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Two simple yet tricky steps to influence people

Every business wants people to do something – buy this, try this, tell people about this. There are two steps to getting people to do what you want them to do, but they can be tricky to execute.

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Getting people to do what we want them to do

Whether it’s in social media, marketing or closing a sale, we all need to get people to do stuff. And after years of being confounded, way before I started my current two businesses, I figured out that like most people, I was making things too complicated.

There is one, and only one, way to get people to do things for you. Every other way there is obeys this underlying strategy. I invite you to think about every single time you’ve ever needed to get someone to do something after reading this, and I challenge you to find some other method.

You can use this method for getting people to share your content.

You can use it to get people at your site to subscribe to your newsletter.

When you follow up with them, you can use it to get them to buy.

One way, two steps, many challenges

There’s only one way. It has two steps:

1- Be in a position to ask them to do something.
2- Ask them to do that thing.

Here’s the rub. That looks fairly easy and straightforward. And to be fair, the second part very much is. But that first part? It’s a doozy.

Because it means that before you need something, you need to be in the position to ask. Which often means getting into that position before you really need something. And that’ll mean having a sincere interest in other people, and consistently showing that connection matters to you, whether it’s a light peer dalliance or a strong, deep friendship.

It also means you have to know who the people are before you ever know them personally, where they hang out, what their needs are, and who can address them, even if it’s not you.

How to overcome the challenges

I’ll give you an example: let’s say you’re having a sale, and you want it to be in all the publications read by the people you want to reach. With poor advance planning, your only resort will be to advertise in that publication, if you have the money, and flat out beg people who run those publications to pay attention to your story.

And by beg, I mean ask nicely, make it as little work as possible (more than a press release, folks), and do your research.

You could make your job so much easier, and more successful with a little foresight. The instant you know what kind of start-up you’ll have or business you’ll start, before you ever make your first dime, start to get to know people in the same field.

Pay attention when companies that seem like they should be competitors partner up on things. Start frequenting spots where customers you want to have are spending time online. Be there. Offer to help a little.

You don’t have to give away your services for free to start gaining a minor kinship with the people you want to serve through your business.

A deeper connection, a more meaningful identity

Already have a business but haven’t started this process? Start right now. Get to know your audience as deeply as you can. Because people care about other people, not some company with stuff to sell them.

You want to be “that lady who helped me ________, so I didn’t have to _______.” You don’t want to be “the owner of SomeCrap LLC”.

This may seem like time poorly invested at first. Not everyone you cater to is the person you’ll get something back from – and it will seem like a labor of love, and nothing more.

Until that day you want to fund that Kickstarter project with a $50,000 goal. And people you didn’t even know were paying attention to you will say “that’s that guy who ________. That’s guy’s awesome. I trust him with my money, and bet those T-shirts will be SWEET. Here’s my money.”

Reaching that goal legitimately

And they’ll tell their friends. And you’ll reach your goal. Because you won’t have to come to them with the energy of “I know I just met you but do this because I’m desperate. Take a gamble that I’m good for it.”

You’ll be able to run the vibe of “you know me. You signed up to my list. I don’t bother you too often or send you a bunch of spam. I know what you’re interested in because I share those interests. I think we can help each other.”

I want to give that guy my money and I’m not even gonna wait for him to ask me.

Non-evil manipulation

Because that’s the other great thing about being a position to ask. Some people will give to you before you ask. It’s almost like manipulation without the evil part.

(Yes, manipulation is a form of asking. Asking by twisting emotions or making it seem like the other person has no choice? Still counts You’re just being a jerk about it.)

No matter where you are in this process of getting people to do stuff for you when the time is right, get in the habit now, of doing for other people what they want done for them. It’ll eventually be your turn, and the payoff, for whatever reason, is in proportion to your level of sincerity.

Tinu Abayomi-Paul is the CEO of Leveraged Promotion and a member of Network Solutions Social web Advisory Board. Her website promotion company specializes in reputation management, and engineering demand generation system for businesses, integrating search, expertise marketing and social media.

Business Entrepreneur

If you’re easily distracted, you’re more likely to thrive as an entrepreneur

(ENTREPRENEUR) If monotony and boredom at work- well bores you, it’s possible you may fit with the other entrepreneurs with a quick and constantly changing career.

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entrepreneurs work place

When Bill Gates was a kid, he knew he liked messing around with code. He couldn’t have known how it might evolve, but he was willing to live in the distraction, focusing on details when needed, but always learning, moving on, taking risks and growing in the process.

Some of the most successful folks among us are not content to sit and make widgets every day. They cannot thrive in a detail and focused work environment. So, it may come as no surprise to know that people who are more easily distracted are also more likely to thrive as entrepreneurs.

According to this study, if you are intelligent and get distracted more easily, those two qualities combined will likely enhance your creativity. And, that creativity and ability to use distraction as an advantage can be channeled to create new things, jobs, companies, etc.

For those of us who are more easily distracted, who enjoy doing different things every day, and who like learning, a recent article in the Harvard Business Review suggests a good option is to find a career path that provides the right amount of distraction and which is a great fit for your personality. If you do that your talent is more likely to be apparent because you are playing to your strengths. Also, if you are working in your sweet spot you will be more productive and motivated.

Maybe not surprisingly, the top job for those who live in distraction is entrepreneur. The term “easily distracted” often comes with a negative connotation, but considering an entrepreneur is taking risks, making things happen and creating companies, ideas, products that may have never existed, this spins that idea on its head. Entrepreneurs are the chief cooks and bottle washers of the world. They ideate, create, hire and inspire. None of that is possible in a monotonous work environment.

