Many of us hold false beliefs about business, including myths that have been passed down through traditional approaches that are no longer effective, as well as theories that may have sounded plausible but lacked substance. This also applies to the realm of self-promotion. Here are some common misconceptions and myths that people still believe when it comes to promoting themselves. Try not to fall into the trap of following them. Myths and misconceptions in this area include the following:
- All Publicity Is Good Publicity
- MYTH: Having your name recognized by people, regardless of the reason, was once considered advantageous. The conventional belief was that consumers had short memories and would be attracted to familiar names, regardless of the nature of their fame.
- REALITY: Times have changed, competition is fierce, and quality is now the primary objective. People want results. Although they may enjoy superficial contact with celebrities or be mesmerized by designer labels, they ultimately want value. They don’t want to do business with crooks, rogues, and incompetents — except those who enjoy throwing money away. Bad publicity will come back to haunt you.
- If It’s Not Broken, Don’t Fix It.
- MYTH: In the past, business owners could afford to be cautious and stick to a successful formula. Established companies with a well-known reputation were highly sought after by customers. Once these companies found a winning formula, they would stick to it without deviating. The rationale they gave was the New Coke disaster, when Coca Cola changed its recipe and nearly destroyed its legendary brand.
- REALITY: In business today, you can’t stand still; you must move forward and improve constantly. If you do not, the competition will steal your market. To survive, today’s businesses must examine their operations continuously to find how they can be improved. Study your market and other markets; learn about trends, developments, and emerging companies; see what the competition is doing and how it could affect your business. Constantly see how you can improve.
3. This Is The Story
- MYTH: When we share our story, we often assume that the facts we present are the objective truth and that everyone will interpret them correctly. Because we have firsthand knowledge of what happened, we tend to believe that our version of events will be the one that is accurately conveyed.
- REALITY: As soon as your story is out, it no longer belongs to you. Kate Adamson’s appearance on the O’Reilly Factor generated a huge response but ended up telling the wrong story. Kate and her husband, Steven Klugman, did everything they could to get the facts across, including talking to the program’s fact checkers and screeners. Despite their efforts, O’Reilly assumed that Kate had been in a coma, which she had not. Therefore, he asked Kate questions that she couldn’t answer because they didn’t relate to what she had experienced. As a result, the story that most of the media covered and that most people came to believe was based on the mistakes O’Reilly made. Now O’Reilly’s version is the account that is repeated and has become attached to Kate.
4. Just Because I Have a Great Product, I’ll Succeed
- MYTH: There is a common misconception among many people that having a great product or service is enough to attract customers. They believe that simply putting up a sign and listing their phone number will result in a flood of customers. These individuals may have impressive credentials, extensive experience, and exceptional talent. They may even produce outstanding work. However, none of these factors guarantee that they will attract a large customer base.
- REALITY: “The entrepreneurial graveyard is filled with business owners who had good products and services,” Mark LeBlanc observes. To succeed, you must promote your goods or services actively; your target audience must know that you’re in business and how you can help them. Delivering that message is essential if you hope to survive. Simply put, you must get the right clients and customers: those who need what you offer. In business, being the “best-kept secret” does not translate into great success. How successful is the chiropractor with no patients.
5. People Will Find Me. I Will Get What I Deserve
- MYTH: Many people think that if they open a business, hang up a shingle, or put up a sign, customers will appear magically. They feel that because they worked so hard to become experts, their hard work automatically will be rewarded, and they will become highly successful. They expect their just desserts.
- REALITY: I believe in Karma, but some people ask too much. Doing the work to become qualified is just part of the job. Once you’re qualified, you must continue to work hard. As I’ve emphasized before, competition in business can be fierce, with constant battles over the same clients. It would be arrogant and illogical to assume that you can simply sit back and wait to be discovered.
6. I Can Run My Entire Business
- MYTH: Business is extremely complex. A physician may be a medical expert but know little about business management, patient retention, advertising, scheduling appointments, insurance claims, or even keeping books. Yet a physician may try to take on these tasks until he or she is forced to get help.
- REALITY: In today’s complex business landscape, it’s important to recognize that we can’t handle every aspect ourselves. Business operations have become increasingly intricate, and tasks like managing accounts and filing taxes are best left to specialists. Your time and effort may be better spent elsewhere. Even if you have a good understanding of running your business, hiring a business management specialist can often lead to greater efficiency. It’s advisable to invest in the best talent you can afford, as they will not only lighten your workload but also typically deliver better results. They also could be a source of referrals that could more than compensate for their cost. Build a team and remember that you don’t have to build it all at once.
7. Hit Them Hard and Fast
- MYTH: People are taught that at meetings they should establish that they’re important and demonstrate their expertise quickly, and so they try to make a strong impression immediately by grabbing the spotlight and firing away. They frequently participate too soon and become too involved. After the initial flurry, they often have little to say.
- REALITY: Sitting quietly, letting others speak, and listening are usually more effective than firing first and flaring out. Melt into the background, listen, observe, and wait. Fully understand all that is being said, all the implications, and then contribute. Generally, it will give you a better grasp and help you be more influential.
Jill Lublin — (Pronounced Loob-Lynn)
Jill Lublin is an international speaker on the topics of Publicity, Networking, Kindness, and Referrals. She is the author of 4 Best Selling books including Get Noticed…Get Referrals (McGraw Hill) and co-author of Guerrilla Publicity and Networking Magic. Her latest book, Profit of Kindness went #1 in four categories. Jill is a master strategist on how to position your business for more profitability and more visibility in the marketplace. She is CEO of a strategic consulting firm and has over 25 years of experience working with over 100,000 people plus national and international media. Jill teaches a virtual Publicity Crash Course and consults and speaks all over the world. She has spoken on many stages with luminaries such as Tony Robbins. Jill also leads an intentional kindness community. Visit publicitycrashcourse.com/freegift and jilllublin.com