I have a friend who is an avid cyclist. The kind of avid that will ride 100+ miles in a day. I asked him how he can ride for over 100 miles in a day. He had a quick and concise response…“Don’t get off the bike.”
He said that avid cyclists have this mentality. If you don’t get off the bike you can ride for a long time/distance. It is a great metaphor for many other endeavors that require persistence.
So how does not getting off a bike to ride long distances relate to professional service firm growth? Marketing activities and content.
In my book Sell Naked: And Other Advice for Growing and Managing Services Firms, I write about the importance of professional services firms owning spaces and being content machines. A key aspect of both is the consistency over time i.e. not getting off the bike.
The value of owning spaces and thought leadership content for professional services firms isn’t about a single event, activity, or piece of content. It isn’t even a handful of any of these things. It is the relentless execution of these things over an extended period of time that has value. Too many professional services firms ‘try’ to own spaces and to produce valuable content only to give up before any of it has time to provide a return. Professional services firms need to get on the spaces and content bike and not get off. Period. It is it tiring? Yes. Will you want to stop? Yes. But just like cyclists who ride over 100 hundred miles in a day, professional services firms need to rise above the fatigue to just keep going.
I referenced ’trying’ above. Long distance cyclists, runners, hikers, and others like them don’t ‘try’ they do. They get on the bike and keep pedaling. They lace up the running shoes or hiking boots and keep going. When it comes to aspects of professional services marketing like owning spaces and content, there is no ‘trying’ there is only doing.
It is naive and irrational for professional services to think they don’t have to commit to and persist in owning spaces and creating for a long period of time. There is no easy button to riding a bike for over 100 hundred miles, just as there is no quick fix for services firm marketing activities. You are either on the bike and pedaling or you aren’t.
Starting and stopping things like owning spaces and publishing content actually does more harm than good because people will see it and question the lack of commitment. And part of owning spaces and publishing content is timing. Professional services firms have to build mind share over time with potential clients but they also have to be visible at the moment when a potential client has made the conscious decision to engage with a firm. Not getting off the bike allows a cyclist to ride for a long distance and it allows professional services firms to be visible to potential clients when it matters most…the conscious threshold of them needing help.