Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse, wouldn’t quit. He struggled so hard that eventually he turned that cream into butter and crawled out. Gentlemen, as of this moment, I am that second mouse. From the movie “Catch Me If You Can”
I was watching the movie “Catch Me If You Can with Leonardo DiCaprio” last night (for the second time) and it got me thinking. Now I am not planning to head out there and start forging cheques and impersonating a doctor or pilot – however tempting the quick fix to a jet-set life may be – I was inspired by the quote about two little mice that fell in a bucket of cream. When I had first watched the movie I hadn’t taken much notice of it, I was employed and I didn’t have to deal with the myriad tasks and effort that went into setting up and running a business.
Don’t be the mouse that gave up
Managing your own business can be tough but it has huge rewards as well! With time, perseverance, having a clear marketing strategy and putting in a lot of hard work, you CAN overcome any barriers and make your business a success.
Finding the time and resources to run your own business and balance work and personal life can be a challenge. When starting out setting up a business, there is so much to consider such as choosing a business name, creating your brand, getting a website in place, getting marketing collateral together such as business cards .. and then of course trying to find clients. In order to do this, you have to look at ways to promote your business whether it be through networking, advertising, online marketing and so on. Then once the work starts coming in you need to actually do the work… as well as manage communication, do the accounts, ensure a customer relationship management programme is in place and of course keep on marketing your business. Phew!
There is a lot of information out there telling you how to run your business successfully but then there are also many distractions, and this can lead you to feeling overwhelmed. It can be time-consuming and a struggle trying to keep up with the fast-paced digital world and testing out various marketing methods and channels to see what works and also try and stay ahead of and stand out from the competition.
The road leading to success
A few years ago I watched a short video about half built bridges by Carl White of Social Marketing Animals. It really inspired me because it is an effective business and marketing strategy which is explained in a simple and visual way that is easy to understand and makes a lot of sense.
(All of our graphics are fictitious and…)
- Imagine yourself on one island .. and success (money or clients or achieving your goals) is on the other. How are you going to get there?
- You need to start building a bridge (ok you could look at a quick fix and take a boat back and forth, but we are talking about building a foundation and making something that lasts into the future)
- Imagine each bridge is a marketing method and strategy such as LinkedIn, SEO, Email Marketing or Blogging
- So let’s say you start on your LinkedIn strategy and start building this bridge … LinkedIn is great, it’s the largest professional social network and you should be doing it! After spending time on it, you find it is worthwhile, you are engaging with people and starting to get some recognition
- But then all of a sudden someone comes along and says “hey you should be on YouTube – this is the year of the VIDEO, it’s the next big thing!” So then you take away some of the focus and time spent on LinkedIn and start on your YouTube bridge
- Then someone says hey you must be on Facebook – everyone is on there .. so you start spending more time on Facebook and you get to 90% of your goal and then someone says “ah the world is on Twitter you must be on there!”
So can you see where this is going?
What happens is you inevitably do a half job on each of the bridges – none of the bridges are complete and fully working for you, so no trucks can reach the other island, reach your goal or collect the work and money that you can then take back over and put into your business.
What happens next …
HELP! I am feeling overwhelmed!
(…any resemblance to our design work is purely coincidental…)
You are trying to complete a number of bridges to start bringing in the money, but instead you find you only have time to keep the bridges maintained or even have to abandon some of them.
Or you spend longer hours working, you spread yourself thin across the various tasks, your focus becomes reactive rather than proactive and you struggle to just keep up. You get overstretched and don’t make money, get clients etc – you get burnout!! Hey I am guilty of it too!
So what are your options?
Complete those half-built bridges
(… These graphics are in no way a reflection of the design work we can do :-D)
Well first of all get a little black book or install an app on your phone where you can add in notes ideas and start adding all your ideas or plans and suggestions from other people that may be good for your business. Now keep these aside for when you have the time and resources to implement them.
Then focus on getting your first bridge complete and working for you. Make sure you have a clear focus and a marketing strategy or plan.
Only move onto that new bridge once the first bridge is complete and you have the money and resources to start the next one.
Once you have money coming in, then you can hire someone or outsource the work to build your new bridge or help maintain and complete your current bridges.
When those are complete and working, then you can build more bridges and bring in more money and so it goes on!!
This is called HALF BUILT BRIDGES and what I love about it, is that it’s a simple strategy but can be very effective. Not only that, but when you complete something, you feel good and then good things start to happen!
So what do you think? Are you struggling to get out of the bucket of cream or get across to the other island? Have you tried any of these strategies for your business, or do you have others that have worked for you? Please share them with us in the comments sections below!