Entrepreneurs’ Crash Course For Strategic Visibility

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The hustle for visibility is not just about speed, it is also about the right direction. Visibility demands strategic pacing. Assess, pivot if needed, and then sprint.

In the last ten articles, we covered several aspects of business assets, what to build, why, and how to do it. One of the assets we discussed was related to visibility.

Coincidently, as we run a docuseries (documantory-series) on the ‘Visible Founders,’ I had this experience up close and personal in many instances. It is about how businesses, especially startups and small-to-medium-sized companies, approach this opportunity. Many people treat it like a paid marketing opportunity, and that is where it gets set up to eventually fail. The fundamentals are missed, basic common minimum expectations are misunderstood, and, more importantly, things start moving faster but in the wrong direction.

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Here are seven reasons why that happens and how to fix it.

The business is new or in a startup phase

This does not necessarily mean that the company is only a few years old. It also indicates the mindset, approach, and operating style of the business. I have seen several businesses that have been active for seven to eight years but still have not found the product-market fit. They still run like an experimental company.

The key is having a product-market fit as well as having a decent customer base. If it is not there, or you are not sure of it, that is going to be an asset you would want to build first.

The business does not have an optimised foundation

When I say foundation, I am talking about online as well as offline. For example, many businesses do not have optimised websites and online sales channels. In some cases, their supply chain or delivery chain is still weak or underweight. What it means is that when visibility kicks in and an influx of inquiries starts, they are likely to crumble under that weight.

Unfortunately, it is too late to build that type of capacity on the fly or as an afterthought. The recommendation here is to build a resilient supply or delivery chain for your offering so that when the time comes, you are ready to milk those assets.

The brand is underdeveloped

A business that has not yet developed a strong brand identity or voice is less effective in the visibility game. I would dare say that it is almost useless for them.

Branding is not just about logos, icons, and colour combinations, it is about the purpose and backstory of the business that mostly ties in with the founder’s personal life. Every time we have told those stories, we have seen more uptake and more responsiveness.

Branding is not just about what you would do, it is also about what you certainly would not do. More on this is already written in previous articles but you get the point. So, develop that clarity within yourself as a founder. Then document it and get your team aligned to that before taking the next step.

The business has limited social engagement

Social engagement is not only about online social media presence but also about offline presence. A well-established social media presence is certainly desirable. It is in a way a testament, proof that people care about you and your message. It gives confidence that you have something valuable to share with a wider audience.

When a business has minimal or non-engaging presence in this area, visibility will not help much. It is not about having millions of followers. It is about a strong audience base with consistency in online and offline presence.

Their scalability is a challenge

Selling 50 or 100 widgets is one thing, selling 5000 or more is another. Many businesses are comfortable when it is a small-scale operation, but bigger operations fail them. Rather their internal process is not designed to cater to scaling.

Scalable process is one of the critical assets and sometimes engaging a business process consultant is worth the money. At least you will have a business process that will scale as your visibility grows.

Increased visibility can certainly lead to increased demand, but if your processes become a bottleneck, then the result will be lost opportunities… lots of them.

The business lacks bandwidth

Many small businesses I have dealt with remain small, not because of the funding or limited opportunities, but because of the mindset. Many founders want to put their hands on every aspect of the business. While it is good to know your business inside out, meddling with every aspect makes you a bottleneck.

Entrepreneurs who are already stretched thin in managing various aspects of the business do not have time or mental bandwidth. This puts them in a difficult position.

If the entrepreneur is not available at the time of being visible, what is the point?

The key here is to identify all the bottleneck areas and start solving them. You, as an entrepreneur, need to free up your bandwidth as much as you can.

Most businesses lack soul

Many times it becomes a dilemma for me while evaluating an entrepreneur for visibility opportunities. They are not doing well in one or more aspects out of the six of them above. But still, we like their story or feel that we must put them on a pedestal. Not that we can always pinpoint the exact reason, perhaps I can say it is an X-factor or the soul of the business!

There is something one feels about the business or the entrepreneur, your customer, partner, or anyone else. That feeling makes them forgive your lacunae in other areas.

Do not do the business just for the money or borrowed cause.

What is your X-factor? Think about that one thing that makes you special as an entrepreneur and as a person. You will realise that it is one of your biggest assets.

The point is…

Sometimes it is necessary to slow down before speeding up. Visibility is one such thing when entrepreneurs need to slow down, assess their positioning, reposition if needed, and then speed up.

Doing the hard work is one thing, but working in the right direction is another. Just like there won’t be much success if you were to run from one city to another for a business meeting, no matter how fast you run. Hiring a cab, or taking a flight, train, or bus will be the right choice.

In the same way, tools and techniques are important. Add to that having the right assets alongside them.

Build them… milk them… and see your venture soar.


Anand Tamboli is a serial entrepreneur, speaker, award-winning author, and an emerging-technology thought leader

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