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  • Jeanel Carlson

Navigating Startup Marketing: Acknowledging When You Are (and Aren’t) the Expert

Updated: Apr 2

Like many, I dread tax season - staring at a stack of tax documents, feeling the weight of impending deadlines and the tediousness of navigating paperwork. Sure, there are self-service tools like TurboTax, and I've heard tales of the brave souls who tackle taxes solo. But let's be real – does doing your taxes yourself offer the best results? If your finances have any complexity, you risk losing out on the thoroughness that maximizes a return. Plus, without the requisite tax code knowledge, doing taxes yourself the right way would take HOURS - even with automated assistance.  I gladly pay for experts to do the work.

In a world where time is money, there's a crucial opportunity cost with DIY (do-it-yourself), whether it's accounting or other areas outside of your competency. It's not just about the monetary cost but the time spent away from activities that align with your strengths. We all know someone who’s convinced they can do everything better than any expert. (Spoiler alert: it never ends well.) There's always value in hiring professionals who have dedicated years to mastering their craft.

Marketing: just because you can do it yourself doesn’t mean you should

Let's draw a parallel to the marketing discipline. Just as many non-accountants attempt DIY accounting, numerous business leaders and owners believe they can effortlessly dive into the marketing world. 

While the accessibility provided by social media platforms and AI tools like Open AI’s Chat GPT makes creating and sharing content easier, this flood of content has also made it more challenging for brands to break through consistently.  I hate to break it to you - but now, more than ever, marketing requires a thoughtful, multifaceted, and customized strategy for brands to find consistent, long-term success.

As a startup or small business, it’s easy to convince yourself you must do it all. It means not only are you the marketer, but often the accountant, bookkeeper, lawyer, human resources department, and more. Spread thin, you’ll deliver a less-than-stellar output that impedes market traction. You can’t afford that when the stakes are this high: with limited capital runway and only a few months or years to prove profitability, how you allocate your resources can determine the success or failure of your business.

Knowing your zone of genius (and incompetence) can set you free

It’s important to assess yourself and your zone of genius to harness your gifts, build momentum, and set yourself up for success. Gay Hendricks, the author of The Big Leap, has a fantastic visual that we can use to map out our genius and incompetence. 

Indulge me: take out a sheet of paper (or open up a table doc), and draw a box with four quadrants with an X and Y axis. The horizontal X axis indicates TALENT and the vertical Y axis indicates TIME. 

Next, outline all the buckets of responsibilities you oversee and map them to the zones below. Those in the incompetent or competent zone are ripe for outsourcing to experts. 

While many startups need investor funding to begin hiring help, at least identifying your zone of genius will set you up for outsourcing and hiring plans. 

You can also turn to fractional agencies like OakBloom Marketing who specialize in helping startups extend their resources to maximize brand influence. Stop wasting time on marketing strategy outside your zone of genius. Rather than swirling in a sea of marketing tasks, it's time to stick to your strengths and let the experts handle the rest. Don't let the illusion of simplicity fool you; marketing, like accounting, gives you the best returns when you rely on experts.

Contact OakBloom Marketing today to take the first step towards growing your marketing success.  🚀✨


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