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Don’t be a legend in your own lunchtime

Chris Field
Chris Field

Don’t be a legend in your own lunchtime.

It’s pretty easy to feel famous, and yet at the same time be almost unknown. In business, this is known as corporate vanity where you assume everyone is in love with you just because you are in love with yourself. Being in love with yourself can cause you to be blind to what others see or don’t see.

The founders of start ups are often guilty of the sin of self love. Sure, you have to believe your business is amazing, but if you’re not really telling anyone else, then how will they know to buy from you? Start up founders fall into this trap because they have spent so much time with people who think they are amazing; but who are these people? They are generally investors, staff and friends, all of whom will either take your money or not give you any of their own. This is hardly a recipe for growth.

Beware corporate vanity

Meanwhile, the potential customers and their influencers may not see you at all. And posting ‘look at me’ messages on LinkedIn is not the answer; your network will see them but maybe that’s it.

Corporate vanity causes many companies to do almost nothing to market themselves to their prospects. Naturally, as an agency owner, I understand they don’t all want to spend money with me, but if it is not being spent anywhere else, what result precisely are they expecting? If you don’t believe me, consider the number of start ups who have had the same handful of customers for over two years, but have failed to win anything since. They are running out of cash, the investors are running out of patience, and they start to resort to tactics that have a pretty slim chance of success.

Limitations of networking

Take networking; it’s great, it works, everyone should do more of it, but it must sit on a foundation of regular communications with prospects, otherwise it depends almost entirely on luck. Otherwise, you are having to sell to a total stranger at a trade show, which, even if it works, is bound to take time to come to fruition. An audience of one is a seriously slow burn if you want to grow.

Another classic mistake by the vain crowd is to fire off boastful messages into the ether in the mistaken belief that anyone gives a shit. If you are proud of your team, or thrilled you had a good week, or got your new product out early, none of this means anything to people who don’t know who you are, what you stand for, what value you deliver and why you are even in business. Again, these are all foundational activities that need to be addressed before anyone can be happy you completed a marathon or started high-fiving your staff on Fridays.

Marketing fires up your brand

OK, the sting in this blog is that you need to start spending some dollar on marketing, but if the alternative is to do nothing, then I can state with confidence that won’t work. You make your own luck, it does not fly in through the window. Marketing is energy and your market won’t start feeling the warmth until you start spending money on fuel.

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