Along with creating new goals and resolutions, it’s also that time of year to dust off the crystal ball (aka an angel snow globe in my case) and make some predictions for the New Year, especially around the hot topic of business success.
And, I’m not going to sugar coat it; 2017 was a little rough, and it could get rougher.
BUT, as always, there is opportunity as well, just as long as you’re open to what it looks like (in other words, it may not be dressed the way it was before OR the way you’d prefer it to be—but more on that in a bit).
Without further ado, let’s see what 2018 has in store for us.
1. It’s no longer “business as usual.”
One thing that became VERY clear in 2017 is how fast marketing strategies can simply cease to work, especially in the coaching/transformation industry. What used to work, isn’t (or, at least, it’s not working the way it used to).
Needless to say, this took some folks by surprise (while creating a lot of panic).
So, what happened?
I think it’s the part of the end of a cycle of two basic human drives (or two things we’re hardwired to be attracted to):
* The attraction of “new”
* And the attraction of “easy”
You may not know this, but there was a time (really!) where all you had to do was post a little opt-in box on your website with the words “Free Newsletter!” and people would sign up. (I actually once had someone email me wanting to get my free newsletter because my opt-in form wasn’t working properly.)
Now this was way back … when hearing the words “You got mail!” was exciting. (I got mail! Yay!)
Today, it’s a serious challenge to persuade people to even give you their email address much less buy something from you. And “You got mail!”? People are now excited when they manage to whittle down their inbox to below 100 emails.
Back then, email was new. Free newsletters were new. Therefore, it was a lot easier to see results.
And, in some cases, we’re talking pretty dramatic results.
In the early days of the Internet, it wasn’t uncommon for early adopters to get some insane results without doing a lot of work. And it wasn’t necessarily because what they offered was so incredible, or even that their marketing was so great.
It was because what they did was new.
And the power of new broke through the clutter.
So then, the attraction of “easy” kicked in. Early adopters made more money teaching their “easy” system to the next wave of entrepreneurs, who eagerly lapped it up. (After all, there are very few things we humans love better than something being “easy.”)
Of course, the fresh, shiny sheen of “new” eventually wears off, turning it “old” and “familiar.” “Old” and “familiar” is not nearly as sexy as “new.” They don’t attract nearly the attention, which means it doesn’t work nearly as well. Even worse, “new” becomes “old” even faster when more people use it.
Which means the early adopters need to find a different “new.” And the cycle starts all over again.
Until, eventually, we reach the predictable end.
Internet Marketing itself is no longer all that “new” or “easy.”
(And, all those tricks that came with it? Yeah, those are “old, familiar, and busted,” too.)
You see, the problem with “new” and “easy,” at least as it relates to Internet Marketing, is that it circumvents two key components of growing a successful business—work and patience.
And a lot of people get addicted to “new” and “easy” and forgot about the “time” and “work” part.
So, when “new” and “easy” stop getting results, there is panic.
Then what do we do?
Is the world as we know it over? Do we all need to get j-o-b-s?
Well, before you start trying to remember what a resume even looks like, let’s see what the next prediction is.
2. BUT it IS sort of “business as usual.”
Wait. I’m confused too. Wasn’t the first prediction that it’s no longer business as usual?
Yes, IF you’re building your business on a foundation of “new” and “easy.” While “new” and “easy” will always provide a shot in the arm, it’s not sustainable.
If you want a solid, dependable, profitable, successful business, then maybe it’s time to go back to solid, dependable, profitable, successful business practices.
What are those?
It’s simple—solve a problem that’s keeping your ideal clients up at night, and offer it to them at a fair price (fair to both of you—you need to make a living, and your ideal clients need to feel like they didn’t overpay for what was delivered).
How do you do that? Focus on three main principles:
* Attracting new prospects
* Turning those prospects into clients
* Taking great care of those clients
That’s really it.
Business really isn’t complicated. I know it can seem like it is (especially when you’re stuck in the cycle of “new” because you’re constantly having the chase the next “new” thing), but it truly doesn’t have to be. (And that includes enjoying sustained business success.)
So, how do you do all of that?
Well, let’s jump into prediction three.
3. Relationships are the new currency.
(Relationships were actually the old currency, too, but let’s not split hairs.)
People want to do business with people. People have ALWAYS wanted to do business with people. People WILL always want to do business with people.
So, how did we end up with so many empty, “personality” brand businesses that have little connection to their clients?
Simple. We forgot (blame the frenzy of “new” and “easy” coupled with how easy the internet makes it for us to hide behind our computer).
So how do you do that?
First, let your ideal prospects and clients and customers FEEL you. Hear your voice. Get to know your personality quirks. Maybe even show your vulnerability.
And, don’t ever forget about prediction four.
