All Posts in honesty

August 1, 2011 - Comments Off on Open Letter To An Entrepreneur

Open Letter To An Entrepreneur

I like to think that I'm ready to tackle the big challenges of building a startup like funding, marketing, team building and more. But I'm not. I'm happy to fight in the trenches (and change the design every week), but when it comes to running across the battlefield, I'm shit scared.

Hey Diesel, get over it.

I've been reading recently about the entrepreneurs who build successful companies better after failures. In fact, my whole life I have been preparing for big challenges and have changed my mindset to accept failure as a positive form of growth. I actually enjoy the challenge of failure and get excited by change.

But even still, there's that niggling feeling pulling me back into the trenches, telling me to focus on defeating the enemy with long-range tactics.

Hey Diesel, get out of the house.

While I do feel that in many cases building the product is more important than talking about the product, I know now is the time to step up. Now is the time to take to the battlefield, meet other entrepreneurs, build connections with Angels and VC's, inspire others to join our team and get the Barkles name out there.

Hey Diesel, stop waiting for them to come to you.

I know. It's imperative I change my ways and jump into this head on. And it's not like I haven't been pushing for this day to come.

Hey Diesel, just do it.

You're right. I have been striving for this day ever since I knew I wanted to build a business. But-

Hey Diesel, no more excuses.

May 30, 2011 - Comments Off on ROI Is Not Spelt M.O.N.E.Y.

ROI Is Not Spelt M.O.N.E.Y.

Money, money, money.

When I hear about ROI it's connected and described as money. But that's not what ROI is all about. Return On Investment (ROI) is "A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments." - according to Investopedia.

When a person connects ROI and Social Media, they often refer to the amount of sales they will receive from their latest campaign. They are focusing only on the Return and ignoring the Investment. Strong investments are not get rich quick schemes; they are constantly maintained and monitored investments that hone in on the best present and future gains.

Think of a simple rental investment. Once you purchase the house, you spend time making it look nice and finding the right tenants for the place. Over the years you continually maintain it and keep it in good shape and every so often update it to fit the current standards. By the time you sell it, there is a good chance (based on the previous years care) that you will get a bigger return than what you initially invested.

Your Return On Investment in Social Media if done correctly, can continue to provide you with great results on a continuous basis. But it will only work if you really care for your investment (fans) by providing advice, maintenance and updates for the months that follow. Remember, Youtube video's can stay around for years!

Moving money to the side, here are the most powerful ROI's that you can gain from Social Media:

  • Continuous communication with fans
  • Customer written blog posts about great experiences
  • Photos and Videos of incredible customer service
  • Positive brand recommendations
  • Modern understanding of what the clients want
  • Thankyou's from clients in the public eye
  • Respect for allowing fans to communicate with you
  • A general sense that company cares about the customer voice
  • Honest and raw feedback

In many cases, these returns will provide for you longer than financial avenues. They will build the stories that craft your brand into a household name and give you a great public image to boot. Brown fizzy soft drink is not exactly something that gets me excited. But seeing Coke continually push the boundaries of social engagement, connection and human development is. By focusing your honest attention to your customers you can build revenue streams far bigger than those with only traditional push marketing.

Channels of sale are important, but they pale in comparison to an investment into your customers.

May 10, 2011 - 6 comments

Keep It Real Aaaaaight!

With so many Social Tools to share updates it's very easy to get lost. It's even easier to get sucked into following the trends that gain you more followers, get you quick attention and more. But where do you draw the line?

As the great Ali G says: "Keep It Real, Aaaaaight."

This simple humourous saying is such a good mental keepsake that I say it to myself at least once a week. The moment I start to drift into the "I know how to get more clicks" territory I lose focus on being real. It's enticing to build and write content that will be seen by thousands of eyeballs, but you need to have the 'stance' to back it up. Not to mention the amount of work you will have to do to keep those people coming back once they have been burnt by your rubbish article.

The reason this is so important these days is the upcoming standard in how we communicate. Very soon, human curated news will be the norm across all news channels. We will be relying on individuals more than ever to feed us content that impacts us, rather than 80% of the trash that fills the papers. We are also moving into an age where video is becoming common place amongst companies the world over, and internal social presenters will be sought out to carry the message of the brand in play.

If you can already see through the fake 'link-bait' articles that contain so much spam, ad links and useless knowledge, imagine what it will be like when we are all online showing our faces and speaking our own words!

If you are tempted to head down the Black-Hat road to increase your blog hits, Twitter friends or unique visits, remember this: Honesty is King.

It takes years to build a proper social network, and only seconds to ruin it.