Month: May 2019

The Secret to Unstoppable Growth

I am always surprised by the number of small startups without a real marketing plan. For the new entrepreneur, all of this marketing mumbo jumbo seems like a lot of unnecessary work. “I have so many other things to do to get this business off and running! Surely I don’t need to do all that!”

Yes. You do.

Starting a business without a marketing plan is like planting a garden with no intention to water it. Good luck with that.

Ideas are very much like seeds, and marketing is very much like gardening. You can’t plant any old seed, any time you want, anywhere you want, and expect it to bloom. Seeds, by themselves, can do nothing. Just because you plant it, does not mean it will grow. Growth doesn’t happen without knowledge.

The power of a single seed continues to amaze me. I pour it out of the packet into my hand. The seed appears dead. Yet, it is a miracle in disguise. This tiny seed is preloaded with all the necessary information to transform into something wildly beyond itself. It is a sleeping power pack of potential. With vision. Big vision. It is just waiting.

Waiting for what?

The right environment, the right nurture, the right time, and the perfect spot. Given the right conditions, the growth will be unstoppable. That little seed can split a rock in two.

This right environment, my friend, is marketing.

Without the right environment, your business idea will die, literally, on the vine. This environment is why a marketing plan is so essential for growth. Marketing answers the questions: Where are you going to plant your idea? When will you do it? How will you do it? Who will be there to see the fruit? And who cares about the fruit? Any gardener knows it requires effort, patience, and knowledge to grow a prize-winning anything.

Just a few weeks ago, I was reading about a native wildflower I intend to plant in my yard. Much to my surprise, I learned the little seed would only grow in poor and barren soil. The delicate flower on the front of the packet prefers drought and neglect. Had I not done my homework, I would have planted these seeds in my garden boxes filled with fertile Iowa soil, and then watered the daylights out of them. And they would have died.

This kind of trouble is always the trouble with all things growing, because it matters a great deal how you plant things. It is the same with your business. Growth requires knowledge and nurture.

Every entrepreneur I have ever met has more ideas than could ever be used in a lifetime–as many ideas as gardeners have seed catalogs. This abundance of ideas is always a good thing because you never know when you might need a backup plan. But, the idea itself will forever be the easy part. If you don’t want your expectations to wilt, you have to figure out what the seed requires.

Sure, you may argue, some things do grow all by themselves, (a proven claim in Iowa). But there are a few problems with voluntary growth. For one, voluntary growth is usually accidental. Two, this kind of growth is not easy to replicate, because the environment, like the weather, is chance and ephemeral. And third, rapid growth most frequently occurs when what you have is weeds, and not what you wanted at all.

The middle of a crisis is never the time to discover all the reasons you should have a marketing plan. This is especially true if you have invested every penny you once had to start your business.

Ideas are a terrible thing to waste. If you are going to go to all the effort to start a small business, know that you will be wasting your effort without a marketing plan. If you are thinking of winging it without one, think again.

If you started business because you want to improve people’s lives, you need a marketing plan to do it.

If you started your business because you plan to change the world, every effort you make to write a marketing plan will align to assist your success.

Please, I beg you, don’t waste your efforts starting a new business without nurturing your fabulous idea with knowledge and serving your customers with love. Develop a marketing plan and a marketing strategy.

And then, you can prepare for unstoppable growth.