An Open Letter To Any Business Owner Working With A Marketing Agency Legally Founded After July 4th, 2015

Are you and your business being ripped off by “agency opportunity” types?

If you’ve been advertising online, you’ve probably noticed that prices keep going up and valuable metrics and measurable KPIs (a.k.a. results) keep going down. And odds are, you might not be getting the answers you’re looking for when you ask your marketing agency why things all of sudden went haywire or why results aren’t like they used to be.

If you didn’t know, one of the most popular niches in “digital marketing” is teaching people how to do digital marketing. This type of training and teaching is sold to people who have little or no business experience and do not know how to market, advertise, or structure a business – but they want to make money online.

And in the summer of 2015, courses offering this type of training flooded the digital marketing landscape. The course promoters offer things such as template websites, contracts, forms, scripts, and sales pitches.

These courses offer to teach people how to swindle hard-working, honest, ethical business owners out of their hard earned profits in exchange for minimal value delivery. Countless pop-up advertising agencies were born in the middle of the night, making wild promises to susceptible business owners who just wanted to keep making an honest profit amidst increasing market competition in nearly every industry.

Staples of these courses include:

-Templates that offer to eliminate any kind of actual work done on behalf of the “agency”

-Tips and tricks for how to literally do ZERO work for clients (outsourcing everything, taking their money off the top) and still banking big profits (a.k.a. taking your hard earned profits for themselves for something you could do yourself, in-house, or outsource for a fraction of the cost)

-Teachers and “gurus” who typically have never sold or marketed anything other than “make money opportunity” types of products and courses making wild claims and promises about the simplicity of making money successfully executing online marketing (a.k.a. they have rarely, if ever, made any money outside of teaching people “how to make money”)

-Techniques that are “flash-in-the-pan”, non-proven across multiple niches or industries, brand-damaging, lacking in long term focus of sustainability, or worse, flat out illegal or unethical

-Hype, over-promotion, and tons of affiliate marketers touting “the next big thing” to bring “money in by the truckloads”

These courses and trainings operate on the premises that “knowing literally anything” gives them an advantage over small business owners like yourself who “know nothing”. After all, it’s easy to throw out a bunch of technical sounding babble to seem qualified and to ask for money that YOU have had to earn for your business.

And at Champion, plainly, we’re sick of it. These people are ripping off you and your business without a care in the world. You work entirely too hard as a small business owner to see your profits taken by incapable clowns acting as glorified middle men. So what can you do?

Educate Yourself

There are loads of ways to educate yourself against these “agencies”. But the easiest way to educate yourself is simply to look at some of the agency opportunity sales sites. You’ll notice they all offer some variant of the same basic trappings.

Here’s “how to start your own digital marketing agency in 10 days” on Udemy. Price: $11. Here’s the link.

Even worse, some of these people simply do a google search for free information on how to start their business. You can see examples here, here, here, here, here, and here. Your own simple Google search will yield pages of the same, with tons of suggestions for similar searches.

Now ask yourself this question – would you trust someone operating off of $11, or even worse – free, advice with YOUR business? Didn’t think so…

Get Numbers.

Data drives digital marketing. Period. Which means your “agency” should have enough access to data to perform a relatively accurate market assessment, needs analysis, and probable performance expectations. While certainly nobody can make a guarantee about specific numbers or metrics, if your “agency” can’t give you a ballpark estimate for your ROI and explain how they arrived at those numbers, run for the hills (and make sure not to cut them another check or cancel your auto pay before they take one more penny from your pockets!)

Trust Your Gut.

Something seems off? It probably is. Does the work seem likes it’s been done by an overseas outsourcer? It probably has been. Do you feel like you’re setting your money on fire with nothing to show for it? You probably are. And it’s probably best to bail out, ask for a refund, and move on to an actual agency with real sales and marketing know-how and workers based in your country.

Want Better Results?

Call Champion. We’ll help you determine what kind of results you should be getting in your business, and you can decide if you’re happy with where you are – and what to do about it.

Stop Getting Ripped Off And Start Getting The Results You Deserve

Why Most Small Businesses Fail In The Fight Against Corporate Giants (And What You Can Actually Do About It)

Quit Bringing Water Guns to War

Sure, you’re familiar with the phrase “don’t bring a knife to a gun fight”, but most small business owners would be flat out lucky to have so much as a knife to fight with in the war against the corporate entities that threaten their very existence.

