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Feeding Your Ego Won't Help Your Business Grow

That pay-to-play press release in the classified section might feel good to see, but it won't build your business.

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It wouldn’t take very long to find an advertisement from an entrepreneur trying to sell you an “exposure opportunity” if you opened any one of your social-media apps. You’re sold PR services, media placements, followers, engagement and other ways to get more exposure for your business. 

There are many different strategies entrepreneurs can use to build their business, and there are different opinions about what works and which is the most effective business-growth and visibility strategy. 

Related: How Experts Use Content to Create Brand Authority and Increased Sales

There’s an important concept for entrepreneurs to understand about how they invest in the growth of their business: the difference between what you need and investing in ego-satisfying products and services. It’s very easy to waste thousands of dollars on growth strategies and offers that feed the ego but don’t make sense for the growth of your business.

Here’s why making ego-based investments won’t build your business and a better way to accelerate business growth by being strategic and discerning. 

There is no shortage of service providers that will sell you status

Seeing your name in lights is an appealing offer. The idea of thousands of people seeing your business in an elevated position is exciting. Having more than 10,000 human beings following you makes you want to skip a beat. Status as an entrepreneur can be intoxicating. 

Guess who also knows that? Other entrepreneurs and companies. An entire industry understands how good the ego feels when it gets a status boost and is made to feel important.

Here’s what it looks like: 

  • An offer to be featured in a publication. 
  • The opportunity for placement on TV or a radio show. 
  • A shout-out on large social-media profiles. 
  • Sponsored posts, links or guest posts on prominent digital magazines. 
  • An endorsement from a celebrity. 

PR and exposure can build brands and significantly increase your following, but not if they are ego-targeted opportunities. Meaning, does the exposure being offered have any real value behind it? Do some research before investing in products and services that won’t help growth.

Getting featured, mentioned or interviewed in outlets your ideal target consumers haven’t heard of won’t give your business more exposure. Paying for followers, celebrity endorsements or PR through pay-to-play situations destroys your brand credibility and is the fastest way to lose trust with potential customers. 

Related: Not All Clients Are Good for Business. Here's How to Find the Ones Who Are.

While visibility and status may be advertised as something your consumers won’t find out about, they will. They are probably getting some of the same kind of offers. Earned media and PR speak volumes, and you’ll get there as you’re strategic about how you invest. 

Feeling important is not a revenue-generation strategy

While it certainly feels good to look important, generating revenue and growing a business require more than the stroking of an ego. Feeling important does not bring new clients or generate revenue. You’re wasting money when you pay for visibility in places that have no real consumers. 

Paying for press releases in the classified section of publications is an excellent example of this. Seeing your name and a puff piece about your business in Yahoo Finance (or similar situations) feeds the ego but does nothing for your business. Jason Feifer did an incredible job pointing out why. 

When your business delivers on its promises and takes excellent care of your clients, people talk. You can earn exposure and status when you have knowledge and experience and are strategic about pitching for media and visibility. The critical difference is that you are leading with practical value for consumers and the outlets instead of paying to cut the line. 

Invest strategically to accelerate growth 

Some investments are a waste of time and money, but there is a way to accelerate growth: Be strategic. There’s nothing wrong with hiring a PR agency as long as you go into the investment with both eyes open. You’ve done your research, seen the results this agency has gotten for others, and those results show clear value in the investment. 

You can invest in a visibility strategy, and it can build your business if it’s ethical, legal and credible. When you’re strategic, you take a step back and think about whether the investment would be an ego stroke or an opportunity that has explicit worth. 

Related: 3 No-Cost Marketing Tactics You Can Use Right Now to Bring in More Sales

It takes a lot of effort and time to build trust, but it can be lost instantly. Every day, we see stories in the news about entrepreneurs and businesses that lost trust through less-than-reputable visibility tactics or service providers they’ve worked with. Be intentional and strategic about how you invest in exposure for your business. 

Our ego often tries to push itself into our decision-making, but we can’t let it. You won’t build a business making moves that feed the ego but don’t make sense for growth. As tempting as the offers for fame and fortune are, you have to evaluate each opportunity with a clear mind. Authenticity builds businesses. 

Say no to the random PR placements, media and visibility services that will get you the kind of exposure that hurts brand credibility. There are better ways to earn status and the respect of consumers. 

Kimanzi Constable

Written By

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Kimanzi Constable is an author of four books and has been published in over 80 publications and magazines. He is the co-founder of Results Global Impact Consulting. He teaches businesses modern content strategies. Join him at RGIC.