You have to be in it for the long run, even when you’re afraid you’ll go broke in the short run.
Growing a business isn’t easy. It feels like there’s always 100 things entrepreneurs must do every day and more gets added to the list. It’s even harder when the income is inconsistent. You started a business to create freedom and control in your life, but you also want financial freedom. Stress related to money affects too many people and your business is one thing you do to alleviate that. When the income growth isn’t there, entrepreneurs start thinking about growth strategies.
Just as with everything in life, there are good strategies and terrible ones. The ones that hurt entrepreneurs the most are the strategies that done without realizing they’re shady. These growth strategies are so common these days that you might not think twice when you do them. They seem like they’ll help you but they’re doing the opposite. Avoid these four shady growth tactics that are hurting your business and ruining your reputation.
1. Adding people to your email list without them signing up.
It many places around the world, it is illegal to add someone to your email list without their permission. What I am talking about here is the “grey” area. These days, it’s not uncommon for someone that you’ve talked to through email or even someone you’ve interacted with on LinkedIn to take your email address and add you to their list. The logic they use is that since you’ve interacted, it’s implied consent.
If you have done this, STOP! People absolutely hate this tactic. They see red when they get an email from a list they didn’t sign up for. It’s super shady and I guarantee that you will start your relationship on the wrong note.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Let someone opt into your email list on their own. You can point them to your website and sign up, but they have to decide. Don’t make them a decision for them. It comes off very desperate.
2. Adding people to your Facebook group without asking their permission.
This goes along with the email list adding but this one is done more because it feels harmless — it’s not. Every day, entrepreneurs are added to dozens of Facebook groups they have no interest in — it’s irritating. Most entrepreneurs are trying to limit their notifications and the things they’re involved in. They’re trying to keep freedom in their schedules and what they take on. The reality is that we don’t want to be part of more Facebook groups, even if you think yours is good and relevant. If you think someone would make a good addition to your Facebook group, shoot them an invitation.
3. Trying to sell to someone as soon as they connect with you.
This should be obvious but it’s not. People buy from someone they know, like and trust. The only way they’ll buy from you if they don’t know you is if they get a referral from someone they trust. When you try to sell right away, it comes off as desperate, and people rarely do business with desperate entrepreneurs.
Give someone time to know you, get value from you, and see what you offer. Let them make a decision based off of what they’ve seen and need.
4. Exaggerating and/or lying about your results.
It’s easy to be a social media “baller” and we see so many every day. It would probably be staggering to find out the truth about claims being made in marketing. Results are often exaggerated or are outright lies. They are done to make you believe someone or their organization is more successful than it actually is. They hope it gets you to buy. Don’t lie. Don’t exaggerate. Focus on the benefits someone could get when they decide to spend money with you. If you can’t think of what those are without lying, you have some work to do. The truth always comes out and it will ruin your business.
You can grow your business without using these shady tactics. They may work for a little while but they will destroy your business over time. There are so much better ways to market and grow a business in a way that builds trust and loyalty. A little common sense will go a long way.
This article was first published on Entrepreneur.com