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Last week I posted the “7 Wasteful Behaviors that Stop or Slow the Growth of Organic Companies.”

To recap, the behaviors are: proving, pleasing, defending, controlling, convincing, blaming, and denying our own greatness.

As promised, here are real-life examples of how each behavior can show up in an organic product business…thus derailing it from focusing on what really matters.

If you recognize any of these behaviors in yourself, you’d do well to DROP them entirely, as they’re usually a massive waste of time, energy, and money.

1. Proving (i.e., trying to show someone else you either are, or aren’t, some quality)

How it shows up in organic businesses: Wasting time and money going through various certification processes in order to get a ‘certified organic’ or ‘verified non-GMO’ or some other ‘certified this-or-that’ label on your product.

Certifications are literally made up. Getting a certification is often simply a matter of paying fees, filling out paperwork, and complying with some set of standards that someone else created. Certifications don’t necessarily have anything to do with the most important issue at hand: ensuring quality and safety of products. Certifications are bought and paid for, and the standards for them can be questionable, or at least questionably enforced.

Plenty of good organic businesses don’t even bother getting the USDA certified organic label on their products. Some outright refuse, due to the label’s apparent lack of integrity. For example, Eden Foods refuses to use the USDA certified organic label on any of its organic products, even though the company says it far exceeds the label’s standards on its own.

If you have a good product, then it’s a good product regardless of whether or not it’s officially certified by some third party entity. Even bad products can be certified organic.

Consumers understand this and are starting to learn that a ‘certified organic’ label by itself doesn’t always guarantee quality. All it guarantees is that the company who makes the product spent time and money to pay for the certification and the label. Even if you successfully jump through the hoops to get ‘certified,’ that doesn’t instantly convey trustworthiness or quality of your products.

Instead of trying to prove your products are good through various certifications, invest in good marketing that conveys the TRUE value of your products…and let customers decide for themselves.

2. Pleasing (i.e., trying to gain the approval of some person or group of persons, because without this approval you don’t feel worthy, or you feel as though you’re deficient)

How it shows up in organic businesses: Trying to get everyone to like you.

Whole Foods is an example of a company that wastes too much time in ‘pleasing’ mode. They spend way too much energy responding to and appealing to people who aren’t their biggest fans. I’ve lost count of the number of times Whole Foods has “apologized” for some behavior they engaged in.

I just googled ‘Whole Foods apology’ and the latest one is from a mere three weeks ago. Whole Foods realized customers in New York were being charged incorrect prices for some of their products, blamed a few employees, and issued an apology. According to Washington Post, Whole Foods is now putting a “third party auditing system” in place “to monitor their progress as they work to address the issue, and will provide the results publicly in 45 days.” What a nightmare…and yet another distraction from more important issues, like working to make organic food take over the world!

As a publicly traded company, not only is Whole Foods trying to get everyone’s (AKA multiple stakeholders’) approval — which is impossible — they’re also trying to please everyone by apologizing left and right and giving critics more attention than a teenybopper stalking Miley Cyrus on Twitter.

Another way pleasing shows up is when you’re toning down your marketing language in order not to ruffle any feathers…or using “safe” copywriting so as not to get in trouble with any government organizations, groups, competitors, or haters.

I once had a client who was terrified of getting in trouble with the FDA. She sold life-saving products, but she was afraid to shout from the rooftops about her products’ benefits. She was constantly worried about being too bold, too truthful, too provocative, or too challenging in her sales copy and marketing. She wanted everything “toned” down! (Actually, this fear is very common, especially in health-related businesses.)

Last email I got from her, she told me “I am out of money right now.” This is what happens when you tip toe on eggshells and fail to take a stand because you’re trying to please someone. The cost of pleasing is going out of business. Or at least, putting a halt to your business growth. I find it sad when a good company is afraid to make the bold claims their products deserve!

The excessive aim to please can rob people in your target market of the opportunity to discover your life-changing products.

So beware. Any time you tread into overly polite, politically correct, overly professional, “tamed down” territory…you might be trying to please someone.

3. Defending (i.e., protecting something you feel is being threatened)

How it shows up in organic businesses: Internally, you spend most of your time trying to preempt possible things that could go wrong — instead of simply focusing on growing your business.

If you expend tons of effort responding to unwanted circumstances or fighting against something you don’t agree with — you’re in defending mode. To fight something is to give it energy and nurture it with your attention…so that it grows and increases even more.

