I had 2 mentoring sessions in the same week that ended up with looking at going back to basics. Both had great plans for businesses they have natural affinity to. They have been given a lot of advice about the new tools they can use and how to ‘growth hack’ and build up an audience quickly in order to market to people. The words ‘hack’ and ‘a bit naughty’ and ‘cheating the system’ came up in the conversation.

To this, I answered, there is no quick way to get the audience you want or are looking for. Anything that is not authentic and built on solid foundations will not be the people you will have as repeat customers. They are not the business you want to engage in the long term. Having a large number of ‘followers’ or likes is irrelevant if they don’t actually follow or like you. You need to go back to basics and do what everyone always says you can do, but using the new tools that you have at your disposal. You need to show you are good at what you do, you have the background, knowledge, experience, enthusiasm etc to back up what you are doing. You need to build relationships and trust with people who need your services or have the problems you solve. Now, more than ever, people want to trust the people they do business with. This is very hard to achieve when so many people are ‘faking’ it.

Go back to basics and think about the problems you solve. Now think about the people that have those problems. They are the people you need to build a relationship with. Where to they go, what do they watch, how do they engage with people, what are they interested in. Once you know that, you can find the places you should be in order to show what you can do and how you do it. You need to spend your energy and efforts in that focussed area, not trying to attract everyone and find out that you serve no-one.

If that is Facebook or Twitter then great! If that is your local shopping centre or library, then that is where you need to be. The tools have changed, but you still need to put the work in and prove yourself to the people you serve. You can’t just stand there and hope they will come.

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