If you were an entrepreneur a few decades ago, you’d only have to deal with people, equipment, inventory levels, distributors, sales, operations, logistics, manufacturing, and management. If you were into providing services, you’d still have to deal with people, operations, sales, and management.
Today, as an entrepreneur, you’d have to deal with all the above, and then some.
Now, you’d also have to deal with:
- Deal with a global roster of clients, across countries and even continents.
- Find a way to use evolving technology, while you run your business.
- Start somewhere local. Go global. Then Go Glocal.
- Seek, hire, and manage a talent pool that probably lives and works on different time zones, spread across the world.
- Manage the steady shift away from traditional marketing to a combination of traditional and contemporary inbound marketing.
- Struggle to establish a website that really works for your business
- Start with a never-ending task-list that includes managing websites & other web properties, manage multiple social media accounts, deploy a marketing strategy, deal with marketing automation, continue with your branding efforts, generate leads off of the web, and nurture a global pool of customers.
So you aren’t just an entrepreneur now.
You are also a part time entrepreneur, part time publisher, part time social media manager, part time technology evangelist, part time customer support champion, part time logistics manager, part time brand manager, and a part time sales person.
Assuming you did come off the hinges and try to manage all of the above, chances are that you’d still not be anywhere you’d need to be when it comes to sustainable marketing to help grow your business.
That’s because we’ve all been trained to do the “needle work”.
→ Start business. Produce stuff. Find distributors, who’ll seek retailers. Products will sell.
→ Start a service business. Find clients. Work. Sell. Get Paid.
→ They create. You Buy.
→ I create. They’ll come.
The new age of entrepreneurship has nothing that linear about it.
Meanwhile, what we are really given is a “Swiss army knife” — a complex, mind-boggling mix of business opportunities, ideas, technology, people, inventory, operations, manufacturing, production, outsourcing, service delivery, and marketing.
Pull apart every single aspect of your business — including marketing — and it’ll look and feel like a swiss army knife, a complex venn-diagram, or a convoluted flowchart that seems to tread in different directions.
Here’s how to deal with the Marketing Swiss Army Knife:
Complexity delivers simplicity
Ever wondered how your bags are transported, sorted, managed, and sent to the next airplane you’ll get on, at the airport?
Baggage handling systems at modern-day airports are engineered to deliver your bags to the baggage hold area of every airplane, on time, every time. To deliver that, the mass-transit system of computer-driven conveyor-belts work through a maze of complex pathways.
Each bag is scanned, put on a conveyor belt, and is sorted or diverted (depending on your destination the route you are flying) along the way.
While you’d check-in, get to security checks, wait in line, take a nap, and take your window seat inside the airplane, your bags just navigated through a complex web of conveyor belts.
What do baggage handling systems at an airport have anything to do with marketing, you ask?
The way we work with technology today, complexity delivers simplicity at the end of it. To begin with, layers (or stacks) of technology exist just to keep your website up and live.
Layers of cloud computing technology, server stacks powered by artificial intelligence, and data centers that are permanently iced work 24 x 7 so that you can just log into your website, update content, help load your website fast, or to keep it secure.
For your marketing to be efficient, add another layer of powerful technology and man hours spent designing and launching a series of web apps, software, mobile apps work together to get you results.
All this already exists.
As you read this, even more apps, tools, solutions, and software are being created to reveal an endless supply of possible tasks that you can execute with simplicity (but it’s another thing that it’ll be backed by complex algorithms and code living on an even complex server setup powered by major companies like Google or Amazon).
Embrace this complexity. Let this wave of technology be a part of your business. Accept that it all exists to bring stupendous power to you as the new age entrepreneur.
This is the reason why we’ve come a long way from hunter-gatherer communities and watching out for sabre-toothed tigers.
The free market has now given way to an exciting market to do business in.
Be a smart technology beneficiary
We know just how intimidating technology can be.
All this talk of artificial intelligence changing our work environments (or the prospect of losing jobs to software), robots taking over manual labor, and software eating the world is hyperbole.
It’s just the media shark playing its game.
For entrepreneurs, it’s the best time to be alive. It’s the best time to start a business, to run a business, and to see just how far your business takes you.
This is age when you can hire people globally within an hour remotely, work with talent across the world, use drones for shipping, use mobile apps to stay engaged, and promote your business with complete control on your marketing costs, set up automation for your business, and work with software without the need to code.
You are alive at a time when information is available at a click and remote-sensing satellites can keep you posted about any corner (anywhere in the world).
You now have access to intelligent marketing. Your CRM can suggest the exact time for you to follow up with a potential client. Software can manage your campaign bidding or media buying while providing insights 24 x 7 on how to optimize your ad campaigns better.
Instead of resisting it, embrace it.
Be the beneficiary of what you get at the intersection of technology and business.
Let professionals handle marketing work
It seems that everyone loves to tout just how easy it is to design a website. Read up a few pages on content marketing strategy and you’ll be led to believe that your potential customers will come knocking on the door.
Marketing using the digital media isn’t hard, really. It’s just too much work, across too many fronts.
Digital marketing — including everything from designing websites, creating apps, managing social media, growing your email list followed by email marketing management, paid advertising, creating landing pages, using marketing tools, and to deploy analytics to make sense of it all — is a full-time job.
It’s relentless, never-ending, and constantly evolving. New apps sprout up everyday and existing platforms like Facebook and Google also change constantly. Just keeping up with these changes is a full-time job, let alone executing it to help get results for your business.
While it’s true that marketing is indeed a Swiss Army knife, no one said that you should be the one handling it.
Let professionals do it for you.
The only way to handle the tsunami of change coming right at us is to slow down, take a step back, and embrace what’s coming.
Prepare to tinker, tweak, or overhaul.
Take it as a blessing instead of resisting change or sticking to your guns.