How would you fill in that blank? What does Dr. Seuss have to do with the Alameda Internet Marketing blog, or your business at all?
S.W.O.T. stands for:
This is a well-known and proven method used for Fortune 500 companies (and smaller ventures like my own SEO analysis or Ross Taylor’s services here at A.I.M.) to plan and achieve goals for making progress in business or personal ventures. So when I ask, “What’s the biggest threat to your business?” – this is just one question you should be asking yourself.
But let’s take that and run with it. Don’t be fooled that it’s on the end of the acronym – identifying threats (which are usually future-tense, but could be present-day threats) is something every successful venture needs to tackle.
What Dr. Seuss Said
If you haven’t guessed yet or haven’t had the pleasure of reading it – check out Dr. Seuss’s Oh, The Places You’ll Go! I was reading this recently to my 2 year-old son before tucking him in for a nap. The quote is:
When you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
is not easily done.
In typical fashion, the book (which is a popular graduation present for high school or some college grads) is chock-full of wisdom from the good Doc, but this one struck me with lightning bolts, smack-dab and dead-center of my being. Maybe you can relate, maybe you think I’m completely off-base and off my rocker.
But one thing I have to say about the quote: if you haven’t found yourself in a Slump, and haven’t had the pleasure of un-slumping yourself – Dr. Seuss didn’t mince words here.
Call it a ditch. Call it a rut. Call it a Slump.
I call it your worst threat and enemy.
Your Biggest Threat in Life and Business
I have to hedge my bet here and qualify what I mean – I’m simply referring to your biggest threat in making self-improvements, progress to achieving your goals: not your ultimate, biggest threat. Wrong blog for that question.
But in making your business or website a success: your biggest enemy and threat tends to be you.
(Or in my case, me.)
The “Slump” that is talked about in Oh, The Places You’ll Go! is a genuine “place” or state of mind: and it’s a defense mechanism. I won’t wax eloquent here on psychology because that’s not my area of expertise: but I can say for a fact as a marketer, you’ll have plenty of Slump-worthy threats in your way.
How you deal with the Slump is up to you.
Me, I usually fight fierce battles with whatever threats there are to my business. I go down like a caged tiger – clawing my way out of the corner.
But sometimes even cornered tigers run out of steam. Another animal, a beached whale, comes to mind – just giving up. Getting tired. Fatigued. Frustrated. Slumped.
Getting out of the slump – whether it’s the next iteration of the Google algorithm (thanks, Metaweb), or the next wave of penalizing corrections – or just your market caving in on itself (read: diet fad number 3 billion) – is not easily done.
Seuss was right on the money. But know that it will happen, maybe it didn’t in 2012. 2013 may be your lucky year.
The biggest failure waiting to happen is what do you do when the fertilizer hits the humidifier, or however that saying goes…
And when it happens (like Murphy’s Law states: it will happen, and at the worst moment) What is your exit strategy, or contingency plan – or your way out of the “WTF just happened to my business?” blues…?
Epic Fail Happens – What Now?
Let’s fast-forward to 2013 or beyond, when all search traffic (for an easy target) happens to change yet again because Amit Singhal isn’t done perfecting Google’s search engine. Instead of backlinks, Google frankly knows who’s who in every industry.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you’re not a brand, you’re nobody.
Brands win. End of story.
…so what do you do as a mom-and-pop webmaster?
Maybe you’ve built a network of fictitious blogs about subjects you know little about, with your affiliate link sprinkled in. Or you run a legitimate local business and were thriving on traffic from your efforts in local SEO.
Or – you run an e-commerce site and your drop-shipper decides to file for bankruptcy, and your costs skyrocket.
Whatever the cataclysm: how do you roll with those punches?
I Can’t Answer for You
I know – that sounds like a cop-out. It sounds like I’ve told the first part of a dirty joke and didn’t deliver the actual punch-line (I don’t know any dirty jokes, but yes I usually laugh).
Not to disappoint you here – but nobody on the planet can change YOU. Nobody you hire can give you motivation enough to carry you through the thick and thin of online traffic woes.
What do you do when you’re out of steam? How do you cope with massive losses in traffic and then see your way out of the corner you’ve painted yourself into?
My wife and I know a local family that lost millions of dollars in profits overnight. They weren’t online entrepreneurs – but today the family is one of the most humble and gracious families we know. The husband and wife are busy in the community serving others when their chips are down.
I’m not saying that’s the answer for you (to work in charities or whatnot), but I think of people who’ve lost it all, and watch how they cope. The heroes get up off the ground and figure out another route to success.
Most will lie like a dead tree, rotting on the ground with no signs of life. I’ve been that dead tree a time or two: but manage to get up and dust myself off.
Or rather: I have a network of great people I know (hint, hint) that help pick me up when the chips are down.
Sometimes when you can’t get up on your own – it’s perfectly OK and necessary to have people you can rely on to be your strength, to help you get up and get moving again.
For others, the “answer” is simply this: be prepared. Have a backup contingency (life savings, stocks or other assets; another business “on the side” that becomes your exit strategy, etc.).
Think about the scary, “What if…?” questions, and the worst-case scenarios.
1. The biggest threat to your business: you.
2. What are you going to do when things go dramatically wrong? Do you have a contingency plan? How do you cope with stress and sudden drops in traffic?
3. Dr. Seuss rocks.
4. Getting out of a Slump may not be easy, but it’s going to happen: where do YOU go when the going gets tough?
Now, do me a huge favor and comment, like this on Facebook, share the post on Twitter and StumbleUpon and LinkedIn and wherever you happen to have a presence. Let’s get the A.I.M. blog out of a Slump.