I am writing this because I have been very reactive in the last few years. Now that I think of it, I have known myself to be an introvert rather than the opposite. I think I noticed this in high school. I was never a 'people person'. I was in the shadows just doing my thing. That is why I thought I could sit in an ivory tower and design wonders for the world without getting too 'involved'. I became an architect. If you build it, they would come -- I was convinced. And I thought that everything was going to work out in the digital world because I followed the prescribed methods... I was hidden from sight and my work spoke for itself. Ah, the misunderstandings of youth...
From day 1 in business, I knew that, according to the conventional thinking of the day, one should go out and join local business clubs and organizations and meet people, stay active, be seen, etc. I hated the word 'network'. I wanted to do it my way. Inconspicuously if possible!
It worked for a few years! It worked very well, in fact. Everything was coming through my web site. In slow periods I did not get out to 'meet and greet'. Instead, I started three manuscripts on Architecture that have since languished in the dust bins of my computer memory...
Here is what I've found out in the meanwhile, after years of frustration and trying to get back on track after my web was hacked and Google red-flagged me for 5 years before I had the slightest notion of what had happened...
1. You cannot set and forget. This covers a lot of ground. Just because you got your stationery, web, and initial business bling set up, do not think that this is sufficient to make an ongoing business profitable. You must do more.
2. The Digital World is oversaturated. If you are chasing the latest fad or SM craze, understand this: everyone out there is trying to run the exact same methods and procedures to get ahead. All knowledge, tricks, hacks, etc. are online for everyone to apply. Sum game: no change at all or very little. You have simply joined the status of millions online who are all trying to do the same thing. You cannot follow the latest hacks, fold your hands, and expect consistent and long-lasting positive results.
3. The new generation is handicapped. Because of the overwhelming use of digital communication, computing and SM, an entire generation has no idea that a real world of business and humanity exists outside of their smartphones. By being finger dexterous exclusively, you have lost all the social skills that are most important in life in general and business in particular. You have to escape this imaginary world where all things are bright and beautiful and get your hands dirty.
4. The greatest accomplishments of the human race occurred before the internet. What is happening now is a dumbing down and weakening of the minds and a real potential threat to peace on earth. If you think that the iPad is the greatest thing since iMac or Windows 10, or iPhone 11 is going to solve all your problems, you are sadly mistaken. The most amazing feats of humanity have already occurred. Most without computers. Definitely minus SM. The pyramids, penicillin, the automobile, the telephone, airplanes, the typewriter, television, Shakespeare, Einstein's Theory of Relativity, the cotton gin, news type, plastics, heart transplants, concrete, skyscrapers, etc. IBM was established without Google or Microsoft -- so was General Foods, General Motors, NASA, and Jeopardy. So you think you will conquer all within the digital world? Think again. And read what amazing things happened before 1900. You cannot make it in your digital world exclusively.
5. You must followup on everything. If you send out an email blast, postcards and other literature, guess what: people are busy and they just might keep that card or open that email. They might contact you. Do not assume that by blanketing your area with print ads or cards that you will get rich and famous. Sometimes it works, especially if your name is widely regarded. If you are new, there is a slim chance you will be contacted. Even widely known brands need a hefty amount of advertising to be purchased or used over and over again. You cannot stop. You cannot wait. You must be proactive.
You must personally contact those whom you wish to engage in a business transaction for the most successful outcome
While there is a hit or miss with email, print ads, SM, etc. -- being in the people business means that you have to contact people in person. Constantly. This, of course, does not hold entirely true for products but is very important for service businesses.
I recall that making cold calls at the start of my career was something I dreaded with cold sweat and trepidation. But I realized that this was the quickest and most effective way to get in touch with a real person who could make a real decision, a timely one. After two or three calls I made a connection, just one, that kept me busy for three full years. Did I continue the cold calling. No, and that was a big mistake. Because if you want to grow and maintain a base, you must continue to reach out.
In the past 6 - 8 months I have sent a few thousand emails out to prospective clients. Only a very few have been opened or have had any 'billable' response. And this is after research shows that email is more effective than most other digital methods. I think that email -- like print ads, or some forms of SM -- is a way to keep your name in people's minds. It is important to do that over and over again. Once more: you cannot set and forget.
Seeing that my email campaign was not effective, I considered cold calling again. (I have not cold-called in over 35 years. I joined the digital world with a very effective web site which, when properly adjusted, yielded great results. I have designed houses in Florida and ten other states, in China, the Middle East, and Europe) I was out of touch with local businesses here in Orlando who could benefit from my services.
I girded my loins and decided to do the unthinkable: simply walking up to a prospective client's office, knocking and asking to meet with the principal. Amazingly, this worked. No appointment, no call ahead of time. You will not get someone at their office every time, but those that you will may allow you a five to ten-minute presentation and discussion. If not there you should be ready not only with your brochure and card, but a written message that you can leave that will entice that person to call on you. Being familiar in your area is helpful but not necessary. There is an art to door knocking and it is chiefly the fear of doing it that will hold you back.
In the meanwhile, I still have issues with the SEs and my webs that I hope to overcome.
I did learn this, and almost too late: one cannot be mesmerized by technology and believe it will solve all your problems and you simply have to log on, check messages, and somehow expect to make business connections magically via digital means. The most effective way to get work of any kind is to meet person to person and look eye to eye. You are totally real only at that moment. And you will be remembered better than an ad, a card, brochure, or web. Of course, I am preaching to the choir here!