It’s no secret that most start-up businesses do not last. 55,000 Australian businesses went bust in the last financial year. And depending on which source you read anywhere between 60% and 97% of new businesses will not make it past 3 years. So, what’s with all the start up ‘experts’ out there?
As we’re starting our journey into the world of start-up businesses, we’ve suddenly found there’s a lot of start up experts out there hunting around for people like us. And we mean A LOT. And the claims they all make. Guaranteed success tips to generate leads! Proven effective strategies to drive your marketing funnel! Top 10 email tips that will guarantee you customers queueing up at your door! We can bring back Elvis! OK, maybe we made that last one up.
Start looking into ‘start-ups’ and be prepared to lose at least 50% of your Facebook feed to these guys. Now, yes, we know we can turn them off. But it’s actually quite an interesting piece of competitive intelligence to see these sponsored ads fighting like pirañas to try and get us to turn into a ‘lead’. The thing is. if you already know about online marketing tactics (which we do), it’s quite transparent what they are doing. And mostly, it’s not really working. It’s wasteful. And to be honest, quite annoying.
Here’s just three examples that popped up on our feed today. We won’t name names but you’ll know the types of people they are. If you’ve been looking at starting your own business, or looking at marketing or e-commerce tactics, you’ll likely recognise some of these.
The “Just Pay Shipping” Lead Magnet
You’ll have seen this sort of copy on a social feed somewhere. Limited Time offer! 25 guaranteed tips for content marketing / search marketing / improving your Facebook ads / landing 000s of quality clients (pick any one). Valued at $999 or some crazy high number, your’s for just $9.99 shipping. Because we’re such good guys. No mention of the fact that we can probably find most of this online for free. And that with a little bit of training, anyone can create an e-book using something like Adobe In Design. So maybe not such a bargain as you make out?
You don’t have to do the complicated stuff, we’ll do that
We’ll build your website. We’ll run your PPC. We’ll do all your social posts. We’ll do it all while you sit back. Yes, but by turning over the ‘complicated’ stuff to you, how will we ever learn how it works? Or how to fix it when it goes wrong? There is lots of ‘complicated’ stuff where it’s worth getting expert help – manning your tax obligations for example (have you tried navigating the ATO website? Urgh!. And e-commerce fulfilment, yes, we’re not going out delivering orders. But marketing and e-commerce activity like social and websites, again those are skills we need to be building ourselves. But we’ve yet to be served an ad offering training in these areas.
Sign up for this incredible business success model
This simple piece of software / selling system / email template list works for 000s of businesses, of which we’ll mention 3 or 4, but without knowing anything about YOUR business, we’ll make it easy for you to be earning millions in no time. Sit back, relax. Don’t do the hard work. Just hand over some cash, sign up for a webinar or an event and watch the money roll in. What’s that about basic marketing skills? Market research? Brand Management? Customer experience? Being profitable? Um.
We could easily go on, but it’s got to the point where it’s become like a tsunami of marketing bullshit. And it all starts to sound the same. None of these guys really stand out. Well, apart from the ones who REALLY annoy us. The smug and the arrogant ones. There’s one guy who basically says in his video he chucked his job because he hated all the people there, and now he makes millions by doing a few hours work a week. I’m sure your ex-colleagues really loved you. And another who seems to constantly paste pictures of himself drinking beer in a beer garden with all his mates. And not being ageist, but the ones who look like they just graduated last year and suddenly can tell you how to run your whole life and business. Um, life experience, hello?
As we’ve been clients for most of our careers, and have now kinda jumped over to the dark side and into consulting, here’s three areas we see where all these start up ‘experts’ get it wrong.
Talking about clients as ‘leads’
Yes, that might be the common term when you are agency or consultancy side. But nobody who is going to pay you money for your services wants to feel like they are a ‘lead’. That they are part of a mass group of people who sheep like are waiting to be herded to the next part of your funnel. It’s really important to treat people and brands for their specific needs and requirements. Every business is different.
Dissing experience or anyone who doesn’t follow your system
We get it is a competitive market. But some of the copy we read on this just makes the agencies come across as at best naive and at worst incompetent. Talk up the successes you have by all means. Share the learning’s of what didn’t work. But there is no one single guaranteed way for everyone to win. That’s just not possible.
The agency ‘experience’
OK, so you have flashy offices, but you probably rent them through We Work and are now kinda regretting it. Everyone is under 30, looks like they spend the whole day on Instagram, and are all wearing Beats headphones and funky T-shirts. If I’m looking to hire someone with your expertise, I’m thinking my money is paying for your team and your office. Not to improve my business.
In amongst all the bullshit, we have found a few gems though. There do seem to be some clever start up experts out there. They are generally the ones who will tell you when they also got it wrong.
We don’t claim to know it all. We’re always looking to learn from good people. And there are some genuine people out there who share good experiences and knowledge. We’ll cover off some of the better ones in another post.
ADDED 13th January, 2020 : There is a whole Reddit chain on the topic of ‘fake gurus’ where you can read some of the worst examples.