When I speak to aspiring entrepreneurs the conversation doesn’t take long to get into the subject of money. This is fine of course, what’s the purpose for starting a business if you’re not trying to make money, correct?
However, I think some people overlook something more important than money. And that’s a simple principle. What’s that principle? You have to give in order to receive.
The less you give, the less you receive. If you don’t give at all, you won’t receive very much at all.
You have to earn whatever you get in this life. If you go through life expecting something for nothing then you’re in for a very frustrating life. You’re giving up your power in hopes that things will work themselves out – and they seldom do. Anyway, back to business…
Consider for a moment if someone told you that on occasion you should GIVE away your service (or product) away for FREE. Some people shrink away from that idea. Just the thought of giving away something and not charging a single penny for it is almost an insult. But should it be?
Money comes from other people. And people that don’t trust you (or your company), won’t buy from you. People that are confused about what you do, won’t buy from you. People that feel as though they will be swindled or taken advantage of you, won’t buy from you. So what’s the big issue here?
The big issue here is TRUST.
People that trust you and/or your business are more likely to buy from you. You want more money? Then you must garner more trust. How do you get more people to trust you? You have to deliver an above average customer experience. And every so often, this means giving your service or product away for free.
Why would you do this? Because you want to build SOCIAL PROOF. People already trust other people they know, isn't that true? People enthusiastic to share their experience about you, with others, is what we want. When we're satisfied, don’t we share that enthusiasm with others?
When you eat at an excellent restaurant, don’t you tell other people? When you see a great movie, don’t you tell other people? When you have a good experience, don’t you share it?
Entrepreneurs want to make money, but they skip a few key steps. And one BIG key step that’s usually skipped is the building of trust.
So they key here is to give. But you can’t just give ANYTHING. You have to give the correct thing. The thing that will allow you to EARN the trust of your potential customers or clients. The bigger and more known you are, the easier this is. But when you’re just starting, you have to MAKE this happen. You have to consistently build trust and garner social proof.
We can talk a lot about branding yourself correctly, having the right price points, how to create stronger marketing and advertising campaigns. We can also discuss correct presentation, thinking outside of the box, how to rise up in the search engines, and how to make better use of social media.
And while all those things are important and necessary, if no one trusts that you can deliver on your promise, then what good are those other things? Let me repeat, people that don’t trust you or your company won’t buy; and a confused customer won’t buy.
We give in order to serve our market (potential customers and/or clients). And while we’re doing this, we gain the TRUST of our market and accumulate social proof.
Yes, there’s more to this formula but this understanding is essential for anyone thinking about starting a business – or someone who has just got their feet wet.
If you can master this skill, because it is a skill – it’s something that can be learned, then you position yourself to receive more money. Money should not be the ONLY focus of your business. In fact, money is the effect of specific causes; it's the result of certain actions. And earning trust is one of the most important of those actions.
For those of you coming out this Saturday, see you then! For everyone else, see you next post...
Tickets only $10
On Saturday, June 24th I’ll be LIVE in Garland, Texas! I’ll be speaking about how to start a business from almost NOTHING. Check out the details on the flyer below.
Not too many people would say this to aspiring entrepreneurs (in hopes of not discouraging them), but business can be a lot like life. Sometimes you’re up, and sometimes you’re down. One day you have the upper-hand, the next day you don’t. One day you’re sitting on a goldmine, the next day you feel things around you spiraling downward. Unfortunately, most people just sit back and wait for the crash.
This can be called a ‘reversal of fortune’. Other times it's just blatant not knowing WHAT to do.
I personally had my share of not knowing what to do:
And these hard time stories are just in the business arena, I could make a HUGE list of personal and relationship setbacks!
It's never easy to hold yourself mentally and emotionally together when things like this happen. We don’t always have someone that understands – someone at the very least we can vent to.
When I teach business I do my best to keep things very realistic and practical. As much as some people attempt to sell the “dream of owning a business”, I know from personal experience and from stories of hundreds of entrepreneurs I’ve spoken with, that things will be up and down.
If you can let go of what ‘could have been’, you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get yourself back on the road to success. Then move forward from where you currently are.
When you’re down, you can’t allow yourself to get caught up in excuses about how things are so much harder now – or play the victim role, asking yourself, “Oh, why did this happen to me?”
Life doesn’t have a “do-over” button. At some point focusing on what might have been is just draining you of the energy necessary to move forward.
It’s not your setbacks and hardships that define you – it’s how you bounce back from them. We all have hard times, but not all of us find a way through them or past them. If you’re still able to breathe and think rationally, it’s not over!
