There’s a problem we need to discuss.
Businesses were created to solve a problem.
The ones that do it the best, the fastest, or the cheapest are the ones that grow the best, the fastest, and the cheapest.
Speaking to a group of students at the local community college, one student asked why he should become an entrepreneur. He confessed his grandfather and father were both business owners. He resented their businesses because he never spent time with his dad.
I explained business ownership is not a career path. It’s a lifestyle choice. It’s not for everyone. If you want to work 9-5, Monday to Friday, go get a 9-5, Monday to Friday job. There are sacrifices to be made. It could be time with kids, failed relationships, and early death.
I could have also said, if you want to have stress less, live longer, travel more, and not lose your hair at an early age, don’t have kids.
Entrepreneur is a word that was given to us by the French.
It means to take it within one’s hands.
The definition of an entrepreneur is not she who starts a business.
It’s someone who solves problems.
Someone who takes on a challenge and finds a solution.
Entrepreneurs are business owners and employees.
Too many entrepreneurs in a business and the work doesn’t get done.
Too few and the vision doesn’t get executed.
Advertising is supposed to solve a problem with sales.
But it can’t.
It’s not the job of advertising to grow sales.
Advertising’s job is to create opportunities.
Sales’ job is to grow sales.
Salespeople and marketing people disagree in their jobs.
Salespeople play a short game. Commissions depend on it.
Marketing people must play the long game. The health of the organization depends on it.
When sales departments convince, coerce or punish marketing people to deliver on short-term results, the result is short-term tactics like sales promotions, discounts, and event-based themes.
The sales opportunity lasts as long as the event. Then it’s dead until another hyped campaign comes along.
I worked as a marketing director for a pizza chain in the early 2000s.
The owner wanted more sales so he could collect more royalties.
The vice presidents wanted more royalties to get them quarterly bonuses.
The franchisees wanted more customers to pay for the new truck.
They all agreed that the quickest way to the bonuses, the trucks, and the royalties was to send out a monthly flyer.
Although prices were discounted, everyone agreed, except the marketing department, that it was a slippery slope that could cause long-term harm to the business.
We hunted for transactional buyers.
Who cares about the long term, when my Porsche payment is due next week said one VP?
Faced with a choice: do the flyers or go to work somewhere else, we produced flyers to satisfy their addiction.
When comparative sales leveled off, someone read the life of a promotion lasted 1 to 2 weeks. So they asked for a flyer every two weeks.
We did as we were told or look for another job.
When that leveled off, they figured a flyer every week would be better.
Eventually, I left that job to start my own business.
The last time I checked, the system had 78 franchises, down from 120 when I was there.
Until I stopped paying attention, I was replaced 3 times in 5 years.
Marketers cannot fix the immediate gratification of a toxic sales environment.
The business was chasing short-term customers to fix their short-term needs.
We all need to eat, but we didn’t have a long-term strategy to pick up long-term customers.
We expected franchisees to do that work for us.
But we only gave them short-term tools. Which is like using a hammer as a screwdriver.
Entrepreneurs solve problems.
Although you want more sales, be careful how you get it.
If your organization is addicted to more sales to pay for the lifestyle it created, you have a cancer in your business.
Rip it out before it kills you.
If the organization wants more sales so it can help more customers, you have an opportunity.
An entrepreneurial marketer can cuddle that opportunity into greatness.