A few weeks ago, we had a conversation in the Spin Sucks Community about how to grow your business—where you find your clients, how to best network, how to qualify prospects, and more. The question was posed, “How do you grow your businesses? I’m launching my agency soon and am learning how to secure continuous business.”

This is a challenging question, of course. If there were an easy button, everyone would run their own business. One of the hardest parts is understanding there will be good years, there will be great years, and there will be absolutely dismal years. How you prepare for—and handle—the down years is what will create your success. 

While it’s not an easy job, being in charge of your own destiny and calling the shots is worth every dismal year business ownership will bring you. 

I used to think that if my agency didn’t work out, I would go work for a big firm again. I’ve since changed my mind. There is no way you could get me to go work for someone again. While it might be tempting in down years, giving up the flexibility I have and the option to make as much money as I can, without the biases of a manager weighing on those decisions, is worth every reason you can think not to run your own business. 

Staying Top-of-Mind

I had breakfast with an industry friend last week, and we were talking about the impending recession. Both of us have had more new business in the first few weeks of the year than we have since 2019. We were chatting about how it doesn’t seem possible there is a recession coming with all of the businesses hiring agencies.

But. She and I both are aggressive in our new business efforts. And we both have created inbound marketing monsters that do a lot of the lead generation for us. The name of the game is visibility and staying top-of-mind, two things most agency owners (heck, business leaders around the globe) aren’t willing to invest in nor take the time to do.

We have a client who has a crazy interesting brain. The way he thinks about business is unique and interesting, and if I could just get him to post on LinkedIn, it would change the trajectory of his business. Every day that goes by is another day that no one is thinking about his business. He’s top-of-mind to no one.

It doesn’t matter that we’ve all but posted content for him. He just won’t go the extra step to log into LinkedIn and publish it. He keeps telling me he doesn’t have time and then, out of the other side of his mouth, he complains that his competitors keep winning all of the business he would love to have.

Plant Your Trees!

I often tell him that the best time to plant a tree was 10 years ago. The second best time is today. And yet.

That also doesn’t stop him from comparing himself to me. He’ll say things like, “Well, I hired you and your firm because you know how to do this. Clearly. It’s how I found you and how you stayed top-of-mind until I was ready to buy.”

Mmmm hmmm.

I also started all of this in 2009, and it very quickly became our number one sales tool. I planted a tree in 2009, and I’ve done so every year since then.

And yet.

We have another client who let us launch a podcast with them in October. We hit the ground running. Fast. And it has already generated $400K in new revenue. A couple of weeks ago, I was on my weekly call with the VP of sales, and he told me they were chasing a gigantic piece of business, and it was down to the wire. It’s going to be a six-figure account for them. I looked up their contact, and he subscribed to and started listening to, the podcast in December. 

When we talked to their leadership team about it, one of the execs said, “Oh, yeah! I met that guy at a trade show 10 years ago!” I smiled and said, “That’s the name of the game. You met him. We got you back on his radar. Now he’s going to buy.”

It’s how it works. If you are starting a business now, thinking about starting a business someday, or have a business and want to grow, you have to be top-of-mind. The best time to plant a tree was 10 years ago. The second best time is today. 

How to Grow Your Business

Let’s talk about how to grow your business, no matter what stage you’re in—just starting, mid-growth, or been around for 100 years, like me. In other words, let’s get your trees planted now so they’ll grow and grow, and you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.

If you do only one thing this year, get yourself on LinkedIn. Post consistently, test out their newsletter feature, share others’ content with your own take, and engage with comments. There is nothing, I mean nothing, more powerful than LinkedIn for your business’s growth this year.

Beep2B has a fun daily email that they send with lots of ideas on how you can use LinkedIn effectively. If you’re intimidated by it, subscribe to their email, and it will help you come up with some fun ideas.

But here is how I use it: once a week (usually on Thursdays, but sometimes it leaks into Fridays) I republish our content there using the newsletter feature. The only thing I change is the call-to-action. You’ll eventually see this content as an article in my weekly newsletter

I don’t create anything new, and the most work it takes is changing the CTA, adding an image, and writing an update to publish with it. I also answer comments, but that takes hardly any time.

Results of Your Efforts

And let me tell you what that has resulted in since I began in early 2022:

  • Six new clients—four coaching and two agency
  • Ten speaking engagements—all virtual
  • Three multi-day workshops for large organizations 
  • Managing to get the PESO Model™ Certification into 22 more schools

Every one of those opportunities came to us because they read my content there and liked the way we think. 

I will also tell you though this doesn’t mean as much as generating business, it sure is fun to have more than 83,000 followers—reading and engaging with our content. That blows the Spin Sucks subscriber numbers out of the water!

Plant Your Trees!

Now I know you’re probably thinking, “But Gini, you have all of that content to repurpose so it’s easy for you.” Sure. I agree with that sentiment. But remember, I planted a tree in 2009—and kept planting trees.

If you have nothing to start with, that’s OK! Just commit to publishing something consistently. We have one client who publishes something new every month—and then spends time in between sharing others’ content and engaging with people on LinkedIn. 

It doesn’t have to be weekly like mine. It doesn’t even need to be monthly like his. It can be quarterly, but the point is to be consistent.

Once you plant that tree and you see how successful it is in the growth of your business, you can start planting more trees by adding more content tactics that will keep you top–of-mind.

There isn’t an easy button; it takes time, patience, and dedication. But if you start right now, the fruits of your labors will soon be found and you might even become addicted to the success of your new business efforts. 

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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