Ok, let’s get it all out in the OPEN —entrepreneurship is one heck of a life!
Forget all that you were ever told, here are some very troubling facts to backup that statement:
Entrepreneurs have unlimited ideas, but limited funds.
Entrepreneurs have unlimited work, but limited time.
Entrepreneurs have unlimited market, but limited marketing.
Entrepreneurs have unlimited opportunities, but limited resources.
Entrepreneurs have unlimited risks, but limited guarantees.
Entrepreneurs are far MORE broke than they are rich!
Entrepreneurs fail several times MORE in life than the average human being!
Entrepreneurs experience far MORE sleepless nights than any other human being alive! (e.g. I wrote this from the middle of the night)
Entrepreneurs suffer far MORE breakups than the average joe!
Entrepreneurs consume ideas far MORE than they will ever eat real food!
Because Entrepreneurs get paid LAST!
These are just a few of the burden entrepreneurs face. I wrote an unusual article in the past “the dark side of entrepreneurship and how to avoid it” where I also listed a few other burdens of entrepreneurship.
My dear, they are so freaking real!
But in spite of all these burdens, many still follow the path less traveled –entrepreneurship. The big question then is why?
Why do entrepreneurs despite all odds, still NEVER quit?
Who in their right thinking mind would want to become an entrepreneur?
Who in their right thinking mind would want to carry so much of a burden?
The shocking truth is this; only an entrepreneur would!
The life of an entrepreneur is a life of service. And only the entrepreneur knows why he has opted for such a life.
Who Send You Message?
In the part of the world where I come from –Nigeria, there is a very popular pidgin English phrase that sums up the burden of entrepreneurship; “who send you message?“
“Who send you message?” means “did anyone force you into it?” “If no, then you shouldn’t be complaining because you brought this on yourself!”
When you lose all the money you borrowed on an idea that didn’t work out as planned. Before you go nuts, remember; who send you message?
When after doing all your possible best to please a customer and they turn around to disregard your efforts. Before releasing the venom in your mouth, remember; who send you message?
When all your mates who are no smarter than you are gainfully employed, living a comfortable life, driving expensive cars while you are still jumping the bus or catching the train, remember; who send you message?
When you look at your personal balance sheet and realize that you have more debts than cash, remember; who send you message?
When all your friends are out partying and you have to stay indoor to meet up with a client’s deadline. Before you gnash your teeth, remember; who send you message?
When everyone else is fast asleep and you are still awake working late into the night, remember; who send you message?
When you are having a hard time with your employees because they are not meeting expected targets, when you are struggling to get them fired up about the business as much as you are, before you go nuts, remember; who send you message?
You Sent Yourself!
You and no one else BUT you chose to carry this burden yourself. You have no one to blame BUT you for all the bad and the good that will befall you as a result of embarking on the entrepreneur’s journey. The outcome, however it turns out to be in the end is one you chose from the beginning. No one sent you on this journey, you sent yourself!
And guess what?
In the burden lies the joy. The burden of entrepreneurship is a burden of freedom –the quest to be all that you can possibly be!
This is the whole joy of entrepreneurship. The fact that you are on a personal vendetta to create the life of your dreams by refusing to accept or settle for the average BUT aspiring for the very best. This is the whole essence of entrepreneurship. That you are the architect of your own destiny. This is what makes the burden of entrepreneurship seem so light for you to carry. This is why you are able to go through all the entrepreneurial challenges and rather than going insane, you get stronger by the day.
Because you sent yourself, ONLY you know why!
All the money in the world is nothing compared to the joy of seeing your idea become reality.
All the money in the world is nothing compared to the sheer joy of seeing your products/services changing lives.
All the money in the world is nothing compared to the adrenaline rush of fear, doubt and uncertainty.
All the money in the world is nothing compared to the sheer joy of creative expression –passion.
All the money in the world is nothing compared to the inner peace that comes from knowing that the work you do MATTERS!
