are going to say. They get that “deer in the headlights” look. Well, they really haven’t thought about it. I ask them about target markets and brand guides. The blank stare continues.
Most entrepreneurs know how to make a valuable product, and are very product oriented. Fortunately with the clients we serve, it is most often an extremely good product, outshining the competition. Many business owners do not know how to find their story, and, therefore, cannot tell the bigger story. They do not understand the real benefit their product provides for the people that use it. They do not understand the problems their product is solving, or how the product is different from anyone else’s product. As a result, their messages are very “features and benefits” oriented, and not customer oriented. I am sure you have heard it before. It sounds just like blah blah blah. This is very unfortunate. Knowing the bigger over-arching story is just as important for the small mom and pop business as it is for the most booming company in Silicon Valley. And knowing the real benefit the customer has in working with you is foundational to your long-term success.
Please take a look at the Brand New Brand Pyramid below. (This is taken from our new training program that we are currently finalizing!). The Brand New Brand Pyramid is like a nutrition pyramid for business. Do you see that little red triangle at the very top? The word is so small, it is hard to read. I will tell you what it says. It reads “Advertising”. Do you see how small this triangle is in proportion to the rest? That little red triangle is like dessert. Yes, advertising can be sweet. (We all know our favorite commercials.) Do you see how Advertising rests upon everything else? The layers below are like the vegetables and meat and potatoes–all the things that are necessary for your business to grow up big and strong. These supporting layers are not only necessary for business strength, but necessary to create magnetic advertising messages. These layers are the health food you need to be feeding your business.
Our guess is the majority of the time, your company is wanting the dessert and has been neglecting your vegetables. Maybe you even whine if you have to eat them. But if your advertising is not working for you, perhaps you need to nix the dessert for a while and dig into your veggies.
You will be glad you did. Because your advertising will only be as strong as your foundation.
The Brand New Brand Pyramid is the basis for our new training program. It is a completely free 21-day training course by email to help you, the small business owner, think like a marketer. We are working on it furiously. If you want to be one of the first to get it, and you haven’t signed up yet, feel free to sign up here.