Think about it: the knife to a gun fight analogy worked when it was twobad hombres in the old west dueling it out in the street. Presumably, they were both on relatively equal footing to begin with, so deciding to pull a knife when your enemy is using a gun would make for a fairly quick surrender, or worse.

The key here, is that both “bad hombres” stood on relatively equal ground at the start of the duel. In the case of Small Business David versus Corporate Goliath, most small businesses are bringing a water gun to an all out war for market share that large corporate entities are in the business of pursuing day in and day out.

Corporate Goliath has a veritable war-chest of options: full-fledged, dedicated departments for marketing, sales, HR, R&D, etc. and a board of dedicated C-Suite Generals commanding and driving their forces with ultimate goal: the bottom line as it relates to shareholders, owners, or other governing interests.

And most small businesses respond to these corporate “wars” for marketshare with the equivalent of a water-gun: a half-hearted attempt that ultimately leads to abysmal failure and fear of what might happen in the future on the battlefield of business.

Pick Your Battles Wisely

You can’t fight on every “battlefront” and win. There are battles you shouldn’t even consider (lowest prices, etc), battles you might win in the best of circumstances (TV & radio promotions, etc), and battles you can win in surprisingly dominant fashion (email marketing, etc).

So where do you want to fight? Because the only places that make sense to invest your hard earned time, energy, resources, and willpower into fighting are the battles where you can score victories for your business. Score enough of those victories and they eventually add up to a profitable, sustainable, and successful enterprise.

A few battles small businesses can win, and win big:

  • Customer Service
  • Quality of Your Product/Service Delivery
  • Warranties/Guarantees
  • Convenience
  • Branding Personality & Culture
  • E-mail Marketing
  • Digital Advertising
  • Direct Mail
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Trade Shows
  • Direct Sales
  • & lots of others depending on your unique business niche!

You can’t win them all, but if you choose wisely, and especially if you can put together the right combination, you can win more often than not and do so in a surprisingly predictable, and profitable manner.

Fight Like Hell

But, and this is a sincere word of caution, when you choose to go to battle, you actually have to GO TO BATTLE. That means committing to fighting 100%. The absolute worst thing you can do is to show up to a battle and refuse to get involved. Bring your full attention, bring your full resources, and throw everything you have into winning the battles that you choose to fight.

…If you commit to better customer service, be unrelenting in your serving of customers.

…If you commit to winning SEO, be unrelenting in your pursuit of search engine domination.

…if you commit to advertising online, be unrelenting in your digital advertising.

You get the point.

You can only win the battles you 100% commit to fighting, so give it all you’ve got.

Double Down On Your Strengths

There will always be areas you can improve, and you should certainly do your best to shore up your weaknesses. Consider, however, what it would do for your business to leverage your strengths and multiply your results rather than simply shoring up a few weaknesses. Big wins and massive gains can be had by concentrating on doing what you do “well” even better and at a higher volume.

Own Your Niche

There is something your audience wants that only you can provide, and when you find the people who want that one thing, your business will explode. You might even call this “your winning formula”. This formula works when you align your marketing efforts with your most responsive audience and your ability to fully leverage the products and services you provide. Your winning formula will have you winning battles time and time again over the corporate giants who are too clunky to adapt and too bland to truly connect with your audience.

So Now What?

So you’re ready to abandon your water guns and you’ve decided to commit to finding the right weapons to fight winnable battles for your business, and that’s awesome. The question now becomes, which battles do you fight? What makes the most sense for the resources at your disposal and the organization you’re growing? How do you leverage the value of your unique offerings?  What is the exact right niche to dominate? If you need help with any of these, schedule a consultation to get help by clicking below.

Upgrade Your Water Guns To Real Ones

When Is It Time To Call In A Consultant (or An Agency)

When Is The Right Time To Hire A Business Consultant?

What a tough question, and one that we get frequently. Some form of “when’s the right time to hire a consultant”, which is usually followed up by some variant of “and how much do you think that should cost?”

A lot of consultants and consulting agencies keep things intentionally vague when it comes to process and pricing and pretty up front about when to write the check: now.

Which doesn’t do you much good as a business owner. Ultimately, you’re the one who knows when is the right time to call in the consultants, and you are the one who actually makes the call. And Champion is here to help you better gauge when that right moment is to make the call for your business.

