Something I added recently to my keynote speeches if my audience is small businesses or entrepreneurs…

I realized that I was perhaps implicitly giving the audience the idea that anyone could do this stuff easily and quickly.

As you may know if you’ve started the digital or social marketing learning curve, it’s a long path and a big mountain- with many paths, really.

Your company has only 5 options for digital and social marketing (if you want noticeable business results)…

To be sure you have someone who can really drive business results:

  1. Sacrifice your own hobbies, free time and families to spend 20-40 hours a week learning for 3 years (why do you think all the job listings ask for a minimum amount of experience?)
  2. Hire someone with no experience and wait 3 years for them to have significant experience and expertise.
  3. Hire expert employees, experienced at ad platforms or analytics: $50-80K per year each – you’re going to need several to cover all the areas of expertise you need.
  4. Hire an expert agency: $30-60K per year (they can keep the costs down by having Tmultiple experts on staff more efficiently to cover multiple clients)
  5. Do nothing, don’t take advantage of online marketing and lose to competitors who leverage digital expertise.

Notice- what is not an option is: Do a whole bunch of random things you read on social media blogs… with no experience, no analytics, no skills… I mean you CAN do that, if you don’t want to create any real impact. But if you want to drive new customers, sales and profits, you need expertise.

Do you want to become a social media expert? Great- which platforms?

Facebook ad experts get hired for having several years of experience and paid at least $30/hour- often $40-50k and up.

You can check out indeed.com for salaries…

Google AdWords experts get paid the same or more- and it takes years to get great at that. Which is more complicated- AdWords or FB ads? They’re both crazy!

Google Analytics? Same story- the learning curve and pay…

So that’s just three areas of expertise, three paths- that for any one small business owner to mount? It’s formidable. And this is one reason so many SMB’s struggle to do it themselves.

Not everybody has the discipline, talent for math, tolerance for or love of geekery and analysis etc to do ads or analytics well, and those that don’t end up struggling by trying to just to the fun or easy parts of social media. The results aren’t so great.

No business has a lot of options until they’re profitable. Once you have profits, though, I highly encourage you to stop wearing so many hats and start doing only what you do best, start become a leader and specializing in management. Learn to be a better leader. Delegate.

In many cases that means letting go of marketing.

I’ve seen some business owners refuse to do this.

After all- they got themselves THIS far, right?

They must be good at it, right?

They might be ok- but they may not be great.

So many athletes are great in high school and make it to college but end up on the bench. Or make it to the pros but wash out quickly.

At some point you hit the maximum of your ability at a thing- and that might be because it’s not really your ZONE of GENIUS. It might not really be YOUR THING.

What if YOUR THING in your company is something else, and you are neglecting that, and hurting your marketing at the same time, by not doing your thing, and doing marketing poorly instead?

SMB leaders also go through growing pains at management and leadership (I’ve gone through this myself!) because we aren’t trained in it and we start out alone and if we’re successful we get help but we never planned to be managers or CEO’s. We may not have had exposure to great leadership. We don’t know how to do it. We make all kinds of mistakes.

So you have to start learning to be a manager and a leader. And it’s hard.

And part of that is learning to outsource and delegate and hire. You have to hire contractors or employees and/or vendor partners.

There are growing pains.

You have to learn to let go.

You might realize you’re a micromanager even though you always hated being micromanaged and you never meant to micromanage anything. That happened to me. I didn’t intend for it to happen, but it happened. My first clue was when I had to ask myself why my people weren’t solving more problems for themselves- had I disempowered them?

If you hate letting other people do something poorly and slowly that you could get done way faster, it’s easy to become overbearing and to micromanage.

It takes patience and empathy to grow your team’s potential.

It’s tough.

But if you don’t learn to be a leader and delegate and let go, you will never grow beyond a certain point.

So many SMB’s never do. And it can be frustrating to be stuck at that level if you want to someday get to a point where things are easier for you!

The law of the lid: your company can’t grow any bigger than your leadership ability.

So start looking at your real strengths: what you do best that no one else can do.

And let go of everything else.

Delegate it.

Hire out for it.

Let go.

So you can grow.

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