Where Did My Landmark Go?
When I was an undergraduate student at the University of Louisville, one of the most popular fast food joints around the campus was a 24-hour McDonalds. I passed by that place twice a day, every day. It was a landmark for students.
One cold winter day in my junior year, my usual drive past this landmark was disrupted. That old McDonald’s had been leveled to the ground. What was interesting is that there hadn’t been a fire or other catastrophe. It was the purposeful destruction of the building in order to build a new one because starting over was more cost efficient and less time consuming.
Beware of the Smooth Water
Because we work so hard as entrepreneurs, we get to a place when the daily grind levels out and we revel in the comfort that follows. Unfortunately, in that season of “smooth water” (as my husband calls it) our businesses can suffer. Keeping the status quo causes revenues to decline, expenses to accelerate and our brand position to decelerate, all while we wonder where all the business has gone. Typically, the next step is to start reducing expenditures. More times than not, marketing is where the first cuts get made.
I have found in my many years of experience, that rather than reducing marketing efforts, it is just time to BLOW STUFF UP. I’m not talking physically, although that can be fun…what I am describing is the purposeful destruction of your old, tired, worn out brand in order to create something new, exciting and buzz worthy.
This BLOWING STUFF UP process has many names: rebranding, repositioning, strategic turn-a-round, modernization and more. No matter what fancy lipstick term you put on that pig, at the end of the day, you have to abandon what hasn’t worked and come up with something that will.
This process isn’t limited to an entire business model or brand, it could be that website you've had since you started the business that isn’t converting visitors, a social media program that is more "salesy" than social, an email marketing program that has lost its umph, etc. Whatever isn’t creating value for your business, don’t be afraid to just blow it up and start over.
Is it going to sting a little? Absolutely! You may have grown that old, tired brand from the ground up, on a shoestring budget, when no one else believed you could do it. You might have been a marketing army of one staying up until all hours of the night to make sure your business face to the world is keeping the lights on. Whatever that activity is, it’s your baby and let’s be honest…sometimes…it’s ugly.
Don’t Go It Alone
Friends, employees and long-time business associates can sometimes be too close and familiar with your business to provide the objectivity needed. Change is hard, but in the long term you and your business are worth the effort.
If you’ve been an army of one or don’t know where to start, reach out to a trusted business consultant, your local Small Business Development Center or Mastermind group for help as you recreate your brand, business processes or marketing. During a transition such as this, new eyes are critical to your success and you don’t want to skip any steps.
Now, take a deep breath and GO BLOW SOME STUFF UP!