Patiently waiting for results can be difficult, especially as a business owner. But Justin Dawkins, Atlanta-based serial entrepreneur and Grow with Google digital coach, knows that it is key to growing a successful business.

This is especially true when you’re testing out different tactics or digital tools to help support your business’s growth, he said.

“Be patient and don’t be afraid to ask for help once you’ve exhausted your options,” Dawkins told CO—. “Just because something doesn’t work quickly doesn’t mean it’s not working. It is important to seek guidance and not give up on a channel simply because it didn’t perform as expected.”

In the 15-plus years since he started his first company, Dawkins has learned a lot about how to move forward in business, even when some plans aren’t producing the intended results. Here are his best tips for entrepreneurs who are ready to go all-in on slow but steady long-term business growth.

Use the right tools, not just any that are available to you

While there are many tools at your disposal, you don’t need to use every digital tool just because it’s available. Rather, select the tools that are right for your business.

“You should absolutely have … the right social media platform — not to be confused with just any,” said Dawkins.

In terms of other key digital marketing tools, Dawkins recommends familiarizing yourself with an email marketing list and strategy, an SMS strategy and list, great graphic design tools (or a professional to help you), a project tracker, and an action-oriented website.

[Read: Startup 2021: Choosing the Social Channels That Are Right for Your Business]

I attribute my early success to … an unwavering commitment to learning new digital things [and] being responsive to new and emerging trends.

Justin Dawkins, entrepreneur and Grow with Google digital coach

Stay committed and keep learning

When Dawkins was starting his first business in college, he recognized the power of learning and used that to find ways to elevate himself and his business to reach new heights.

“I attribute my early success to … an unwavering commitment to learning new digital things [and] being responsive to new and emerging trends,” Dawkins said. “I never wanted to be late to the party.”

He still follows these principles today, as he continues to learn and improve at every opportunity he can.

As a business owner, it’s important to constantly seek ways to grow and improve; however, it’s also important to accept you’ll never truly learn it all. You’ll always have room for growth.

As a leader, strive to be a teacher who promotes continual growth

Dawkins has found a lot of success over the years, in part due to his emphasis on leading with care, love and a giving spirit. He believes that being a teacher and sharing knowledge with employees will lead them to be happier and more productive.

“I believe that true wisdom is the transfer of knowledge from one person to another,” Dawkins said. “To be wise is to be a giver. I aspire to enable those around me, and the best way I know how to do that is by teaching.”

With Dawkins’s method, employees are encouraged to learn, grow and advance their skills. By teaching rather than bossing around your employees, you’ll learn just how capable they are while building stronger and healthier relationships with them.

[Read: How Can I Be Myself and Still Be a Great Boss?]

Use empathy to build lasting relationships

Having empathy can lead to stronger relationships and building a brand; however, it can also be one of the biggest challenges when breaking out into the world of multicultural digital marketing.

“The biggest challenge is nuance and building empathy at scale,” Dawkins said. “Specifically, messaging and finding the right voice to connect with such a wide array of people groups.”

He advises entrepreneurs to start narrow and learn how to effectively communicate with their user personas.

“Don’t be afraid to enlist a ‘consumer council’ of sorts to help provide feedback and input on the future of the brand,” Dawkins said. “Use those connections to brand more effectively and efficiently.”

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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CO— is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Published December 15, 2021