Sometimes the joke is on us. Sometimes we just don’t know better. But, in many cases, our initial business successes and failures occur because luck combines with ignorance. The question then becomes: How do we learn and internalize the lessons we’ve learned (and, if we are still in business, how can we be thankful for learning things early on, before things go truly out of hand.)
To get started on this course, look below for a video going viral on Facebook. (I admit it took me a while to figure out what was going on — in part because I had the sound muted.)
On the marketing level, here’s a story that reminds us of the perils of assumptions and failing to test our ideas before a roll-out. Alicia Caine writes in 5 Major Branding Mistakes that 98.9% of Entrepeneurs Make:
I learned this lesson a painful way. I started my coaching business with an ebook, Easy as Pie Pricing. Because I couldn’t get easyaspie.com, I went with a playful domain name to go with the pie theme: served-up-fresh.com. Once I realized that I actually had a business, not just a side hustle with Easy as Pie, Served Up Fresh became my business name as I added other ebooks and courses.
When I signed a book deal to have my pricing information published and Easy as Pie was no longer a part of my business, my Served Up Fresh brand name had literally no significance or fond connection with anyone.
I had to start all over.
After doing research on my past clients and their desire for profit with their business, I made the decision to change my business name to Profit First Photography. After I announced the name change, I received a massive amount of emails from my audience expressing how much they HATED my new name and my email unsubscribe rate was jaw dropping. After years of saying that they loved me, my audience now felt that my values had changed to a greedy, money-grubbing, snob. Easy as Pie was always about profit- but the feeling that I gave them around the name was vastly different because “profit” was assumed instead of clearly communicated.
I was now speaking the language of my business soul mates who were in business to be profitable and to do that I needed to be clear about my message: without profit, you don’t have a business, you have a hobby.
Whether your name is Photographer Name Photography or Piggie Toes….your name is communicating your brand story and it’s either yawn inducing, off-putting, or it’s generating strong feelings of connection.
My own early mistake: In the early goings, I published a trade newspaper for local Realtors and expanded the concept to a new publication, just for construction. Both were good ideas, but the Realtor market was a bit to thin and small to support a business.
Then I decided that I could publish a truly better general business weekly than the one published in our city. I invested resources in design, new original content, and created a truly “better” product.
And the only advertising we sold was to existing advertisers in our old real estate and construction markets.
Big fail. I learned then about positioning, niche marketing, and the fact that you cannot directly go up against competitors with established products or services unless you are crazy or have truly absurd budgets. (And even then, you’ll probably fail, as Google has failed to make inroads against Facebook in general social media marketing; though it has succeeded in video social media (by purchasing YouTube) or, in one of those absurd anomalies that makes the world interesting, in the Brazilian market for several years through Orkut (which failed everywhere else in the world.)
I think the early lessons have value — they help us set our business culture and values, and, if we learn from them, give us some rules and experiences to recall. As for the apprentice with the sledgehammer, maybe the joke is on the individuals running the test. The new worker certainly followed instructions with respect for his supervisor, and aimed that sledgehammer effectively.
This poor idiot has no freakin clue!
Posted by Construction Fuck Ups on Wednesday, 12 August 2015