Today’s Web Searchers are Tomorrow’s Buyers – Will You Be Here & Ready To Greet Them?
I rarely have the opportunity to just pause life around me and reflect on anything more than my family and my companies. Between my active involvement in the daily operations of 1SEO, the digital marketing agency I started with my sister back in 2009, and now has over 100 full-time employees and continues to grow; and Shock I.T. Support, our tech support business that keeps expanding by leaps & bounds, I already had my hands full & “free time” extremely limited.
On top of the hands-on leadership role these businesses often require of me, my participation is still requested – even in Coronaland – for multiple guest speaking engagements, featured interviews for numerous publications (both print and digital), and guest spots on several podcasts – I just do them via Zoom or a similar virtual platform these days, and can hardly wait to do them once again live & in-person!
As if that wasn’t enough on its own, I still wanted to do more. So, I took advantage of the time freed up during the temporary COVID-19 quarantine a few months ago and launched the Lion’s Den for my podcast & video content production. This move allowed me to not only load up my YouTube & Instagram pages with original content but push it to a whole new level across almost every Social Media platform and podcast platforms like Spotify.
Though the mutual love & support of my wife & four childre allows me to continue mastering my craft as a digital marketer, entrepreneur, and mentor, I still manage to carve out family time to spend with them despite everything else that’s going on. Nothing I’ve built or achieved will ever compare to the love I have for my family and the individuals who have helped me get to where I am today.
The Road So Far…
So, speaking about that short pause for a moment to reflect, I can’t help but look back to the year behind us. I came to the same conclusion that so many of you probably have: 2020 has truly been a battle. The difference between the strong and the weak, in business and society, is the mentality you bring to the fight in front of you.
As the CEO of a digital marketing agency primarily serving small and midsize businesses, we took a substantial hit during the initial COVID shutdown. But where others backed off or gave up, I knew it was time to push forward faster and more aggressively than ever before in the history of my agency.
You see, we started the company during one of the country’s worst economic recessions in modern history. So the fact that we came up during a crisis, it felt only natural to embrace the opportunity to strategize and execute on pushing the businesses forward.
The Fork in the Road
For the pessimistic and indecisive people in our lives, times like these can serve as a frontal assault on their confidence, both personally and professionally. The stress & strain from these unprecedented times can quickly sprout into the need for a panic-driven “fight or flight” decision to be made. Too many will choose the flight option, and I do wish them the best of luck – if only someone knew exactly where they plan on flying to, so I can go the other way!
On the other hand, the genuine optimists among us – myself included – believe that with some clear thinking and steady hands on the wheel, we will yet find a way to step back from the cliff’s edge before us. Together we can chart a course forward based on, if nothing else, mutual respect and tolerance. If we do, we might yet emerge from this pivotal moment in time, having been bettered by the lessons we are now learning on the fly.
No matter the outcome, future generations will undoubtedly look back on 2020 as having been one of the watershed moments in society & human civilization. When they do, they will surely see all those who allowed the weight of today’s living to crush them in mind & spirit. But those future observers will also take notice of the few among us who saw these “challenging” and “unprecedented” times as a rare opportunity to carry on and become even more prosperous.
The Direction Chosen
“SO; where do we go from here,” you ask. My answer to that is simple: How about… Forward! Please carry on, for the sake of your business and everyone who depends on your business for the well-being of their families (including yours). I urge you to pull up your bootstraps and focus on your “fight” instinct. That’s what I did, it’s what I’ve done my entire life. Because I did, both my personal & professional families – and the businesses they all rely upon – will be here for the long haul.
Of course, we can’t do things exactly as we did before all of this madness. It doesn’t matter how well things were going in the “old normal,” this “new normal” requires all of us to transform into leaner, meaner versions of ourselves. The same goes for our businesses. I’m not a psychic, and I can’t see the future to the point where I can quickly tell you step-by-step what you need to do with your businesses to ensure your success. Still, I can give a couple of tips based on some of what we did:
- Stand Out From The Crowd: Focus on brand awareness and making your brand different from that of your competitors. Convince your potential customers that your business alone is the only choice they should consider for the goods & services you offer. Consumers are going to keep their wallets in check more than ever before, and your job is to instill the confidence they need to feel to open up that wallet for you.
- Diet, But Don’t Starve: Do a thorough review of your business’s spending habits, looking for obvious waste and overhead costs that don’t generate revenue, and think: Do I genuinely need to buy/own that, or can we live & operate without them? The odds are excellent that you will find many ways of reducing your overhead & operating costs without sacrificing the essentials.
- Trim, But Don’t Cut: Once you identify potential ways to trim some unnecessary business costs, please make sure that you aren’t also trimming your business’s muscle that lies just below that layer of fat. Too many companies go into “slash & burn” mode during times like these, and don’t consider that if all goes as planned, they might need some of those items once business picks back up.
- Stay The Course with Marketing: To be that “market leader” you wish your business to be, customers need to “see” you to know that despite the current climate, you’re standing strong and are running at “full steam ahead.” Keep your marketing efforts – especially the digital marketing campaigns – running as before. And do consider even cranking them up a notch to let those who were customers of businesses that left town that they are no longer “orphans.” Your door is wide open to their business. This move should deliver the message that you’re still here to serve the needs of clients, and still the company they should want to do business with.
Balance The Scales
Time is something none of us ever have enough of, and once it’s gone can never get back. But time is of the essence, and never has it been more critical than right now to take a few minutes away from working in your business to work on your business. Find that “tipping point” between what your business needs today and hopefully tomorrow, and what is just leftovers from yesterday, which no longer has any use. With some solid thinking & strategic implementation, you’ll be able to prepare for the bright future that still exists, and succeed where so many before you have failed – but only if you are a fighter, and keep on fighting!