Hundreds of people hit me up for coaching and advice each year. And hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, have come to hear me speak on digital marketing.
But less than one percent of these people take action.
I’ll sit down with an eager business owner or student—all pumped up from the energy of the conference. They say they want to take action and insist that they will do the steps necessary to build their brand.
I know that when I check back with them a month later, they will have nothing to show. I even tell people that I know, based on doing this thousands of times, that statistically they have a 1 percent chance of taking action.
Some people wonder why we openly “share our secrets”—afraid the competition will take business from us or that nobody will want to hire us.
But the exact opposite happens—they discover there is more to Facebook than they realized, they’re too “busy”, just don’t have enough time, and they need help.

Utilize the Qualifying Sequence

A lot of young adults attempt the qualifying sequence at blitzmetrics.com/students.
We used to test for aptitude—for them to demonstrate they can quickly learn Facebook marketing concepts and pass a quiz.
But because we know that few people have the discipline to do something as simple as make 5 blog posts in 5 days, that’s the main qualifier.
This eliminates ninety-five percent of people even though their blog post could literally be a one minute video or a few sentences.
And there are all the excuses around how they got sick, were on vacation, laptop died, didn’t have wifi, or whatever. Yet it would have been less effort to do a one minute FB video or post than their 30 snapchats they also did that day. It was more effort to make the excuses after the fact than to just do the thing.  We know that if they behave this way during qualifying, it will be the same thing if we hire them.
Stuff won’t get done for whatever reason—a new reason each time.

Hope for the Best

Cast a wide net to give everyone an opportunity. We don’t blanket pre-judge millennials as lazy and entitled– we give them a chance to prove they can do something simple.
We believe everyone deserves a chance, and our team is largely of people who are amazingly talented, but didn’t have the right environment to thrive.
We hope for the best by:
  • Providing open entry to anyone who wants to learn via free online training
  • Being willing to spend 5 minutes with anyone to answer their questions
  • Believing that the “impossible” can be achieved if you have enough heart to keep iterating until success
Like one of my mentors said, “If you don’t quit, you win.”

Prepare for the Worst

But if you give anyone a chance, then you need a system that can process failures at scale—to not bring the system down.
Because we’re not a non-profit that relies upon donations, we must still deliver the business result.
We operate by a principle called “graceful failure.” If someone doesn’t get the task done, our system notices it and has someone else step in.
I worked in the airline industry 20 years ago and was amazed how many operational failures there were, yet planes rarely crashed.
Flight attendants didn’t show up for work, unexpected weather hits, equipment fails, or whatever.
All of us must have fail-proof systems to handle failure gracefully so that it’s not catastrophic. We have back-up systems, redundancy, and processes for every situation.
For example, if the main power fails on a plane, there are multiple backup APUs.
And if these fail, a little fan drops from the fuselage, generating power from the windspeed of the aircraft.
It’s one thing to have a flight delayed to replace a broken part and altogether something else to have a crash.
We prepare for the worst by:
  • Making sure we don’t have any projects that aren’t governed by a checklist process
  • Breaking down all our processes into small steps that are easily repeatable
  • Creating training against each of the particular tasks, so that specialists have to get certified in each skill
  • Having a filtering process to excuse “nightmare” clients where we ensure they have the right expectations and will adhere to our model
What are you doing for your business to make sure you are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst?

Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Dennis Yu is the Chief Technology Officer of BlitzMetrics, a digital marketing company which partners with schools to train young adults. Dennis’s program centers around mentorship, helping students grow their expertise to manage social campaigns for enterprise clients like the Golden State Warriors, Nike, and Rosetta Stone.

He has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Fox News, CBS Evening News and is co-author of Facebook Nation – a textbook taught in over 700 colleges and universities. Besides being a Facebook data and ad geek, you can find him eating chicken wings or playing Ultimate Frisbee in a city near you.