I’m an entrepreneurship advocate. And I would like to see every entrepreneur reach their full potential. The following are challenges to push yourself and your business to excel in areas that often go unnoticed or forgotten. We often read about what we should be doing, but what about the things that could cause a misstep and ultimately back-fire?
If you master (not doing) these six things, you’ll be further along than most of your peers.
Launch and forget.
Things get busy. I know. We’ve all been guilty of “launch and forget”. Launching an ad campaign and not measuring it. Reaching out to customers and forgetting to follow-up.
As you scale things can easily slip through the cracks. Important initiatives go unmeasured. Ideas are thrown out like the baby and the bath water because you didn’t take the time to assess what went right and remove all the wrong. So, before you throw something on a wall to see if it sticks, create a simple pre-during-post plan.
Every single business has a target audience. You are not all things to all people. That audience can exist of primary, secondary and even tertiary targets.
But the key to building a brand and your bottom-line is focusing on your target – your ideal prospects. Don’t waste time convincing non-prospects. Time is better spent with people who get and want what you’re selling.
Tactics without strategy.
Sun Tzu, a Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher (best known for the book “The Art of War”) once said, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
This military strategy has everything to do with your business. For example, do you know when you need to be fighting an air war or a ground war? An air war refers to overall awareness and brand elevating activities while “ground troops” are sent in to deliver on tactical missions including transactional sales, grassroots marketing, etc.
Ultimately, tactics should be tied to strategy. So, if your business strategy is to increase high value acquisitions then your tactics should support it and the metrics that say, “this is a success!” (e.g., number of net new customers, upsells, etc.) Test each tactic to see which best delivers on the strategy and then double-down on what works. Remember: every tactic should be informed by strategy.
Blatant copycatting and infringement.
It has been said that original ideas don’t really exist. This is likely, for the most part, true. We all gain inspiration from somewhere. It, however, is not okay to knowingly copy and plagiarize. At the very least, put your spin on it – with your brand voice, image and promise.
Never become a second rate imitation of an original. At the most ridiculous eye-squinting level you could face legal ramifications like Atlanta rapper Royce Rizzy – formerly Rolls Royce Rizzy – reportedly charged with trademark infringement by Rolls-Royce. (Oh, the joys of the Facebook News Feed). In contrast, sometimes you just don’t know — take British singer Sam Smith who “agreed in October to pay royalties to Tom Petty for the song Stay With Me, a soulful single that topped Billboard charts and that is essentially a remix of Petty’s 1989 classic Won’t Back Down.” (Bloomberg Businessweek)
Yet from ridiculous lawsuit stories of two New Jersey men suing Subway because their “footlong” sandwiches fell short to a Tennessee man that sued Apple for his porn addiction – stupid happens every day.
The point is this: we live in the most litigious society in the world. “There are roughly 300 million Americans. Of these, over 1 million are lawyers. No other nation on earth has, or wants, this many lawyers.” (The Telegraph) Learn from startups that have come before you. People will test your legal backbone. Lawyer up and keep it original.