Are You A Struggling Entrepreneur?

First of all, everyone has their own definition of what entrepreneurship is. I’m going to talk about what it isn’t (I’m assuming I’ll get flack for this – but I’m expressing my opinions and feelings here nonetheless! )

I think it’s also important after I clear all of this up, that I talk about what it means to struggle as an entrepreneur and what you can do to overcome it!

I’ll keep it very technical here.

Entrepreneurship is the process of designing, launching and running a new business, which is often initially a small business. The people who create these businesses are called entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship has been described as the “capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage a business venture along with any of its risks to make a profit. While definitions of entrepreneurship typically focus on the launching and running of businesses, due to the high risks involved in launching a start-up, a significant proportion of start-up businesses have to close due to “lack of funding, bad business decisions, an economic crisis, lack of market demand, or a combination of all of these.” (Wiki)

Here is are the 10 things that entrepreneurship IS NOT – in my personal and professional view:

  1. Is not for the feint of heart.
  2. Is not for anyone who can’t dedicate themselves to a cause/idea/product/service.
  3. Is not for the weak-minded.
  4. Is not for individuals who have ill-intentions. (Instascammers, Con-Artists, Social Media Wannabees, Fake Experts/Gurus, Fake Coaches, etc.)
  5. Is not for anyone who lacks common business sense.
  6. Is not for anyone who lacks common courtesy or business etiquette! (Yes this still exists, and the civilized get further along than those that aren’t.)
  7. Is not for anyone looking to get rich-quick or get-rich-overnight. (Overnight successes are too far and few.)
  8. Is not for anyone who isn’t willing to put in their blood, sweat, tears, and money!
  9. Is not for anyone who lacks empathy!
  10. Is not for someone who doesn’t believe in themselves/their idea/product/service. (It starts with YOU first and foremost.)

The Struggling Entrepreneur

So, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about the crux of Entrepreneurship – the struggle! In many cases, a constant and resilient struggle will ensue, no matter what you do! There are very few business owners, entrepreneurs, or start-up founders that do not face a struggle. Calamity is an abundance if you’re building something new! It doesn’t matter if you’re a 5 time entrepreneur with 3 IPO’s and two exits under your belt or you’re on your 10th failed business idea!

I myself over the years (12+ now to be exact) have worked on a ton of different business ideas.

I’ve worked on everything from a competing dating application to Tinder (called Provoq.)

I came up with a concept for an app called YourDrobe (bought the trademark and logo from someone in Washington D.C.) We didn’t execute properly and had a poorly put together team. Now Instagram allows brands to tag items and sell them in photos! We came up with that concept first! Our tech probably would have been acquired by Facebook/Instagram.

yourdrobe login screen

yourdrobe mobile app tag screen

 

yourdrobe web feed

Another one was First Priority Maintenance – a national property management company that I was extremely excited about building! I had experience in that realm having successfully built another start-up in that space with an entrepreneur from Israel. I didn’t und

99% of businesses and ideas ended up failing.

I’m not ashamed of my failures at all. In fact, they’re humbling and have really become tools for growth and learning personally and professionally for me! I can attribute all of my failures to some very specific reasons:

  • Not enough time invested time in some of the businesses.
  • Didn’t prove a concept. (Did not test to see if a market existed.)
  • Became complacent with my life. (The money I was making was fine in my mind.)
  • Let some ideas sit and stagnate. (Didn’t take action and develop them.)
  • Was not persistent enough in selling my product or services!
  • Not enough knowledge in a particular area of my business.
  • Failed to build a team – tried to lone-wolf it!
  • No proper plan or business processes in place.
  • No one was holding themselves accountable.
  • Didn’t have the proper funding in place.

Persistence and a Plan Are Key

If I had to pick two-things to tell an entrepreneur to develop it would be persistence and a plan. You need to make sure that no matter what, you never give up on your idea (your business.) If you truly believe in the idea and see that there is a market for your business, DO NOT GIVE UP! Keep on pushing through as many doors as you need to, and climb over as many obstacles that are thrown in-front of you. Every “no” you get from a potential client is a step closer to getting that “yes.” Having that mindset alone has helped me and continues to help me to this day. I don’t care if I get 100 or 200 “NO’s” in a day. I’m right onto the next prospect. The no’s could be timing, budget, or just truly not a need for the service being offered! That doesn’t mean that they won’t hear from me a week or two from the time I first reached out to them though! 😉

A quick word of advice on persistence/selling: If you’re seeing that after you’ve made a significant number of calls or sent out a good amount e-mails (1000+) and you aren’t developing any traction, you might need to re-work your pitch and approach altogether.