Unusual entrepreneurs take on the burden of entrepreneurship not for the material gains it brings, but for the fulfillment it brings. For if it were all about the money, there are far more less challenging avenues to wealth. Employment is one. Stock investment is another and so is intellectual property.
When unusual entrepreneurs envision the end of their entrepreneurial journey, they don’t only see wealth, they see true fulfillment. Nothing compares knowing that you have lived fulfilling purpose. The money is just icing on the cake!
What is your BIG why?
I would really love to have your feedback. Kindly share your thoughts in the comment section below. And if I don’t get any, there’s no problem. Remember; who send me message? 🙂
There are businesses that worry about the cost of their products/services, and there are those who don’t. Success goes to the business that doesn’t have to worry about the price of what they sell.
Want to know why? Ok, here you go!
When price is still part of the factors your target customers consider before buying from you, then you don’t matter!
When what you offer isn’t credible enough to communicate to your target customers that you’re the best option, then you don’t matter!
When customers begin to compare your price with that of others, then you are no different than others!
To businesses that MATTER, their deeds outweigh what the customers could ever pay for, so this makes price irrelevant. They define, create, communicate and deliver extraordinary value in the market that their target customers can’t seem to quantify only in monetary terms. The value they add is so overwhelming that you don’t care how much they charge!
Don’t know about you, but for me, hell YES!
I never want to be the cheapest option in the market.
I never want the value I add to the customer to be quantifiable ONLY in monetary terms.
I want to be the one that provides a value that is far MORE than what the customer could ever pay for.
I want to be the one whose value in KIND will exceed the value in CASH.
I want to be the one that will build a business that is MORE than the prices of what we sell.
So this doesn’t become an all about me rant, in this unusual article, I want to show you how you can charge whatever you like for your products/services without losing the customer.
Pricing Secret #1 – Determine What They Really Want
How much a thing cost is not as important as whether people want it or not. No matter how cheap salt costs, it wouldn’t change the value people attach to it. Pricing must begin with what people value. Why? Because people will only pay more for what they truly value.
The first step to charging whatever you like for your product/services without losing the customer is to determine what they want and give it to them better than they ever thought possible.
So your first task before pricing is research. You have to deeply understand what your target customers call value. You cannot determine value for them, you can only communicate it clearly to them what they have first clarified as value.
This is what I refer to as value definition. As a business, you have to define what value you bring to the market based on the needs of the target customer. This value must match their needs before it can be called an offer – product/service. People don’t buy what you think they want; they buy what they know they want. So to sell at whatever price you like, you just have to remind them of what they want and show them why you are the best provider.
Pricing Secret #2 — Go Beyond Survival
Being MORE in life never kills. Being SOMETHING in life never kills. The real killer is being NOTHING!
Survival is for ANIMALS! Humans THRIVE!
Meaning, in life and in business, don’t just SURVIVE [make ends meet], THRIVE [make a difference]
Because your target customers needs a reason(s) to COMPARE and DIFFERENTIATE you from OTHERS and if you don’t give them one, they’ll regard what you’re selling as COMMODITY and will default to PRICE comparison.
To be able to charge whatever you like for your products/services without losing the customer, make THRIVING your SURVIVAL strategy!
Don’t start out in business to survive —doing enough to make ends meet. You must be prepared to take the game to another level. You have to go beyond survival if you ever want to make price irrelevant in your business. You have to be prepared to do more than enough.
Businesses that SURVIVE by doing enough sell COMMODITY —what other people are selling but calling it a different name.
Businesses that THRIVE by doing more than enough sell SOLUTIONS —a unique product/service to a specific problem customers have.
And here’s the shocking truth; people will ONLY pay more for solutions and will never pay more for commodity.
So the big question is this; what are you selling —solutions or commodity?
To charge whatever you like without losing the customer, you must define, create, communicate and deliver Solutions and not just commodity. And this can only be achieved by focusing on thriving rather than just surviving in business.
Pricing Secret #3 — Go Against Tradition
Tradition is the way things have always been in a particular industry or niche. Tradition is what is generally acceptable as RIGHT. Tradition is simply being like others.
