It’s hard when you start a business, I know because I’m still there. You feel like you are constantly pushing, battling, grinding, hustling. You feel like no one is listening and everyone wants you to prove your worth before they are willing to part with their money for what you have to offer. Granted, there are seemingly overnight success stories and there are the actual ones. But you need to persevere.
In this blog post I will explain why you need to keep going, where your focus needs to be in the early days, & some ways to get through it.
There’s this thing called the Roger’s Adoption Curve. While it’s generally used for the adoption of technology, I believe it can be applied to any business.
Chances are your clients are in the first 2 categories of Innovators & Early Adopters. This means that they will be people who enjoy new and novel things. The problem most of us encounter is that the people who we generally market to and get the most resistance from are in the last two categories. Don’t waste your time!
I have seen this chart drawn with what is called ‘Moore’s Chasm’, it is a gap between the Early Adopters and Early Majority. It’s a no man’s land where you have exhausted the Adopters and are yet to have enough traction to sway the Early Majority.
So how do we get to the majority in the middle?
People go through 5 steps to adopt an innovation (Rogers, E. (1995) Diffusion of Innovations https://web.stanford.edu/class/symbsys205/Diffusion%20of%20Innovations.htm): Knowledge, Persuasion, Decision, Implementation, Confirmation.
Knowledge is awareness you exist and how you/your product works, Persuasion is when they form their attitudes towards it, Decision is their choice to purchase (or not), Implementation is putting you/product to use, and Confirmation is evaluation of their results.
In the beginning your innovators and early adopters will move quickly through these stages. It is these people you need to work hard at gathering data about Decisions & Confirmation. Why or why not someone purchases and how it makes them feel are powerful data to assist the majority on moving through. You need to persevere.
So, how do we get you there?
The biggest hurdle is the knock your confidence takes in the early days. It’s hard getting up each morning and dealing with knock back emails and zero sales.
Remember why you started, remember that fire in your belly, remember what your goals are, remember your values.
Now start telling your story! You need to persevere.
GET OUT THERE
Remember that the first hurdles are knowledge, persuasion, and decision. This is where you need to get out there and tell them who you are and why you’re needed.
Some hints though: quality, reliability & service are all minimum expectations these days. They will not sell your stuff. It’s just not enough!
Market your wares. Talk to new people. Go to new areas. Let people know that you are trying to spread the word.
Try different social media platforms, live stream, do something crazy! You need to persevere.
Talk to your clients and talk to those yet to buy from you.
Find out why they love you. Find out what they are looking for before they buy from you. Find out what frustrates them about your industry.
At the end of the day you are asking them to part with their money and so you have to meet their needs – not yours.
The data you gather here will help you to persuade and make a decision to purchase. You need to persevere.
You need to ask for testimonials.
The loudest and squeakiest wheels are those of the late majority. They want facts and figures on how you can help them. Chances are that they won’t believe your word for it either.
The best way to combat this is with a wide range of data from a number of sources. Get reviews and testimonials from people. Have them on ALL of your marketing material because you do not know where a potential client is on this curve.
Do not leave this valuable information languishing on a web page or review tab on facebook. Push it out to people. Educate them. Show them how popular you are and how they’re missing out! You need to persevere.
Starting out a business is a courageous effort and I applaud you, but with this knowledge in hand – you’ve got this!