This article for goldfish:
- Successful businesses are per definition built on serving the self-interest of their customers. Provide value or wither away.
- Asking for support once is OK, asking for support twice is begging. Begging is a guaranteed way of losing your audience.
- Instead, broadcast the value you offer. If your message reaches the right audience at the right time, and the value offered is good enough, support will come to you.
This article for humans:
When I started my first company selling sunglasses with two of my friends, I expected most of our friends and family to place an order right off the bat to support us. Only a handful did.
I didn’t understand it.
I myself would certainly place an order at any of my friends’ new start-ups, even if I didn’t need the product they were selling. Most of our sunglasses were priced around 15 USD, it seemed a small investment to support a friend.
I was wrong.
Asking for support once is OK, asking for support twice is begging.
It’s important to realise the following three things:
1. Successful businesses are built on the self-interest of its customers.
Begging might get you some support in the short run, but if you can’t provide enough value, the support that is offered won’t last. Begging doesn’t work in the long run, it’s a sure way to lose your audience.
Building a successful business is about offering value and finding the right audience that’s willing to pay for it. If your audience is not willing to support you, they’re either not the right audience, or you aren’t offering enough value. Realize that your friends and family might not be the right audience.
Successful businesses are per definition built on serving the self-interest of their customers. Loyalty often only comes into existence after a consistent delivery of value. Once you realise this, you’ll stop investing your time and energy in asking for support, and you’ll start investing your time and energy in creating more value.
What about charities? Sadly enough, at some level giving money to charity is about self-interest too. The most successful charities are either built on making people feel good or look good. For a majority of the corporate donations that really make a difference, there’s the additional bonus of tax evasion, goodwill, PR coverage and networking opportunities. Acts of kindness are seldom completely selfless. Even if supporting someone is just making you feel good (e.g. the feeling you’re making a difference in the world), that’s value created right there.
2. Communication is key.
Equally important as creating value, is finding an effective way to communicate that value to your audience. Again, don’t ask for support in your advertisements. Broadcast the value you offer instead. If your message reaches the right audience at the right time, and the value offered is good enough, support will come to you.
Build a brand your audience can trust, by being consistent in both your messaging and your offer. Being consistent increases familiarity. Familiarity leads to trust.
When there’s trust and there’s value, you’re well on your way building a successful business.
Sometimes communication itself is the value. People are willing to pay big bucks for a high-end brand they identify with. A brand that tells something about themselves, just by purchasing it. In order for a brand to tell something about the purchaser, other people need to know what the brand is about and broadcasting your message to a wide audience becomes essential. In this case, communication is part of the value that is created.
3. Creating value never stops.
You’ve found a way to create value and your audience is supporting you. Great. Now actively listen to feedback, go back to the drawing table, and find a way to create even more value. This will give you a competitive advantage, which means you’ll either be able to grow your audience, increase your price or both.
When asking for support for your new start-up or project, realise that people have their own life. They’re dealing with their own struggles and have their own dreams. It’s selfish to ask people to support you all the way, building your dream. You can’t expect the world to revolve around you.
Provide value, or wither away.
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