Scrappy seems to be the new conversion word in online marketing. Ever since the Coronavirus pandemic shut down the US, and reopenings have been flawed and stalled, it seems most marketers are using the term scrappy to define the new way of doing business.
And I am a bit tired of it.
First of all, and maybe it’s due to my minor in English or my training in NLP, I am a fan of checking the definition of words that I use.
So, curious, I checked Dictionary.com for the true definition of the word scrappy. And this is what I found.
Consisting of disorganized, messy or incomplete parts
Determined, argumentative, or pugnacious
Now, let’s take a look at these definitions, and then talk about why I am not a fan.
The first definition refers to a number of generally undesirable qualities. I, for one, don’t like to be referred to as disorganized, messy or incomplete. They just don’t make me feel good or confident.
Let’s take a look at the second one now.
Determined can be a good trait. However, argumentative and pugnacious are similar and, as a result, similarly unpleasant. I don’t want to be regarded as argumentative or quick to argue.
I don’t want to be thought of as those things.
So, if the first definition doesn’t make me feel good or confident, and the second definition is something I don’t want to be associated with, why, then, would I use that to describe my business?
While the term scrappy sounds kinda fun and has a feel of get it done, when you really look at it that’s not the meaning of it.
Think back to the times you’ve heard that word used to describe people or things. Were they describing people you want to be like? Were they talking about things you respect and want to create more of?
The most likely answer is no. They weren’t.
And the funny thing is, even if those things don’t automatically come to mind when you hear the word scrappy, your subconscious hears that and remembers those.
And it will color your reaction every time you hear it.
And as I see more and more people referring to their launches as scrappy or their business or marketing as scrappy, I am also seeing way more hesitation than I normally do.
Launches are being delayed, or abandoned altogether. Marketing plans are being put together with less strategy and forethought than normal.
And businesses are being run more haphazardly than ever before.
In this weird time in the world, I believe that language is more important than it has ever been! The words we choose to use to describe our businesses will color the relationship we have with those businesses. They will be reflected in the success of our business.
Let’s talk about another phrase that I think reflects what we are trying to accomplish a little better.
With a perfectly imperfect business, launch, or marketing plan we are referring to our business with the respect that it deserves.
We are acknowledging that, while it may be imperfect, it is exactly as it should be.
Imperfect is defined by dictionary.com as:
of, relating to, or characterized by defects or weaknesses:
not perfect; lacking completeness:
Perfect is defined as:
conforming absolutely to the description or definition of an ideal type:
excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement:
So using the term perfectly imperfect means excellently not perfect. So, we know that it has weaknesses, it is not perfect.
BUT, it is exactly as it should be right now.
You see, in this culture, when there are so many unknowns about our future, many are hesitant to commit. Others are in a hurry to launch what they have and start getting feedback.
Maybe you need to make an income. Maybe your spouse has been laid off and you have suddenly become the primary support for your family. Perhaps the audience you serve is in immediate need of the service you offer because of the shifts in our current situation.
Or maybe it’s none of the above. Maybe you just want to grow your business now and don’t have the bandwidth to spend weeks preparing for a launch, or you can’t devote your full work days to building your business because you are now primary educator at home for your childre, or caretaker for your parents.
Whatever the case, we are no longer in an era of striving for perfection with every business decision. Though, truth be told, I’m not sure we ever were. But that’s a story for another day.
Now we must work with what we have.
Limited travel. More of us staying at home than ever before. More connected digitally and less connected physically.
So, while our businesses and launches may look different, they don’t have to be disorganized or incomplete. And we certainly don’t have to be argumentative about it!
What we do have to do is work with what we have, embrace the current situation to the best of our abilities, and do what we need to do for ourselves and our families.
For me, that means letting go of the need for perfection, and embracing a new perfectly imperfect way of running my business.
It means making sure that anything I put out makes me proud. Aligns with my larger goals of empowering others around technology and helping them build their business by building themselves.
It does NOT mean putting out messy or crappy stuff just to get it done.
You would not appreciate that. I would not appreciate that. It would serve neither of us.
So, the next time you are describing your launch or your business as scrappy, take a second and decide if that’s really how you want to define your business.
Or if, perhaps, there might be a more accurate way to describe what you are putting together and offering the world.
P.S. There is another definition in urbandictionary.com for Scrappy when referring to a person. That definition is a bit more appealing:
seemingly small and unthreatening but shockingly able to kick your ass and anyone else's
While I must admit, I do like this definition a bit more, I’m still not sure I want my business to kick someone’s ass. If that does apply to your business, feel free to consider this along with the other comments above. 🙂