In case anyone reading this blog thinks I’m not capable of a good angry rant now and then, let me disown you of that misperception.
It’s endlessly astounding to me that so many businesses out there, easily the vast majority of them, don’t have even the slightest understanding of many of the most obvious truths about how to run a business successfully. I recommend, for example, that every business take a moment to consider the wisdom of the Golden Rule, and try applying it to the way they run their businesses. Clearly few businesses have done this simple exercise. I’m pretty sure some large percentage of business owners believe that, as long as their company supports some worthy causes with a tax deductible check, or a few hours of their time, anything goes regarding how they conduct business on a daily basis. Squeeze your employees. Manipulate your customers. Dabble in that grey area that blurs ethical and unethical, scrupulous and unscrupulous. Pay lip service to philosophies and values that you then violate every day. Dog eat dog, right? But, do you really want to operate in a realm where you’re either eating, or being eaten, by dogs, for a living? What kind of way is that to spend your days?
You’re not in business to make money. You’re in business to stay in business.
I can’t tell you how often I’ve shared this insight with a business owner, just to have them smile and nod vacantly, never for a moment even considering whether this might make sense. They never get past the first half of this thought.
Here’s another one that eludes the business masses: You get what you pay for. How can you live in this country for one week, never mind 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 years, and not internalize this obvious truth? Wow.
For example . . . (You knew I’d get around to talking about taglines at some point, right?)
There are all sorts of opportunities out there online to buy yourself a tagline for $100 or so. That $100 will buy about an hour of some freelance copywriter’s time, if that, after which he’ll send you a half dozen lines, which, inevitably, will be among the most obvious possible taglines—you know, the kind you’ve already come up with yourself—because that’s as far into what needs to be a week or two-long process as a writer can get in an hour. If you don’t like any of these lines, you’re likely out of luck, and out $100. This shouldn’t surprise you. When you went to Mr. $100 tagline’s website, did he have on display any of the taglines he’s written? Probably not. And if he did, did they impress you, or did they seem kind of generic and blah?
I encourage anyone who still thinks a $100 tagline is a good value to do me a favor and go for it. If you think that $100 will buy you a tagline that will actually contribute to your business’s success, you don’t really get what a good tagline can accomplish. And how much a blah tagline can damage your brand (increasing your invisibility, making you look dumb and generic). You don’t get what it takes to create a genuinely successful tagline. And, tell the truth now, you really aren’t all that sure that marketing your business in any way is a good investment. All of which is very good news for those competitors of yours who do aggressively market themselves.
For those of you who count yourselves among this latter group, drop me an email and let’s chat.