Heresy. Back in the year 1022 it was a scary time, you had to watch what you said and did as the Church was all powerful, if you were part of the Church and you said the wrong thing - you could be labeled a “Heretic”. Then the next thing you know, your life could be getting a little warm as they burnt you on a stake. The powers at the time soon discovered this labeling could be a good thing to get rid of enemy’s, get other people’s property even their wives. So all of sudden accusing anybody of being a Heretic was the norm for getting even or disposing of the opposition.
It was popular as they could burn 200 at a time, all you need do was accuse and then it was up to the accused to prove they were innocent, bit hard though as they were usually tortured and the only way to stop the pain was to admit guilt.
In 1692 in a place called Salem they had the famous Witch Trials, same process you could be accused of being a Witch and then you had to prove you were not, usually torture was put in place and the only way yet again to stop the pain was screaming, “I am a Witch” this would stop the pain but yep you guessed it, once again your “confession” would book you for a final appointment with a stake to hold you up, whilst they fire quickly toasted you.
What’s the point I’m making here? Well, unlike a lot of my blogs this one is totally serious. If we fast forward to 2016 we have a new brand of heresy accusation and global Salem witch trials. Yes, folks we have death by Facebook.
Death of personal or business reputation is a big and scary issue, and like heresy and the witch trails no need for proof, all that is needed is a post on a Facebook Page or a 140 character tweet!
Upset customers back in the day would call you, visit you, write a letter. Not now baby, boom Facebook post, share with friends of friends and faster than a duck’s digestive system the world will know, “You did me wrong.”
Disgruntled employee, jealous opposition? No need for any long term plotting. With just a Wi-Fi connection and a smartphone, boom they have got you in all sorts of trouble.
The scary part? Like Heresy and the Witch Trials none of what is posted has to be true, what will be the torture? Usually finding out the post or tweet has been around for days and worst case has gone viral and you have been wondering, “Where did the customers go?”
Yes, it does suck, and yes it’s not fair but I reckon the people smelling BBQ on the stake were saying exactly the same thing.
So what is a Guy or Gal to do? Well, first up we have to realize that this sort of thing is here to stay, we also have to finally let the penny drop that Social Media is a critical part of our business planning, it’s no longer something that we set up and forget, post when it’s our anniversary. We need to monitor and manage FB pages and Twitter.
It’s called Reputation Management, and either do it yourself as part of your daily chores or you pay somebody to do it, but like a having CCTV, Burglar Alarm, Fire Extinguishers and PC Virus Protection it is best to be safe than forever sorry.
As sadly, unlike the times of Heresy, or the Salem Witch Trials? Death by Facebook is not going away. Hugs from TheCamel
If you are a motor mechanic and a customer walked in to ask for a tune and an oil change, would you offer them a seat on a nice cozy couch, make them a coffee, escort their family to send them into a service bay, work away with tender loving care for a few hours, present the keys back to the customer, say "Hey it's on us" and smile as they drove off?
I could ask the same question to a pub owner, a butcher, a baker, even a candlestick maker saying, "would you provide any service at all and just take a smile as payment?"
Okay, in between you saying to yourself, "Has TheCamel lost it, is he crazy?" Let me ask why. As in, why would you not do all that work for free?
Well, you have bills to pay, employees to consider, you must make a living as the old saying goes "Money doesn't buy happiness," well, let me say that your life would be miserable without money, fast.
The only problem? There is a lot going on in this world for free! FREE websites, FREE Software, FREE Social Media, FREE all sorts of things and people are clamoring for free stuff. This now leads us to the topic of this blog, "There is no such thing as a free lunch!"
Somewhere along the line, somebody must make money out of something, so they'd avoid the miserable category.
Free Website Builder? Of course, it's free but the hosting is not, and if you want the site to look great, we hope and pray that your technical ability is above left and right click of a mouse and also, beyond drag 'n drop. Then, if you need any of the sexy features, oops! Sorry, they are not free but seeing as you're halfway done might as well pay for those, too hard? Well, we can give you online help but that will cost you $X.
Free applications and software, wow great idea! You can really make the site shine now, but that is just the standard. You can't do anything free version with ads (as we need to pay for stuff you know). So hope you don't mind if your customers get the occasional pop-up video of Dolores Bath, House and Spa weekly specials. But, you need the app or software now you're in, so best to drag out the trusty Visa card.
All a bit much? Well, what about Facebook? Hey, you can make a free business web presence on that, no need at all for a website. You will even save yourself the hosting fees.
Great idea! But hang on, do you really think they will share with all your likes for free all those sexy posts about exclusive offers you're making? Be fair, they have multi-zillion on dollar salaries to pay, so sorry if you want all your customers to see what you're offering? That will cost you money each time and if they don't like your posts, sorry, that's all subject to the automated customer (read Robotic) service department of Facebook. So maybe you will have to adjust it to some zillion times to make it more of a picture than an offer, but hey, it's free!