“Unsurprisingly, meta-analyses indicate that entrepreneurs tend to have higher levels of ‘openness to experience,’ so they differ from managers and leaders in that they are more curious, interested in variety and novelty, and are more prone to boredom — as well as less likely to tolerate routine and predictability,” according to the HBR story.

Other careers that are great fits for those of us (me included) who enjoy distraction are PR/Media Production, Journalism and Consultant. What these fields all have in common is, there is never a dull moment, switching from task to task is pretty commonplace, and you will do well if you can be a generalist – synthesizing information and weeding out the unnecessary.

Not sure where your strengths lie? Here’s a quick quiz to give you some feedback on how curious you really are.

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Business Entrepreneur

How can a small business beat a large competitor moving in next door?

(BUSINESS) How do you stand out when a big competitor moves to your neighborhood? Reddit has a few suggestions – some obvious, some not so much.

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small restaurant competitor

Small businesses, especially restaurants have been hit hard by lockdowns. Many closed for good this year, and those that are still hanging on are in a precarious position as their local economies shift.

Last week, a user on r/smallbusiness asked a timeless question that is especially relevant right now. Reddit user longbottomjr writes: “We have a strong competitor moving in next door in a few months. Our restaurant is one that pays the bills but […] I feel that if this new competitor takes up enough market share we will lose our restaurant. Can anyone chime in with resources/ideas I can use to help put together our plan of action?”

Comments quickly pointed out what common sense would dictate.

First, ensure the basics are covered. Being clean, quick, friendly, and high quality will take you far, no matter what competition you’re up against. And as u/horsemullet said, “Customer service also happens before someone walks through the door!” So make sure that your online hours, contact info, menus and social media accounts are up to date and accurate.

Another point emerged that is less intuitive: Competing businesses will naturally gravitate towards similar locations. This is a well-established phenomenon known within game theory as Nash’s Equilibrium. In the restaurant industry, this is actually a good thing. It brings entirely new customers to the area and ultimately benefits all the other nearby businesses, too.

Take advantage of the attention by offering something other spots don’t, like loyalty rewards, specials, unique offerings, or meal deals.

Speaking of the area, a great way to stand out from larger competitors is to build relationships with the community you serve, as u/sugarface2134 emphasized. “In my city there are two Italian restaurants in the same location – just across the parking lot from each other. We always pick the smaller one because the owner truly makes you feel like a member of the family.”

That’s an advantage of being a small, local business that all the money in the world couldn’t buy. Get to know your customers personally and you will not only create loyal regulars, but friends as well.

One of the top rated responses, from u/seefooddiet2200, made an often overlooked but critically important point.

“Talk to your staff and see if they have any ideas. These are the people that are working every single day and may know one or two ‘annoying’ things that if they were switched would make things easier. Or maybe they see that there’s specific things people ask for that you don’t serve. Every single [one] of your employees is a gold mine of insight, you just need to be open to listening to them.”

That is applicable to any business owner who wants to improve their practices.

Ask employees what they think, especially the ones who have stuck around a long time. Not only do they know the ins-and-outs of their jobs, but this builds rapport and trust with your staff. A good boss realizes that employees are more than their job descriptions. They have valuable thoughts about what’s working and not working, and direct access to customer’s opinions.

Good luck, u/longbottomjr! We’ll be rooting for you.

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Business Entrepreneur

How a newly funded coffee delivery startup is thriving during COVID

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Seattle’s Joe Coffee finds successful funding in hyper specific clientele and operations even mid-pandemic. But how did they do it?

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Joe Coffee delivery

Amidst a pandemic, you might not expect a small company with limited clientele to thrive. Yet, Joe Coffee, a Seattle-based delivery service, is doing just that.

Joe Coffee, an aptly named coffee runner, has received millions in funding, a large chunk of which was raised mid-pandemic. Their mission is simple: to bring coffee from smaller shops to local consumers, especially without endangering either party.

There’s a lot to be said about Joe Coffee’s valuation and mission, but what’s more intriguing is their unlikely success.

A food delivery service that focuses on coffee may not seem that niche, but when you look at Joe Coffee’s determination to stick to the Seattle area, coupled with its staunch resolve for frequenting smaller shops (e.g., not Starbucks), the service begins to look pretty specific–and, in an economy that honors sweeping solutions, this is a welcome change of pace.

The way their service works is fairly simple: Joe Coffee provides shops with signs and information on how to order through the Joe network, then consumers are able to download and order through a mobile app on all of the usual platforms. Joe Coffee takes a nine percent cut of the order total, credit card fees included.

In return, customers are able to order from their favorite, local, non-chain coffee shops, both supporting them and sustaining their caffeine addiction at a time where alertness is paramount and grouchiness is all too common.

What’s truly interesting about Joe Coffee’s example is that it demonstrates an availability for small services with extreme specificity in terms of operating capacity. By sticking to unique businesses in a relatively small metropolitan area (as opposed to, say, multiple cities), the service is more likely to be successful in execution and delivery, thereby solidifying its relevance to both consumers and businesses alike.

And, by playing into the need for curbside pickup or home delivery these days, Joe Coffee only furthers the perception that its service is necessary.

If the country begins to reopen–whenever that happens–it will be no surprise to see Joe Coffee maintain a relationship between consumers and smaller businesses in the Seattle area. For anyone offering a similarly niche service, this is a perfect example of a company to which you should pay attention.

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