Strictly Business: Green Beans and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
Posted Nov 1, 2008

Two months ago, I posed this question to a group of videographers: "When it comes to marketing and promoting your business, what are the biggest problems and/or frustrations that you face?" I will say that I was pretty shocked at all the fear and loathing directed toward the necessary task of marketing.

Responses included the following:

The truth is, in order to make your business successful you need to get the word out. There are many ways to do this—some costly, some not—but it’s essential that you find a way that works for you. Do nothing and not only do you not move forward, you can lose all you’ve gained.

I liken the effect to the Second Law of Thermodynamics: "The total entropy of any isolated system tends to increase over time, eventually approaching a maximum value, or entropic state." Huh? Well, I’m no rocket surgeon, but here are a couple examples:

Leave a cup of hot coffee in a cool room, and a flow of heat is produced from the cup to the room until the temperature of the coffee and the room is the same. That’s entropy.

Leave your car parked in your driveway and do absolutely nothing to it for a few years. Eventually, the tires will go flat and rot, the body will begin to rust, and the engine will dry out and probably seize up the first time you try to start it. That too is entropy.

Better yet—think couch potato. Got the picture? Good.

Let’s say you have a website but you haven’t updated it since 2006. If your prospects are looking for your newest products and services, they aren’t going to find them on your site.

Any time you make major changes to your business, products, and services, I suggest you add those changes to your website. Keeping your blog updated is important as well.

If the last press release you sent out was when you opened your business in 2000, you need to get busy. Once you’ve updated your website, send out a release telling prospects exactly where to find it. Start up a blog, send out a release. Win an award, send out a release. Hire an employee, send out a release. Open the door, send out a release. Okay, maybe not. But have an open house, and send out a release.

Maybe you find it difficult to talk to people about your business. If that’s the case, let your business card do some of the talking for you.

I just reviewed a great card from Chris Davis, owner of Famous Davis Productions in Willmar, Minn. His business card not only has his photo on the front, but also boldly states, "Websites, Video Design, Done Right." It pretty much tells prospects what they need to know.

Of course, when you have a great card you should give it out generously. Give two or three away to each contact and ask them to pass one on—just in case.

No matter what your roadblock is to better marketing your business, you need only the desire to invest the time and the resources to work around it.

"So," you might be thinking, "where do beans come in?"

One thing I’ve noticed in my own little vegetable gardening efforts: When you harvest beans, blossoms grow back on the plant, and you get more beans. Pick those beans, more blossoms appear, and you’re blessed with a third crop of beans.

This continues through the season. Of course, you could pick the beans just once, but the more beans you pick, the better the yield.

When it comes to marketing, if you do a little at a time on a continual basis, your business will flourish just like the beans. But if you don’t think you have the time or resources to spend on marketing your business, soon enough you won’t have to!

Do nothing and your business will end up just like that unattended coffee or car—cold, and pretty much useless.

In short, pay attention to your results, tweak when necessary, and don’t let entropy set in, and your harvest will always multiply.

Steve Yankee (syankee at has more than 35 years of video production and marketing experience and is the founder of The Video Business Advisor in East Lansing, Mich.