Slow Down And Scope It Out

Her Corner

Frederique Irwin

June 3, 2019

How many of you regularly ask yourself: “If I could just come up with the solution to this, I would … [feel so much better, be so much more successful, etc., etc.]”?

We all do. We are trained to solve problems. To try to find ways to make things better. We do this all the time.

But one thing I’ve noticed in business is that more and more people want to jump right into the evaluation of the solution, and they emphatically want to get to a “go/no-go” decision, or an answer from me—almost with a touch of impatience.

AND NO ONE LIKES WHAT I HAVE TO TELL THEM NEXT WHEN THAT HAPPENS.

Wait. Just wait.

There is NO way I am telling you whether or not you should spend $5K a month on social media ads until you’ve scoped the problem for me.

But what does that *mean*?

It means, what the heck is the problem? And what do we want to achieve?

I run into people all the time who have just come from a conference and who say to me: “Fred, I met this woman at this conference who does Instagram ads, and her business is growing so quickly. What do you think about me doing it too?”

[First of all, you’re at a conference, let’s just start by assuming that everyone is bull/sh***ing everyone there and no one is truly growing so quickly.]

But let’s get back to the real problem here:

  • This need to just get to the answer.
  • To not read the question thoroughly.
  • To falsely believe that all action = results.

You must start by scoping out the problem.

In this case, the business was young. The owner had never gotten any business from social media—it had all come from word of mouth. She was hoping to find an easy button in social media to get more business.

When I asked her to scope the problem she was trying to solve with social media, she said:
“I want to grow my business by $100K this year by selling an add-on service on top of my existing services.”

Well, guess what?

To do that, it’s not going to come via Instagram ads. Especially since she hardly had an Instagram account.

To grow a business by a reasonable amount of money—and $100K is still reasonable, it’s not like growing by $1M—then you have to do the work of nurturing your network and your list. You have to mine referrals and focus on personal sales. You have to go back to old customers and sell them again.

There was no way investing in Instagram ads for a service (I might have had a different answer had this been for a product) was going to solve her problem.

I told her not to spend the money.

For those of you out there who are evaluating areas in which to spend in order to grow your business, please remember:

  • Ignore the shiny pennies;
  • Scope the problem; and
  • Do the work.