Hustling Everyday? You Could End Up With No Business, No Brand And Back In The Unemployment Line!
“Whatever it takes.” I call that stupid and irresponsible. If you don’t have a strategy and plan in place to build out your brand and ultimately your business you will end up holding an empty bag.
The Internet Marketing culture was been built on a mix of philosophies. One side of the spectrum is the hard working individuals seeking to build out a true business, while the other side tends to be lazy and looks for the quick dollar figure. The claim to “Work harder than anyone else” or “Whatever it takes” seems to a license for those that are looking for a quick profit to do things that would normally be considered unethical. Be careful to not get caught in this mine field.
Social Media is now Main Stream Marketing
I have been watching the meteoric growth of several companies within social media. Many smart and innovative individuals have successfully used their creative marketing skills to propel the growth of their business into the INC 5000 list. ShipOffers is one of those business, growing at incredible rates. Social Media has been a new frontier, much like the wild west of marketing. Most of the larger companies have ignored or haven’t used social media as effectively as they could. That left the younger generation of thinkers to come up with some creative marketing and push the legal boundaries, which brings us to the current state of the industry. Those pushing the legal boundaries are now finding themselves in a mine field that will take the life out of their “business”. The GIANT has been awakened and it is no time to face the reality of all those creating a profit off another companies brand, ideas, or popularity.
A locally well-known Michigan company has been fighting a lawsuit with the State of Michigan and has recently been gaining more attention. They trademarked a MI State street sign and proceeded to build a business off that design. Went through the process of trademarking the design and proceeded to advertise and grow the business. We aren’t here to attempt to argue the legal issue but consider the business plan. The core business is built around something the State considers public property. At this point the brothers are forced to spend money on defending what they believe to be a right they have. But what is the cost? They now have to spend a substantial amount of money on the lawsuit, use much of their creative power to defend their right, handle all the PR that is happening due to the lawsuit. Instead of working on their brand and building a company that they own for a life time. I would question their business strategy of using something that is now considered public domain as the core of their business.
With the last few months we are seeing more activity by this previously sleeping giant of major brands. This marks what I would predict to be the beginning of the end for online copycats and trademark infringements. Many of the Internet Marketers have followed this business plan; (1) Find something to copy. (2) Put up a quick online store. (3) Find a platform to fulfill your products. (4) Run some social pages with some paid traffic to ads. (5) Collect the money. (6) When you get caught, repeat steps 2 – 5. Those hustling to make a quick profit have had the blinders on and are now suddenly realizing they have ended up in the middle of a mine field, which blow up, ending their business and playboy lifestyle. There is no long term business plan or strategy. Just an end to their fun and a bill they are unable to pay.
Major Brands now waking up to see the vast opportunity with online sales.
Here area a couple more within the t-shirt designing space:
- Harley Davidson has seen that the power of social media is real and alive in selling direct to their customers. The brand that they have spent years building and the culture around motorcycles is something that they are willing to protect. They are suing, not only the provider of the product but also the small online stores and asking for a hefty $150,000 per design and all the profits.
- Life Is Good Co. is seeking several million dollars in recompense for multiple sellers using the design they branded many years ago.
- Ohio State University has already won one lawsuit against Skreened and seeking further compensation from multiple t-shirt platforms.
- Custom official will be involved in some of the cases where product was purchased directly from an international producer. Recently hitting hard on those in a flea market. It only stands to reason the major leagues are not far behind and will be acting according to their best interest.
Each of these examples has one thing in common. Those that are selling are hustling, doing “whatever it takes” to make a profit. The facts are that they are using something that is not original with them, and making a profit off what some other company has built. This is not a solid business plan or strategy! The only two conclusions are (1) you spend all your profits fighting a point that is difficult to defend. (2) You lose your business and all the properties associated with that business. Either conclusion, they spend their time on activities that do not build a brand or make them more profitable.
Building your brand is hard work but the only long term solution to your business
So you make the choice. Spend all the time hustling, and hope you can make enough to retire to the Cayman Islands or spend your creative talents in building a brand and a company that you will be able to enjoy long into the future. For more great business and leadership advice consider hiring a business consultant to take your company’s ROI to new heights. MasterMind and Tim Croll would love to talk with you about how we might be able to work together.