“Servant leadership begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. The conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from the one who is leader first perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions.” Robert Greenleaf
Just in case you’ve been vacationing in the south of France, let me catch you up. Elon Musk bought Twitter. It was a rocky love affair right from the start. The now Chief Twit got cold feet and tried to back out, but finally agreed to the sale.
None of this is unusual in selling a business. But here’s what is.
Once the deal was done, Musk proceeded to make the classic mistake I’ve seen new small business owners make.
Impatient to rebuild Twitter with his own vision, Musk proceeded to tear apart a business he knew little about in the first week of ownership.
Not willing to take some time to learn what was working well and what wasn’t, Musk fired top executives and Twitter’s board of directors.
By the end of the week, he began mass layoffs, letting go of about half of the company’s workers—by email.
Advertisers pressed pause on ad spending, Steven King threatened to leave, other prominent Twitter accounts did leave, employees quit, and the Twitter world shuddered.
How could the richest man in the world run a business this way? Sadly, it happens all the time. What’s saddest of all is that with all of his wealth, Musk hasn’t learned—and doesn’t want to learn—how to effectively grow a business, but he’s not the only one.
When Someone Hands You the Keys to the Kingdom, Use Them
I saw the very same thing happen with a luxury bed and breakfast that I worked with. I helped them with their small business marketing, turning around their ailing newsletter so that it was profitable.
I also wrote creative pieces that encouraged visitors to take advantage of a new program they were offering.
It worked. The marketing system was a proven winner. All the new owners had to do was plug and play. Literally.
When the business sold, the new people trashed everything that had been so carefully cultivated and was proven to work.
I high tailed it out of there because I have limited patience with arrogance and stupidity which begs the question…
When someone hands you the keys to a very profitable kingdom, why not use them? Why drive around endlessly instead of stopping to ask for directions?
Why Time is on Your Side in Small Business Marketing
There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking the time to understand your audience, how your business works, and what it needs to grow.
You will waste more time and money—and lose the trust of your employees and customers—by choosing to fly by the seat of your pants.
And this advice is not just for new owners. The longer you own a business, the more you’ll see the wisdom of studying market changes, asking questions, and remaining perpetually curious.
These traits are foundational to not only growing a business, but to keep it growing. Otherwise, you’ll just end up a mean old person with a bunch of money and an exaggerated since of self.
Don’t we have enough of those?