Folks are spending thousands, if not millions of dollars getting social media followers and trying to build an empire.  The problem is that those followers aren't yours. They belong to the platform. What if the platform shuts down? You're not talking to your so-called customers anymore.

There are three smarter ways to build a stable, strong business.

Build your list

Not your followers, but your contact list:

  • Get customer emails
  • Write down info from events
  • Build a phone-number database

It's not as simple as setting up camp on a free social media platform, but you can actually reach people when you have a new idea, service or product to introduce. Better yet, people have a direct way to reach you with their needs.

The problem with [buying social media followers] is that they probably weren't that sticky. The people who were easy in are easy out. Pick a medium where you are more likely than not to own the connection.

Visit people

The personal connection is deeper than the social. From body language to trust signals, taking the time to bond with others builds something stronger than a relatively-superficial digital relationship.

Consider Steve Jobs and his famous walks or other legendary entrepreneurs hopping on a plane to hand-deliver a contract and turning right back around to go back home. One client straight up said I kept getting steady business because, unlike other independents, I took the time to visit their offices when I was in town.

No, it isn't efficient. No, it isn't practical. The time is also essential to building a long-lasting business. Relationships, not transactions, are what keep your company strong.

Show up consistently

Sometimes the messages are brilliant. Sometimes, not so much. But we always show up.

Creating a direct link to community, making time to connect and consistently putting yourself out there is how you create a sustainable business. It's not a coincidence that all three are under your control. They cannot be taken away. They are yours to keep... and to lose.

Published on: Aug 13, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.