Nor these 9 other growth “must-haves”
This is not one of those clickbait blog posts where I tell you that the top reasons not to hire a business coach are because “you hate making money” or “you love having too much on your plate” or anything ridiculous like that. We all know there are times when we legitimately need an outsider’s experienced perspective and help. This is about determining when that is – and when that isn’t.
The people who provide business-to-business (b2b) services have families to feed and bills to pay just like you do and their expertise is often valuable and worth the money. They deserve to be well-compensated for their work just like you do for yours. That doesn’t mean what they offer is relevant for you in every season of your business or life.
When it comes to buying new products or hiring people to help your business get unstuck, always consider who’s telling you what you "have to do" and ask yourself, "what are they really selling?"
Here are 10 things wedding pros and creative business owners often hear when it comes to improving their companies that aren’t always true:
1. “You have to work with a business consultant in order to get unstuck and grow."
Maybe you do. Maybe you don't. Sometimes the time isn’t right to bring on a consultant, no matter how good they are or how much extra cash you have on hand. And I say this as a business consultant who pays my bills by helping wedding industry leaders succeed.
I fully stand behind the insight, wisdom, experience, expertise, and results I bring to the table, but I am never going to sell you something you don’t need.
Sometimes you may just need a business-focused weekend retreat with a small group of smart colleagues you fully trust to call you out on your blind spots. Friends who truly want the best for you but aren’t attached to your business the way you are.
2. “You need to be on most social media platforms to be relevant."
Does the person preaching this sell social media management services? Does it make sense for your business to be on Stories every day? For some companies it does, for others it doesn’t. This also depends not just on your target market age demographic but on geographic region as well.
3. “You have to have a custom website to stand out."
Maybe you do, and for some people a fully custom website is the best option. You might also just need a well-branded Squarespace site.
If the person preaching “custom or bust” sells web design, they may genuinely believe this to be true – but they also sell custom web design and need to pay their bills.
4. “You need the latest software to maximize productivity and efficiency."
I love a good technology solution, and the latest and greatest may make your life more streamlined. It may also be a cost you don’t need to take on right now. You may just need a well-optimized Excel workbook.
5. “You need ongoing SEO services."
You might, depending on the type of business you run. You may also just need to do the tedious, long-game work of writing a blog post several times a week so that your site has consistently new content and new keywords for Google to index.
6. “You have to take this online course."
7. “You have to rebrand every 2-3 years."
This may be the most ridiculous claim of them all, and legitimate branding experts will never pretend it is true. There may be times where you need to rebrand and refresh your identity, but that decision should be based on your company’s goals, not your graphic designer’s.
Hire an expert who understands how to design for business ROI and whose work can stand the test of time.
8. “You have to have an app for your company."
You probably don’t and, more importantly, you probably shouldn’t. An app that only regurgitates your social media feeds just eats up phone storage space and actively brands your company as one that will waste someone’s time and money.
9. “You have to pay to join a mastermind in order to be fully emotionally invested."
Paid masterminds were the "it business" in the mid-90’s, then again in 2007, and now they're back once more. In the wedding industry, mastermind fees range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to six-figures.
There are times when a paid mastermind with strangers you’ve never met or acquaintances you barely know makes sense. That said, always consider who is telling you that a paid mastermind is the best way to get the most out of the group.
10. “You have to spend money to make money.”
This is true – to a point. Your finances are your own private business and whether or not you choose to take out a loan or charge something to a credit card is up to you.
As you’re considering your options, one major red flag is if the person selling you a b2b service or mastermind tells you that you should take on a large financial risk because you’re “betting on yourself” and “you’re worth it.”
You are worth betting on. You are also worth not allowing yourself to be emotionally manipulated into taking on unnecessary debt.
If you’re on the fence about a business purchase, get advice from people you trust who won’t benefit financially from your decision.
There are many paths you can take to make your business better, and there are times where making those investments make sense. As you evaluate opportunities though, always consider the source. It’s not a good deal if you don’t need it.
A version of this post was originally published in March 2017