Why Most Businesses Wait Until It

There are a number of reasons professionals and businesses might need consultants, but lets first examine the biggest motivation people may have for not wanting to hire a consultant or a consulting agency. The biggest reason is simply that many people don’t want to call for help until its too late. They feel weak. They feel incompetent. They feel replaceable. They feel like a failure. They feel uncertain. Any or all of those feelings lead to further inaction, which perpetuates and exacerbates whatever problems brought about those very same circumstances in the first place.

It’s tough to admit things are out of control or out of your scope of expertise. It can be even harder to admit that something you’ve committed your time and energy to accomplishing just isn’t starting or working out as well as you’d have liked or as well as you’d have hoped and planned. “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”.

And just like the mouse in Robert Burns’ poem, sometimes things just got out of hand because of a plow you couldn’t even see or foresee coming. Regardless, you still have to deal with the consequences before they derail your project, goals, or business. That starts with admitting that somewhere along the line, there was an opportunity to do it better, and when moving forward, the same holds true.

But admitting that you’re wrong or that things aren’t going as you’d planned is not defeat. It’s realistic. It’s assessing a situation before it becomes too dire and then making a turn to save the ship before it crashes into the proverbial iceberg. After all, seeing the “iceberg” in your path and ignoring or denying its existence is just delaying the inevitable. Just like a huge ocean liner, it takes time to turn around your business through implementing the changes a consultant or consultancy brings.

Think of a consultant as a “situational captain”, there to help you navigate the treacherous waters ahead and arrive at your desired destination faster, cheaper, and safer than you’d be able to get there yourself (and most importantly, avoiding the major icebergs along the way.)

How Some Businesses Win From The Start

There is tremendous value in preventative consulting or consulting for success. Businesses that recognize in advance that the mission ahead is out of their league call in a “situational captain” to get the job done and get it done right the first time. An experienced third party can bring valuable insight into preventable problems and mission critical activities while reducing excessive risk for your next project, product launch, advertising or PR campaign, new sales process, service program, etc.

Often times, the investment on the front end for quality consulting pays tremendous dividends in the execution of any business endeavor. Whether it’s through smarter resource management, better client acquisition process, superior brand positioning, or something else entirely, consultants can help you maximize the opportunities available to you in your business.

If success is absolutely critical and you are even mildly unsure of what success looks like or how to get there, schedule a consultation with a qualified consultant to discuss your business’s specific issues. Get a handle on the task at hand – before you waste valuable time, money, and resources going down the wrong path. Most agencies will offer an initial consultation free of charge, though some may require a refundable deposit to reserve your consultation time.

When To Call A Consultant – A List

The right time to call in a “situational captain” is entirely unique to your business. Certainly no list of questions will encompass every situation where consulting is appropriate, and these are to be taken simply as suggestions for business consulting situations only. We’ll leave the accounting to accountants, legal stuff to the lawyers, etc.

If you find yourself or your business in the follow situations, you may want to consider bringing in some outside help:

  • You find yourself asking if consultants would be the right option or have the best solutions to a critical problem
  • You feel your business is overwhelmed by the challenge ahead or the challenge at present and you can’t afford to just cut your losses and abandon the ship
  • You don’t have the people on your team that can get the job done up to standard or navigate the path ahead
  • You or your team lack the time to gain the necessary technical expertise or hire a full time solution in advance of a critical deadline
  • Your mission is beyond the scope of your existing team but more affordably executed by an agency than by hiring a full time internal employee
  • You cannot afford to make a misstep in moving forward from a financial or branding standpoint
  • You want an expert’s objective opinion for a valuable launch, PR move, sales or ad campaign, product creation, or other issue
  • There are significant risks to a potential undertaking for your organization from a PR, marketing, advertising, sales, legal, or other standpoint

Choosing the Right Consulting Relationship For Your Business

At the end of the day, a consultant’s job boils down to one thing: get you better results than you would be able to get on your own through leveraging knowledge, experience, connections, and other resources. The right consulting relationship can not only position your business for greater success around a specific goal or project, but also continue to bring dividends to your business year in and year out.

Ultimately, the relationship between your business and any consulting agency you work with should be additive to your bottom line – either directly or indirectly. And if a qualified consultant can help you build a better brand, a better bottom line, and a better business, then what are you waiting for? Schedule a consultation today.

Find Out If Champion Consulting Is Right For Your Business