To charge whatever you like for your products/services without losing the customer, you have to be a radical –a person who challenges tradition.
Every industry or niche has certain way of things and because it so popular, everyone seems to assume it is the best way. Here’s the truth; what is popular isn’t always the best choice. The best choice is not measured in terms of popularity, but in terms of results. The best choice is the one that brings you the kind of results you desire.
My favourite example is the Virgin brand led by unusual entrepreneur Richard Branson. In every industry they enter, they challenge existing tradition. When they entered into the aviation business, their airplanes [Virgin atlantic, Virgin America, Virgin Blue] went against the traditional way of running an airline. They changed the traditional colour of airplane seats and made theirs spacious leather seats, allowed passengers to watch their own programs, buy movies or favourite games on air and create their own playlist, there’s a bar, a pool and casino on air, you can order your own meal, drink or snacks rather than eat what you’ve been given, there’s even Wi-Fi on air!
Don’t expect to charge whatever you like if there’s nothing extraordinary about you when compared to others in your industry or niche. While thinking of the tradition to break, make sure you come up with what will add value to the target customer. Don’t just go about breaking tradition for tradition sake, you must break tradition because breaking it will amplify the value to the target customers. Don’t just be a radical, be radically useful.
Pricing Secret #4 — Let Your Value in KIND exceed their Value in CASH
This is the summary of all 3 points above; overwhelm the customers with extraordinary value.
People will pay more naturally if they can vividly sense and see that they are getting more. Who doesn’t want a bargain after all?
The problem like has been addressed above is asking people to pay for more when what you are offering less in kind value than the cash value they have to pay. The way to charge more is to give more than you ask for.
When the total value in KIND exceed the total value in CASH, customers don’t find it hard paying for whatever you charge. In fact, they are more inclined to do so than if you simply charged them in cash for the exact value you provided in kind. The reality is this; customers always want to get more than they pay for. So just doing enough won’t help you enough, you have to overwhelm them with more than they ever could pay for.
Take for instance, exotic 5 star hotels that charge far higher prices than other lower star hotels. At first thought, you would wonder why people pay so much for a night or more at such hotels if all they wanted was sleep. But when you begin to look deeper at such other less obvious factors like the caliber of guests who also lodge at such hotels? When you begin to imagine the kind of business relationships that staying in such hotels can forge? When you imagine the extraordinary confidence spending a night at such hotels can bring into your life? Then the whole price they charge begins to look irrelevant in comparison to the value in KIND gained.
To charge whatever you like for your products/services without losing the customer is absolutely possible. You only just have to position your business as one that offers MORE to the customer than the price tag on your products/services.
In other words, your business in general has to be MORE than the monetary worth you attach the to products/services you sell.
When people fly Virgin, they don’t just pay for air fares, they pay for an extraordinary experience. One that is so rare and can only be gotten by flying Virgin airlines.
When people buy Apple products/services, they are not just paying for hardware -iPad or iPod or a Mac. They are paying for an extraordinary user experience that comes from those hard wares. They are paying for design, quality, durability, simplicity and prestige.
So the big question for entrepreneurs who want to charge whatever they like for their products/services without losing the customer is this; what is your true purpose? What is the result, outcome or transformation that you deliver?
In other words; how will your customer’s life or business be different as a result of buying from you?
It isn’t always about the PRICE. It is always about the VALUE!
To charge MORE, let your VALUE exceed the PRICE!
How else can entrepreneurs charge whatever they like without losing the customer?
How have you been coping with the challenge of pricing in your business?
I’m counting on your feedback in the comment section below. Thanks for your time, now speak your mind!
Success is naturally desirable. You want success, I want success, and we all want success. But how come only a few actually succeed?
This was the theme of a discussion I got into over the weekend. It is a question I suddenly realized was unanswered in so many lives. And as I shared what I’m about to share with you in this unusual article during the discussion, I found out it was NOT so much of a secret, but rather often overlooked.
