The 5 Basic Principals Of A Modern And More Productive Business

When I fell (literally) into the world of entrepreneurship it was the year 1999. I was working a traditional 8-5 j.o.b. in corporate America and knew nothing about how to run a business.

I had entered the world of direct sales and the business model at that time was centered around a party plan which for someone who worked full time, that meant booking in-home parties at night, on the weekends and meeting with prospects over lunch or coffee to deliver a business presentation. 

I had no sales experience and quickly learned in the game of marketing myself and products that success came down to "playing the numbers game". Translation: building relationships, giving value and getting what I was offering in front of a lot of people (A LOT of people) to see results. There are only enough hours in the day and while I was fully committed to building my business, I also knew that the way I was going about it was not efficient and hardly giving me the "time freedom" I was looking for. 

In 2005, I had my first child and that changed every aspect of my life including how I could work my side hustle. Gone were the days of booking home parties in the evenings and packing out my calendar on the weekends. I had a baby to raise and take care of. I worked a full time job so sacrificing more time away from him in the evenings and on the weekends to book a party that required 4+ hours of my time to show products to a handful of people was NOT the answer. 

There had to be a better way.
And there was.
The internet. 

Online marketing was a world that I knew absolutely nothing about but the thought of creating content that could reach thousands of people at once intrigued me and honestly, it just made sense.

While I am an old soul who loves all things vintage and craves a simple approach to all areas of my life, I viewed this direction of attraction marketing as a much more modern way to do business than the belly-to-belly chasing people daily marketing tactics I was being taught and as an introvert, I did not really enjoy. I knew I had to streamline my business as much as possible to not only be more efficient and productive but for my own sanity.

Technology is forever changing and its easier than ever for anyone with a creative vision and competitive drive to start their own business while using the connective power of the internet from anywhere in the world to serve others and provide valuable resources, services and products.  

So exactly what is a "modern business"? While definitions are subjective, I believe there are some basics that every modern business and brand should possess. Some would say that a modern business operates solely online through a website and social media. While I don't argue that point, I also believe that it requires a deeper strategy than just being "active" in a digital space. 

Here is how I define a modern business:

1. Has a story and a purpose. Consumers are time and time again proving that they will open their hearts and wallets to support a brand with a cause and who opens themselves up to be real, authentic and vulnerable. 

There are lots of DIY bloggers on the internet and renovation shows on TV but the Fixer Upper movement with Chip and Joanna Gaines, proves that people love a good story. The show does a great job of showing their family, their beliefs and personalities. That is what people buy into and why they flock to Waco, Texas to experience Magnolia Market. 

Chances are, you do not have a unique product or service so positioning yourself apart from the masses comes down to defining why people will do business with YOU. The answer is found in your purpose, your why and your story. Think about why you support the brands that you do. When you dig deep to answer this question, you will find that you support them because you resonate with their vision in some way, they align with your values. Master sharing your story and being authentic and the sky is the limit in where you can take your brand and business. 

2. Has a blog and a website. While this sounds like a simple "no brainer" I am amazed at how many business owners are still trying to do business from their personal Facebook page. Being a modern business means being able to create content all in one place that is being indexed by search engines and can be leveraged in an evergreen manner.

Let's use Pinterest as an example. A piece of content is pinned to the platform ONCE and can be perpetually repinned. I have several quote photos that have been repinned to date over 10K times and blog posts that have been repinned to date over 2K times. Work I did one time that is driving traffic to my blog and brand daily.    

Setting up a website and blog is not expensive. A business that has their information online is a business that can work more efficiently and save time by creating valuable content that solves a problem and sharing that content across social media channels over and over.

Businesses that have websites also have more influence and credibility. Big brands like Apple and Target have an online presence through a website and social media despite having thousands of brick and mortar stores because it builds consumer trust. No matter how big or small, every business owner can benefit from an online presence. 

3. Is building an email list. It may seem like another modern business no-brainer, but many business owners are still resisting building a network and trust through email. 72% of US online adults send and/or receive emails via smartphone at least once a week (via Email Is Not Dead) As an online business, email marketing is still an effective way to build influence and customer trust. 

4. Maximizes social media. Social media is a proven and powerful tool in increasing brand awareness, consumer trust and reaching a targeted audience. Social media gives a modern business the ability to highlight their products, services, solve problems to showcase their expertise and share their brand story to a larger audience. 

You don't need to tackle all platforms at once. Use your strengths and leveraging them to your advantage. Are you a video junkie? FB Live and YouTube will be your new BFFs (yes you still need a blog. Instead of writing content, use your videos and embed them into blog posts).

Love to write? Create in-depth "how to" blog posts and free printables that will have people coming back for more.

Love to take photos? Use Instagram to tell visual stories and build a following there. Use that same content to create a gallery on a blog so your work is being indexed (Google is not indexing a THING you put up on Instagram but you can repurpose that work onto a blog where it will be indexed by search engines). 

5. Understands selling is about giving. I don't know about you but I am a sucker for any business that gives back. I love knowing that the money I spend with a brand is being put back into the community to serve a greater good. I recently discovered MudLOVE on Instagram and fell totally in love with their coffee mugs, brand and their mission. Just a few minutes of scrolling through their feed and reading the heart swelling stories, I was sold and found myself on their website placing an order. 

A modern business is one that operates from a place of its better to give than to receive. A business with a genuine interest and desire to deliver real value to people and their community, who values and puts people and passion before profit. Who see customers as a priceless commodity and not just a sale or a transaction.

Any one can buy a domain, throw up a website and fill it full of things to buy but the digital age in which we live has not replaced the human need people have to emotionally connect themselves to who, what and where they spend their time, energy and money. A modern business that can put these pieces into place and do them well is a business that will sustain and thrive.  

April Williams is the #CreativeMomista of two boys • Storyteller • Coffee Addict • Woman Warrior Of God • Texas Country Girl • Creative Expressive • A vintage soul passionate about living a simple life with a modern approach to business and branding

Struggling to build a more modern business that will allow you to be more productive in less time? Join us inside The Creative Gristmill. We would be honored to have you xo

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