13 Aug Do You Have the 3 Most Crucial Ingredients for a Successful Business?
In my last post, I outlined the most important question you need to ask yourself before you try to sell anything to anyone. That answer to that question is at the heart of what I call StoryVesting, which I believe is the most effective way to drive business growth.
But StoryVesting alone won’t get the job done. To create a truly effective digital marketing machine, you need the right People, Processes, and Platforms. I call these the 3Ps — and they’re the focus of today’s post.
What Exactly Is a Digital Marketing Machine?
There’s a lot of specialized terminology in the world of digital marketing. In particular, I talk about using a “digital marketing machine” to drive growth. But what does that mean? Well, when I talk about creating a digital marketing machine, I really mean a system — a system that incorporates strategic and tactical planning over multiple areas. Some people prefer the term digital marketing engine, so you might also hear that. Either way, we’re using the analogy to explain the framework that holds all the different things you do in order to grow your business.
The micro-engines are all the smaller pieces inside — for example, your blog, your podcast, the newsletter you send to subscribers, and your lead-nurturing strategy. All of those micro-engines contribute to the larger whole of your system, your digital marketing machine.
That machine itself — which, again, incorporates all those micro-engines — is run by People who follow the Processes you’ve determined (which could be answering phones, writing code or content, paying vendors, or anything else); using the Platforms (anything from Gmail to a payment processing system or highly specialized tools you’ve invested in) you choose to run your business. I call this the 3 Ps.
Now, all of that perhaps sounds obvious, but if you don’t get the 3Ps right, it will cost you. It will cost you time, it will cost you money — and it might even cost you your business.
Ghost People In the Machine
Remember, the story I shared with you on my post about the most important question you need answered before trying to sell something? It was about the time I worked at STSN and I had slept in a basement closet — as did some of my colleagues — so that we could ensure an amazing customer experience. These are the kind of People you need to hire. People who believe in YOUR Story. Who are as excited about your business as you are — so excited, in fact, that they’ll forego their own personal comfort to achieve the goal you’re working so hard to accomplish. People who share the vision you have for 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 2 years down the line. These are people with an undeniable passion for what you offer.
Disclaimer: Some people read statements like the above and assume it means you should hire people who would do their work for free. It’s a trendy concept to consider working with someone who is that passionate about their life work that they don’t even consider it work. But, as unpopular as this opinion might be, I disagree with that notion.
I hesitate to say that you should look for People who would be excited about doing the job even if they weren’t being paid, because I don’t mean to say that you should try to pay very little. On the contrary — if you have the right People, you should pay them as well as you can, because they will not only save you money in the long run, they will MAKE you money in the long run — and in the short run.
Because when you hire People who are vested in your story, they put in the time and effort needed to streamline your Processes every step of the way. Which translates, for example, to faster customer response time and product delivery, lower production costs and increased revenues, and greater user engagement and wider customer reach.
Think about the People you currently have — or the ones you’re thinking about hiring. You want People who aren’t afraid of change. Who don’t reject ideas just because they’re new. Instead, they are excited about the possibilities that new tools and technologies can deliver.
Above all, you need to ensure that everyone in your business has a Growth Mindset. People with a Growth Mindset believe in the possibility of change. If you’re an entrepreneur, this most likely describes you. But if you want your business to succeed, you need to make sure that everyone in it shares that Growth Mindset. Because the opposite kind of person — someone with a Fixed Mindset — will give up the first time things are a little bit difficult. That kind of person will drive your business into the ground.
But with a team of vested People who are eager to learn and move forward, you’re well on the path to driving increased revenues.
The Right Processes Drive Growth
Every action you take in your business is a process. When you combine each of those individual Processes — which could include your email newsletter strategy, the in-person events you attend, how you take orders on and offline, and more — into a single machine that runs smoothly from start to finish — well, that’s where the magic happens.
The problem, for most of us, is that putting all of those pieces together sometimes feels like looking for my car keys in my family room after my daughters have had friends over to play. There’s a giant mess, and you’re pretty sure what you need is in there somewhere, but, oh my heck, how do you even get started?
But when you do create a comprehensive whole that works together, to ensure that your buyer has a smooth journey from start to finish, that your Processes complement each other — well, then you get growth. Serious growth. And if learning about getting that kind of growth excites you, then you don’t want to miss my Podcast. SPOILER: My guest is going to BLOW YOU AWAY.
You absolutely must get the Processes right from the very beginning. A cobbled-together workaround that lets you “get the job done” when you’re a business of 1-10 people will cause chaos and disaster down the line. Time (and yes, money) spent early on to perfect your Processes will pay off hugely in increased revenues and accelerated growth later on.
This means, in part, that you need to put in the proper amount of planning time before launching a business. In an ideal world, you’d only launch when everything was perfectly lined up, just waiting for you to press the Start button. Sadly, reality doesn’t always match the fantasy — and I don’t think that you should spend so much time planning that you never actually, you know, launch, but there is a happy medium. There is a certain amount of planning that you must do before engaging with potential customers.
You’re reading a real-world example right now. The first draft of this post was written in late May. But back then, nothing about this site was even close to ready. And the post itself needed images, layout, a blog to be posted to, and so on. Now, do I think that everything about IN THE KNOW is absolutely perfect now? Will I never change a thing? Not even close. There’s still a lot of work to be done — but I did enough of the planning — and I nailed down my Processes — so that I could launch. Am I making mistakes? HECK, YEAH! But I’m a growth mindset kind of guy, so I’m learning from them. They’re my chance to improve.
Don’t Overlook the Importance of Platforms
I use the term Platforms to cover software systems, social channels, apps, and other tools that let you do the work and also gather and evaluate the information that will enable you to constantly improve performance — and revenues.
Now, many of these tools are new. And new things are sometimes intimidating. But without the hard data that these tools can provide, you won’t have a clear understanding of where your best customers are, how they respond to your offers, why they choose to buy — or not. Without the right Platforms in place, you’ll spend your time and money in the wrong places.
If the thought of implementing something new — which could be anything from switching to Google Apps for your Domain to installing an automated payment processing system on your WordPress site to tweaking your social media strategy based on new metrics — overwhelms you to the point of incapacitation, then take a deep breath, and remember that you believe in the importance of a Growth Mindset.
And if it’s cost that’s holding you back? For every expensive platform, you can almost certainly find a free or low-cost alternative. Yes, you might need to forgo a feature or two, but you can get most of what you need. And, there will come a time when the additional cost pays for itself. You don’t want your People to be stuck.
Always Start with the Right People
If you’re wondering which of the 3Ps should be your starting point, I understand your confusion. But time and again, I come to the conclusion that a truly successful business must start with the right People.
People simply matter more than Processes. The right People can take a half-baked, mildly interesting idea, and turn it into a successful reality. The wrong People can drive your Processes into the ground. A customer calls in for support and gets transferred from department to department because no one feels responsible. The customer is forced to explain his issue multiple times — and no one can help him. Think he’ll be back? Not only will he leave, he’ll probably tell everyone why. That’s not good — and that’s one, tiny example.
With the right People in the right places, you won’t need to micromanage. You’ll be able to focus on optimizing the customer experience, developing cool new products, and more.
Obviously, there’s more to say on the 3Ps, so think of this post as an introduction. In my next post, the last in this 3-part series, I’ll tell you about the framework that lets you put StoryVesting together with your People, Processes, and Platforms to close sales and drive revenues. After all, no matter what metric you want to achieve, your goal is to make more money.