Dr. Bonner’s suing fake organic companies in 2007 is an example of wasting time in defensive mode. (The general theme was: “We are organic…you’re not. By using the ‘organic’ label on your products, you’re taking something away from us.”) Sure, the 4-year lawsuit may have doubled as a brilliant publicity stunt, but it ultimately was a waste of time and was dismissed in 2012 by a California district court. Instead of wasting time fighting fake organic companies, Dr. Bronner’s could have been pouring that energy into marketing themselves more effectively.

4. Controlling (i.e., trying to manage how other people perceive you, which prevents you from being 100% present in the moment)

How it shows up in organic businesses: Closely monitoring what critics are saying about your brand or business.

Critics are about as useful as a tumor in your brain. Unless someone is paying you a significant amount of money (i.e., buying your products over and over again), then don’t listen to them. It’s that simple. Otherwise, you are trying to control what people think of you. And that’s simply impossible.

Over the years, my most successful clients have learned to delete haters and block pain-in-the-ass customers from placing future orders…so that they don’t even have an opportunity to voice a complaint. Instead, my clients listen only to their biggest fans — i.e., the people who provide the most useful, practical feedback in terms of improving products and creating new ones.

Easiest way to know who your biggest fans are is to simply look through your order database and identify the customers who’ve bought from you the most. Chances are they’ll have few or no complaints. (However, even if they DO complain about something, it doesn’t matter — because obviously they’re still buying from you.)

5. Convincing (i.e., expending effort trying to persuade someone who didn’t ask to be persuaded or who truly doesn’t want to be persuaded)

How it shows up in organic businesses: Responding to critics and trying to get them to change their mind about your products.

If listening to critics is as useful as a tumor in your brain…then RESPONDING to said critics is as useful as TWO tumors in your brain.

Don’t bother trying to convince someone who doesn’t get it. As a mentor of mine, Darla LeDoux says, “Let go of trying to manage the perceptions of people who aren’t part of our tribe in this lifetime.”

If your products are high-quality, you don’t need to convince or persuade anyone of this! All you need to do is invest in good marketing…so that the right people can finally discover the products they’re already desperately searching for.

6. Blaming (i.e., placing your results and experience in someone else’s hands, whether they’ve asked for this power or not)

How it shows up in organic businesses: Letting circumstances dictate when you launch your next organic product. Letting “lack of money” stop you from ramping up your marketing activities. Letting lack of knowledge prevent you from growing your organic business without having to sacrifice your free time.

Blaming also shows up in health businesses. A couple years ago I knew a pharmacist who wanted to quit his pharmacy and become a health coach, while selling supplements on the side. Instead of diving 100% into his vision, he allowed changes in federal laws to slow down his goals. He blamed the government for his financial problems. Since the government favors pharmacies over health coaches, it was more lucrative to just keep running his pharmacy. Finally, he abandoned his aspiring health coach business altogether.

Even though he claimed he wanted to help people get off prescription drugs and change their lives for the better, he allowed external circumstances to dictate whether or not that would actually happen. Not once did I ever hear him say, “I’ll do whatever it takes to make my goal happen.”

7. Denying your own greatness (i.e., hiding and minimizing who you are and what you have to offer — when, instead, you should be magnifying your ability to be seen and heard by the right people)

How it shows up in organic businesses: Wasting time promoting your organic products on free social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter…instead of doing PAID ADVERTISING and putting some skin in the game (because you’re worth it!).

Promoting your products on free social media sites isn’t really promoting. It’s an easy way to hide. It SEEMS like you’re promoting, but really you’re just avoiding doing the hard work of actually setting up a paid target advertising campaign (or hiring someone to set it up for you).

The average user on social media is simply killing time and is not necessarily SEARCHING for a product like yours. They’re merely bored and checking Facebook to see what their friends are up to. When people are specifically looking for a product like yours, they’ll do a Google search…where your PAID ADVERTISEMENTS should be showing up. By doing this, you reach people are actually looking for your product and are most likely to buy it.

NOT advertising ensures your products aren’t seen. They stay hidden. You find yourself relying on word of mouth alone.

You’ve just finished reading examples of each of the “7 Wasteful Behaviors that Stop or Slow the Growth of Organic Companies” — proving, pleasing, defending, controlling, convincing, blaming, and denying our own greatness.

Which behaviors are you wasting time, energy, and money on?

If you want my help dropping these behaviors, apply for an Organic Marketing Audit with me.

I’ll help you build a savvy online marketing system that will speed up the growth of your organic business…without you having to pander to anyone else, or spend more time on your business.

About the Author

Michelle Lopez is a writer, editor, and copywriter with a BA in English/Creative Writing from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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