Part of our value statement here at Wanna Pixel, Inc. is “we value integrity, honesty, ingenuity, open communication, collaboration, personal excellence, constructive self-criticism, continual self-improvement, respect for each other, and respect for design.” In keeping with that, here’s some lies we won’t tell you.
One. “Yes, we have a solution for that…and that…and that!”
It can be so tempting to be the “know-it-all, do-it-all” superhuman. And that’s true for those who are all about money as well as those who are all about heart. If you see gold on every bush, do like you were told to do in the blueberry patch when you were 10: “Stick with your bush!” And if you’re the charitable person who wants to help out with every need you see, remember the starfish on the beach: make a difference by focusing on just one at a time.
The truth is, it’s all about focus. You could put a lot of effort into tweaking your organization model to fit every request that comes in. But in the end, you are constantly venturing into uncharted territory, which costs you extra time and effort. Besides that, it’s more likely that your audience will get a confusing message.
Focus on the solutions that you have researched and are knowledgeable about. Make yourself the expert in your field. In the end, that’s what brands you for who you are.
Jon Acuff, New York Times best-selling author of Do Over
Two. “We’re the experts in our field, so we’ve shelved all research now.”
We just agreed that you want to be the expert. But being an expert is a continuing process of creation. Just like with energy, the second law of thermodynamics has its grip on us: we become less honed in our skills, and our knowledge base becomes antiquated. It’s going to take ongoing effort to be the best that you can be.
Thankfully, the answers are out there. All it takes is an openness and a constant quest for the best.
Start by networking. Get together with others in your field. Listen for trends in conversations. Ask questions about what other people are doing. Ask for leads to new sources of information.
Then do your research. There’s a wealth of information at our fingertips with all that’s on the Internet.
Monique Valcour gives an excellent tip as quoted in a post by American Express: “To minimize the amount of time I spend looking for new research and to make sure I don’t miss anything important, I use Google Alerts and follow other researchers on Twitter and on specialized academic networks,” Valcour says. “When I learn about a new study that’s related to my own research area, I usually catalogue it in Evernote and tag it with terms that help me find it when I’m reviewing literature for a paper. The ongoing activity of cataloguing research does take some time on a weekly basis, but it pays off by helping me stay abreast of new developments in my field.”
So keep up with the new, and if it’s something that will make you more “you” than you were before, use it to build and beautify your organization.
Three. “Marketing your product is a breeze.”
The fairytale about the mousetrap comes to mind here. If you will just build the best one, people will flock to your door to buy it. If you present an urgent need, everyone will automatically donate to your fundraiser.
Yeah. A lie. You have to tell people you built it first. Then you have to show them that it works. Then you have to convince them that it will pay off for them. You have to convince them of the impact their donation makes.
It’s called marketing. It’s hard work. It costs money.
But it’s neither too hard nor too expensive. Marketing, done right, works . . . and it will pay off.
You can start small. Tell your friends and get them to tell their friends. Talk about what you’re doing while you stand in line at the grocery store. Team up with another business that is complementary to yours. Offer to give a speech at a fitting local event.
Of course, if marketing is not your area of expertise, you would do well to seek the help of an expert. We have found, through strategic marketing plans, that we can cut a company’s marketing budget by as much as half and get exponentially greater results in the process.
A big game-changer is usually in the use of social media. In today’s world, it’s almost a must. People are always mining for information and solutions. And you can be a bit of the gold they dig up.
As our team leader and CEO, Nate, says, “Now more than ever, it is crucial that you have a presence on social media and a plan for engaging it. This is key to any good content strategy. We’ve got you covered [on all the top social channels]. We can help educate you on the current trends and work with you to develop a plan for engaging social media for your organization.”
Four. “If you think it looks nice, we’ll assume everyone else will too.”
Maybe. In fact, this one is both true and false. But how are you going to know which it is in your case? Well, the more people you ask, the better picture you’ll have of an interested audience. If enough people like what you like, you win!
This is true not only for your services, products, or fundraisers. It’s every bit as important for your brand, your website, and your marketing strategies. Try out some feedback from sources like FiveSecondApp, PickFu, UsabilityHub, or Optimizely.
Five. “There’s some stuff we really can’t tell you.”
Candid. Frank. Open. Transparent . . .
Say it like it is to create a win-win situation. You can say it kindly and still be clear. If you’re not sure your partner’s idea is viable, ask the questions that are creating doubt in your mind. If your secretary irritates you by leaving pens lying all over the place, mention it. If a constituent wants something you can’t give, be upfront about it. If you’re not going to be able to meet a deadline, don’t pretend you’ll be able to reach your goal until the last minute, and don’t make excuses for why things didn’t work out as planned.
Some of these things may be embarrassing. And for some of them, it might be a challenge to figure out the best way to speak the truth while maintaining good relationships. Honesty, untainted by an agenda, builds strong relationships. And it grows your organization.