See that invisible red cup just over there? On your right? No? Prove it doesn’t exist.
Or that there isn’t a small, purple unicorn living in my sock drawer.
Today, I’m off on one about the burden of proof. This is relevant to running a business, because there are all manner of people out there who’ll assert confidently, and with no knowledge, that something will or will not work. Which becomes problematic when making recommendations to small business owners about what they should (or should not) be doing to grow their businesses.
Both those somewhat silly examples are derivations of Bertrand Russell’s celestial teapot. Russell was a philosopher and a bit of a dude. He put forward the idea that it was ridiculous for him to expect other people to believe his claims that there’s a teapot orbiting the Sun between Earth and Mars purely because they can’t prove there isn’t one.
I have no problem at all with anyone believing anything they want based upon any level of proof (or lack thereof). My problem begins when someone expects me to believe the same thing they do without presenting any proof to me.
Similarly with business and marketing: if you want me to invest in your shiny wotsit, you better be able to show me that it works – or at least that other people, people like me, have made it work for them.
I don’t make daft claims based on anecdotal evidence and I don’t expect anyone to just take my word for it. When I wrote Business For Superheroes, I wrote it based on my own experience of running a business. I included the stuff that I know works for me because I tried it (or stuff that I put into place for my private clients).
And even then, I don’t claim to be the fount of all knowledge. Nobody is. Marketing and business is all about testing, tweaking, measuring, and improving.
But it’s a tangled mat of blind alleys, complicated systems, and option paralysis: where to start? What to try first?
Well, that I can help you with.
And the very best place to start is with a copy of my book, Business For Superheroes. I’ve just had it reprinted to remove a couple of minor mistakes and include some nice things readers have said about it – and there’s a copy waiting here with your name on it.
Don’t go chasing after the Celestial Teapot of Marketing; invest in a little blue book filled with practical, tried-and-tested ways to grow your business. You can get your copy here.
Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.