4. Quality never goes out of style.
There were many things we forgot when we were trapped in the “new” and “easy” cycle, including making sure we actually created a great product or service.
One of the principles of “new” was “speed.” Think about it—the people who benefit the most from “new” are the early adopters. The faster you can get something “new” out there, the better your results.
Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with speed. In fact, there are times when moving swiftly makes good business sense.
But, “speed” can quickly turn into “sloppy.” And, in the quest to make things happen faster, “sloppy” somehow became more acceptable. “Just launch it and fix it later” became the new motto (or, even worse, “launch it first and create it later”).
Again, there’s wisdom in “launching first and creating later.” For one thing, you won’t spend weeks or months creating something no one wants to buy. You’ll know you have a market.
But, the problem is when people buy, they’re expecting the product. So, you have no choice but to create it fast. And, that leads to “sloppy.”
What’s the alternative?
Ask your prospects and clients what they want (and if you have a good relationship with them, they’ll tell you). Test something small—maybe a small product or a free piece of content—and see what the results are. Keep an eye on what seems to be working (and not working) in your marketplace, so you can stay ahead of the trends.
And that leads us to prediction five.
5. Be nimble.
I can hear you now: “Wait. Didn’t you just say “speed” was the first step on a slippery road to ‘sloppy’?”
“Speed,” yes. But, just because you’re nimble doesn’t necessarily mean you’re moving fast with EVERY part of your business.
For me, being nimble means you’re in a position to see what’s out there and respond quickly to it.
For instance, remember MySpace? No? I’m not surprised. I barely remember it either.
Years ago, before Facebook became the ten-foot-tall gorilla, there was MySpace.
For awhile, MySpace was the hot social networking platform to be on. One of my friends even successfully sold a little product on how to make money on MySpace.
And then Facebook took off.
So, the point of this is you DO need to keep an eye open to what’s working and what’s not working. Just because Facebook is where your clients are today doesn’t mean that’s where they’ll be tomorrow.
(BUT, if you’ve created a connection with your ideal prospects, they’ll likely also follow you to the new platform.)
And, if you want to stay nimble, check out number six.
6. Keep an eye on your statistics.
I know, I know. Numbers aren’t sexy.
BUT, they’re one of the best ways to keep a finger on the pulse with not only what’s going on in your industry, but in your business. And they’re the best way to keep you on the path to sustained business success.
Here’s the thing: There’s no question that right now a lot of entrepreneurs are floundering because the strategies they used to used to both grow their business and enjoy business success aren’t working the way they used to.
BUT, let’s not forget there are also entrepreneurs out there who had their best year ever in 2017.
Just because something isn’t working in the rest of your industry doesn’t mean it will affect you. (Keep in mind, the reverse is true too—just because something is working for EVERYONE doesn’t mean you’ll have success with it.)
That’s why keeping an eye on your specific numbers and looking for trends is important.
What numbers should you watch? Anything you want to grow. Some ideas include:
* Email subscribers
* Opens/clicks on your email list
* How many of your prospects buy
* How many visitors to your website
* Specific numbers for any marketing strategy you’re doing (i.e. blog visitors, podcast downloads, YouTube watches, etc.)
And, to brig it all home, prediction seven.
7. It’s never too soon to panic (aka someone, somewhere will panic this year).
Just as people are attracted to “new” and “easy,” they’re also attracted to “panic.”
It’s important to remember, panicking is a choice. Yes, I know, when the bottom falls out, it’s easy to slip into panic.
And, it’s important to feel those feelings—so if that’s what you’re feeling, then feel it and let it move through you.
Just don’t let it control your actions or decisions.
Nothing good happens when you run your business from a state of panic. And, you especially need to make decisions from your inner wisdom and/or God (or your higher power) if the bottom HAS dropped out. (In other words, when it’s most important that you don’t panic, you’re most likely to feel panic.) (Yes, I agree, it sucks.)
So, feel it, and THEN take action.
ESPECIALLY since there’s actually a lot of opportunity and a lot hope to be found out there.
In fact, let me end on a high note:
I made the claim that Internet Marketing itself is no longer “new” and “easy,” but has moved to “old” and “familiar.”
However, that doesn’t mean Internet Marketing doesn’t work. Quite the opposite. Internet Marketing ABSOLUTELY works—BUT only if you use it correctly.
Relying on novelty of “new” to break through the clutter is a stressful, losing proposition. But, using an old and familiar tool to give people what they really want (i.e. a solid relationship, a high-quality product, etc.) is absolutely a winning strategy.
Even better, it’s also key to building your business on a solid foundation of business success.
If you want more help, you may want to dig into my Love-Based Business series is a great place to get started. Check out all the books here (especially my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book—you can get it here.)