Ditch Strategy. Do This Instead.
Did we get your attention? No strategy?...What?!
Our guess is that you likely fall into one of two camps: You either think we’re batshit and firmly believe that strategy is the mother of success, OR you read the title and are currently mirror dancing and lip syncing to B*tch Better Have My Money.
For the record, we firmly believe in the power of strategy—we’re brand strategists after all.
Strategy can keep you sane, provide direction that leads to dollars, and it’s pretty sexy (because not losing your mind and having a plan is sexy). But for those of you impersonating Rihanna, don’t get down. There is a time and place for strategy. And there are also instances when strategy gets in the way and we recommend focusing elsewhere.
One of the most important times to let go of strategy is when you’re first starting out.
We see it with clients. We’ve been guilty of it ourselves. But when you’re in the initial stages of launching your business, strategy can (and should) take a backseat. We know, we know—this goes against the very popular opinion that you shouldn’t launch anything without a detailed business plan, SMART goals for days, at least 25 pages of market research, and a “white space” marketing plan that will ensure you’re the only one doing what you’re doing.
If reading that overwhelmed you, we’ve proven our point.
None of those things is inherently bad, and in specific instances they might be necessary. But in most cases, launching your creative business and building a brand that gives you the same feeling a glass of champagne on a sunny day gives you requires none of the above. Instead, we often see jazzed creatives go from excited about their business and what they’re sharing with the world to bogged down and, in the worst cases, paralyzed by strategy and stuck in the planning phase. The overwhelm combined with the “safety” that exists when you stay in planning mode is the perfect recipe for stuckness. “I just have a few more things to plan out before I launch” is a song newbies and perfectionists alike love to sing.
So if we’re encouraging you to say “To hell with strategy!” what do we expect you to replace all of those exciting, strategic plans with?
Action. You replace all that planning with action.
We’ve broken down the three most common plan-to-the-death instances most people run into and how to get out of strategizing and into action...oh, and the benefits of doing so in case you needed more convincing.
Stuck Point: You’re strategizing for the most epic website, perfect visuals, and a badass launch party.
Action: Set it live and tell people. Today. Even if it’s just a landing page describing who you are, what you’re up to, and what’s to come.
You have somewhere to send people who want to know more, right now. No more saying, “I’m still working on my site but if you give me your info, I’ll let you know when I’m launched.”
Start collecting emails. Email marketing is a game everyone should be playing. Selling jewelry? You need emails. Hair stylist? You need emails, too. Even if you aren’t ready to start talking to an email list, no one in the history of business ever regretted collecting emails too soon.
Perfection isn’t possible. Even if you wait to go live until you think it’s “perfect,” we promise you’ll think it’s less perfect in six months. You, your brand, and everything else in the world will have evolved. So aim for done, not perfect.
Stuck Point: Fine tuning your product or service idea. You’ve got 15 google docs filled with features, messaging ideas, and offerings. You just need a bit more time finalize things.
Action: Ask your customer for feedback on the ideas. Find 5-10 people who are in your target audience and ask them to weigh in on what you’re creating.
You can’t possibly nail everything down in a vacuum. You’re not creating to sell for yourself anyway, are you?
By reaching out to your customer and getting feedback about your product, offering, or their main struggles, you are being handed your messaging. The best, most authentic way to sales is to communicate directly to your customers using language they use and relate to. This is double win if you ask us!
Asking is also telling. People love to share their opinions on things and most will be happy you’ve asked. In doing so, you’ve told an additional 5-10 people what you’re creating and are garnering interest. These people are your future customers and clients and the perfect relationships to start early.
Stuck Point: Instagram planning. You’re stuck in editing, grid planning, caption writing, and content strategy.
Action: Decide your edit. Write a caption that tells a story and connects to your reader. Add a call to action. Smile at your decision making prowess. Then, do it again tomorrow.
You can always iterate. Nothing is set in stone and if in a few months you don’t love your chosen editing or post structure, you can change it. And guess what….it’s unlikely that anyone but you will notice or care.
Connecting imperfectly is far better than not connecting at all.
Picture this: you spend the next month perfectly curating and strategizing your feed. By the end of the month, you feel ready(ish) but are still not sure it’s perfect. You have 0 posts out. OR you spend the next month embracing action and in doing so find more clarity around what you do or don’t want you social media strategy to look like, you have stats to see what has worked and what hasn’t, and because you’ve posted everyday (even through sweaty palms) you have 30 posts on your grid, have made connections, and are more confident than before. You decide, sister.