I want you to know that I’ve been through a lot of what many of will go through (or have already been through). I have the bumps, the scrapes and the bruises. I’m still here and now I’m able to share with you tips and strategies that will help you navigate through the realm of business more smoothly than I did. And my sincere hope is that one day you’ll be able to share your experiences and be able to do the same for them.
But first, you have to get started!
I’m here to help give you the mental and physical tools to start out with confidence!
Hope to see you in Texas on Saturday, June 24th.
My interview with Mrs. Starr Claiborne of, L.E.A.D. Empowers.
The topic at hand is my book, Unlocking the Small Business Game.
How can it benefit the aspiring entrepreneur? Tune in to find out.
For more info about, L.E.A.D. Empowers, click [HERE]
A fair exchange is not a robbery. But that depends on a person’s perspective on what’s fair. Take for example a close female friend of mine. She’s a sweetheart really, but she can get bossy when it comes to business. I’m all for that – things need to be right.
She came to me with an idea for a business brochure. I thought that was a great idea, especially considering her market and the services she offers. Where my friend lives, people are generally not very familiar with what she does. Because of that, it requires a lot of explaining. If she had a brochure she could save some time by just handing it off with a basic explanation depending on who she’s speaking with.
She found a designer who was willing to barter. He would design the brochure and she would provide her service to him for free. That’s a fair exchange. But that’s when the complications started. Poor guy, he wasn’t ready!
Designing in itself is not easy. It takes time and you also want to use the elements the client wants. My friend however kept coming up with more and more revisions. Color changes, font changes, the use of certain images, layout changes, etc. All of this is fine and perfectly acceptable – but this delayed the finished brochure by almost 2 months.
The final product is excellent; a job well done. The revisions seems to have paid off but was it worth delaying a much needed marketing piece? In my opinion, yes it was. I don’t think it should have taken 2 months, but things have to be right.
Let me give you a little piece of business Game.
When you have a business card, brochure or a post card as marketing materials, these become your sales people. They have the potential to sell your product or service 24/7 when you’re not around. These need to represent what you do, or have, very clearly. Poor images, color choices or a shoddy design directly reflect on you and/or your business. If they’re really bad, they will “un-sell” you and/or your business.
When I teach the mentality of business I always stress that everything you do needs to come from a very clear CENTER. Everything needs to be cohesive and make sense when it relates to your brand. If you’re not being clear, you’re being confusing. And let me give you some more business Game:
“A confused customer does not buy.”
This simple principle extends to every business. When you go to a fast food restaurant, they have number combos. When you go to the movies you’re usually a line to buy a ticket. Available movies and show times are made clear. The process has been stream-lined for you so that nothing is confusing. Too much confusion and some people would just walk away. It may sound simple, but this is the psychology behind many choices businesses make. And only the “big boys” can bend these “rules”.
If you’re just started out in your business, remember part of your responsibility is to make things CLEAR. Simplify them as much as possible. It may make sense to you, but it’s not you that matters – it’s your potential customers and clients that matter.
Let’s trackback to the first sentence of this post, “A fair exchange is not a robbery,” and this works on many levels. When you’re doing business there’s an exchange: Your goods and/or services for money (usually). Most people want good quality at a fair price. If the price is high and people don’t feel as though they got what they paid for, they feel “robbed”. This works on the other side of the coin as well. If someone buys a cheap product and it doesn’t last long, they still feel “robbed”. Even though they know the old saying, “You get what you pay for.”
A challenge that every entrepreneur faces is balancing PERCEIVED VALUE of their product or service with what someone is actually willing to pay. Too high, less potential sales – but you have to sell less to make a profit. Too low and potential customers may view your offering as cheap or low-quality – which means you have to sell more to make a profit. But you may be fighting an uphill battle because of its lesser PERCEIVED VALUE.
So, what do you do? You research.
You have to research your market, your potential customers, what your competition is already doing, what technology is coming in that may change quality for better or worse; and even perceived value for better or worse. Sometimes it’s best just to get something out there just to test the reaction. There’s a lot of analytics and some entrepreneurs find this boring and tedious. Personally, I’m one of them. But this is necessary work. If you treat your business like a hobby, you earn hobby money. Period, simple.
To my entrepreneurs: Is that thing on? Is your mind, one of your most important tools, on? Or is it off? Do you keep yourself in the right head-space? Is going through 2 months of revisions for 1 piece of marketing material something you’re willing to do? Do you understand its long-term importance and the wide reaching effects? Word of mouth spreads like wild-fire. Don’t set yourself up to burn down your own forest.
Remember everything you do must communicate clearly and simply. Think of that like a Hustler’s anthem.
Until next time…
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