Persistence and a plan really do go hand-in-hand. They’re symbiotic in more ways than you could possibly imagine. You want a plan first to organize all of your ideas. Getting them down on a paper (Google Docs – haha) is important! That forms the basis of everything you’re going to do moving forward and it makes your idea’s more than thoughts – it makes them real or tangible. You can dive into as many details as you want with your plan, but I would suggest keeping it as high-level as possible so as not to inundate yourself from the onset with a bunch of filler that doesn’t really add any value to what you’re trying to build. Don’t create a plan for the sake of doing it. Create a plan for the sake of working your business! You want to create components of your plan that are actionable, attainable, and measurable! If they don’t have those three attributes, they shouldn’t be a part of your plan – plain and simple! Don’t be afraid to change your plan or pivot if you discover new information that you can use to backup the changes. Over the years, I’ve seen so many entrepreneurs resist change, and it didn’t end to well for them!

Entrepreneurial Ventures I’m Involved in Today

Today I’m building a few different businesses three to be more specific) that are refined and extremely focused. I’m building them with a bit of cautious optimism! I’ve tested all of the concepts and validated that there is a need for them!

  • The Mega Agency – A boutique ad, growth, and marketing consulting practice for entrepreneurs, SMBs, & start-ups.
  • Mega Websites – A Do-It-For-Me Websites for Small Business Owners
  • Hubackup – A Hubspot backup and data-recovery solution!

Is Social Media Advertising Right for My Small Business?

According to the Small Business Administration’s estimates, approximately 627,000 businesses start every single year. (We won’t talk about the amount that close every-year though — because it’s irrelevant in the context of this discussion.) Yikes! 627,000 businesses starting every single year — that’s a lot! That means that there is never really a shortage of small businesses in the United States! There is what seems like an endless supply of competition for you to go up against. With that being said though, times have changed. No longer are the days where you could just open a business — and use traditional mediums like television, print, and radio to attract customers to come to you! Consumers are faced with what I like to a gauntlet of advertisements on a daily basis. As a consumer digital advertising (That is, if it’s not the correct ads you want being displayed!) can seem annoying, but as a business owner, it can seem rather daunting. You’re competing with other businesses like yours and you’re dealing with consumers who are already sick of being marketed and pitched too right?

Digital Advertising through social media doesn’t necessarily need to be an arduous task even for a small business like yours. There are a few important pieces to consider when thinking about deploying digital ads through social media though.

  1. Does your business have a defined audience (Set of demographics, psychographics, etc.)?
  2. Is your audience active on social media? (This is very important.)
  3. Do you have a budget in mind for social media? (This is critical.)
  4. Do you have very specific (defined) goals that you would like to achieve through social media advertising?
  5. Do you have any knowledge of how digital advertising through social media works? (If you don’t — I would suggest that you learn it or hire an expert that can teach you. You may hire a company to manage your social media — but you want to at least have a foundational understanding of how it works — so you can have some direct insight into what’s going on with YOUR SPECIFIC SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY.) I hate nothing more than seeing small business owners taken advantage of by predatory “social media experts,” “social media marketers,” and so called “social media gurus.” This component is absolutely critical in my opinion.

If you’re able come up with answers that are very objective and what I would call positive — or affirmative, I would say that you’re definitely a business owner/manager that should consider using digital advertising through social media. Your business could benefit tremendously from executing a comprehensive social media advertising strategy. In additional to paid advertising, you’re going to want to have a content strategy in place to complement that paid advertisements. It’s one thing to get customers through the door (online) and it’s another to keep them active and engaged in your business. If you don’t have complimentary content — you could easily lose your audiences attention — because the digital space leaves very little room for individuals to focus on a particular business for more than a very short span of time.

There are tons of businesses just in New England (Mass, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont) where I’m from that severely lack in the social media space for the reasons I mentioned above — and a ton of others. I’m a firm believer though that if these business owners align themselves with professional social media marketers (like my team and I @ The Mega Agency for example) and implement a comprehensive strategy with define goals — they’ll see some really good return-on-investment (ROI).

This article was originally written and shared on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/social-media-advertising-right-my-small-business-david-peterson/