It’s a popular myth, according to Entrepreneur magazine in a small-business start-up myths article.
And it’s a myth that’s easy to believe:
- Some advertising techniques to market your venture cost money — money that you’d rather keep;
- In addition, your friends are all encouraging you to go ahead; and
- You’re so good at what you do! How could the world not love it?
But being good at what you do doesn’t mean you’ll be successful. In the initial flurry of starting a new business, it’s easy to mistake the good wishes of people with actual buying intent.
As a result, you will find that intentions aren’t enough as weeks pass and the intention evaporates, or gets distracted by the next shiny, new thing. And you realize you can’t take good wishes to the bank.
Being good at what you do isn’t enough to succeed
If you ever needed a prime example of how being good isn’t enough, think of Joshua Bell.
Joshua Bell is a world-renowned violinist. As a result he travels often, giving around 150 concerts a year. His recordings are consistently #1 on the Billboard classical chart. But this classical music superstar took a big risk. On Friday, January 12, 2007 at 7:51 a.m., he went incognito to a busy subway station in Washington, DC, took out his 300-year-old, $4‑million Stradivarius violin, and busked for loose change like any street performer.
Joshua Bell did the experiment because what he wanted to find out was this: In an ordinary setting, with a ton of distractions, and no cues as to quality, would great art stop people in their tracks?
In discussing the experiment, editors at The Post Magazine discussed likely outcomes of having this violin virtuoso playing well-loved pieces on a rich-sounding instrument in a busy metro where the acoustics were, surprisingly, pretty good. The editors were concerned about crowd control.
But they needn’t have worried. Only seven people stopped to listen for a minute or two. One stopped for nine minutes. Here’s the YouTube video:
Bell made $32.17 during his 43-minute concert. Some people gave pennies.
Hence, 1,097 people passed by the superstar-in-disguise. Some of those passers-by might have even heard Bell two nights before at a concert in the area, but they walked right on past him.
Gene Weingarten, the writer of the Pulitzer-prizewinning article about the subway stunt, reports that Bell said, “‘It was a strange feeling, that people were actually, ah … ignoring me.’”
Bell set up his business in the metro, but no one had to stop and listen.You set up your business, but no one has to buy.
Are you making Bell’s big mistake?
Bell made it hard for people because he didn’t look like a big deal. There was just the service. None of the cues were present to tell us that here was an important player on a priceless instrument playing music that has endured over centuries. Consequently, it was as if he were trying to sell Dom Pérignon in a paper cup.
But there was no packaging here. No tickets. No tuxedo. No stage. No printed programs. No symphony hall. No crowd of other listeners dressed in their finery. No advertising techniques. No buzz. No TV ads. No publicist. No newspaper articles. No Twitter feed. No promo patter about the event on local radio. No procession of luxury cars entering a parking lot. No police directing traffic: Nothing to tell you that this was a Big Deal.
Rather, without the packaging, Joshua Bell was just a guy in a ball cap playing a fiddle.
Advertising techniques make your business important to people
So what does this matter to you? Well, like Bell, you’ve got all kinds of skills.
But how would anyone know?
In fact, you’re the answer to several problems staring your potential customers right in the face.
But how would anyone know?
How will you get them to take out their earbuds and listen to you?
Do your advertising techniques show that you’re really playing to win with your enterprise?
Are you even using any advertising techniques?
So here’s what happens if you ignore Bell’s example. Not using advertising techniques will see you working cheap. It will have you fighting in the market on the basis of price, and as you fight for the bottom, your dreams suffer. As your dreams get smaller, this career that you once held a passion for becomes a prison. If you think “prison” is too strong a word, what else would you call this thing that’s paying you slave wages? With no escape? And consequently making you watch your loved ones go without?
Stop scrambling from day-to-day and paycheque-to-paycheque. Stop hoping that a few people will support you enough to keep your business afloat.
Start being in demand. Start turning business away. Start using the power of advertising techniques to make people wonder how they got along without you. And start doing it while you’ve still got some start-up funds.
Most new businesses fail. Your business can be different. You’ll learn how in the modules to come. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, you might read our cheat sheet to growing your business through advertising.