Small Business Strategies From The WWE
The best personal assistant I ever had was John. He was kind, smart, efficient, gentle and easy to get along with. He was also a new father who doted constantly on his baby girl. Imagine my shock when one day, John proudly announced that he had landed two of the hottest tickets in town — to World Wrestling Entertainment's Friday Night Smackdown!
What?!! Wrestling?! Smacking People Down?! I could hardly believe that my mild mannered assistant was a hard core smackdown wrestling fan. I couldn't picture him cheering on the stars like "Paul Bearer," "Undertaker" and "Hacksaw Jim Duggan" as they ripped each other to shreds on the wrestling mat.
John and I had not seen or heard from each other in several years, but out of the blue, he contacted me last month. We enjoyed a great conversation and I found out that he is still a hard core Smackdown fan, even after all this time.
The Smackdown Strategy
Our conversation lead me to the Corporate page of the Smackdown website to find out more about making a profit by paying people to smack each other down as hard as they can, all the while grunting and generally acting like untamed animals. While there, I came across the Smackdown Business Stragegy:
"Our formula is straightforward. We develop compelling storylines anchored by our Superstars. This content drives television ratings, which, in turn, drive pay-per-view buys, live event attendance, WWE.com traffic and branded merchandise sales and other business initiatives. … We are working to expand the mainstream potential of the WWE brand in domestic and international markets, develop extension businesses off the World Wrestling Entertainment brand, fully develop our Internet presence as an entertainment and advertising platform, and develop new programming and sports entertainment brands that leverage WWE’s core competencies. As part of our business strategy, we continue to pursue initiatives to strengthen our brands, expand internationally, effectively use our valuable library of wrestling content, and explore options in filmed entertainment."
Small Business Smackdown
Here's how this translates into your own Small Business Smackdown.
1. Stories. WWE's strategy begins with developing compelling storylines. The company is anchored by stories.
Every brand needs a story because people don't buy products. Products are commodities that can be purchased on any street corner and on a million websites. But stories are unique.
You may sell fantastic sugar scrub, but you are not the only one. Other people also have fantastic sugar scrub. What sets yours apart from everyone else's is how you weave your story into your sugar scrub sales and marketing efforts.
I once offered this advice to Rachel Lane of Barcelona Bath & Body in Grapevine, Texas. I shared with Rachel my strong belief that, in order to expand her business efficiently, effectively and profitably, she must share herself and her story in her marketing materials, especially her website.
Rachel, who has a background in marketing, took this advice and combined it with her already significant marketing experience and beefed up her website with her photo and her story. Last week, Rachel sent me this email message:
"You were the person who encouraged me to share my story on my website two years ago. I took your advice and have been blessed by warm feedback and business growth. You also encouraged me to have headshots done. My 2007 sales were up 65% over 2006! I can truthfully say that you've never steered me wrong."
Anchor your brand with your story.
2. Expansion. WWE is constantly seeking to "expand its mainstream potential." As a publicly traded company, WWE is concerned with expansion in a way that small independently owned businesses are not. However, expansion is a cornerstone of every successful business strategy.
Just like WWE, you must always be expanding the reach of your products. It's a slow process, requiring consistent effort, even when you can't see the results. If your efforts are focused, steady and consistent, you'll begin to see website traffic and orders come from people, and you'll have no idea how they found out about you or your products.
Expand your vision and your business beyond what you can actually see in front of you.
3. The Smackdown. WWE strives to "pursue initiatives to strengthen their brands." In other words, they are always on the lookout for the next big "smackdown" opportunity. Whether it's a new joint venture, a sponsor with deep pockets or a strapping young man to bring into the ring, WWE is constantly looking for the next smackdown.
As you perform some of the more mundane, everyday tasks of business management, don't get so bogged down that you are not able to act on your own version of a smackdown.
Put yourself in a position to move on new opportunities by associating with other people. Whether through blogging, media appearances, teleseminars, speaking engagements, trade show exhibitions, online networking or in person gatherings, when you share your story and your products with others, opportunities will come your way.
The more you share your story, the more your business will expand. The more your business expands, the more new opportunities you will have to build your own special small business smackdown.
What About You?
What's your story? How are you sharing it at your website? Do you find, as I do, that people respond just as much (or even more) to your story as they do to whatever it is you are actively selling? What's your smackdown story?!