A few years ago I was backstage at a big event, hanging out with the other speakers and (as we often do) talking shop. One speaker, a well known internet marketing expert, said something to me I’ll never forget.
The topic had to do with the directions our businesses were taking. She was adding in a big dose of social media training and consulting to her mix, along with other online visibility strategies. Then she peered at me with a slightly nervous look and confessed,
“Well, you’ve got to stay RELEVANT!”
The fear in her eyes told all. But, both she and I knew she was right.
The dictionary definition of relevant
is “bearing upon or connected with the matter in hand; pertinent: a relevant remark.” It’s all about what people need NOW in an ever changing world of tactics, strategies, and solutions.
The good news is, you don’t have to go into fear mode to address staying relevant.
It’s an ongoing job of seeing where you are, where your prospects are, what the winds of change are blowing your way, and of course where your passion is directing you.
In business terms, you can break it down in a few ways.
Is what you’re offering solving an immediate and pressing problem your client faces? Are your offers matching their needs TODAY?
Are you using the best tools to reach your ideal clients?
Are you wording things in such a way that prospective clients stop, look, and swear you’re talking DIRECTLY to them?
Are you hanging with a relevant network? Are your connections connected to the right opportunities for you?
How are you keeping a perspective on all the changes swirling about? This might mean having a mentor in your life to help you see what you can’t see, following people who are on the cutting edge, or somehow being tuned into what’s shifting around you.
This isn’t about jumping on the latest fad or changing yourself in a way that doesn’t suit you. Relevance and Flightiness are not interchangeable! More often than not, it’s a simple tweak to one or more of the areas outlined above that can save your business and keep you on the map.
So where do you go from here?
This is what I do:
- I stay awake. Awake to what’s happening around me, awake to what’s bugging me in marketing, awake to what’s overused and overhyped. To me, that spells “go the opposite way” and I high tail it out of any party that’s feeling clone-ish.
- I never walk alone. Maybe you can operate in a vacuum, but not me. I need other professionals working at a high level to serve as sounding boards, trouble-shooters, idea machines. That’s why I mentor others, that’s why others mentor me.
- I take risks. Entrepreneurs love taking risks and trying new things. Sometimes they pay off, sometimes they don’t. But like the Lotto, you can’t win if you don’t play.
- I keep it fun. If it’s not fun, I won’t do it. I want to find the coolest way to stay relevant and build buzz for my biz. Maybe that means I throw out a shocking title every now and then, maybe it means I drop something I’m known for (bye bye social media consulting!) Find what makes it fun for you.