It turned out; success is not only naturally desirable, but also naturally attainable. Meaning, it is within your power to desire success and also within your natural capacity to achieve it. Those who succeed in business and in life are not superhuman; they just follow 3 simple but often overlooked steps to guaranteed success.
And guess what, these 3 simple but often overlooked steps to guaranteed success is applicable to every area of life; business, relationship, academics, finance, health, etc. But because I write for entrepreneurs, I will focus more on the psychology of business success here. The lesson you should pick out here is applicable to every other sphere of life. I want to believe they get so overlooked because of their simplicity. We humans often believe to succeed; the steps must be very complex that’s why only a few achieve success. If you are one of such people, you are about to be dazed!
The Psychology Of Business Success
Anyone and everyone who succeeded in business or desires to succeed should repeatedly follow these 3 simple steps. Do the following and your success in business is guaranteed!
1. BEGIN With The End In Mind
This is the critical first step to success in business. Success is a destination, a journey, an end you want to get to in business. Without a clear picture or idea of what this end is, nothing else matters.
If you ask anyone who ever achieved success, they would tell you they had an idea of what they wanted to achieve. Successful entrepreneurs know what they want to get out of their businesses. They don’t dabble into business without an end in mind. They begin their entrepreneurial journey with a picture in mind.
This has been the foundation of all my teachings on entrepreneurship. I never fail to re-iterate it again and again; successful businesses are purpose-driven. They have a clue of where they are going. They have a clue of what they want to achieve. They have a clue of what they want to create. They begin with the end in mind.
In the world of business and in life generally, beginning with the end in mind has been given different names such as; purpose, vision, goal, objective, aim, big picture, dream, desire, mission, ambition, etc. It is not such a big deal other than just knowing where you are headed. It is so simple, yet so overlooked.
I find many entrepreneurs who set out in business with only one end in mind; profitability. And they wonder why they don’t succeed. The problem is so clear; profitability is not a destination. Profitability is an outcome. A derivative of achieving something else. It is a reward gotten for doing something else. And if you don’t begin with that something else in mind, you can’t get the profitability you set out for.
The first thing every business makes is not profit, but value (a solution in the form of products/services to a problem people have).
The second thing every business makes is not profit, but customers (those who need the value the business creates -products/services).
The third thing every business makes is not profit, but credibility (market trust earned from repeatedly delivering value).
The fourth thing every business makes is not profit, but systems (a structured way of ensuring the continuous creation, communication and delivery of value to the customer).
The fifth thing every business makes is profit, an accumulated monetary reward earned from doing all the above.
There you are, you cannot put profit first because you it’s not the first thing you make in business. It’s the last thing you make.
So, the end in mind every entrepreneur who desires business success ought to begin with is not profitability, but utility.
Utility is the benefit, value, satisfaction, change, impact, contribution, difference you want to make in the life of the customer through the business you’ve set out to build.
2. LEARN What It Takes
The second simple but often overlooked step to guaranteed success in business is learning what it takes. The success of every journey lies in the preparation. Knowing where you are going is not sufficient, if you are not armed with enough information on how to get there.
Successful entrepreneurs are able to build successful businesses that matter because they first desired it and then they became students of the process. For every kind of success you desire in life, each requires a set of universal processes you must follow. A firm commitment to study the required process to attain the kind of success you desire is what differentiates those who succeed from those who don’t.
A lot of entrepreneurs have a strong desire for success, they know where they are headed but only a few of them commit to the learning process. You see such entrepreneurs looking for success overnight. They go after the latest business gimmicks in town and hope to hit a jackpot soon. This is a losing strategy.
Enduring Success is built on a long term process. Nothing that lasts was ever created overnight. Learning what it takes is simply paying the price for the success you so desire. This is the often overlooked secret of successful entrepreneurs; they are students of business. They don’t stop learning about business. They are leading the market because they are learners. They know what it takes to get to where they are headed and get what they want. They master the process of business success.
