If you build it, they wouldn’t come, unless…

Advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable.

Seth Godin, author & world-renowned marketing expert

Many small business owners can certainly feel this. After spending lots of toil, sweat, emotion and money building the online arm of their business, they find the most important thing is missing: customers (or more accurately, lack of customers). Why?

In my free report, “7 Secrets of Tomorrow’s Highly Successful Internet Business”, I emphasised the importance of becoming an authority. Authority gives rise to brand. A good brand keeps you from becoming a commodity. If you are labelled a commodity, you will have to compete on prices. Once you compete on prices, it’s tough. If your business is in an industry where the barriers to entry is low and getting lower (thanks to the Internet), you will be locked in a downward spiral. It’s no fun being a commodity—you will have to work harder and harder for less and less return.

Without an authority status, you can put in all the effort into building your fledging business’s website and nobody will come. Not unless you pay big money in advertising (that’s how Google gets rich, by the way). But if your business is new and is not generating the cash-flow, where can you get the money to pay for advertising to get people to come? If people don’t come, where do you get the money in the first place?

You see the vicious cycle?

If you don’t break this vicious cycle, your business will struggle and remain small. Nevertheless, with time, effort and grit, it may grow bigger. But in a way, this can be worse than when it was smaller. If your business is new and small and you have not yet committed much time, energy and emotion on it, then you can easily say “Bugger it!” and fold it up. If your business is big and is making big money for you, it is a no-brainer that you should continue working on it. But if your business is neither small nor big, that’s where the dilemma is. You have invested too much of yourself on it to fold it up. Yet, it is not big enough to generate economies of scale. Without economies of scale, the only way to keep costs down and remain competitive is to do everything yourself. But if you do everything yourself, you be strapped for time to do the necessary things to grow your business.

For small business owners who are neither small nor big, it is very hard to advise them to become an authority. They simply have no time for it. Consequently, it is extremely hard for them to break out of the vicious cycle. Some of them may even be particularly vulnerable to salesmen offering them the ‘secret’ techniques or latest hot software to propel their business forward with little time and effort.

But for those whose businesses are small, it is much easier to invest in building themselves up as an authority. There’s much less for them to lose and everything to gain if they indeed succeed in becoming an authority.

So, for those who are neither big nor small and cannot stand the idea of expending themselves indefinitely for so little reward: would you consider taking the strategic risk of becoming small again to rebuild yourself up as an authority?

If you are ready, we will look into how to make the first baby step into becoming an expert…

About the author

I am a Technology Consultant, whose passion is to help small businesses reach their full potential through mastery of digital technologies, strategies and marketing.