"Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” - Henry Ford
We've all failed at some point in our lives. I know I have. Sometimes the feeling persists. But often times, you forget and you move on.
I used to count my failures and remember the lessons so they stick. I used to take criticism very seriously because I believed that that was the only way I could learn.
Oh boy... that kind of thinking completely destroyed me.
I put so much pressure on myself. I found myself losing sleep, working too hard, and getting burnt out - even in high school - because I thought success meant not making mistakes. I mean, that's how they would grade us in school, right? The kids that make the fewest mistakes got the highest marks and therefore had the highest chances of succeeding.
I believed this until I got my first job. I learned really quickly that the rules were different. Those who were favoured by the bosses were the ones that got ahead.
Then I started my own business and that was the beginning of when I started to understand what failure felt like. I can speak to you with experience that has humbled me. And I am finally learning how to begin again more intelligently.
I'm going to share with you some truths about marketing. I have a lot of fellow entrepreneurs asking me what they should do with their marketing because a lot of times it doesn't get the responses that they think it should get.
We have metrics and standards for a lot of activities that we do to measure effectiveness and quite a few of them are in the 1-2% range and most are in the 20-30% range for small businesses. So why do it when the numbers are so low? There are many reasons, but you have to look at your market size, market reach, and customer/sale value. For most businesses, marketing is necessary to grow.
I often tell entrepreneurs to save their money to live and grow their business than to hire a marketer. They are better off spending time networking or using free resources and only hire someone if they don't have the technical expertise, such as website development.
It's important for me to only work with people that I believe could benefit the most from what I can do for them. My ideal customers already have a profitable business and have outgrown doing all the marketing themselves.
The truth is - marketing takes time. And a lot of people are impatient or they don't have the resources to wait for the marketing to be effective. Marketing doesn't fail, but impatience does. Impatience causes you to give up too soon.
Many successful entrepreneurs you see have had businesses before. MANY of them have failed - sometimes more than once. They learned from their mistakes and got better. In fact, many of them have more than that - they also have a network and experience that they've built up and leveraged.
I wrote all this not to discourage you, but to encourage you to keep going. You are not failing - you're just getting started. Don't give up too soon.
Cindy, our North York, ON Branch Director, is a multipreneur and marketing professional who helps small businesses with acquisition and retention through inbound marketing. She has spent the last five years living and working abroad because she wanted to understand the other side of the world. In her spare time, she enjoys learning new skills and reading. She also does a bit of yoga from time to time :)
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