Let's not also forget they are not just your customers, they belong to Facebook and they can also use the information to send competitor ads as well.
So, it's time folks, what's the point of all this today, am I anti-free stuff? No, I'm not. What I am trying to say is not all things for your business growth should be put in the FREE basket. The things that are super important, those first customer impressions - your website, those customer grabbing needs like SEO, booking services, etc. Maybe they are important enough to invest a little, to maybe look at experts to help you.
Then, your business can move towards the success path you want and deserve, and you can buy people lunch!
Elton John had a famous song, “Sorry seems to be the hardest word”. Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote the song about a romantic relationship which is falling apart. The song has a chorus that pretty much explains the heartache, “So sad, so sad, why can’t we just talk it over, sorry seems to be the hardest word”.
Oh, the tears are falling on my keyboard as I type those words.
Must be honest, I really disagree with Elton and Bernie, I really don’t think “Sorry” is the hardest word, I think NO is.
Think about it for a minute, if we said “NO” more often we would not have to say sorry, would we? Most relationships get into trouble as one or the other didn’t say NO to a mistake so ended up in a so sad, so sad SORRY conversation. Many people have lost their license as they didn’t say, “NO” to the last drink and end up so sad.
So sad your honor and I am truly “Sorry” for what I did as they get their license taken away.
You could look at most, “Sorry” conversations and it would be a good bet that if you or somebody else had said, “NO” there would not be a conversation and nobody would be getting into trouble or feeling sad sad situation.
So, what has this song got to do with websites and SEO and other business-related stuff? Well I’m glad you asked that question. Let me share my thoughts.
A lot of issues with non-performing websites those being ones that don’t convert lookers into buyers, and SEO work that does not convert to good rankings that allow people to find your website, both of which usually have a “Sorry” it’s not working conversation attached either with a designer or you with your customers or business partners could have been different if somebody said NO.
No to what, you might be asking? Well, in the case of the website, NO to way too much insignificant content, NO to lots of bells, whistles and moving objects that really have no impact, NO to a major focus on the desktop and not enough on the mobile. NO, to features and fixtures that have no focus on getting people to book and buy. NO to way too much reading and not enough clicking to action.
With SEO? NO to key words or phrases that will not narrow down the search to you, your business, where you are and what you sell or supply. NO to wanting to win a global search when you’re making hamburgers in downtown suburbia.
The good news? Unlike the song, the relationship can be fixed, a little bit of good SEO work, informative website design, will set the right music and have your business singing a love song to your customers and Google and then? No need for “Sorry”, you can move onto another song like “Happy Days are here again”.
I live in a fantastic city, it’s alive, it’s vibrant, shopping centers are busy, super market checkouts are long and the trolleys are full. I see more and more new cars on the road. It’s super exciting! A sign that all is doing well and prosperity is happening.
With all this success you start to see newer commercial buildings sprouting up to occupy the skyline and even old ones going through renovations. These commercial spaces need people to fill them and I imagine some people, young and old getting the old entrepreneurial juices running once they see a little spare cash in the bank account or maybe other family members have and they are the ones to take down the for-rent sign.
Yes, suddenly, these new cashed up wanna-be-successful business people get a flash in the head, fireworks start going off, a potential million-dollar idea is in process, dream of Porsches and Yachts stream through their brains as they tell the boss goodbye and start dumping that bank balance or a close family member on a deposit for one of those fresh new office lots or just renovated street front shop.
Yes, it all seemed like a good idea at the time.
I say good idea at the time for a reason. The reason is?
Well, I see all these new buildings and renovated ones having a lot of the for-lease signs being replaced with work in progress. I see a lot of new furniture, new clothing racks and people and stock arriving, but pretty soon I also see the removals’ coming, closing down sale signs falling and being replaced with “For Lease”.
You see, the problem is that 80% of those that get that overdose of entrepreneurial juice running? Fail and run out of money juice within the first 12 months of operating.
So, what are the major causes of failure?
Not Seeking Professional Advice
Lack of Good Customer Care
Lack of Experience
Lack of Personal Growth
Lack of Focus
Quitting Too Soon
So why am I writing about this today when I normally discuss websites, SEO and stuff like that. Well, we need the new business to be around, as we want to build websites, and do SEO work. I also know that a lot of other business need them to service as well so we can all help each other.
So, let me give you a little advice, something I have used to build a successful business that has grown but most importantly made it past that first one year and was not part of the 80%.
When you have one of those, “Seems Like a Good Idea” moments? Stop and listen to a great quote from Abraham Lincoln. A quote that I use every day to press the pause button when my mind starts to run faster than common sense.
When asked what he would do if he has six hours to cut down a tree? Abraham Lincoln replied, “I would spend four hours sharpening my axe”
So, folks, before committing your cash (or others) putting the deposit on a Porsche or a Yacht, grab the idea, a few sheets of paper and start thinking through a good business plan.
Spend a little time sharpening that axe before you attack the tree.