Practical First Steps | Simple is Better
You have a good idea, but what are your next steps? Jenna, a friend of mine approached me & asked me for some business advice. She was entertaining the thought of making some original & clever looking deserts. She showed me a picture & I was immediately impressed. My mind began
running wild with cool marketing plans on how to get her product out there. Almost ready to speak my thoughts, something stopped me, & then it hit me once again...simple is better.
I'm a prideful man. I want to impress people with my elaborate business plans. It's the thorn in my side & it's a major hindrance in my life & sometimes truly distracts me from giving people the best answer. Swallowing my ego whole, I put my foot down on my arrogance & told her the simplest answer I could think of...
"Don't over-complicate this. Your deserts will sell themselves. You're not sure if you want to devote a ton of time in developing this idea, so just post a picture of the deserts on your personal social media accounts & see what happens." As soon as I said this, a wave of peace washed over me, & I knew that what I had said was right. At first, the thought of saying it sounded so dull, unoriginal, like anybody could have said it. And you wanna know something? All of those things are true. There is nothing exciting about what I told her, but it was good, simple advice. One thing I've learned is that usually the simplest answer is the best answer.
I then went on to explain how she needed to view business in a whole new light. "Please don't create a facebook page for these treats. Please don't make a business name & logo. Just simply post about it on your own wall & say something like, 'Hey everyone, I'm making these deserts again. A lot of people have expressed an interest in these, so I thought I'd give it a go! If you want me to make these for any special event, please contact me. I'd love to have the opportunity to make these again, so that I can justify eating twelve of them & not feel bad about it!'"
I then asked her, "How many facebook pages do you get invited to 'like'? They're a dime a dozen, & I think most people are making a mistake when they form these pages. I don't know about you, but I've got a lot of facebook friends. Most people, when they make these pages, they maybe get 100 likes. That means that only the 100 people who have 'liked' their page will see their status updates & pictures. Why not just market your product to the people who are already listening? Take a look at how many likes you get on a status on your own profile. Now think about how many 'likes' your friend's new photography page gets on each post. I bet you get a ton more likes, & it's all because you have a bigger audience."
It was sinking in, & it seemed as if the more I spoke, the more that same wave that washed over me began to do the same for her. She was beginning to understand what I was trying to convey...that business is simple. You have something to sell, so sell it. Use the audience you've already got & capitalize on it.
Her next question to me was what to do about her business name. I told her she didn't need one. Once again, keep it simple. But why, why no business name?
Many people already knew who Jenna was. If she would have made a business name for her deserts she would have had to re-educate all of her contacts & inform them that this is her new business. Why not just use the name they all already know?..."Jenna!"
Think about...keeping with the same philosophy explained about facebook...she already had maybe 1,000 friends on facebook. Why start over with a business name? Why not use the very name they are familiar with and trust? And isn't that everything in business AND in life--trust? Reputation is everything & if you've already got a good reputation, then your name is already a good brand/business as it is. Why change it? It takes YEARS for people to learn to trust a business. But think about how many people who already trust you.
Keep it simple.
Later on, when you've got a few people working under you & you need to incorporate for tax purposes, go on ahead & make a business name, but again, stick with what people already KNOW AND TRUST, like "Jenna's Deserts".
Also, keep this in mind...some of the most famous brands out there are names of real people. Ralph Lauren, Vera Bradley, Calvin Kline, etc.
An Important Thing to Note
Keep it classy.
If you are going to use your personal social media accounts to post about your business, please do not overwhelm your friends/followers. You can do this by making your posts as personal as possible. Don't make your post about your product or service, but instead about your passions, hopes, thoughts, & experiences. Don't even mention a price. Just keep it casual.
Anderson The Fish