Sunday, July 29, 2012

Are you building a business or running a hustle?

Are you building a business or running a hustle?

Of course, you're running a business, right?

Before you assume that this is an easy answer, you might now know what I mean when I ask this.

Building Your Business vs. Running a Hustle: What is the difference?

When you build your business, you are focused on building assets that serve you, even AFTER you no longer are putting in your own effort.  Generally, build something that
(a) saves you time,
(b) saves you moeny, or
(c) makes you money.

When you build a business, you are doing things that eventually generate time or money after you stop doing them.  In other words, today's efforts bring you fruit tomorrow--not just today.

If you aren't doing that, that's what I call running a hustle.

Many businesses are too busy responding to today's events rather than planning to be in control of what will happen for them tomorrow.

We'll compare four (4) different angles of building YOUR business--versus running a hustle:

  1. Getting Customers
  2. Social Media
  3. Offsite SEO
  4. Website
There may be a lot of other things to compare, but this list should get you to begin evaluating yourself the same way.

1. Getting Customers

To make a comparison between building your business versus running a hustle, everything starts here.

Running a Hustle: If you're running a hustle, you are always looking for your next customer.  However, this alone is not what I mean.

The key is whether you have a way of reaching your former customers.  Do you have a way of seeking business today from customers you got yesterday?

For instance, many retail businesses might be slammed with business today.  Lots of customers came into your store to do business, and many of them bought from you.

How do you reach any of those customers tomorrow?

Many stores do not have any method to reach these people who were in their store.

Therefore, these stores have to HUSTLE to get more customers tomorrow.  Maybe some of these customers will be the same as today's, but the store might not know that.

Guess what happens THE DAY AFTER THAT?  Yup, they have to HUSTLE to get more business all over again.

Once they stop "hustling," they no longer get business.

Building Your Business: How can a retail store--or any other store--BUILD their business so they don't always have to hustle?

NOTE: Don't get me wrong.  You always need to do your best and keep your business competitive.  I'm not suggesting that you, as a business owner, should be lazy.

How can take today's business and BUILD AN ASSET for tomorrow?

One Method to Build Your Business: Get and Build a Customer List

When you are building your business, you are always finding ways to BUILD YOUR LIST--your customer list.

In the case of the retail store, they might find ways to get contact information from some of their customers.

You can ask your visiting customers questions, like...
  • "Do you like what we had to offer?"
  • "Would you like us to tell you about upcoming sales at the store?"
You can entice them by saying something like, "Leave your email address, phone number, physical address, etc, and we will make it easy for you to continue enjoying your shopping experience with us."

You might need to bribe some people and make them an offer.  For example, you might offer a 20% discount on their next purchase if they leave their email address.

Now, you are building a list of people who BOUGHT FROM YOU, and you are staying in contact with those customers.

You can continue to find new customers, but you are also staying in contact with your current and former customers.

Imagine if you did that for a year?  for 2 years?  3 years?

How big would your targeted customer list be?


2. Social Media

Of course, we keep hearing that it's really important to use social media.  This past week, the Facebook stock price took a plunge, because there is some concern about whether it is a profitable model.

However, why are so many people and companies excited about utilizing social media as part of their marketing strategies?

Most people who use the Internet understand the potential reach of social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.  They understand the quantity of people they can reach through using social media, even if they do not completely understand HOW social media works.

Many businesses are excited about using social media, because it seems like it is so easy to just build a list.

For instance, you can build a Facebook Fan Page for your company and have people "Like" it.  Now you have a method to broadcast your messages to them.

Twitter allows you to gain "Followers," which allows you another easy method to broadcast your message to them.

Make a post on LinkedIn, and your "Connections" and fellow "Group Members" can see your message.

Not every business utilizes social media the same way.

Running a Hustle: Any companies that is using using social media should be applauded, because they are making some effort to build a customer list.

Most companies forget one small thing.  Social media makes it easy to broadcast your message, but it is also easy for your Facebook Friends, Twitter Followers, LinkedIn Connections, etc. to IGNORE your message or simply OVERLOOK your message.

Broadcasting your message is only PART of social media.

You stop broadcasting messages, you probably lost the marketing benefit of using social media.

So your business keeps broadcasting messages--just hoping that someone they need will see your message respond the way you want.

