You Can Build a Better Mousetrap and Still Go Out of Business

man with phone

I’m a quote guy. When I read through a book or article, I am constantly underlining quotes to remember, quotes that inspire and points that teach. But what you must always be careful of is the newest, most revolutionary idea is not always the best or most successful one.

H.L. Meneken said, “For every complicated question there is an answer that is elegant, attractive, simple and 100% wrong.” So be careful what you accept as truth, especially with your livelihood on the line.

And this isn’t just with new ideas either; some of the old sayings can be just as dangerous.

Here’s a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson I’m sure you’ve all heard before: “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” That’s elegant, simple and 100% false.

Sorry, Mr. Emerson, but the impression that gives is “Business is really easy, all you have to do is have a superior product, and customers will come running.” While that is all too widely accepted as fact by business owners, it’s woefully inaccurate.

Better yet, it’s incomplete, because it’s missing a HUGE component… marketing.

You could invent a car engine that runs on water, a cell phone with an everlasting battery and a pill that instantly gives you six-pack abs, but I will guarantee you something. If you never get the word out that you have these fantastic products, no one will come running to your door looking for them. Ever.

A restaurant can have the greatest food in the city, but if only a few people know about it, they’ll be out of business before word can spread. A contractor can have the newest equipment and best trained techs in the area, but that amounts to zero if people don’t know who you are and how to contact you. You can have the most beautiful website ever created, but if you are on page 9 of the Google results no one will ever see it.

Sure, if you have been doing business in a relatively small market for 50 or so years you might not have to advertise much, but that reputation has been hard earned and that’s a super-slow growth track. Ask yourself, “What could this business have been by now if we would have actively pursued getting a message out rather than largely waiting for them to come to us? And what could we do now with our reputation AND a strong top-of-mind awareness through advertising?”

If it were just a matter of being the best, then a prospect would never pass up an established contractor for the one truck guy who put up billboards all around town, right? But it happens. Why? You are better, you have more experience and a nicer building… but his message was out in front of them at the right time, so he got the call.

With all due respect to one of the greatest sports movies ever, the “build it and they will come” mentality just does not work well in business. Don’t just sit back and wait – you must have a plan to take your market.

Have confidence that your product is the best, have confidence that you are a better contractor than your competition, but, most importantly, make sure your prospects hear that message everywhere.

Now the world is listening, and if they find you really ARE offering a superior product, they WILL come running.

For ideas on how you can get your message out to a new market or stay in-touch with existing customers, check these links:

Direct Response

Contractor Retention System Information Kit

justin jacobs
Justin Jacobs
Marketing Coach