Do you wake up to an alarm clock? A lot of us do, and when we hear it go off we swing into action – or we hit the snooze button a few times. Everyone has a different wake up ritual, but the point of the ritual is that you wake up and start your day. All through school, bells sound when it is time to switch classes or to let us know we can go back home. When the phone rings (or vibrates) we know we need to answer a call or a text. While driving, when we hear a car horn, we look around to see if it is someone waving or a vehicle about to collide with our own. Each of these sounds is a signal that is designed to trigger us to take action – to do something. These signals create a sense of urgency.
Some people live their whole lives only responding to these triggers and you most likely know people like this. They can have a sense of urgency, but it is always brought on by outside forces acting on them. They don’t necessarily cultivate an inner sense of urgency. Part of developing the mindset needed to succeed in business is encouraging this sense of urgency within ourselves.
In a popular article on his blog, marketing legend Dan Kennedy talked about this sense of urgency and why it matters for entrepreneurs. Whether you do business online or not, understanding this core personal trait and why should develop it will make a difference when it comes to how effective you are in your enterprise.
Why Does a Sense of Urgency Matter?
According to Kennedy, those who lead the charge in business are those who reach out and take action. These folks he summarizes this way:
We need to be honest about something here and that is that a lot of people view Internet Marketing as ‘easy‘. It should come as no surprise, because since its inception marketers have sold the concepts of ‘becoming rich overnight‘ and ‘the easy way to make your first million dollars‘. It’s human nature to want an easy path, but Kennedy doesn’t say that today’s business leaders got there by doing as little as possible, he states the opposite. That means we can learn a lot more from how athletes train than many so-called ‘gurus’ of the niche marketing world.
Let’s face it, a lot of us find the appeal of niche marketing to be… go ahead and say it: low competition. Is there anything wrong with that? Absolutely not. In fact, it is actually intelligent to seek out niches you can dominate, there’s no problem with that concept. The truth, though, is that dominating even a tiny niche, if it’s actually profitable, is going to be a profoundly short experience for you if you are not taking action to become a stronger leader in that niche.
Do you want to be a leader?
Then you have to not just ‘think‘ like a leader, you have to ‘act‘ like a leader. A friend of mine recently pointed out something I had not thought about I think serves as a good metaphor for why a sense of urgency matters when it comes to niche marketing.
If you look at wolves (or even their domestic cousins, dogs) in a pack situation, you find that there is one leader – the Alpha. In order to maintain his position of dominance, the Alpha doesn’t just have one fight and all the other wolves agree he should be king. No, he is constantly challenged by those who would love to take his place. Out of all the other wolves in the pack, the Alpha probably bears the most scars and he definitely has to do the most in order to hold his position and enjoy the fruits of that position.
Niche marketing, then, isn’t that much different – if you want to be the leader you have to constantly remind the market of why you should be the leader because it is your customers, not your competition, that decides this.
Yet, Kennedy reminds us that how we take action also matters – not just any action will suffice.
Staying ‘Busy’ Doesn’t Always Mean You’re Effective
Checking your stats, networking with others in your field, responding to emails, making tweaks to your sites’ designs – these are all activities and they do matter, but are they really the core of your business? Staying busy isn’t always the same as staying effective. Are you accomplishing things that actually matter in the end or are you simply checking off things on a list of activities designed to make you feel active? Here’s a quote that is simple, but well worth keeping in mind from one of America’s more noted thinkers:
It is so easy to be seduced by ‘activity‘ that carries with it little risk and therefore logically also brings little in the way of reward. Are you adding content to your site that is going to push you forward in your niche or perhaps even expand that niche or are you just adding more content? Are you reaching out to others and taking risks to build your level of influence or are you building a site and complaining when it gets very little traffic?
If you want to own your niche then you have to plan the way you will dominate it and then begin taking intelligent action designed to give you that position of power. We aren’t talking about Sun Tzu’s ‘Art of War’ or Machiavelli’s strategies, we are simply talking about an often touted Top Marketing Strategies resource we believe everyone should tap into: common sense.
Think About Offline Examples of Business Leaders
Internet Marketing is, in many ways, its own little economic ecosystem. There are the big fish who have million dollar launches, put out hugely popular books and make TV appearances. There are those quiet ones with success stories that share what they have learned, and then there are those at the bottom scrabbling to get a foothold, buying everything in sight hoping for a guide that will finally make it all easy. In addition, you find all sorts of web specific issues to fixate on ranging from new ways to do video marketing to age-old controversies such as whether marketers should use email blasts to grow their business. These issues may be important, but think about the bigger picture.
Consider companies both online and offline that are successful in the world today and look at the sheer amount of effort they put into developing and promoting new services. Wal-Mart is massive because you can buy nearly anything there, the same goes for Amazon now. They offer a huge range of products and they are not afraid to plunge into a new product area. Big name fast food chains are another good example, always developing some new taste sensation to bring in the crowds. Hollywood, year after year, continues to try to bring in the biggest box office numbers possible and smash the old records.
This is what it is all about, reaching for the stars and believing what you do is important enough to warrant putting so much energy and time towards it. Is your business worth that kind of personal investment? Is being a leader in your niche that valuable to you? What about being a business success in general, offline or on? You need to think about these things and discover your answer because when you can tap into that genuinely passionate sense of urgency, you can become one of the people Kennedy is referring to above.
Encourage Action Within Your Team, Too
A lot of us work with other people. It could be within the company we work for or it could be people we are doing a joint venture with. It might even be your spouse who has to hold down the fort while you try to make a real success of your business. In this instance, being a leader who can instill a sense of urgency in those around them is going to become very important. Take note of what Kennedy says regarding this:
Struggles are ahead and unless you and your entire team takes action, the business is going to sink. The saying goes that a business is either growing or dying and there is no in between. Even if there was a potential state of stasis your business could be in, would you genuinely want that? The key here is that you have to create push and it is a lot easier to motivate people than to push them yourself.
You can get more done with them than you can by trying to force them to do things. Focus on generating action from those you are in business with because that same personal vibrancy is quite likely to carry over into how you approach marketing and get your customers to take action, too.
How Are You When It Comes to Taking Action?
No one ever said taking action, and especially taking it consistently, would be easy to do. How are you when it comes to taking action? Are you constantly pushing out new products, services or marketing methods to build your influence within your niche? Everyone has improving they could do and by putting what we read to work, we get closer to the goal. We’d love to hear your stories of success so feel free to leave a comment below. If you want to ask questions, we’d love that, too. It’s always great to hear from you.