Last week, I retreated to my favorite small town in the San Juan Mountains. I soaked in the fresh air, wide open spaces, and sweeping mountain views at Soward Ranch, which was homesteaded in the 1880s and is now operated as a guest ranch by the fifth generation of the family.
I spend most days there very simply: calling the dogs back to me as they chase after prairie dogs on long walks around the ranch; savoring my morning coffee by the lake as the trout jump; sharing an afternoon hike or off-road adventure with my family; laughing with friends on the cabin's front porch as the sun sets over the mountains.
Life in a small mountain town is, by definition, simple. "Going to town" is a notable event, and there is exactly one grocery store, one gas station, and one hardware store, providing all the essentials and a hometown feeling that is rare today.
My website and marketing for Beyond Timberline are heavily influenced by the San Juan mountains. Even more than the natural beauty there, I have always drawn inspiration from the simplicity of life in small mountain towns.
Although I stepped away from work for the week, I spent some time considering the power of simplicity and how I want to embrace it in my business. Here are a few of my thoughts, especially around online presence, in case you might find them helpful for your own organization:
DO: Focus on what you do best. It is very likely that if you are great at whatever it is you do, you will organically attract some new and repeat clients. Your online presence should support the good work you do, never distract from it. Excellent service to your existing clients - whether you are providing lawn care or web design - should always come first.
DO: Be mindful of your mission and message. I'm not discouraging you from advocating for causes you believe in. In fact, doing so may be an integral part of your vision. If you publicly address social issues or bring attention to causes, make sure your efforts are sincere and authentic. It is likely not feasible for your organization to address every social, environmental, and public health issue that exists (as much as you may feel the pressure to do so right now). Consider focusing on a couple important, relevant causes and make sure you have some strategies in place to help make sure that your business' social media accounts don't devolve into a venue for ugly debates.
DO: Dedicate time to life outside work. Easier said than done - I know! I have a full-time job and work many additional hours each week on top of that on my web design business. For me, time outdoors and my personal relationships are what inspire me and energize me. There are a multitude of reasons to ensure that you are setting boundaries to enjoy a life outside of your business - and empowering any employees to do the same.
DON'T: Over-design your website. Everything on your website should reflect your brand and mission. It should be easy to navigate, highlight important information, and be unique to you. Just because someone else has a certain design element or specific content on their website doesn't mean it will add value to yours. If anything on your site is distracting from providing meaning or clarity to your potential client, scrap it.
DON'T: Over-think your online presence. I've had conversations with a few of my clients recently around what they "need" to do as part of their business' online presence. Whether it's a feeling of obligation to maintain a social media presence on all the different platforms, run a blog, or post certain content, my advice is always this: if your heart isn't in it, DON'T DO IT! If running multiple social media accounts or writing blog posts isn't something that someone within your organization enjoys doing, those efforts may read as inauthentic and may be less than effective.
DON'T: Over-do it. Social media fatigue is a real thing. Don't overwhelm your audience! Things to consider before you start posting multiple times a day on your various social media outlets: Does someone in your organization really have time to create all those posts? Does your audience have the bandwidth to absorb all your content? Do you have something meaningful to say in each post? If not, you should likely opt for quality over quantity. Consider the length of your posts, too. Short and sweet is generally key on social media.
I'd love to hear about how you have embraced simplicity in your personal life or business! Contact me here.