I was getting the oil changed in my SUV the other day and thought about the times I used to work on my first car. I was 16 and it was an orange (yes orange) 1973 Buick Opel wagon. The thing was a beast and always seemed to have something wrong with it.
Perhaps it was because I was always “working” on it?
It was just a bad year or it was the guy who sold me the bunk water pump that didn’t work after I spent two days replacing it. It couldn’t have been the fact that I knew nothing about cars and was too cheap to pay an expert to have some confidence in driving it further than 19 miles away from my house.
Sure, it seems so obvious in hindsight that I shouldn’t have been allowed to even open the hood much less touch the engine. The temptation to tinker with replacing parts and tuning the car up (as if I even knew what that meant) was simply too irresistible.
It felt good to get my hands dirty and accomplish something I could talk about with my buddies. The mere fact that it took me two days to replace a water pump when an experienced professional would only take a few hours made no difference to me.
But I was a teenager with a lot of time on my hands and not much riding on the decisions I made. If I took apart the engine I would hitch a ride with a friend to school and work on it during my spare time.
Business owners don’t have this luxury.
Too many (maybe you?) seem to enjoy tinkering with their marketing in their spare time as if marketing had little impact on their business. This “do-it-yourself” (DIY) mentality is justified with excuses like; “it’s the bad economy,” “I have no budget,” or “I just spent $2,000 on that marketing seminar,” when the real reason they are tinkering is because it feels good to get their hands dirty. The accomplishments, however small, seem like they add up to success but for most it adds up to a waste of time and resources.
“It’s better to do something rather than nothing.”
This seems to make sense on the surface but when it comes to utilizing knowledge and resources to accomplish a set of activities that are supposed to lead to an identified outcome—trying stuff out doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Marketing should be a concerted effort in which an overall strategy employs a variety of integrated tactics with the sole purpose of influencing your targeted customer to take a specific action.
If you’re looking for things to check off a list then the philosophy of “just do something” may pay off in the long run. But what if you have no idea about what you’re doing? Is getting 100 things done poorly better than getting 10 things done effectively?
Do you really have the time to fail forward—making a lot of mistakes along the way to educate yourself on what works and what doesn’t with the hope that you become more effective and achieve the results you’re looking for? What would your employees say?
Lesson learned: Keep your hands clean and hire an expert.
Cheers to your success,
PS: I’ve since learned my lesson and leave most things to professionals. I will admit to trying to replace my taillight a few weeks ago and cracked the case because I was in a hurry and took apart my taillight in the dark parking lot of AutoZone.
Hey, nobody’s perfect.
Have no fear in admitting that sometimes you’ve made mistakes and at the same time realize that you have the power to make sure they don’t happen again.