The Story of U. Chapter One: Patience
The struggle of U, the twenty-first letter of the alphabet
U didn’t get a place in the alphabet right from the start. U had to fight hard to become a letter of equal rights. It was the fault of the Romans who included in their alphabet only 23 letters when they first created it, in the 7th century BC. In that alphabet, J, U, and W were ignored.
To make it even more embarrassing, U was written, for a long time, using the letter V. When V was at the beginning of a word, it was read like the V of today. When, however, it was written in the middle of a word, people read it like U. How not to feel depressed? Who wouldn’t scream when looking at the smashing V who was managing two letters at once?
But U focused more, endured and continued to hope. Redemption came somewhere in the 18th century when U acquired its true position in the alphabet. At that time, the French Academy acknowledged his right to be a letter like all the others. The story of U is, therefore, the story of a daring letter, a letter we ignore daily, hidden in the multitude of other letters that pass before our eyes: U, the letter that fought 2,500 years to succeed.
Building a business takes time
It takes time to build a business. And yet, we often forget that. It is as if we asked a newborn to walk, talk or solve second-degree equations well ahead of their time. We, modern people, are used to it. To be ambitious, to move fast and to accept that sometimes, in this whole process, someone would suffer. Move fast and break things is the motto which best reflects the expectations of our time, although everyone rejects it emphatically.
In recent years, I have conducted an informal survey of people I’ve met with. Most of them were either trying to open their first business or were already in a major business line. Because this is what usually happens, the meeting took place when they were feeling they needed extra fuel, mentally, to develop their businesses. The most important thing I noticed about these people was their lack of patience. No one imagined the business he or she was planning or working for at the time could bring satisfaction in 5 or 10 years. No. They were expecting instant success.
It felt weird when I realized this. It felt weird when I realized that the most important thing I could do for these people was to teach them to be patient. To plan everything out as thoroughly as possible, to take time for analysis and always to offer the market the products and services the market needs. Many studies say that this is the most important reason companies fail: lack of customers for their offer. Lack of a realistic plan developed by the entrepreneur.
Then I realized business is not the only slice of life where we do that. No. We raise our children trying to take them to dozens of activities at once, in a sort of fast-forward childhood, worshiping the idea that they will become overnight the people we expect them to become. We are quick to exit our marriages at the first signs of crisis, convinced that somewhere, sometime, we will find our perfect match. We would rather binge-watch entire TV series, one season after the other because we have no patience to wait, week after week, for a new episode. We want our cars to accelerate as quickly as possible and we expect the other drivers to step away at once.
This kind of life leaves a heavy mark on our minds and bodies. We always blame external factors (pollution, politicians, ultraviolet rays and others), although much of our unhappiness is due to the chaotic nature of our quest for happiness. Our feelings, our experiences need the speed of a fast-food restaurant. We are living in an age when modern man is no longer patient with time.
In business, this attitude is why most start-up companies fail during their first years. The reality is that they fail at the first signs of crisis or at the first obstacle, not even a major one, which appears further down the road. Because they, businesses, are like little kids. You have to give them the chance to learn what life is all about. And learn from that experience along with them. A business that grows by 10% – 20% in the first years of existence is viewed as an abominable creature which must be killed at once. Although, if one were to give it a little time to understand what is going on, it is possible that, in the future, 20 % could become 50% or higher.
When building a business, remember the story of U.
Good ideas generally need time to prove their value. Of course, there is the exception of ideas that bear fruit immediately, but that is just an exception because they are as rare as winning the lottery. And, in keeping with this comparison, it may be cheaper to play the lottery than to invest in a business where you rely on serendipity to guide you.
When you start a business, don’t hurry. Allow your business to grow and develop. Give it time and patience.
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The greatest mistakes a brand can make online
Waiting too long to launch a product / service.
Like in a relationship, so it happens in business: the perfect timing is essential. In the desire to be sure everything is perfect, most entrepreneurs or business owners wait too long, therefore missing the right opportunity to launch the business, the service or the product. It’s important not to forget to trust your guts and just go for it.
“Some people are waiting for some magic audience size “1,000 subscribers” or maybe “10,000 visitors” or whatever your number might be. Some people just can’t find the time to blog or podcast or make videos AND to build a product at the same time. It’s tough. Some people simply talk themselves out of creating a product because they’re afraid no one will buy it. They don’t want to fail after putting in so much time creating content. Whatever the reason, this is a fatal trap. If you’re building a business, you need to address the biggest risk head-on. The biggest risk you’ll face as a business is in creating something no one will pay for,” wrote Corbett Barr for fizzle.co.
Not checking and double checking before posting
Still, one must be very careful before sending the message into the world. Each post on social media should be treated with a lot of attention and care, otherwise it may do more harm than good. Often we see big grammar mistakes, pictures that are not doing any favor to the brand, wrong comments or even worse. Even they are taken down afterwards, it might be too late.
Fabricating pieces of news or information
For each brand the trust must be earned. People don’t like to be lied to or be mislead, therefore you must make sure that every piece of information you share with your target is 100 % true. Today, every piece of content is very easily checked by anyone. If you do make a mistake, make sure to apologize for it. Everybody can make mistakes, the important thing is to own it and act accordingly. Your target will understand and respect you. Don’t hide and act like nothing happened or erase the post.
The lack of patience.
Brands are not built overnight. Building an online brand takes patience. It’s something that’s built brick by brick with every tweet, every blog post, and every podcast episode. It’s built with every client one step at a time. One of the biggest mistakes business owners do is thinking that a brand can be build in only 2-3 months online and complaining after this short period of time that they aren’t seeing any traction. In reality, building a brand takes years of hard work, experience, people and investment, so make sure you think of all those aspects prior to starting on this road.
Not being consistent.
You can’t build an online brand without consistently putting a message out there. A social media following is gained in time, after a lot of work on strategy and implementation, an e-commerce business takes months of work prior to launch and after launch, until the first signs of success occur. Time and dedicated teams that are working towards the same purpose, following a strategy based on true insights. Constant content must be sent on regular basis to all the social media platforms of your brand, PR, marketing & sales efforts are also needed. Constant, insightful, creative and powerful messages, perfectly targeted to your interest group or groups. “If you’re having difficulty being consistent with your content creation as you build an online brand, try automating your social media needs and creating an editorial calendar for your site. The more organized you can be the better,” said Amanda Abella, writer and author of “Make Money Your Honey”.
Not putting customer experience first
Customer experience is one of the most important factors in your business, especially today in the world on the Internet and social media frenzy. Since your social interactions are public for everyone to see, your reactivity defines your brand and shows customers how much you care. The more you interact with them and show them your interest in them, the better. Don’t be shy on giving special discounts or mentions on your social media accounts to the people that are loyal to you and choose your brand on a regular basis.
Not really listening to their consumers
And believing that you and your team always know better. It;s important not to forget that from the unhappy consumers or the ones that choose not to buy your product / service in favor of another one, you can learn the most. They are the unbiased ones and their opinion should be treasured. Don’t just pay lip service to your customers. You don’t have all the answers, they do. There’s a reason why “the customer is always right,” because without customers you don’t have a business.
Focusing mostly on acquisition
It takes a lot more effort to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one, so you may want to keep your customers happy. Offer help, give away freebies, or conduct regular surveys to make sure their needs are met.
Here are some of the biggest mistakes in social media, according to Forbes.