3. ACTION -Do The Work
The third simple but often overlooked step to guaranteed success in business is action. No amount of learning will get the work done if you don’t get off your butt and do the work required. No amount of purpose, vision, mission, goals, and ambition will get you to where you desire if you don’t get off your butt and do the work.
Successful entrepreneurs do the work. They act on their purpose, vision, dreams, mission, goals, etc. They act on what they learn. They don’t just study, they practice, they apply, they implement, they execute.
You are never going to succeed until you begin to work out your own success. Doing the work is how dreams become reality. Doing the work is how purpose is fulfilled. Doing the work is how profit is made. Doing the work is how businesses that matter MATTER.
You cannot run away from the work, and if do, then forget about success.
Business Success is a choice that successful entrepreneurs make by following a three part process;
1. Know where you are going — [begin with the end in mind]
2. Learn how to get there — [learn what it takes]
3. Get on the road — [do the work]
How are you pursuing success in business?
What other simple but often overlooked step is missing here?
What step do you find most challenging of these 3 discussed above?
Drop your comments in the section below. I’m counting on it! 🙂
You already know this, so I am not going to belabor the issue of selling. This unusual article is about unveiling the most overlooked secret of selling.
How can you sell more every time?
How can you simplify the selling process?
How can you close the sale 99% of the time?
This is what this unusual article has been written to answer.
What Is The Most Overlooked Secret Of Selling?
To answer this question, you’ve got to understand first that selling or closing the sale is an outcome. It is something that happens only after several other things must have happened. Meaning, sales is not made in an instant. Several factors must be well aligned long before the decision to buy is made.
So here’s the most overlooked secret of selling; eliminate every barrier to sale!
That’s as simple as it sounds. To sell more 99% of the time, get rid of every hindrances to making the sale. In other words, to make the sale, shorten the buyers’ decision process.
How To Sell More
To sell more, you need to understand how people buy. People make buying decisions daily. Meaning that people naturally love to buy stuff; there’s an intention to buy. They just need help going through the buying decision process. So what does this suggest to you as an entrepreneur?
The problem with selling is not from the target buyers per se, but from you the seller. To the buyer, buying is a decision. To the seller, buying is sales. To sell 99% of the time, as the seller, you need to see from the buyer’s perspective. To them, what you call sales is a decision they make after considering several things. So customers will buy if you the seller can make the decision to buy easy for them.
How do I mean?
Sales are never made in an instant. A sale is an event that occurs between two people; a buyer and a seller. It is an outcome you get after several other things must have occurred both on the part of the buyer and on your part as the seller. The buying process starts long before the actual sale is made. These other things that need to happen before the actual purchase decision is made, is known as the buying decision process.
The buying decision process is like a funnel; buyers enter into the funnel triggered by a need or problem they have, next they go in search of potential sellers, from here they select a list of likely brands to buy and evaluate them on certain preferences, and finally they come out of the funnel with a purchase decision from the most preferred seller.
Customer Buying Decision Process
Buyers go through 5 critical stages that influence the sales. Understanding them is how you unlock the secret to selling more 99% of the time.
1. Need Recognition
The buying process begins with need recognition. This is when a buyer identifies a problem that requires solution or a need that must be met. There are two sources from which the buying process is initiated;
- Internal Stimuli
- External Stimuli
When the buyer’s recognition of a problem is inspired by the desire to satisfy basic human needs such as; food, shelter, security, etc. This is a buying process triggered by internal stimuli.
But when the buyer’s recognition of a problem is inspired by the desire to satisfy other higher human wants that are shaped by the environment such as cars, vacation, luxury goods etc. This is a buying process triggered by external stimuli.
To sell more 99% of the time, as an entrepreneur, you must understand the source from which your target customers’ buying process is initiated. In other words, you must know why your target customers are in need of what you sell.
2. Information Search
The second step of the buying process is information search. This describes the period of identifying various providers [sellers] of the solution to the problem or need identified above. In other words, where do potential buyers go to look for potential sellers?