THAT is running a hustle.

Building Your Business: Social media is supposed to be social.  However, doing something to match "what you should do" is often the wrong path to take.

We need to answer WHY we should and understand it.

The REAL benefit of social media is that it gives our business a chance to develop a solid relationship with our Facebook Friends, Twitter Followers, LinkedIn Connections, etc.

Most people will not do anything special for us.

However, if we help enough people (customers) get what they want, they will help us get what we want.

Social media is not valuable, unless we have two (2) things:
(a) a list of people connected to us
(b) people on that list who are paying attention to us

If we focus our social media effort toward getting people excited about us and what our business offers, they will start to answer our call-to-action.

More importantly, we will build a REFERRAL BASE.

Once we get people who are excited to refer our business, then we are building our business--without our effort.

We still need to keep working, but it's a lot easier to build something when you have other people helping you build it, even when you aren't there.


3. Offsite SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a term that many people throw in conversations and even "demands."  Many business realize that they need to have their business found in Google.

If your business gets listed in Google (and other search engines, like Yahoo or Bing) for the keyword search phrases that people looking to buy what you have to offer might type, you can get business from people who never met you.

The downside is that most SEO work does not begin paying dividends until three (3) to six (6) months later.  If the term is competitive enough, it might take one (1) or two (2) years to get your business listed on Page 1--the only place most people take time to look.

Running a Hustle: SEO takes a lot of work, and most SEO work you do today will not bring you any reward today.  That reward might never come, and if it comes, it is later.

Many businesses are so busy running their business today that they "do not have time" to do things--like market online--that will not pay them today.

If you are not spending time trying to get listed in Google, then you are, in part, running a hustle.

Building Your Business: SEO is one of the best examples of building your business.

First, a smart business will try to get listed on a Google for a few keywords.  Once that happens, they will start getting people to call who NEVER met them.

After that, they target other keywords.  While they are doing SEO work for these new keywords, they are getting the benefits from the keywords they targeted earlier.

After they get listed for this newest set of keywords, they will get business from these and the earlier keywords.

Plus, in addition to their website, they have landing pages, carefully crafted topics on an attached blog, image enhancing press releases, informative articles, useful videos, etc.  Once those are created, they (usually) stay on the Internet forever, long after you stopped working on them.


4. Website

I cannot tell you how often I get people who approach me who are dying to get a website.  They think that getting a "nice" website is the holy grail to getting a great business.

Certainly, it is nice to have a "nice" website.  However, there is something more important to consider here.

Running a Hustle: Most people visit a website one (1) time after they meet somebody or stumble across it on the Internet.

After that, most people will never visit that website ever again.

Most businesses just spend effort building their websites, and they do nothing after that.  The website sits there, essentially collecting "Internet dust."

Hopefully, somebody will see it and buy that huge order.  Most likely, this is wishful thinking.

This is running a hustle--one time and done website.

Building Your Business: A website is an asset, but it is not always a performing asset.

How can we make it a "performing asset?"

Just think of your own Internet behavior.

Do YOU visit websites more often than one (1) time?

Most likely, you don't!

Why not?

You're being smart!  There is not any reason for you to return to them.  Most websites will look EXACTLY the same as when you went there last time.

Think about the websites that YOU use more than once.  They either
(a) entertain you
(b) update you about events that matter to you
(c) are a good, useful resource for you

Really, (b) and (c) are related.

Here are some common examples of websites that people visit more than once:
On a smaller scale (usually MUCH smaller), companies that are building a business look to find ways to make their website someone that other people "need" or "want" to revisit.

This can be done through...
(a) writing blogs,
(b) updating website material often enough to keep visitors interested,
(c) adding a video to your website that changes,
(d) adding a section with local, relevant events, or
(e) anything else that keeps people returning--and referring others--to your website.

Doing these types of things will make people tell other people about your website.  People often want to be the one who "knows a cool" resource, like a website.  They also like to tell people where to get great deals (perhaps like your website?).

The best companies are building a website that other people use and suggest.


So if you are doing ANY of these things, you are taking the right first steps toward building your business.

Let me know what you're doing to build your business, and let me know if I missed anything really important.  Then, you will be helping me build my business, too!

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