Last year, with the exception of software development for our company, I pretty much did it all myself. To some extent, the economic times dictated that’s how it had to be for awhile. As the recession eased and our market began to invest in color verification tools again, I was ready. It was time to expand and duplicate my success by growing the team.
Growing your own success
By doing it all yourself for awhile, you get a good feel for what works and what does not; at least from a sales and marketing perspective. You also get a good feel for the parts of the process that come easily and are natural for you. At the same time, you figure out the pieces of the process that, while you can do them, are probably better handled by others.
Identify the parts of the process you don’t like doing and find people who can do them easily and naturally. Can I design a blog in WordPress? Sure, but would it be as attractive as the ColorMetrix site that I had a professional polish up for us? No, and that’s because Joshua Garity, who did the ColorMetrix site redesign, is a professional and finds design to be as easy and natural as I find sales and customer relations to be.
Expand what you are best at
Pick the things you are best at and that provide maximum Return On Investment (ROI) to you and your company. These are the tasks you should be focused on each and every day. If you are not, then it’s time to figure out what is distracting and taking you away from those tasks and build the team out further.
For example, while I’ll be a life-long learner in the social media space, I’ve figured out enough to find some traction. With the sales and customer relationship responsibilities I have, however, managing more than my personal accounts was proving to be too much. So, even some tasks you find easy and natural need to be done by others if you want to grow.
Creating agents and ambassadors of you and what you do
For 15 years, I’ve been stuck in the cycle that plagues almost every small business. When business is tough, the entrepreneur in the organization puts their sales hat back on full-time and goes out selling and marketing like a mad man. Business increases and then the entrepreneur is back inside the four walls helping get the work done; at least that’s what I’ve been doing. I referenced the definition of insanity and decided I was going to stop doing the same thing over and over and expect a different result.
It’s about more ongoing marketing. I watched my friend Joe Sorge bring others in to help manage the AJBombers Twitter account. Yes, he still participates, but others help fill the gaps so he can sleep sometimes. In the last year, I’ve become very good at modeling the success of others. When I was able to hire someone to help with the marketing, I picked Shelby Sapusek because I knew she could extend the ColorMetrix voice in the online space. I also knew she could help me pull off the most successful User Group meeting ever, which we’ll be doing in April.
Now, marketing happens even when I’m not doing it. While I’m busy traveling and working with customers, Shelby is making sure the online world knows that ColorMetrix is still here. Instead of our newsletters being sporadic, they are now regularly scheduled. Instead of the Twitter account being a place holder, it’s an active and engaging account. Just yesterday I watched our engagement during Twitter’s #PrintChat gain us more than a dozen new followers. There is ROI in having more people know who you are.
It was the motivation to build this team that provided the drive I needed to sell our way out of this recession. What’s your motivation to create ambassadors and agents for you?
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