Growth, growth, growth. I feel like it’s all I’m talking about these days. It starts with my five-and-a-half year old’s growth chart and inability to stay in the same size of shoes for more than 6 months. It is a conversation I am having on a macro-level with my beloved local theatre tweeps about the state of the Vancouver indie scene, and how we can create a new audience. And it’s happening on a level much closer to home, as I ponder and plan where my own business is going in the not-too-distant future.
I spend a reasonably large amount of time on Twitter. Every day, when I check my email, I’ve got a half-a-dozen or so new followers. Sometimes, when I check out my new followers, I see that they are following 1, 249 people, have about 70 following them, and have tweeted 6 times in the past 48 hours since they joined. It’s like high school: just follow as many people as possible. What’s important is being popular, not well-liked.
I want to make a case for the slow-but-steady-wins-the-race school of business. I get that your business is very important to you, and probably its success is your greatest single-most desire. But rushing ahead is not always the right way to go. I was watching a very trashy TV show the other night (Tori and Dean Inn Love–I know, I’m sorry), and I was shocked at how the couple just up and bought a B & B without doing any kind of research, planning, or budgeting as to how expensive it was going to be to renovate their inn. They just jumped into it.
Okay, there is something to be said for jumping in–because sometimes we get so bogged down in the research that it keeps us from action, but for the most part, I like to do it this way:
1. Research your idea: if someone else is already doing what you’re doing, you might not want to do it. Or perhaps you want to look for a different way of doing it. Is there a niche that is not being filled that you can fill?
2. Make a plan: your plan has to include goals and dates for reaching those goals.
3. Beta test: this is a popular thing that’s done with software, primarily. Companies getting ready to release software will release it in a ‘beta’ version, and let people play with it and use it, and inform them when there are problems. By getting this kind of market testing and feedback, they are able to refine the product or service. When you are getting ready to launch, run it past some people you trust, first. Their fresh eye will be a big help.
4. Go for it! And remember: if you don’t whoosh to the top overnight, that’s okay. Slow but steady growth is also really good. Failure is also okay, as long as you use it as a learning experience.
Besides, I bet most of those “overnight success” Twitterers will not even be on Twitter in another month. They’ll be bored, abandon it, and be on to the next thing. Me, I’ll still be there, (hopefully) steadily racking up followers…