Today I was checking out linkedin and I connected with someone who requested a connection. Linkedin dropped me into the people you might know section so I started looking for any quick connections I should have. I saw a designer I used to run into about 9 years ago when I was new to Fort Worth and networking like crazy to drum up new business.
Curiosity got me so I checked out what he was up to. I knew when I first met him he had his own business then about 5 years ago he was working as marketing director of a local chamber and it now looks like he is back out on his own. This article cam about when I started reviewing some of his clients testimonials and work.
What can I tell from the samples and testimonials is he is still working the same networking places and running into the people I used to run into when I first moved here. All of these people are roughly in the same place they were 9 years ago. Why? Well I think it is because they keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. Networking is ok, but in my experience it didn't get me in front of the right audience. But more importantly I had a mindset of a small business owner so it was easy to relate to these people.
The small business mindset hinders you from truly growing your company into a business that is worth anything. Most of these people are creating hobbies not businesses they could actually sell one day. Let me give you an example. I saw an old client of mine giving a glowing review and testimonial for the wonderful brand this designer created for them. About 6 or 7 years ago, I helped this same person brand two companies and build two websites. One of which is the company that was just re-branded and the site is nearly exact with only a new skin.
The point is this, sadly this person doesn't understand the true problem with her business. It is not a branding issue, it is a sales issue. Why has she rebranded multiple times? Because business is down and she doesn't know how to generate more business. The designer is only trying to make a living so he sells her the rebrand package. The problem is neither of them get the bigger picture and define it as a sales problem.
So if business is down throw money at marketing right? NO! Instead of continuing this cycle over and over, let's step back and evaluate the real problem and the goals we are trying to accomplish. Are you looking for business growth? How much? An additional $5K, $10K, or $20K annually? Or do you have bigger goals like hitting $100K or increasing by $100K, $200K or more?
What would happen if you had a website that generated leads and you truly understood how to sell and you became an expert at prospecting and filling your sales pipeline with leads? Would this take your small business and turn it into a lifestyle business where you could actually retire with dignity? Would adding a sales and marketing process that wasn't dependent on you add the type of value to your business that would actually allow you to sell you business?
If this sounds interesting what should you do? Well just change your mindset! Stop thinking small time and working the networking circles. Look into sales training that could actually make your networking more effective, but also train you to become so good at finding new prospects that the networking is only for social purposes and icing on the cake, not the only place you find people. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new like prospecting on linkedin.