Who’s the Smartest One in the Room?
I’m having pillows custom made from an interior designer who has a Facebook business page and a website. As we’re exchanging emails, I notice she had a second website link in her email signature. Out of curiosity, I clicked only to find it was a Squarespace hosted site that had been shut down.
Thinking maybe she had forgotten to pay her Squarespace account, I mentioned the non-working link. Her response:
“My business coach suggested that I try an online store. It didn’t work out, so yes, it expired. I must take that off my signature.”
Now, I don’t know who her business coach is, but MY inner business coach went into high alert mode. My initial reaction was, “Who exactly is she taking advice from?” I couldn’t help but ask:
“Oh, an online store. Did you have it connected to your Facebook business page? Since you have a fair number of likes, having the online store tied to Facebook would have been my recommendation. Isn’t Facebook where you get the most traction? Alternatively, why wouldn't you just add it to your other site? How are your numbers on it? You might also want to correct the first and last paragraph on your website; some of your HTML code is showing.”
Advice Is Only As Good As The Person Giving It
And, that’s the thing. You have to ask yourself about the person’s experience before you deep dive into any advice at all. Titles are one thing (in this case, “business coach”), but if they aren’t looking at the bigger picture and speaking from experience, this so-called “advice” leaves you with a lot of broken links and disabled shops.
Before you modify your business, here are some things to consider:
Who's giving the advice? Have you looked at their website, clicked on links to see if they work, and checked them out on social media? Have they ever had an eCommerce site (if that’s what your business needs)?
Is their logo professional? Or does it look like clipart? Is their company branding consistent? How does their business card look? Same old, same old? Do they ask questions? Are they paying attention to details (like the mistake on the front page of a website)?
The business coach in this case should have looked at the email signature/website/voicemail message, and a hundred other details before suggesting yet another website. And why the heck didn’t they upgrade the current one to incorporate the online shop? For an interior designer, it’s not up to par (but she does killer custom pillows!).
First Impressions Count for a Whole Lot
PROMOrx just had an order from a laser and eye surgeon’s office. Prominently displayed on the front page of their website? Their name is spelled wrong. Would you want them operating on your eyes?
Maybe we can blame their office manager or the website company developer. However, as someone who is in charge of something as technical as laser surgery, it seems pretty apparent that they should have checked (and doubled checked) the little details to ensure that everything was correct.
First impressions are everything, and I’m not going to have them operating on my eyes if they don’t see a glaring typo in the spelling of their own name.
Make Time to Plan for Your Business & Ask Around!
You need a marketing budget. You need a marketing plan. You may need business cards or you may only need an app on your phone to act as a business card.
You may need promotional items with your logo. We just did promo pens for an herbal supplement and vitamin e-commerce site, not a traditional client for PROMOrx. They are including them with all their orders. Smart marketing!
You may need Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook. You may not. Go where your clients or prospects are hanging out.
And yes, you may need a coach, an advisor, or whatever you want to call them. Here’s better advice: Look for a straight shooter that’s got real business experience. You want advice from someone who's been where you're going.
I always say I want someone in the room smarter than me.
Blogger: Vickie MacFadden, the PROMOrx.com owner. I'm a tell it like it is Southerner who loves tech, overdoses on details and is insatiably curious. I'm the author of the infamous blog 5.5 Ways to Know if Your Company Swag Sucks