On a recent call, a prospective client was asking me about growing their new business. Like every good business owner, they wanted to increase traffic to their site and increase sales. The conversation was going well up until the point when they asked me: “How long will it take and how much will it cost for you to help me rank at the top of Google for the term ‘internet marketing’?”
This was the point in the conversation when I winced. Halfheartedly, I asked them about their plan, which basically included onsite SEO and as-cheap-as-possible-once-a-day offsite article marketing. I told them my answer — “it’s not going to happen” — and they didn’t like it.
I hear that all too often. The problem isn’t specifically a misunderstanding of SEO. The problem is much larger: Entrepreneurs are desperately looking for a silver bullet. The one I was speaking to thought that his success hinged on ranking well for a popular keyword. I’ve spoken to others who were convinced it was their multi-level marketing business model. And there are many others right now who are sure that a multitude of followers on Twitter is going to make the difference.
There are so many resources, tools, techniques, and ideas out there — both free and paid — and many of these have helped other entrepreneurs to become successful. However, they aren’t the ONLY thing that has made the business successful. They are part of a bigger picture. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs frequently mistake a tool for a complete solution. The prospect I mentioned earlier had this same problem, mistaking SEO for the answer to his business growth.
The silver bullet is NOT…
- Search engine optimization
- Search engine marketing
- A compelling sales page
- The right JV partner
- The right business model (MLM, etc.)
- A better brand
- A better website
- The right price
- The right marketing mix
- The right tools
- A social media approach with tons of followers
- Clear analytics
- Great products
- Great services
I’ve encountered many entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs who have felt that one of these items was THE silver bullet that would transform their business from unknown to top tier.
They were wrong.
These are valuable things to think about in your business. You should strive to make improvements to each of the elements listed above because they will contribute to greater success. But they are not the silver bullet that will make a tipping point difference. They aren’t going to have a transformational impact to turn your 3 figure business income into a 7 figure business income.
An entrepreneur’s silver bullet is this:
- Work your ass off to sell a product or service
- Learn from that effort and apply changes
- Go back to step 1
That’s it. Just do that over and over.
A little more detail: In step 1, you should be careful not to confuse marketing and sales. Marketing should lead to sales but inexperienced entrepreneurs often mistakenly believe that marketing replaces sales. It does not. Your marketing should prompt someone to move to the next step, which is to be presented with an opportunity to buy. Learn from it, that’s step 2. Figure out what worked and what didn’t and apply changes to make it better. It could be that you decide not to sell the product. Or it could be that you decide to modify the product. Or sell it at a different price. Or change how you sell it. Whatever. Once you’ve done that, step 3 is to repeat.
As you do this over and over, you’ll eventually create such a finely tuned machine that much of it can be automated and outsourced. That’s your silver bullet! It takes time, action, and sales to be successful. Stop trying to find the easy way out. Being an entrepreneur is a path to success, not necessarily a path of immediate success.
[Photo credit: Photos8]