People’s minds are cluttered with marketing information. Where ever you go, you are pushed to think, want, buy now, act now and whatever the marketer has decided you should do.
This makes people wary.
But there are delighting examples of people who can detect sincerity in what companies do. With FinderBase our service offering sounds so amazing that people stop to think about our business model. It is unheard of that a company could be doing something useful for others without trying to benefit.
The basic message is the key.
Reflecting our ideas today, we got quite a valuable piece of advice which applies quite well to almost anything:
Forget the bells and whistles and tell the people the message that they can understand.
If your business idea is new and revolutionary don’t market it as such. Tell the story so that they can relate to.
If you’re the first person to develop an automobile, don’t sell it as a horseless carriage. Sell it as a carriage where the horses are optional. It’s not like people would get rid of their horses overnight, is it?
Today, we’ve spent most of our time convincing different organizations and stakeholders on the greatness of our service. Our model is good because it has very little to object.
We are not actually selling a product or a service, we’re selling a dream of the future.
The funny thing about doing stuff with any organization or individual is that it almost never goes as planned. You always have two ways to react when that happens:
- Adapt and change your behavior.
- Ignore the feedback and move on like nothing happened.
Both of these alternatives have their sides. The first one is risky because it will cause you to change a strategy you’ve chosen. The second one is risky because following this might cause you to end up ignoring a great majority of your potential customers.
What you should do depends on what you have.
If you have the best solution in the world, you’ll find the second alternative much easier. You don’t want to change your idea but stick with what you know best.
If you have the best team out there, you’ll find the first alternative extremely easy. You can dynamically choose the strategy that you’ll find most lucrative.
That is why you should do exactly the opposite.
I will argue that great start-ups ran into trouble exactly because they follow the path that they find most convenient. Great teams end up doing miscellaneous stuff and great solutions are destroyed because they can’t adapt.
Which way are you handling your feedback?
Today I had a good chat with a bunch of great guys working in the fields of Test-driven and Agile development.
Software development is a risky business.
Developing good quality software is a double-edged sword. Firstly, a software always seems to grow by time. Secondly, only a small software can be maintained free of defects. This being the case, it’s a miracle there is any decent software out there in the first place.
How does one get good quality then?
Here’s a short story about quality. Someone can probably point out the original source but this is the version that I heard:
American company buying Japanese components sometime back in the old days.
Americans: Our absolute quality measurement is six defective units per million.
Time passes and the products are delivered.
Japanese: Here are the million units that you ordered. We wondered why you wanted the six defective ones but we packed them here separately.
The lesson here is that quality is a function of the people who do their job. You can try to demand good quality but it’s difficult to enforce.
Luckily, there is a great measurement for quality.
No matter what you do, products, services, software or something else, this method applies. Just ask the customer of your product one question:
Would you recommend our product to your friends?
This was presented to me as the Harley-Davidson measurement. Their customers apparently answer “yes” 97 times of a hundred.
Many business owners are struggling with getting customers. Here is one way to do it.
The convenience store Siwa in Alppila, Helsinki has an interesting advertisement shown directly to all customers entering the shop. They have a sign that says:
Koululaiset kauppaan yksi kerrallaan. Kiitos.
Schoolchildren may enter the shop only one at a time. Thank you.
This message is wrong on so many levels that it’s hard to decide where to start. The sign delivers a message that:
- the personnel is keeping an eye on you
- all the schoolchildren are thieves
- the personnel is stupid enough to think this sign would make any difference for the “bad kids”
- in general they don’t welcome customers in their store.
It seems the shopkeeper has a problem. This message is so wrong that it sure isn’t hard to think of a better sign. I printed them a new sign with the opposite message:
Schoolchildren should enter the shop all at once. Thank you.
The sign is printed on a folded A4 with 72 pt Times New Roman font. Now you can contribute too:
Make the shopkeeper a new sign and post your suggestion here.
Here is a chance to put your marketing skills to test.
So far this project has been an outstanding success
Four weeks ago I had no idea how much we could achieve in less than a month. What I do know is that we will do something big. Here’s a small overview of the current status:
- Apart from myself, six fantastic and talented people have expressed their dedication for my project. A few more were hired.
- Four multi-million-turnover companies were interviewed and all of them found our solution interesting. One of them even considered it worth paying for. All of them share the pain in the way things are currently handled.
- 100 people were interviewed for a market study and 74 of them say they would pay for our service if it sincerely tried to help them. If it actually succeeded in helping them the figure was 95.
- The global annual market size is estimated to be around 200–300 M€.
- Three “big shots” in the field of web 2.0 and social media have agreed to give us an audience.
And we quote Jesus on our business plan. Can it really get better than this?