You’ve heard the stories, right? Some random or famous entrepreneur started using Snapchat and they made $300,000 in six months. Another has been using Facebook Live, thousands of people watch each live session and it’s tripled their business.
The entrepreneur who couldn’t sell any books so he left them at a car wash, the CEO of a large company got a copy and loved it. He then ordered thousands of books for his employees. The entrepreneur who started answering questions on Quora and now makes six-figures a month because they’ve built a fan base there.
The stories may not be exactly like these but I’m guessing you know what I’m talking about. We see and hear these stories every day on social media and sometimes in the news. An entrepreneur who did something outside of the box and got an impressive result. These stories are then touted by all the people selling a program or by entrepreneurs who want to believe it will happen for them in the same way. You hear these stories so much that they get mixed and added upon and become urban legends.
The reality is that these stories are the exception — not the rule. These aren’t strategies and tactics that every business owner can use to grow their business. The thing is these stories are sexy and appealing. You want to try them because you want that same result. Building your business with traditional strategies that have withstood the test of time is hard work and takes longer. But, trying to build your business on the exception probably won’t work out the same way as it did in the story.
Stop chasing the exception. Use these time-tested, all industry strategies to build your business. Use the exception-based strategies after you’re established.
Related: 7 Key Steps to a Growth Strategy That Works Immediately
Marketing and sales
For any business to grow, you need a marketing plan and consistent sales. Yes, I can already hear some entrepreneurs saying, “DUH!” But, you’d be surprised how many businesses have no organized marketing and sales plan.
You need to understand what you sell, how to sell it, when you are having sales offers/promotions and to whom you’re selling. This plan should be written out and actually used. Don’t “wing it” and don’t be afraid to sell. Entrepreneurs feel like they sell too much but that’s not the case. You don’t know who sees your offers but the truth is, most people won’t.
Once you have the plan, you take advantage of all the mediums available for marketing to buyers all over the world. Run Facebook ads, host webinars, get exposure in the local and national media, create email marketing campaigns, use social media. There 100 other ways to market your business. Use them all.
Marketing has been around as long as entrepreneurship has and is a surefire way to grow. Selling is what puts real dollars in your pocket. You need them both. They are the rule — not the exception.
Related: 6 Essential Components of a Solid Growth Strategy
To build a business, you need a real, structured business. If you are disorganized or don’t understand how to structure a business, hire an expert or partner with someone who does understand operations. Your business needs a plan for marketing, sales, growth, managing teams, logistics and more. A sound operational structure gives your business the best chance of growth without the hiccups. It helps you when growth happens quicker than you expect.
Related: First Steps: Writing the Operations Section of Your Business Plan
I’m guessing that you’re building a business that you want to be bigger than just you. The goal is to build an empire that gives you freedom and helps people. Once you have all of the basics in place and running smoothly, think about what the next level is and means for your business.
You need strategies that will fuel constant growth. Those strategies might come through your marketing and sales efforts, or by tightening up of your operations, but having a plan to grow beyond just yourself is smart business. This could mean utilizing new strategies or even trying some of the exception-based strategies you’ve heard so much about in all of those urban legend stories.
The next time you hear some crazy story of someone doing something completely different and getting a massive result, ask yourself if it’s the exception or the rule. Strategies that are outside of the box might be worth trying but you need to distinguish what could work from a waste of time that can’t be duplicated.
Stay focused on your plan and add to it when it makes the most sense. Don’t forget that the basics are what consistently builds businesses. You can’t move forward with advanced or outside of the box strategies if you don’t have a solid foundation.