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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

Are You Rubbing Your Business Raw?

Written By: Carol Roth | No Comments

When I was about six years old, my best friend Jill and I had a genius idea; we were going to test different facial cleansers to see which was the most effective.  So, we went into the bathroom cabinet, pulled out about seven different cleansers (my mom was a product fiend) and set them out on the counter.  Then, in our infinite wisdom, we began to wash our faces with the cleaners- first Phisoderm, then Dove, then the next, one right after another after another.

After the seventh cleanser, we were noticing that the products stung.  Actually, we had literally rubbed our faces raw (and my mother was none too pleased).  What we failed to take into account was that the first cleanser had done most of the job and that we were getting diminishing returns with each new product, up until the only thing that was left to take off of our faces was the skin.

This was a highly painful lesson, but something that I metaphorically see happening in many businesses. 

Business owners have a suite of options available for their businesses, whether in marketing, revenue streams or their basic business model.  However, what happens is that so many entrepreneurs lack confidence in execution that they just keep layering on new options without giving the first one a chance to work over time or even evaluating what worked about one before trying to compare a second option.

So, just like my facial cleansing experiment some 30-odd years ago, they end up rubbing their business raw.  They burn through money, time and effort by piling on different tactics without a strategy and without ascertaining any particular tactic’s results.

If you are going to try something- whether as big as a new business venture or as small as a social media endeavor, figure out your strategy up front and decide:

  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • Why is a particular tactic your first choice and what do you hope it will achieve?
  • How much time is reasonable to get a read on whether it has been effective?
  • How will you measure if it has been effective?
  • What budget are you willing to give to trying it out?

Otherwise, if you keep trying tactics on top of each other, you are basically just washing your face with one cleanser after another.

Article written by
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth