Get rid of idleness once and for all

by Martin Reed on 7 November 2007 in Articles

Think of your competitors to prevent laziness

I’ve written before about the importance of keeping an eye on the competition. If you struggle to get motivated or find that the development of your site is stuck in a rut, you may benefit from imagining that you have an aggressive competitor.

Adopt real world strategies in the online world

Many developed economies have long since sold their state run monopolies for the simple reason that competition encourages innovation and efficiency. If you are running a site in a niche with minimal competition and are enjoying success, you will more than likely be less motivated to add new features and invest time in innovating and improving your site.

Even if you do have competition but are disheartened because you feel it is an impossible struggle for you to match the successes of those competitors, you can still imagine you have an aggressive competitor who is at the same stage of site development as you are.

As I have said before, you need to pick realistic competition. If you run a web directory with a few hundred listings, you should not consider Yahoo! or DMOZ as your competition – rather, you should look at other sites of similar size to your own in your niche.

Encourage the survival instinct

If you feel under threat, you will always react in some way. If you are threatened in the street, your body will kick in the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism. You will take one of the two options. You should think the exact same way about the survival of your website. An aggressive competitor could destroy all that you have worked to achieve – you have two options; fight (for your members and for your site), or flight (throw in the towel and accept defeat).

Ideally, you should always be working to improve and tweak your site regardless of the competitive threat. Unfortunately it is all too easy to lose motivation or interest in further development of your website without this threat. If you are in this position, ask yourself what you would do today if you had a competitor with a large budget and a huge motivation to destroy your site. If you would still do nothing, perhaps you should sell your site. If you would fight for the survival of your site, then work out what you would do in that situation and do it today.

You should always be developing your site for tomorrow – today hardly counts. Today is the day you invest time in your site in order to reap the benefits tomorrow. Today you know where you stand. Today you know how many competitors you have. Today you know how many visitors your site is getting. Who knows what will happen tomorrow?

Get rid of idleness by imagining you have a competitor hell-bent on your site’s demise – if that doesn’t get you working, then nothing will!

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Sutocu November 7, 2007 at 9:28 pm

Truly, I’m sometimes awed at how people in online business fail to keep in mind all the simple tricks that they would use offline. An online business is still a business. Innovation is high online, but there’s often much room for improving efficiency.

AOV Philippines Outsourcing Service November 8, 2007 at 12:13 am

Marketing has no place for idleness at all.

Peter November 8, 2007 at 12:50 am

Youre right Sutocu – and I fall into that trap all the time. I think that internet marketers are really prone to reinventing the wheel instead of building on the knowledge and research that exists out there.

Online furniture store November 8, 2007 at 9:38 am

Hey you can’t tell me not to be idle and then post a picture like that one: an inviting hammock, idyllic surroundings, and no work in sight!:)

But that’s good motivation: work by imagining that someone’s really out to get you.

Amish Handcrafted Furniture November 8, 2007 at 1:37 pm

Another school of thought! Do not worry about anything but your own inner voice that wants you to do worthwhile things. If the motive is one’s own satisfaction of doing something worthwhile, nothing will prevent, even the desire to idle, to come in the way.

Wtricks November 10, 2007 at 12:47 pm

Excellent input again .. this is mainly my huge issue. I did start projects in competitive topics and the start was difficult. The problem is that, as soon as we feel it’s all OK, we start getting mellor or idle as you mentioned.

We need to work constantly and keep an eye, from time to time, to those we try to surpas.

Niamh Kiernan November 10, 2007 at 3:35 pm

It is interesting what you said about forums. I agree that a blog in itself is a community and think it might be better to incorporate it into the blog and see how it goes.

Smiley November 11, 2007 at 11:24 am

Not much for me to say here that I haven’t already said, but you are right. It’s hard to stay motivated when you don’t have a kick up your bum!

I took a little break from my site this week, partly to give my fingers a rest and also I wanted to see how well the site did without me around. Posts dropped dramatically!

There’s always half a dozen plus regular members online at the same time posting, so I really don’t understand it. They post and post and post when I’m online, but I disappear for 2 or 3 days and they just stop posting.

Really odd.

Smiley November 11, 2007 at 5:30 pm

Hi again,

This post quite inspired actually, thinking about idleness, and planning for the future.

I’ve decided to take the next step and integrate the forum into the site. “I don’t know how to do it” just doesn’t cut as an excuse for me anymore. If we don’t know how to do something – what’s stopping us learning?

Do you have any links or advice on how to integrate the forum with the site? The first step is to use the same header & footer of course. I hate being new to things!

Online furniture store November 12, 2007 at 3:20 am

We just finished a long round of revelry what with it being Diwali and all: firecrackers, sweets, bonhomie, goodwill: all the things that make up festivals! Am relaxed and recharged. I used to wonder at the huge number of festivals Indians celebrate (the world over really) and over the years learned to value and enjoy each unique, special one!

Martin Reed - Blog Author November 12, 2007 at 6:36 pm

Sutocu – I couldn’t agree more; people seem to throw all traditional business ideas out of the window because they have chosen to do business online. The same principles still apply, though.

AOV – It’s always good to have a rest now and again, but idleness doesn’t have a place in any aspect of business.

Peter – It’s an easy trap to fall into; when we go online we look to innovate and ‘do things differently’. This is fine, but we still need to remember the basics in order to achieve success.

Reena – I just loved the image used for this article; it almost encourages idleness, doesn’t it?!?

I am glad to hear you are now recharged after all your celebrations – good luck for the future!

Ramana – You make a good point, just as long as you have an inner voice that gives decent suggestions!

Wtricks – There is nothing wrong with having a little break or cooling things down once you start to achieve success; however to continue to be successful we need to keep working and keep improving.

Niamh – Thanks for your comment. I firmly believe that a successful blog is just as much a community as a forum.

Smiley – Your experience is completely typical; it is common for forums early in their development to completely rely on their administrator. You should consider a new forum to be like a new-born child. Just as a baby relies on its parents, your forum relies on you in order to thrive.

Integrating your forum is definitely a good idea – start off with the header and footer, then look around for a free phpBB theme that complements your site’s current design. Once you have that, a few small tweaks should be all it takes.

Smiley November 13, 2007 at 12:11 am

Done the header & the footer. Looks a lot better. They still have their separate communities and personalities, how I like it but atleast now they look like they belong with each other.

Thanks for the tip. I’d best go post a dozen or so new threads to get them going again. I thought it was ready to stand on its own feet, nevermind. I’ll try again in a few weeks.

Martin Reed - Blog Author November 14, 2007 at 3:34 pm

Smiley – I agree that your site looks a lot more consistent now the forum is more integrated into the site. Have fun creating that content!