Time IS Money. Period.
You either have one or the other – and if you’re hella lucky, both. The problem is most people – especially small business owners, start-ups trying to launch – have neither.
Something’s Gotta Give
What usually gives for most struggling SMBs: The Plan. It’s why so many never get off the ground.
If you don’t have money, then you have to put in time. I doubt you learned about content marketing, R&D, HR in kindergarten; back to school for you. Get ready to Google, get ready to learn Accounting, sit down and bring a lunch as you learn WordPress and HTML and everything the web can teach you about SEO. You’ll be at the computer for the next year, no bathroom breaks.
Maybe you’ve blown your wad on the lawyer or the accountant or finance guys? That’s important, but not everything. What’s the key part of any business plan? Ask Groupon, Facebook, Twitter – rhymes with ‘the how you’ll make money’ part.
Do It Yourself – NOT Alone
I thought, “wait, people are that dumb?” and then remembered that while I can’t find them, suckers are born every minute. They buy into bullshit all the time.
Luckily this person was able to cancel in time, but what of all those other small business owners out there who get roped into websites and phone book ads and overpaying for business cards (peeve!!) and all the other crap they THINK they need?!
- You need a plan. You need an advisor.
- You need to market yourself, your business, your service.
- You need to see the big picture, know who your customers are (and aren’t) – and what’s in it for them, and how to say reach them.
In order to do that, you need someone who knows how to communicate.
I’m not saying you have to pay someone else to do it all; of course you’ll be doing a ton of work yourself. Look at risk vs. reward, what’s worth your time and what’s worth knowing. Learning SEO and web strategy and CRM can only make you a better business manager, keep you from being sold a case of snake oil. Learning copywriting or how to use Adobe Illustrator, not so much. Find someone who’ll skip the bullshit, stick to the marketing, the business essentials.
Find someone who can help you ask – and answer – the right questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. You’ve got a story to tell. And if you don’t even know what it is or how to say it, then your first move – find someone who can.
Find someone who can explain the difference between a ‘cheap’ website vs. one that’s professional and affordable. Talk with a professional who can help figure out what you should DIY; what you can’t, and what you shouldn’t attempt on your own. (If I had a dollar for every shitacular ad or brochure design made with PowerPoint and stolen web images that I was supposed to use/cleanup, I could by my iPhone 5.)
Take that budget you were going to waste on the world’s worst direct mail list that was a great deal because it was so cheap, or paying some agency to ‘blow up’ your social media web presence with automated crap, and hire a professional. The Pros Knows hows to get you more bang for your buck, spend less to get more, saving both time and money.
What’s in it for you? Doing it yourself, not alone.
Photo caption: how ’bout those LSU Tigers, a DIY R2 D2 beer keg?!