- Personal Sources: this refers to information about sellers gathered from family, friends, neighbours, acquaintances etc. in other words, information about sellers obtained from referrals through word-of-mouth [free marketing].
- Commercial Sources: this refers to information about sellers gathered from advertising, salespeople, websites, dealers/agents, packaging, displays, etc. In other words, information about sellers obtained from paid marketing.
- Public Sources: this refers to information about sellers gathered from internet searches, mass media, news, consumer rating organizations. In other words, information about sellers obtained from respected third party sources.
- Experiential Sources: this refers to information about sellers gathered from using the product, handling the product and examining the product. In other words, information about sellers obtained from personal experience.
To sell more 99% of the time, you’ve got to make your brand, product, service or company visible to your target customers through the above sources. Different target customers use different information search sources. So the more relevant the information search source you use, the more sales you stand to make.
3. Evaluation Of Alternatives
Information search is how buyers gather a list of possible sellers. Evaluation of alternatives is how they streamline them into a set of final brand choices based on certain preferences. This is where potential buyers rank sellers based on their unique selling propositions –differentiation.
So as an entrepreneur who desires to sell more, you need to figure out how your brand will stand out from other competing brands in your niche or industry. Here’s what I normally advise my clients; list out all the features and benefits of your brand, product or service and do the same for all your competitions.
What are you looking for by doing this?
You are looking for those unique features and benefits that are peculiar to your brand, product or service that is not similar to that of your competitions. This is your differentiating feature or benefit and your job is to point this out to your target customers throughout all your marketing campaigns.
4. Purchase Decision
This is the point where the buyer finally picks the most preferred brand after evaluating all other potential alternatives. Your goal as an entrepreneur is to be the most preferred choice at this stage of the buying decision process.
You want to be the seller they eventually buy from. Everything you have been doing from the beginning is finally judged here. This is the point where the sale is made. All your marketing will either get you here or hinder you from getting here.
This stage is a direct outcome of the previous stage of evaluation of alternatives. The more compelling and differentiated your brand, product or service, the easier it is for them to pick you as the most preferred choice. Bringing us back to the ultimate question; why buy from you?
To answer this question, make your offer irresistible, create a sense of urgency like a promo or bonanza or limited openings, provide money back guarantee and show testimonials. Anything that you can package along with the particular product/service that will convey more value for money must be included in your offer.
5. Post-purchase Behaviour
The buying decision process doesn’t end when the sale is made. You don’t want to just make the sale; you also want to build a profitable relationship with the new customer you just got. So at this stage, you want to ensure the buyer gets value for their money.
This is the after sales process where the customer measures what they got from your brand against what they expected. If you delivered as you promised, then you can be sure of a repeat purchase from the buyer. But if you don’t deliver as promised, then forget about the customer.
The greater the gap between what you promised and what you delivered, the greater the customers’ dissatisfaction. What does this tell you? If you want to sell more 99% of the time, only make the promises you can keep. Don’t over promise and under deliver. There’s no point in making the sale and losing the customer afterwards.
To make the sale 99% of the time, you need to eliminate all possible barriers to the sale. These barriers come up at different stages of the buying decision process. Identifying them and getting rid of them is how you get the buyer to choose you as the right seller to buy from.
Here’s the 5 critical processes people go through to buy;
- Need Recognition: why do they need what you are selling?
- Information Search: how do they find you?
- Evaluation of alternatives: why buy from you?
- Purchase Decision: why buy now?
- Post-purchase behavior: why buy again and again and again?
The faster you get buyers to go through the 5 buying decision process above, the faster you can make the sale. In other words, to sell more 99% of the time; know why they buy [Need Recognition], make it easy for them to find you [Information Search], define and always communicate your uniqueness [Evaluation of alternatives], make a compelling offer [Purchase Decision], make promises you can keep and keep the promises you make [Post-purchase Behaviour].
What other barriers to sales are you familiar with? And how are you helping buyers to quickly go through the 5 buying decision process?