Last week, I shared with you in part one of the series, how a personal consulting client of mine, Tom, was struggling with “analysis paralysis”, and that the fear of doing something wrong in his online business endeavors resulted in him doing nothing. My suggestion was that just starting to do something is often the hardest thing, but it is better than doing nothing. And we really just need to make a start.
Be sure to read part one before continuing to read this article.
The concept that everything doesn’t have to be perfect, and you can learn and modify as you go along, was a big relief for Tom. But it appeared that this was not Tom’s only problem as I was soon to discover from the series of questions he started asking me.
When I started talking to Tom about a proper business strategy, I could sense some boredom with his glazed over look. You see to some people a proper business strategy may not sound “sexy” enough. In fact, it may sound too straightforward for some people to think that it is the answer. Tom kept pushing me for “the secret” so I finally gave it to him.
I told Tom to focus on delivering great information, helping people solve their problems and establishing proper relationships with your readers to the point where they really value and respect your opinions. Nothing too fancy. No trickery or exploiting a loophole I found in Google’s algorithm, or a piece of software that “blasts” thousands of blog comments, and no sinister way of convincing people to buy stuff.
And this is the big difference between a business strategy and tactics. A business strategy is the bigger picture of what you want to accomplish with your business. I look at it as the things that never go out of fashion. If you follow the above mentioned business strategy, you don’t need to worry about the latest Google algorithm update, linkwheels or if email marketing is dead. You are building a proper sustainable business. You have a long term strategy and I think a lot of Internet marketers are missing that aspect.
Tactic can be the things you use to accomplish the strategy. They are short term and can chop and change. They can be important, and using good tactics can certainly help, but without the framework of a business strategy they are useless. If you know what is working now, then sure go ahead and employ some of those tactics. Use them knowing very well that you may need to use something else in the future, but that it is just a means to an end of your bigger goal.
It is very easy to get caught up in the next “new thing”. Especially in the Internet marketing space. A lot of “new things” and a lot of products marketed in the Internet marketing space are concerned with tactics. Small little things that may work for a while or push button software that promises thousands of dollars. And I think this lack of strategy is why many people fail in their Internet marketing attempts, a focus or obsession with tactics when there is no bigger framework or business strategy.
A common scenario for many an internet marketer could go something like this:
Hands up if that sounds familiar?
When I first got involved in Internet marketing, I used to spend a good majority of my time on forums. And while I am an advocate of learning, I must admit it is very easy to get distracted by the next “shiny object” that promises to stuff my pockets full of cash with no effort on my part. And I admit that is how I used to look at my online businesses. Like a “quick cash scheme” type of thing. Not that I ever did anything dishonest, but it was more my mindset towards them, my attitude and energy I put into them.
You would never run an offline business like that. You would always have a strategy and bigger picture goal. But for some reason we may not apply this type of thinking to our online businesses. Everything changed when I started to look at my online efforts as proper businesses. When I decided I wanted to have a more sustainable business model, establish proper relationships with my clients, be a respected “authority” in my reader’s eyes for that certain niche and have repeat customers.
If you put in the effort to buy a domain name, set up a website, write content, create a product or promote someone else’s, and set up an autoresponder series, then why not start looking at your website as a proper business and not some get rich quick scheme? I am not saying you can’t get rich quickly with a proper business, I am just saying why not also aim for some sustainability.
By the end of our consultation I think I may have made some progress with Tom. It took some reassuring that I had not held back any “secrets” to online success though.
The two lessons to take away from these past two posts are firstly “get doing”. That may mean buying a domain name to get started on your online business or creating a product to sell online. There is never a better time than now, seriously you have so much to gain and really nothing to lose. Don’t waste another week or even a day wondering, “What if I…?”. Just do it.
And secondly aim big with your online business. Have an idea of exactly what you want it to achieve, set proper business goals and have a proper business strategy in place. With a strong business framework you don’t have to be overly concerned with tactics.