The Tortoise, The Hare And Your Local Business

in On Local Business Marketing

Tortoise, Hare and Local Business Marketing

You’ve undoubtedly heard Aesop’s famous fable, The Tortoise And The Hare …

If not, or if it’s been a while … here’s a 10-second recap:

The tortoise, ridiculed by the hare for his slow plodding, challenges the hare to a race. At the onset, the hare bursts into the lead and, confident he’s got the race in the bag, stops to rest under a tree. When he accidentally falls asleep, the tortoise pulls ahead and wins the race.

So what’s the moral?

Slow and steady wins the race.

That’s what you’ve been taught and, if you’re like most local business owners, you believe that slow growth equals long term success.

Which it can … IF AND ONLY IF … it’s slow for the right reasons.

Slow because you want to build your business on a solid foundation, yes.

Slow because you’re afraid to make a move for fear it might all fall apart, no.

Now, the way most people teach marketing your local business only gives you two options for growth: either the get-rich-quick, become-a-millionaire-overnight or the slow, steady plod.

And these days, the money-making “gimmick of the month” is one of the easier ones to sell overworked, time starved local business owners like yourself.

Now don’t get me wrong, those gimmicks’ll probably make you a buck or two pretty quickly. But gimmicks are rarely, if ever, sustainable.

Let me be very clear on two points:

  1. A gimmick is not a business and never will be. A business scales overtime; a gimmick creates peaks and valleys in your income.
  2. It is possible to achieve rapid growth AND sustain it over time. Slow is not the only way to build a business correctly.

So the real takeaway from Aesop’s fable, then, is STEADY. Steady growth is the key.

And steady growth becomes the biggest challenge when you’re already experiencing success.

That sounds odd; I know. But think about it.

When you’re just starting out and have nothing, or when you’re “in it” and scrambling like hell to pay the electric bill … you’ll do everything possible to bring in a extra customer or client that month.

But when you’re comfortable, when you’re in the black and things are going well, you likely won’t try as hard for that one extra customer.

Big mistake.

That’s the fastest way to put the kibosh on your steady growth.

I tell my local  business clients all the time, “Good is the enemy of great.”

Your “good” success is usually your biggest roadblock to your really “great” success … the success you always dreamed of.

So today’s lesson: Don’t “take naps” in your business (like the hare).

When things are good is best the time to step on the gas and speed ahead of your competition.

And in order to do that, you need to always ask yourself, “What can I do in the next month, 6 months or year to take my local business to the next level and beyond?”

Keep your eye on my blog. It’s my personal mission to answer that question for you.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Ryan Critchett December 30, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Yea – Definitely good points on not stopping your marketing when things are going well.

I’m experiencing a relatively fast growth, but slow at the same time. Within a couple of months, we’ve acquired several clients, some, business. But, for a local service based business, the awareness spreading takes time. (but will definitely be sustained, moving forward). The WOM helps a lot as well.

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