One of my most frequent mantras for small business is “Strategy Before Tactics.” In other words, you must develop a solid marketing strategy before you ever consider the what and how of the tactical side.
For me, that strategy is always based in two core ingredients – a thorough understanding and description of who makes an ideal customer for your business and a simple, yet meaningful, way to communicate how your business is different than all the others that say they do what you do.
The longer I’ve owned my own business and the longer I’ve worked with small business owners I’ve come to add a very important third element to the strategy piece, and it’s one that I think somehow must come before anything else.
This 3rd strategy element is something I call “Your Shine.” Essentially this is the illumination of your marketing and life vision in what is ultimately a highly personal and unique way.
You already know that line that separates your business and your life is so thin that without a vision for how one will serve the other, perhaps neither will serve either. And that’s what I believe holds people back from building truly remarkable businesses and equally remarkable lives.
So what does this shines thing look like? I don’t know exactly, but I do know it has nothing to do with balance. First off, balance is impossible to achieve and it’s wrong thing anyway. Building a business and a life that shines isn’t about balance, it’s more about blending the right notes to create a certain kind of dynamic harmony.
See, the beautiful thing about harmony is that only you can determine the kind of music that excites you.
Your Shine then is your personal understanding of your organization’s (substitute job if you like) higher purpose or reason for being that syncs perfectly with your personal goals and values. Okay, before you conclude that this is starting to sound a little too spiritual for your taste, let me bring it back to a simple, practical idea. You and only you can decide what “higher purpose” means, the only point I’m making is that without this driving vision or “this is why I do this” it is far too easy to get knocked off track the first time you suffer some setback or criticism of your dream.
A firm grasp of this thing I call your Shine is what gives you the courage to stay with what you believe.
So the parts of your Shine, your harmony and by their very nature parts of your marketing strategy are:
- Your personal, business, strategic and tactical long-term and short-term goals
- Your marketing vision – the higher purpose of why you do what you do that helps you throw off the desire for a homeostasis kind of balance in search for a much more dynamic kind of harmony
- Your vision story – A detailed description of a day in the life of your business if, in fact, your marketing vision was being fully realized and that your business was indeed allowing you to create a remarkable life – in a word, a life that Shines.
Once you create Your Shine as part of your marketing strategy you may find that the other elements of your strategy, your ideal customer and your core difference, are much easier to get your arms around.
The most exciting thing I’ve witnessed when people take the time to really get this idea, is that all of a sudden marketing gets really easy, because they have a guiding light that drives every single marketing decision.