Sorry but it’s true. In the beginning you’re simply a product no one knows and a name no one has ever heard of.
You will not get rich overnight and the world will not be beating a path to your door in the morning. You’re not going to be on the cover of Time or Entrepreneur magazine and Oprah is not going to be interviewing you anytime soon.
Comes to terms with that uncomfortable fact in the beginning and you will be much more likely to succeed in the end.
Overnight success doesn’t happen overnight, whatever some online ‘gurus’ people might say. It’s a myth. There is an old saying that goes:
‘It takes 10 years to be an overnight success’
The road to success is definitely more a marathon than a sprint. The trouble is we are force-fed stories, especially on social media, of instant success;
- ‘How to become a millionaire in 6 weeks’
- ‘How to get a 6 figure salary in 6 days’
- ‘How to get 10,000 followers on Facebook in 6 minutes.
These are ridiculous claims from people who are only telling you part of the story to serve their own business agenda.
Look closely at any of the global so called ‘overnight successes’ and you will find a very different story. Whether its Apple, Nike, Google, Facebook or Starbucks, the list is endless, they all built their brands over time not overnight.
The truth is it took years of hard work, unfailing determination and patience.
If you truly want to build a successful business you need to be in for the long haul.
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
In the beginning…
In the beginning no one knows who you are but, don’t worry, this is actually a good thing.
Think about it for a minute!
You don’t want too much attention too soon. Being unknown at the beginning has some real advantages:
- You have time and space to make mistakes – and you will make them.
- You can iron out any wrinkles in the product or the service or the process.
- You can test new stuff. You can change things that don’t work.
- You can take a few risks
- It’s a lot less stressful on you if something goes wrong and you only have to explain it to a few early customers and adopters, Imagine having thousands of customers and having to explain it to them.
There’s nothing more valuable than being able to test out your new business live, see what early feedback you get from customers and be able to adapt to them without losing sales or leads or customers. For me it’s far better to make those embarrassing mistakes in front of a few customers than in front of the world.
So don’t wish for success too soon.
Build your audience first!
To reach your audience you must have an audience in the first place. In 2017 this means social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat, to name but a few.
However, building an audience is hard work; we live in an age of information overload and attention span is limited. You will need to put in the hours if you want to succeed.
“I’ve learned from experience that if you work harder at it, and apply more energy and time to it, and more consistency, you get a better result. It comes from the work.” – Louis C.K.
By the way if Instagram is your thing then download 5 ‘ninja’ ways to start building your brand on Instagram. It really cuts to the chase.
First of all decide what makes you different from your competitors – think about this carefully, then develop a style, a voice and a story around that difference.
However it has to be, as marketing people love to say, ‘authentic’ to be believable. It has to be real, not fake. The world of business already has enough ‘snake-oil’ salesmen.
Here are 6 essential steps to building your audience.
Make your brand ‘talkable’
Basically a brand is “talkable” when people actively want to share, discuss, and have conversations about it. They become willing ‘ambassadors’ for the brand.
This means your customers and followers want to tell others about it.
‘Talkable’ brands are a mixture of purpose, vision passion, customer service and strategy. If your brand isn’t talked about it’s forgotten about.
Stand for something!
Give your customers, followers or tribe something to believe in.
Marketing hype might bring customers to your door but if there is nothing remarkable about the brand they won’t stay long. Marketing hype wears off easily and what’s left has to be worth staying for.
There’s and old advertising saying that goes “Nothing will put a bad product out of business faster than a good advertising campaign.
Have a voice of your own
“Everything has been said before, but it’s never been said by you. Your point of view is what makes you interesting.” – Jory MacKay
Do stuff differently
Don’t just repeat what everyone else is doing. Do that and you only add to the noise.
Focus on quality
First of all, don’t confuse quality with perfection. If you seek perfection before doing anything it will never get done. Yes, you do need to be happy with everything you send out into the world but perfectionism hinders consistency and causes delays.
Consistency beats frequency
Consistency is incredibly important in building an audience and this is especially true in the early days of building your brand. But it is hard work and at times you will get despondent. You can’t afford to wait until you get a moment of inspiration every time you plan to talk to your audience. In the beginning it will feel as if no one is listening (‘so why bother?) but stick with it and if your offering is authentic, things will get better, ‘it is a fact’.
On social media, whether it is Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc, the most successful accounts with the most dedicated and loyal followers, and with the highest engagement, are those that post everyday in an unchanging and consistent voice.
It’s better to post once a day everyday than 2 on a Monday, nothing on Tuesday and a dozen at the weekend for example.
I find the best way to be consistent is to work to a schedule.
Start now and don’t stop
The takeaway from all of this is:
- Define your style, your voice
- Start building an audience today and ‘don’t stop’.
- Post strong content every single day
- Constantly remind your audience you’re there by giving them regular high quality information that will help them
- Share your knowledge freely with your audience
- Don’t give up on yourself or your audience.
In the beginning no one cares about you or your product but they will.