What one man’s word and reputation can accomplish

Today I learned the power a familiar four-letter word holds. That word is “hope”. What causes a person to leave their homeland, their family and friends, for a new country where they don’t know the language and have no job lined up and no one to welcome them? It’s hope. Hope that good things will happen and dreams will be fulfilled. Hope that your new young bride will be with you through the challenges of assimilating into this new land of promise.

How entrepreneurs are born

My grandfather had this hope. My maternal grandfather was an Italian immigrant who started an optical manufacturing company in New Jersey that employed over 500 people in the 1960s.  The company was responsible for feeding a lot of families and delivered many other immigrants into the American middle class.

On his way to Ellis Island, Grandpa Michael fell in love with Lady Liberty. All of my 16 first cousins and I were extremely proud of Liberty Optical.  We learned many valuable life and business lessons from Grandpa, Liberty and the three uncles who ran the business after he died. Show up, work hard, respect people, and always do the right thing even if no one is looking.

Married to “hope” is another four-letter word, “risk”. You don’t take risks unless hope rests in your heart. It was risky for Grandpa to open a manufacturing business with loans. Could the company be successful? Would it be successful? He would only find out as time unfolded. Grandpa had a vision to begin a manufacturing company to provide for his family of seven children. The family story goes like this: every child had two eyes and they would need glasses, ergo the company began in 1920.

I like to think I get my entrepreneurial streak from my Grandfather who always told us anything was possible as long as we worked hard because there are no shortcuts to success. Great advice for then and now. However, the personalities that make us who we are, tempt us into taking the easy way out. In the world of social media, marketing departments look for short cuts. There aren’t any social shortcuts, you have to invest time and resources to build a business.

The power of hard work and social media marketing

Social media marketing is the house painting of the business world. Everyone thinks they can do it, how hard can it be to post pictures and get likes when I already have a Facebook account? But social media marketing is more than just posting on social media channels such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.  It requires content creation and curation, creativity, consistency, engagement, social listening, extensive testing, a strategy and tons of patience. Social media marketing also includes a strategy for reputation management and customer reviews.  Definitely not a job for your nephew, brilliant though he may be.

Social media marketing myths abound and they can distract you from building your business.  The business of business will likely remove you from the passion that inspired you to pour your heart and soul into the business in the first place. Recognize your strengths and find people to lean on for the many tasks that can consume your time distract you from growing your brand and capturing sales.

You wouldn’t trust your investments and CRM to a novice, so don’t trust your brand’s social media marketing to a rookie.  Hire the experts to deliver the results you need and establish your social proof.  Learn what the internet is saying about you, improve customer satisfaction and overall quality, improve SEO, capture customer reviews and make your business more profitable.

That four-letter word, hope, will keep you focused on the vision you have for your company. Do that and the risks you take won’t seem like challenges, they will only be the avenue to your dream.