Your Greatest Villains As A Business Owner And How to Beat Them

Posted by: Steve Brown

If you imagine the path to becoming a successful business owner is the obstacle course of a game show like Wipeout, the ground is littered with failed contestants.

You want to succeed just as much as the guy next to you, but the reality is, only about half of all businesses survive the gauntlet five years out.

Why is that? Because you’re facing villains at every turn.

You’re John McClane from Die Hard—both because you’re a hero and because you’re facing insurmountable odds. Sometimes you know what the villains are, but many times you do not. And how can you face a villain you don’t even know you’re up against?

Well, you seek out a guide, because even heroes don’t do it all alone. They have mentors, like the man on the airplane teaching John McClane to squeeze his toes to relax, and allies, like the cop Argyle.

And as your guide, I’m here to tell you all about the known and unknown villains you’ll face in the gauntlet and how you can surpass them. Essentially, I’m going to help you transform from a Wipeout contestant into an American Ninja Warrior. 

The Villains

Lack of Clarity in Your Messaging

If your messaging is making your company the hero instead of your customer, you’re dropping the ball and missing out on opportunities to connect with those customers. You can (and, frankly, should) learn how to honor the rules of story in your messaging so that your customers feel you honor and understand them.

You want to make them comfortable and willing to put their guard down enough to pay attention to the solution you’re offering. Think about the brands you choose and why you choose them. 

The products play a big role, sure. No one would wear shoes made of cardboard instead of Nike sneakers.

But ultimately, you choose that brand over another because you connected with them. If your messaging doesn’t establish a connection with your customers, they’re going to choose someone else instead, even if their offering is inferior to yours. You might as well be selling products made of cardboard.

Ditzy Cheerleader Marketing

Why do most business leaders have a problem with marketing in general? Because most marketing strategies don’t feel like they address the real challenges your business faces every day.

It feels shallow. Flippant and fickle. You naturally understand that copy-cat marketing ideas aren’t going to work, especially if they lack an understanding of how your sales process works and how it needs to be supported. That’s why marketing, in general, feels inconsistent and unreliable. 

The Blind Fold Sales System

Remember that birthday party where you watched the kids one by one put on a blindfold and swing wildly at a swaying pinata hoping to connect and release all of the goodies? Does that look embarrassingly familiar to your team's sales process?

Sales is often the most neglected piece of running a business. It’s also the most important. There's a better way to create a consistent, repeatable process.

Victoria Secret Technology

Ever think about why Sports Illustrated and Victoria Secret parade their models on exotic beaches wearing their products? Or, why they don't put the same disclaimers on their packaging like investment products that say, “Your results may vary”?

You instinctively feel the same when you're evaluating software for your business. You know that when you get home and try it on in front of the mirror (so to speak), it's going to need some adjustments.

And just when you’ve finally figured out the new software you’ve invested in, someone comes out with something better they try to convince you to buy and the whole cycle starts all over again.

Marketing software can be convoluted. This makes choosing the right software for your business feel like an impossible task.

Defeating The Villains

Defeating the villains is all about having the right tools and implementing them at the right time and in the right way.

Your tool is the Business GrowthStack concept. 

Business growth stack components

The Business GrowthStack takes the power of story, which motivates human behavior and attracts and holds the attention of your customers, and applies it into a system that utilizes technology to get you results.

It’s composed of 4 crucial components, and each plays a key role in helping you overcome the challenges listed above.

Clear Messaging

Clear messaging distills your company’s message into concise, easy to understand language that the human brain can process. It uses story to make your business the guide that takes the hero—your customer—on a journey to solve their problem (a problem you’re uniquely qualified to handle).

That language gets repeated at all levels of your business and down through every other aspect of the GrowthStack so that you build trust by providing consistent, expected results for your customer, and can repeat them no matter who’s in charge of sales.

Marketing And Sales Automation

Marketing and sales automation take the message you’ve defined and apply it to the technology of our day to automate the process and make your job easier. That means you’re always prepared for the technology to change because it’s not about the system you use, but rather the reason you’re using it.

Marketing doesn’t have to be like a ditzy cheerleader. It’s not about getting on the next social media platform and trying to go viral. Sales doesn’t have to involve blindly swinging a bat at a moving target. It’s not about getting someone to purchase a product you don’t believe in.

Together, marketing and sales automation add a level of humanity back into these two components to continue to make your customers feel safe and understood so they want to purchase from you.

Strategic Campaigns

The whole point of using the GrowthStack and, in particular, strategic campaigns is to turn a prospect into a paying customer that wants to buy from you, again and again, is to keep you in business. It doesn’t matter what technology you use to do this—Victoria Secret models or the real-life ad campaign of Dove.

What matters is that you’re filtering that technology into a system that moves prospects from not knowing you exist, to wanting to learn more about you and your solution to their problem.

Strategic campaigns allow you to focus on whichever system best facilitates this process for you. Are your customers only looking for companies via their websites? Then you don’t need to get a TikTok. Are they instead looking at beautiful photos all the time? Maybe you can find them via Instagram and skip a website altogether.

Your results may still vary, but at least you aren’t filtering through every bit of software you can find and getting no ROI because you don’t know why you need said-software in the first place. 

How To Apply This To Your Business

The point is, you don’t have to do all the things all at once. You don’t have to waste money on a flashy website or a social media guru if it won’t move the needle for you. Instead, it’s about understanding who your customers are, what they need, and how you can best give it to them.

The GrowthStack can help you see this as a holistic approach, one that can help you shift even when a pandemic hits us, and can keep you in business without you spinning your wheels unnecessarily.

Knowing all of this will help you succeed (or at the very least, it will help you look like you know what you’re doing as the American Ninja Warriors, compared to the Wipeout contestants, who flail around and get beat up a lot).

And, if you’re like most every hero and still need a guide, schedule a strategy session to see how we can help, or pick up a copy of my book, The Golden Toilet, which explains all of this in great detail.