What made it happen? What makes one give up the cushy life and pick the spiky-pointed one? I don’t think it’s any romantic love for risk. Entrepreneurs aren’t wild risk-lovers. I think we’re calculated risk-takers. In a perverse sort of a way, it might be in the genes.
I do believe all humans are different, DNA-wise at least, at the core. (If not, then forensic sciences are in bit of a jam.) And I believe that for every individual mental make-up, there’s a particular job that’s particularly perfectly suited. Some people are just born to be Bank Officer, Grade 4. Some others to be one-down right-handed batsman. And if these people are lucky, they get the jobs that are right for them. They don’t ever have to go through the trouble of being an entrepreneur.
The rest of us just can’t find a job that suits us. And we really don’t like ‘adjusting’. So we make a job for ourselves. Where we like our bosses; ourselves, the business; our own, the working hours; whenever we feel like, and the location; wherever we are. We don’t do it to take a risk – we do it to be safe. And the world calls us entrepreneurs, heroes of some sort. But really, we’re just folks who didn’t find a job that suited us well enough.
Now watch the resource video my rule book for startups
Today, the best way to establish your brand among big-hitter rivals is to make it remark-worthy and generate conversations free of charge. See how Red Bull took on big-ad-buying Coke and Pepsi with a product that sold at a higher price for a smaller pack size and built it to a billion-dollar brand with little advertising? The new axiom, call it Mahesh’s Law, is this: your marketing IQ is inversely proportional to your marketing budget. Here is your to do list for zero budget marketing:
- Start on your brand by answering a simple question: Are you remark-worthy? When someone talks about your offering, is there a 10-second sound bite that is “re-tweetable” on Twitter? If not, go back to basics and craft a simple, clear hook that that sets you apart. Like: Google helps you find stuff better, Harley owners are a cult, Starbucks is a great place to be, Red Bull lets you party harder.
- Now apply a single test: Do a Google search on your brand to see whether every element of the resulting page can support this position. Among the results will be your Web site, news items about you, other Web users who mention you, blogs about you, tweets about you, videos starring you and such. Now work to own the presence in each of these elements.
- Start with the Web site. If it’s got corporate gobbledygook and you don’t go back a second time, users won’t either. Make it something worth talking about and worth returning to. Find a Web firm that understands your brand, and not a tech firm. Or do it yourself if you’re starting out.
- Then audit every mention of you. Google alerts alone won’t do it, but it’s a start. See who’s saying what. Then intervene in conversations and respond to complaints, visibly, with your own Twitter account or some other way of interacting. It’s important that on-lookers see your response to a complaint in the open so they know that you can take care of theirs too, if they ever have one. This is where your real brand is built.
- Are you seen as the one to talk to in your industry? What will make it so? Issue white papers or surveys, or give out fun statistics. Do the things regularly that give you thought leadership in your niche.
- Are there fun or educational videos you’re part of? Put them up, even if they’re shot on your phone. Are there competitors being talked about? Intervene, and respectfully make your presence felt.
- Journalists today take more stories from what’s blogged and tweeted about than they take from publicists. Connect with them directly. They’ll respect you for it. Become a “source.”
You’re not burdened with the necessity of paying a big ad firm to do cookie-cutter work. You have the advantage of not having any money. So you’ll probably end up ahead.
Attached video I discuss changing marketing landscape and how it’s creating a level playing field for big and small alike.