For at least a year my son has been on me to help him start his own website.
And he's seen cheques arrive in the mail from a website I created back in 2003/2004 every other month ... for years.
So he's figured out that he can make more money and have more fun by starting his own website on sports and video games.
And apparently it's way more interesting than cleaning his room, taking out the recycling and vacuuming the basement for his allowance.
Not wanting to stand in the way of the blossoming business man I decided to offer my help.
And then on Monday of this week he said,
"Thanks Dad, when you and Nick make goals to you just say them or write them down? Because I want to have my website running by the end of this month."
I almost had a heart attack.
We then decided on some target dates for things and he opened his notepad and wrote down the dates.
At that point I thought he may be better organized and more motivated than I am.
So last night we sat down and began the process.
We discussed different ideas and how to best "position" his website.
To make it full of useful information, not to "sell" anything right up front, and then to kindly offer something of value so that he can monetize traffic (make money).
I explained that you don't want to focus all your efforts on what you want to write about on your site.
Instead, you want to look for search keywords that are high in DEMAND and low in SUPPLY.
We spent some time talking about the benefits of this approach.
About attracting TRAFFIC to his website and how that's more useful to him that just making a pretty site for his friends.
To balance his "fun stuff" and the stuff that will get him visitors.
He responded with, "I get it Dad."
I think I almost had another heart attack.
If he truly understands this then he has just learned the most valuable business skill ever.
And what's that exactly?
There is no business problem that cannot be solved with better marketing.
Need customers? Marketing will get 'em.
Need better customers to replace your cheap ones that negotiate you for days? Marketing is the answer.
Losing employees because they're not making enough commissions? Marketing is the answer.
Having trouble attracting people to work in your business? Good marketing fixes that.
Not making enough money? Get marketing.
Need more leads/prospects? Marketing.
Expenses going up and eating into your margins? Marketing.
Get the idea?
But if this is the case, and you actually believe us on this ... then why is it so many people focus on everything other than marketing?
Tweaking your business plan for six months before you begin is almost useless.
Figuring out every single detail of your restaurant, consulting business, website ... practically useless.
Spend that effort designing a marketing plan that gets your first customer instead.
How many times have you seen a new business open in your neighbourhood, a restaurant perhaps, just to go out of business in a few months.
Did you ever even receive a single flyer at your door?
And those poor business owners are probably confused as to why they're out of business.
After all, they had a great location, a great looking sign, a beautiful design inside.
All of which is completely useless with no customers of course.
And how do you get those customers?
You know the answer by now.
When real estate investors have vacancies in their properties what is the most valuable skill they have?
How good are they at attracting new tenants?
It's the difference between having a vacancy for one month and four months.
Thousands of dollars are up for grabs.
Yet so many investors spend as little time as possible studying marketing.
Here's another business problem we see often...
Someone will have a business that is humming along great.
And then all of a sudden, for no apparent reason, their customer volume begins to drop.
They sit around scratching their head.
And when someone suggests running some marketing plans they'll balk at the costs.
It's hilarious. And sad.
When I was in software sales there was this one young lady who was running her own ads to a very specific market. She was killing it.
Another guy we know in sales ended up being the top sales guy at the company because he ran his own marketing campaign to generate leads instead of depending on the company provided stuff.
Then he quit that company, joined another one with more upside and is apparently the top guy there. We're betting he's using his own marketing there too.
So whether your in sales, starting your own business, or already established it would be time well spent studying good marketing.
Watching what other successful businesses are doing and how they get their customers.
Learn everything you can about the subject.
It will serve you well in any industry. And in life.
If my son spends the time to really learn this stuff he may be setting himself up for a pretty interesting future.
Time will tell.
And I'm excited.
Until next time ... Your Life! Your Terms!