Well, yes and no. Let’s set the scene and see how closely you resemble this situation:
- One person business, and owner is in charge of literally everything from sales to production
- Has money, is able and willing to invest in marketing
- Wants clients to come to him, so he doesn’t have to go out there and sell
- Has little time, and is an introvert so he doesn’t want to proactively go after the sales and solicit
Sound like you? Well, you aren’t alone! Many solo-preneurs are quite introverted and really don’t want to go out there and solicit. It’s uncomfortable, and you have to face rejection and failure (and that can hurt and be very discouraging!). That, and it takes a lot of time you just don’t have to put into what you’re doing.
Here’s how marketing can help this situation:
- Help create awareness and demand
- Create and elevate credibility
- Increase inbound leads
- Help to create opportunity
Here’s how marketing CANNOT help this situation:
- To create enough awareness and demand, you’ll need to invest a LOT of money
- To see any significant level of inbound lead quality or opportunity, you’ll need to invest a LOT of time.
…and as a solo-preneur – you’re in a situation where you don’t generally have a lot of either to play with. What do you do?
Well, to be perfectly frank with you, this situation is not a marketing problem, it’s a sales problem. Marketing is a absolutely amazing vehicle that you can create some jaw-dropping results with, but not without a healthy dose of money or time. You MUST invest a significant amount of one (or both) in order to see adequate returns. Period.
If you don’t have the time or the money, then the real challenge left is the discomfort. We all naturally gravitate towards what we feel most comfortable spending our time on, and shy away from the things we aren’t comfortable with. Sounds normal, right? Success is doing what others are unwilling to do.
In this situation, this is how I would suggest John Q. BusinessOwner approaches his situation from a selling perspective:
- Realization that marketing is not going to fix a sales problem – marketing will fix a marketing problem, sales will fix a selling problem.
- Realization that he’s avoiding sales because of its pain factor and do something about it
- Work on finding ways to reduce the pain factors, such as:
- Setting small, reasonable goals for yourself – small steps that you can take that will hurt, but not hurt too much
- Accepting discomfort and force yourself to take the first steps (they are truly the hardest – by the third and fourth steps, you’re comfortable)
- Finding a partner that has a similar challenge and create a mutual accountability arrangement where you hold each other to your goals
- Finding a coach that can hold you accountable and help you reach your goals
- Remembering that nobody will sell as well for you as YOU will while you’re starting up (and possibly the whole time) because nobody knows about it like you, and nobody has the passion for it that you do
- Finding a way to hire someone for $10/hr for 20 hours a week (or how about an unpaid intern?) to do those pesky things you don’t really need to be doing (paperwork, etc). If you stop and think about the things you spend your time on, you’d be surprised to find how many of them are things you can offload to someone else. While letting go is never easy, it’s essential to a healthy and profitable business model.
As much as I’d love to quote Nike here and say “Just Do It!” – I know it’s not that simple. Take the first steps. They are truly the hardest. Once you do – you’ll look back, and say “gee, that wasn’t so hard afterall!”