When you’re running your own business it feels, pretty much constantly, like the biggest battle is with growing pains. Whether it’s the constant nagging ache as you struggle to get things to scale, or the deep-rooted panic as you do everything you can to bring in more money. To understate things hugely, this is quite annoying – especially as one tends to lead to the other and you end up in a constant cycle of pain and recovery.
The easiest of these to fix, in my experience, has to be the issue of scaling. A prime example from what we’re doing at Electric Dialogue is coming up with a system to get our link building process to grow as we increase the number of clients on our books. Until a few weeks ago I was wrestling with different ideas and trying to outsource things via content writing services and virtual assistants. For anyone in the same boat I’d advise not doing this. If you want quality and control just bite the bullet and hire someone who’s good at what they do.
I’m a massive advocate of punting out work to the outer reaches for the world (my location of choice is the Philippines) but for certain roles you just can’t beat having someone sat in the office so you can look up and ask a question. Without going off on one and talking too much about SEO, I believe that outreach is something that shouldn’t be outsourced. Anything that’s about building relationships needs to be kept as nearby as possible – after all, those kinds of networks should be built to last. SEO isn’t about building crappy article links and spamming forums – it’s about driving traffic and growing your profile by interacting with people.
On the money side of things, I still don’t have the answers. Whether it’s our retail businesses, or growing web design and SEO clients organically, the sales side of things is still a huge weakness of mine. The problem is almost certainly lead generation as, in both cases, the service that we’re able to offer is far better than most others out there… it’s just finding those people in the first place!
So, a pledge. Over the next 12 weeks I’m going to come up with (and test) some different B2B sales processes on both the services and retail side of things. This will involve everything from email and landing pages to public speaking and getting on the phone to actually talk to people. Scary.
Image courtesy of kamshots