Why You Must Find Time for Social Media

By Colin Scotland

I’m too busy running my business I don’t have time to learn how to use social media.

This is a phrase I hear time and again from small business owners, and one I’ve been guilty of using myself, thinking it unworthy of my time and delegating it to a junior member of my team, but to quote the great Bob Dylan "the times they are a changing" faster than ever before and you cannot afford to ignore social media anymore if you want your business to grow, develop and thrive.

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Time is your most precious commodity, as a small business owner, you don’t have the luxury these big companies do of employing specialists in every field, you do it all yourself, you need to be a master of all trades.

Time is critical, if you take your eye off the ball for a second you risk everything, at least, that’s how it feels when you're in the middle of it. You are focused entirely on reaching the next growth milestone, doing whatever it takes and non-critical stuff has to fall by the wayside.

Now there’s nothing wrong with that approach if you have a clear goal and are driving your business towards it. For example, when growing my online e-commerce business, I was always fixated on the sales figures...

I would be glued to Google analytics, constantly measuring sales performance almost to the point of obsession.

I leveraged all of the online marketing tools I could lay my hands on and measure their success by the impact they had on increasing sales in the business. If sales didn’t increase, I would quickly drop it and move on to the next thing in search of the holy grail of ingredients.

Having grown that business to just under £4m turnover, I can tell you unequivocally that there are no magic formulas, no secret sauce, and no shortcuts.

Success in business as in most things in life comes at a cost and that is your time.

It is impossible to become a concert pianist without spending countless hours at a piano, similarly, in business, you need to invest time and energy in a lot of the wrong places and learn from these mistakes.

For every step you take forward, you will likely take a few backward. Sorry if that blows a lot of what so-called experts proffer out of the water.

There is so much flannel out there these days, glossy, smooth-talking folks selling you on an easy life pipe dream so they can line their own pockets with your hard-earned cash, mesmerizing people with the idea that there are quick fixes and shortcuts and secret formulas when in reality there just aren’t. Sorry to sound depressing, if you’re still with me I promise I’ll get to a good bit soon.

So, no secret formula, and most of your time will be wasted trying things that don’t work, and this is going to help me how? Should I just give up now?

I can promise you this, you will get out of your business what you put in, yes you will try lots of things that don’t work but with perseverance, drive, and determination you will find the things that do work, and as you continue the things that work will be multiplied and be added to your arsenal until you have all the tools you need to build a successful business.

My experience has taught me the one thing that you can and must do to succeed in business, and that is to embrace change. The very best businesses change and adapt and this is what you must do to take your business to the next level, as the great Rickson Gracie so eloquently put it you have to learn to “flow with the go”.

My experience has taught me the one thing that you can and must do to succeed in business, and that is to embrace change.

The world around us is changing so fast because of the new technology it is frightening. Never has humankind seen such a pace of change, we truly are living through a technological revolution.

The landscape is shifting faster than we can take it all in. It is exciting, bewildering, and exhilarating all at the same time.

Never has humankind seen such a pace of change, we truly are living through a technological revolution.

To make sense of it for you right now and for your business you must understand the changes that are happening and “flow with the go”, your customers are now talking about your brand and your products online and if you do nothing about this you are leaving the door wide open for your competitors to sweep them off their feet.

Imagine your very best customer is in the next room to where you are sitting right now, would you huff and puff and say “I don’t have time for this I’m too busy running my business” and ignore them or would you rush in there, greet them with a smile and a welcome hand and bend over backward to be hospitable?

I think we all know the answer.

Well, your very best customer is trying to have a conversation with you on social media right now, and at the moment you are sat huffing and puffing telling them you don’t have time for them!

This is the reality of the world we live in, communications have changed to such a degree that by continuing on the same path you are effectively ignoring your best customers and missing many new business opportunities.

You need to embrace the change that is happening around you and adapt to ensure your business can thrive. Make time to learn about the impact that social media can have on your business, and, believe me, it is massive, bigger than you can imagine.

Once you understand it, run with it, use it, embrace it and your business will thrive from it.

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