There Is No Fast Lane: Why Business Is (Or Should Be) Like Wine
When you first start up your business, it’s a mad rush to get all the things in place. Your business needs to percolate. Do all the things at the beginning, give yourself a great head start, but don’t expect the world the minute you are live.
When you first start up your business, it’s a mad rush to get all the things in place. It can feel like drinking from the firehose, exhausting and overwhelming. You’re never quite finished, but at some point you launch (woohoo!), and then the work really begins (What?! I just did ALL THE THINGS!).
Then you start to become worried about results and obsessed over data – where are my sales? Where are my customers? I’m doing everything right but it’s only trickling in! *cue frantic adjusting and tweaking*.
All the promises of instant results and dreams of a landslide victory lie smouldering in the corner. How could this be? This could be because it’s exactly what should happen. Unless you’ve been working for months before launch on a carefully crafted marketing plan, building an audience, nothing is going to transpire overnight.
You will most likely launch to crickets and a small choir of your best friends and family cheering you on (bless them). Here’s the thing: even if you launched with an existing audience and a bunch of people waiting excitedly for you to hit Publish, it will be a blip on the radar unless you are somehow able to maintain the excitement and momentum of your launch or your product delivers instant weight loss with no detrimental side effects.
The first takes a lot of energy, and resources. The latter, a Holy intervention.
Let it age
Your business needs to percolate. But we’re talking about wine here, not coffee (though my love for both is unrivalled). Do all the things at the beginning, give yourself a great head start, but don’t expect the world the minute you are live.
Or a month later. Or two months later.
Every business gets better with age, as long as it is tended properly and has a good foundation for growth.
There are many intriguing new wineries and winemakers, but the great ones have one thing in common: they think big. As soon as the winery’s founder considers that their winery may continue to exist after they’re gone, they think differently about how they develop their brand and, ultimately, how they make wine. (Wine Folly)
Wine gets better with age. Vines that grow the grapes produce better fruit the longer they have been allowed to grow. Everything about making fine wine involves patience, process and dedication. You cannot go to your local supermarket, buy a bunch of green seedless grapes, have a stomping party, throw that mess into a bottle and call it wine.
Just like you cannot launch a business, run a couple of campaigns and expect success.
When you build yourself a plan, and a routine, and reasonable goals, here’s what happens:
You will build trust and relationships.
All the customers that you reach will see you out there, 5, 6, 7 times, providing value and being present in their space. They will learn to trust you and become familiar with you. Then, one day, something you say strikes a chord with them, because it lines up perfectly with a problem they are currently trying to solve, and they buy.
Because they trust you, and know you. Your customers are not all at the same place at the same time. While some are urgently looking for a solution to their problem, others are just starting to understand they have a problem. You will be there all the way through their decision-making process and when they are ready to buy, you’re their go-to.
You will achieve the results you expect.
Launching your business and expecting $500,000 in revenue in the first few months will leave you feeling absolutely demoralized when you manage to make $5,000.
When you launch your business and set your mind to achieve what’s reasonable and realistic, in short sprints rather than big, complicated campaigns, you will be far more motivated by your small wins and you will maintain your energy and enthusiasm to keep going to the next, bigger goal.
You will learn what your customers actually want.
You will also learn the language they use, how they buy, what makes them interested, when they make decisions. You will also learn what your market looks like, trends and patterns in buying, selling and marketing. You’ll see what the other players are doing and how your market reacts to them.
You’ll be able to adjust your offers to fit perfectly into the intersection of supply and demand.
You give yourself time to establish yourself as a thought leader.
Your personal brand is as important as your business’ brand. That only comes with time and presence and a concerted effort to keep stoking that fire. When you find yourself frustrated with slow progress, take a deep breath, make sure you have a plan and a vision, and keep at it. In business, your vintage counts for something, just as it does with your favorite Merlot.
Tell me in the comments…
What are some of the things you’ve learned after you launched? Did see results right away? Did you start with a plan?
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