By: Janet Rouss
Over the past couple of weeks I watched a robin fly into the rafters under my back balcony. This is the third year in a row the robins have come back to build their home. But this year was different. Each time he flew in with a full load of materials, he deposited it in different spots between the joists. Odd.
I was baffled… did he have 3 wives or was he just confused or forgetful? After this exhausting labour of love(s), he finally focused on one nest. Smart bird!
I saw this as an analogy for many entrepreneurs in business. It reminded me of a networking event where someone was describing their business and I ended up with 5 different business cards in my hand. All different businesses with very different offerings from the same person. I’m sure that person has skills in each area. But I just end up confused.
A confused mind can’t make a discussion. I call this the shotgun approach to network marketing. If you throw out enough stuff maybe something will stick. Why would you want to confuse a potential prospect with a fanfare of business cards? Not only that, but why not listen to what the person standing in front of you really needs and offer a solution that they might consider.
Even if you are the most ambitious and organized bird in the world you can’t build 3 or more businesses at a time. Nor should you. It’s hard enough to manage all the moving parts of one business! To run a successful business it takes focus and commitment. When you try to juggle more than one business, they all suffer.
I’ve seen this pattern many times. Entrepreneurs start a business with a specific skill or expertise, or perhaps they have a particular product they are promoting. They jump into selling and marketing that product or service without really having an overarching plan for their business brand.
Over time they get a new idea, learn a new skill, get a certification or pick up another product to sell. They are at a lose to see how all off these things fit together. I’m all for new content or new skills, but only if it feeds into the bigger vision of your brand.
But remember most people didn’t take the time to get their branding right the first time. As they ‘add-on’ offerings, they struggle to make it fit with their original business. No can do. So they simple create a new business specific to that new offering. Wrong!
Eventually they end up with 3 – 4 – 5 business cards, websites, and client profiles with that many different marketing directions. Phew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
Even a high-endurance Iron Man or Super Women can’t maintain that type of commitment for the long term.
Some business ideas are better left as hobbies or just things you do on the side. A real business has to make money and that requires a brand plan. Every brand needs a value proposition. You’ve always got to consider…”What’s in it for the client?”
A business isn’t just about you doing something you love. It’s about finding the common ground between what you are committed to and the value that offers to someone else. You need to create enough value that they’ll pay the price that you are worth?
Like the robin building his nest, there’s a lot of research and heavy lifting that goes into building a solid business brand. So choose one overarching business brand and make sure you can fit some of your specific skills, qualifications and new ideas under that brand umbrella.
You need focus and a commitment to stay on the path for real brand success. It can be hard to do on your own. Sometimes we’re a little too close to see the bigger picture.