When should entrepreneurs pull the plug?
It’s a powerful question that, if you get the answer right, can be the difference between great financial success or potentially lots of headaches, financial suffering and remorse.
It’s a question every entrepreneur has asked and it’s a question that every entrepreneur will ask in the future…sometimes many times throughout their career of innovation. Why? Because that’s how you innovate!
Entrepreneurs try things. They test the waters. They boldly go…okay, you know what generation I’m from.
The successful entrepreneurs see what works and then modify their course, steering their ship to the wide open sea with the vision firmly planted in their minds. But, interestingly, many have no idea how they’ll get there.
They do what they must because their passion outweighs everything else. So they innovate, test, refine, and double-down on the ideas, services, and projects that work and sell.
I was prompted to write this because sometimes freelancers and entrepreneurs feel like islands–alone–a vision stuck solely in their minds with no one else seeing its real value.
That was the case for Ford. He saw that while steam engines existed for transportation, he knew there was a faster, better, more comfortable way. His greater vision, for the automobile, inspired by a steam traction engine, was firmly planted in Ford’s head and his goal was to take something so complicated and bring it to consumers in a form that was useful and affordable.
He was called crazy. A dreamer. And his first car was referred to as a “contraption” that people jeered at and also at him.
Those who explore areas outside the realm of what exists today may, indeed, be both a bit crazy and dreamy.
I call that Provocative. Insightful. Ambitious. Relevant. Inspiring.
These are the people who, as my legendary business hero, Steve Jobs, said, “Think Different”.
They change the world while others sit complacently by not ever seeing it come until one day they’re buying that “contraption” and finally saying, “I just knew this would be a useful thing.”
Thank goodness there exist crazy dreamers. I raise a glass to them and proudly stand beside them.
But dreaming is only part of the successful entrepreneurial path. Knowing when to pull the plug is the hard decision that some of us must contend with …a few times. In my top-ranked podcast, The Brand Journalism Advantage I ask a question about When It Didn’t Work. (Oh don’t know what a podcast is?…keep reading a little further.)
Each guest—thought leader— from around the globe openly shares that moment when it fell apart. But somehow, correction was found to be direction to a different course and focusing on what does work.
You have to let go to make room for what is beginning to ignite and give it fuel to take off.
Even the largest companies pull the plug. #entrepreneurship
I opened my email a bit ago and found a note from Google Helpouts. You’ve never heard of them? Not surprising. That’s what the email was about with the subject line that read:
“Saying “so long” to our Helpouts community”
About a year ago, Google attempted to launch a community where experts could offer free training or sell their knowledge using Google Hangouts. As a Youtube producer, I was selected to be part of this initial community. Expert created videos like this one and then, through a directory, community members would find you and book appointments. Google would take a percentage of what you earned for the live training lesson.
The Problem. Lack of growth.
But Google never managed to grow the community to the justifiable numbers it needed to survive and thrive. So, bye-bye Helpouts.
The email had a sad feeling about it. And, even though I didn’t use the platform much, I felt a twinge of sorrow…a loss of a distant friend…who maybe could’ve been closer one day.
But that’s the way it goes. Businesses large and small have to evaluate and determine when to let something go or when to double-down and make it thrive.
What are you facing now in your business? Are you clinging to old ways of marketing your business? Throwing money at platforms that cost more than they generate in revenue?
Have you been keeping up with the changing world of branding, marketing, and building a community online?
To answer these questions, you have to reach for the valuable resources that exist around you…like podcasts. It’s estimated that only three out of 10 people know what a podcast is.
But podcasting is growing fiercely. And forward-thinking companies with great visions are steering their ship into the podcasting sea of open opportunity.
A few months ago, I attended an event where two podcasters spoke to an audience made up of entrepreneurs, podcasters, and would-be podcasters at the University Club. All were poised to take action. John Lee Dumas, Entrepreneur On Fire and Michael Stelzner, Social Media Marketing from Social Media Examiner told them about the great rewards that come from podcasting.
Exposure. The development of a community of followers who trust you. The opportunity to offer products and services to this community. The eventual ultimate reward of becoming a trusted thought leader in a niche topic.
The fact that only about three out of 10 people know about podcasts was also cited as a huge benefit.
The infancy of the podcasting world is what makes it easier to compete.
Easier but not without work. There are approximately more than 152 million blogs and only about 275,000 podcasts. This means if you start a podcast now, you can more easily build an audience than with a blog. And, if you do both, your content will be discovered…especially if it’s brand journalism style. Not clear on what brand journalism is? Read on…
Cars are being designed with audio systems equipped to help make listening to podcasts easy.
Major broadcasters are embracing the podcasting platform. A new company called Gimlet Media, whose founder, Alex Blumberg, is a former This American Life reporter, left NPR to start his own podcasting company. He quickly raised millions and is chronicling his successful start of the business in an entertaining audio podcast show called “Start Up”.
Traditional media all over the country are reporting on stories on podcasters, including Dumas who’s earning more than a million dollars with a podcast he launched in 2012 and its related training products.
It’s an idea whose time has finally come–give everyone a voice, a platform to broadcast, and a way to distribute it throughout the world.
It’s the formula EC = MC. Every Company is a Media Company.
That’s storytelling and that’s what brand journalism content is all about. The creation of content that is targeted toward consumer consumption on a niche topic.
It’s how Google is now determining if your Website is relevant. No user-friendly content that answers questions, helps consumers, makes you the expert authority? Then your Website is irrelevant and Google will rank it accordingly.
So, where do you need to pull the plug, re-evaluate and double-down? It’s time to explore new media marketing and see how being a valuable resource can lead consumers right to you.
Phoebe Chongchua is a multimedia Brand Journalist who teaches: Think Like A Journalist, To Increase Your Bottom Line. She is also the Host of The Brand Journalism Advantage Podcast which features interviews with thought leaders from around the globe on marketing, brand journalism, and entrepreneurship. Phoebe was named a Top 50 Podcaster to Follow for PR, Marketing & Social Media in 2015. After 15 years in TV News as an Anchor/Reporter, Phoebe founded PCIN.TV. The Internet TV Station airs video stories from her online publications: Live Fit Magazine and The Plant-Based Diet as well as curates content from other sources. As a brand storyteller, Phoebe produces business videos, articles, and photos to engage consumers and create brand evangelists. Learn more: TheBrandJournalismAdvantage.com
Contact Phoebe to get started on your Brand Strategy.