There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there about how to grow your business. Trying to follow it all will only result in running around in circles. How do you sort through it and know what advice to follow?
Here are some criteria that you can use to evaluate business advice before you follow it:
- Is the basis for the advice shared with you? It is easy to find people who are willing to share their opinion with you; it is more difficult to find someone willing (and able) to share the basis of that opinion. I advise my clients to NEVER repost any of their content online. This advice isn’t based on personal opinion; it is based on the public statement from Google that they are committed to removing duplicate content from their search results. Advice worth listening to will always have a basis in something beyond simple personal opinion.
- Is the strategy appropriate for your market? There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all strategy that will work for all markets so don’t let a wild success story blind you to the reality of the strategy. For example, the very best Twitter strategy won’t help you grow your business if your target market and/or ideal clients don’t use Twitter.
- Does the recommended strategy fit into how your business is structured? Not all businesses have the same structure, even when they provide the same type of service. Businesses can vary in how they do follow up with customers, how they move customers through their system, where their focus their marketing efforts, even what segment of the population they target. Strategies that will lead to the most success for your business will fit smoothly into the way your business is already structured.
- Has the advice giver kept up with changes in the industry, market, or technology? We live in a constantly changing world and as a result, what worked two years ago, or even last year, or sometimes even last month, no longer works. Industries change, markets change, and, especially technology changes rapidly. Experts worth listening to are keeping up with these changes so they can update their techniques to stay relevant.
- Is the advice free of personal bias? This is the most difficult of the criteria to determine, especially since some people are very good at hiding their own biases, but once you know what to look for they become easier to spot. I once worked with a web designer who didn’t want to learn how to create optin boxes to link the websites he created with email service providers. Instead of being upfront with his clients that this wasn’t something he knew how to do (and wasn’t willing to learn), he told them that email marketing wasn’t going to help them sell their work. I saw the bias for what it was through the way he answered my questions, especially around the basis, or why, of his opinion.
Your business is unique; therefore the strategies you use to grow it will also be unique.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to create everything from scratch. Learn to pick and choose from the advice that is out there so you can learn from other people’s mistakes (and successes) and craft a strategy that fits you and your business perfectly.