A Story about the
types of things I can do for a business
In business, being a Jack of all trade can be as much as a strenght as it can be a weakness. As an entrepreneur, I have learned that you need to have a strong foundations of most aspect of running a company: sales, product development, marketing, strategy, social media, legal, market research, networking, project management, supply chain... Of course I am not great at all of these far from it.
Instead of using an example of what I'm good at I'll take an example of what I'm bad at so hopefully you'll understand what I am good at.
Social media development is and has been a weak spot of mine. When I first came to that realisation, I did what I know I am good at: research and connections. I read a lot about what has to be done and I asked people a lot of questions. I reached out to social media specialist on twitter, blogs, I attended networking events, meetups, I asked people in my network. This was the learning phase. For the design phase, I was ready to build a strategy by myself, and ultimately I asked some of the people I helped in the past to help me refine that strategy.
I had a good plan, a good strategy and yet it didn't work out. As we started to put things into place it became increasingly clear that implementation was going to be an issue. I did not have the time to create on regular basis the required content and perform the required tasks to properly carry out the plan, nor did I have time to learn how to do them better and more efficiently. After all this work, I had to change something if I didn’t want to waste more time.
At this stage, I decided we had to refocus our customer acquisition and build branding strategy to make more efficient use of our time. It became clear to me that for our type of business, and our target market; social media was a good way but not the most efficient way to acquire clients or build a reputation. A strong social media presence would have been the icing on the cake but it would have been the 80% of the work that only brings 20% of the value.
I have good interpersonal skills and writing abilities. So instead of reaching out to the masses I decided to focus on reaching out to people, to individuals. The energy industry in Australia has a lot of different players but people it has characteristics of a community, a lot of the business is made by word of mouth. My assumption was then that to build a reputation; we needed to make ourselves known to key institutions. To do so, I decided to build quality relations with people by leveraging our fun start-up mentality, impeccable presentation, and strong integrity.
After months of work, one day, I realised that I succeeded. That day, we were talking to one of the largest utilities company in the country for the first time. The person I was talking to (let's call him Bob) told me at the end of the meeting “By the way you guys at Manage My Power have been working with other people in our state, haven’t you?”. We told him “We are not sure”, Bob replied “Yeah, I think you did because I heard your name before”. The truth is that he was the first person in that State we talked to!
I am not sure that with a pure social media strategy Bob would have heard of us. Before the Bob episode I was starting to think that with our old-fashion methods we were getting clients but weren’t really helping us building a brand. After that I realised that we actually were able to build a “brand” with very limited internet presence and close to zero advertising. The lesson I learned is that it doesn't matter if you can't do something, I want find creative ways to reach the same results. It was difficult for a millennial like me to accept that social media was not the way to go. Sometimes to be creative you have to go against your times and take a step back!