I recently spoke to a group of business owners, entrepreneurs, and something became as obvious as the nose on my face. Now I speak with a lot passion, very matter of factually, and sometimes I’m in your grill, I am as honest as I can be, I’m also extremely transparent. I put myself in front of the truck, willing to be hit by it.

I study the future of business, I spend much of my studying human behavior, and I’ve discovered, people don’t want to hear the truth. I’m generalizing of course, but denial is a powerful thing, if I just look the other way, it’s not there, and it’s not happening.

I’m pretty hard on business owners, and entrepreneurs, mostly because they think of themselves far too much. Again, I’m generalizing, not all of them do, but in general they do, in fact, we all do, it’s the wiring of human behavior.

Flicking the switch is not easy, admitting you don’t know, what you don’t know, takes great humility, and most of us are really bad at being humble. In order to have the fortitude to flick the switch, you will have to come to terms with humility, the humble have more friends, and tend to be more charismatic. You can’t be an authority on everything and build a 1,000 true fans, the fan base has to embrace you and your work to an extreme level. Authority & arrogance don’t attract fans, and they rarely build large communities and followings.

I have never spoken at an event and not offend at least one person, I almost always get under someone’s skin. I even warn everyone before I start, I will offend someone here today, I apologize in advance, but I only know how to speak the truth. The truth is based on my research, studying human behavior, and the natural gravities of human behavior. I don’t like the truth either, but it is what it is.

I am amazed the power fear has over biz owners and entrepreneurs. It’s real for them, typically, the worst thing that will happen to them, usually….you get to start over! You will never fully flick the switch unless you overcome the fear of failing along the way, you will always gravitate to making sure you don’t feel the pain of it. Hence, you get in the way of your business and the learning.

I too have the same problems most of you have, I to get in the way, sometimes I think I know something and learn quickly that I don’t. Sometimes, it’s embarrassing. I am not perfect, I don’t know everything, and frankly, would I want to….well maybe : ) I am figuring things out on the fly sometimes, sometimes I ask you the reader to provide input, I’m always assessing and researching, why? So I can relate the truth as accurately as possible to you, share what I find and what I see coming. I do it because I can’t not do it, it’s what I do, I want to help cure the blindness most business owners & entrepreneurs have, I want to be a resource that helps you win and make the living you would prefer to have. So I challenge you……

Learn to embrace the truth, learn to be willing to admit you don’t know, learn to be humble, and be willing to fail along the way. Flicking the switch is about a journey, not a destination. Are you ready yet?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Far too often business owners state that everyone is their customer, it’s wrong, it’s just not true. Even if it were true, how could you possibly serve them all, and more importantly, what services & products would you know to provide everyone? Plus, what would marketers do if they couldn’t target market your products & services.

Typically, those business owners reveal their greatest weakness when making that claim. Firstly, they clearly do not understand business, secondly, they don’t have a business plan, and thirdly….they lack vision. I couldn’t speak more bluntly now could I, and I just gave you three reasons : )

If there is one thing I preach more than any other fact, business is and has changed, and you must change the way you think about business, and more importantly, how you think and see your business. Somehow we have to get away from thinking in terms of an exchange before payment, incorporate free into your business model, and how to be satisfied with less customers. That’s right….less!

Kevin Kelly wrote an amazing piece on 1,000 true fans, it’s really a tribe model in my head, but his theory is sound, and frankly is the future of business. His description of a fan is a thing of beauty, taken from the article on his blog:

“A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.”

Now you might have an idea where I’m going, but I doubt it, I’m hard to follow sometimes. The question to ask yourself is, do you have fans / customers as described by Kevin Kelly? If you do, it won’t be hard to tell, if you don’t, you are probably wondering how to get those fans, and where might they be. If you did a business plan without knowing this description, of your preferred customer (fan), you would still be one degree off true north. Your plan would be flawed, because it would be based on old industrial age thinking, it would be based on what you know, and what you were taught in school. But that’s another topic.

Let’s stick with Kevin’s idea of a 1,000 true fans. In Kelly’s model, every true fan spends $100 per year on you whatever you produce. That means you will generate $100,000, that’s a decent pile of dough isn’t it. So there is your equation, 1,000 true fans x $100 = $100,000!! So what’s the problem?

The problem is not the equation, the problem most of the time is you, you get in the way, you begin to think too much, you still don’t understand the why. My workshops, public speaking engagements, my blog, and my book, is all about why you should change the way you think about your business. Most business owners aren’t paying attention to the why, mostly because they are paying attention to the details of paying the bills, covering payroll, and making sure there is stock. So where will you find the time to see what’s really going on, what’s changing, and how to adopt what’s changing? The stock answer, and I hear it every day, ” I don’t have time”. If that’s true, you probably won’t be in business in the next 5 – 10 years, because the way business and the consumers are changing, you will be forgotten, out of site, and out of mind.

The digital platform we call the Internet, is a game changer for sure. The real game changer has nothing to do with you the business owner, it’s the way people have shifted their buying patterns, from what to how. More importantly, these people formerly known as consumers want more control of your offerings, they want to decide, and they’re already talking about your competition. Why? Because you aren’t thinking like the new consumer, and….you aren’t listening to what they want.

There are over 2.2 billion users on the Internet, and another 3 Billion coming in the next 5 years, I know there are 1,000 true fans for your niche, now do you have time to find your 1,000 true fans? If not, hire someone who can show you how, someone with the vision to see the patterns of a changing consumer(s). You already know someone….wink, wink ; – )

Olivier Blanchard has 5 basic rules on the value of a follower, a fan, and a like, in simple terms, it’s based on the amount of money they spend on your product or service in a given calendar year. The potential of a follower and fan, that is something entirely different, and that equation has yet to be determined in my humble opinion. I think we are very bad at determining the potential value of a follower, a like, or a fan…but know this, it’s not linear, it’s exponential.

If you only need 1,000 true fans, “Everyone”, is not your customer.

Click on this link for the complete story on Kevin Kelly’s idea of 1,000 True Fans

Also read Olivier Blanchard’s work on The 5 basic rules of calculating fan/like/follower¬†value.

Enhanced by Zemanta