As I prepared my presentation to my BNI Referral Champions networking family, like any thoughtful marketing professional I considered my audience. No question that the reception would be warm but I wanted my 10 minutes to resonate beyond the early morning hours at Caragiulos. Like many of you, I, too, am passionate about my work and enjoy sharing the benefits of investing in your self/business through marketing. You might think that someone in the business of supporting business owners in their marketing would, in fact, find this preparation quite simple. It should be easy for a marketer to market themselves, right? Well, not really.
I honestly love marketing. In one form or another I've spent more than 20 years all in, preaching the gospel. I am a true believer and I think that if you are doing what you love, you have a fair chance the room will feel it too. The tricky part is to keep focus and know when to stop. Who wants to feel like there just may be a quiz at the end? No one. Is that what I want them to remember? Again, no. How many commercials have you seen that had a great gimmick you remember but the actual product they were selling...not so much? Messaging in advertising is not easy, even when there is a high-profile Super Bowl audience.
Upward and onward, I thought of how my challenge was nothing compared to those about whom I was speaking. Small business owners are challenged in so many ways just in developing and delivering their core competencies. Those businesses often sprouted from pure joy and pride. It could have been those great cupcakes their friends raved about or the tradesman's skills his father taught him. I have yet to find an owner share with me their joy in those early days of creating that really kick-ass marketing plan. I'll let you all know when that happens because it will truly be an event worthy of, well, marketing.
So, like those homework projects you dreaded and waited until Sunday night to start and finish, I am telling you it is ok to let go. Really, all that grief and I am betting it was not your A+ work. This is your business. With all the blood and sweat that got you there do you want to leave anything less than A+ impressions? None of us are A+ all the time but trying is what sets you apart. Short-cuts are not a long-term solution. What you think will save you money can end up costing you more. Hire a professional, one that is as passionate about their work as you are about yours. Throwing it against the wall to see if it sticks is not the way. As I told my networking colleagues this morning, "save the spaghetti." Focus on your passionate A+ work and others (especially those potential customers) will feel it too.