Running a small to medium enterprise is all that much harder if you lack a voice, argues Dr Polly McGee.
Start a conversation online and you will create more customers.
I’m having a Seinfeld moment writing a blog about blogging, but I continue to be astounded by the number of start-up I meet that don’t blog.
Some are blog deniers, some are scared of their own font, others simply believe they are “too busy”. More commonly, however, non-bloglievers are unaware of the power of the blog, and the multiple value propositions that this simple act can have on your brand and business.
So at the risk of preaching to the converted, this is also an attempt to encourage ardent bloggers and readers of this blog to pass the wisdom across to their fellow mumpreneurs who are languishing in old technology market channels to convey their message.
If I had to choose one single reason for any home based business to put fingers to keyboard, it would be to simply connect to customers.
What I hear from many mumpreneurs, far more often than the hardship of running a small business, is the isolation of being an SME. For these same mumpreneurs, (who are often also dealing with the isolation of bringing up a baby or toddler), the common phenomenon of post-baby career confidence erosion means the need for validation and finding community is paramount.
It’s ironic that Facebook and other micro-blogging tools pose far less threat to the individual than the singularly focused and non-distracted-by-status-updates “blog” – personal or business.
This is a mere sample of the regular litany of excuses I hear about why you shouldn’t blog: “What would I say”, “who would want to read what I have to say”, “I’m not an expert” “what would my friends from high school 17 years ago think” (no really, I’m not making this up!).
For those quietly resonating with these comments, the fear of personal exposure is overwhelming to some. Let me reassure you that I have a far greater number of positive comments from those who have taken the blogging plunge and have found it life changing on a personal level and exponential to their increase in sales conversions.
Blogging at its most basic is a discussion with your market – current and future. It is an interaction where you can introduce yourself to your people in a sales-free, conversational and almost confessional dialogue. Your customers love to know who you are, and what better way than to tell them.
Tell them about your passion for the product or service, your brand journey, your struggles and triumphs, your growing business. More importantly, ask them to tell you about their aspirations for what it is you provide. Ask for their input on what you do, and when they give input and you make change, celebrate and acknowledge their part in your journey.
Blogs give you a voice, and inevitably as your SEO kicks in, you will connect with a plethora of others in your industry, creating a community, a conversation and ultimately, customers.
Dr Polly McGee is a co-founder of Startup Tasmania, which aids fast-growth start-ups in the State. She’s also a senior lecturer in commercialisation and entrepreneurship at the University of Tasmania. This column is reproduced from the StartupSmart web site, for which Dr McGee writes a fortnightly blog.
Authorised by the Vice-Chancellor
23 June, 2011