By Carrie Kerpen Can you guess what it is?
There is no marketing consultant, no social media guru, no employee in the world that is going to care as much and work with as much heart as you will in the early stages of your business. Not a single one. No one is going to have the grit, the passion, the conviction, or the courage. It lies within you.
I have family members and friends contact me every day for advice on launching their business. "Can you help me with my social media," they ask repeatedly. And I give the same answer repeatedly. Before you need a social media strategy, you need a business strategy. What do you do that's different from other business like you? What does your company do better than ANYONE else out there? What's your business story, and how can you tell it in a way that makes people want to do business with you?
I look at some of my favorite aspiring entrepreneurs. Miss Amy's Babycakes started because a girl loved to bake for her friends, and realized that there was a market for custom cupcakes. Who could promote this better than Miss Amy herself? She doesn't need a social media strategy...she needs to make great cupcakes, and get them in the hands of people! She called me and asked if I was interested in cupcakes. She sold them with heart, and with conviction. Moments later, 100 cupcakes were ordered and filled my office.
She contacted me through social media. But she sold me with her passion and her heart. Countless entrepreneurs have stories like this-- I was just at the INC 500 conference and heard stories of how Honest Tea worked out of a teeny tiny office in Maryland (and still do!) and sold their product through alternative distributers to get it in the stores, and how Happy Baby Foods was started by a mom who was testing different foods on her kids. These founders had bootstrapping, unequivocal passion-- and they were without a doubt the biggest resource in their business' beginnings.
That doesn't mean that you should never hire anyone, and it doesn't mean that you should plan to work 60 hour weeks for the rest of your life. What it means is that you should trust your gut, and your heart. Assemble a team of advisors who are genuinely invested in your success, and use them to bounce ideas off of. But at the end of the day, this is your dream. Use your best resource wisely, and you'll go far.
Do you agree? What do you think is the biggest asset for a brand new start-up? Share your thoughts below!