For most small businesses, creating traffic to their business is one of their highest priorities. Making a splash in the marketplace, going viral or just being seen is highly valued in their minds. After all, people need to know you exist to do business with you, right? Recently I had a conversation with Derek Palizay, of The Modern Marketer, about how making a splash in the marketplace is important, but sustaining the momentum gained from that splash may be even more important for the longevity of a company.

Now I am the first to admit, creating a strong reputation takes time, effort and investment. It can be a long haul to get to a place where your business is sustainable and your reputation is one that helps people to seek you out. Making a splash can seem so important in the early stages of your business, but if your business’s foundation isn’t strong, thoughtful and agile, you may not be able to capitalize on a big splash.

Let’s take a look at an analogy to drive this home.

Kid Jumping in a PuddleYou are 4 years old, and you see a puddle in a rainstorm, what do you do? You are a puddle jumper aren’t you? I know I was! Jumping in puddles is fun, especially at 4-years old. Jumping in the puddle is always more fun if you can get someone else wet right? Of course, you want to do it again, but you need to find another puddle because you emptied that first puddle you jumped in. As you get older though, you find it is much more fun to make a splash in the deep-end of your local pool. The splash is bigger, and you get to do it over and over, perfecting your cannonball each time and splashing more bystanders than that puddle ever could.

Puddles can make splashes but perfecting that cannonball makes much bigger splashes. Both are important to your small business. Early in your business, any splash you can seem super important, but you can only make those splashes when it rains.

Your business should always be working to build a way to make splashes and sustain ripples when it is not raining. You need a pool! A pool allows you to make big splashes at will, it also allows you to have ripples that stay after the splash, as well as collect water between rain storms. Building a pool can be expensive, but it allows you to create splash after splash and stay in business between each big splash.  Building a pool takes time, planning, effort, considerations, and money. Taking the time to build your pool shows those that are watching you are more than a puddle jumper. If you are in the business of staying in business for the long haul, take the time to build a pool.

Many businesses never make it to a place in their business where they are sustainable, year over year, decade over decade. They made a big splash up front, but while making that big splash they were not able to create a way for their business to survive without the splash.  So here is the challenge, what are you doing in your business today, that makes an impact in your marketplace today, but is also creating longevity for your company?