On my street is a new cafe; a purely new business in the neighbourhood. I enjoy seeing new businesses in communities; I love start ups because they don’t only contribute to the economy, but also create that spark and development in any environment. Because of my love for start ups, anytime a new business is introduced into my community, I like to pay a visit, maybe, to buy one or two things as a way of encouraging the owner. Depending on the interpersonal skill of the owner, another thing I like doing is to offer one or two marketing advice based on my perception. As a proponent of the ideology that whatever you start must have a good foundation, I try to decipher the groundwork carried out by the business owner. Empathetically, I ask questions on what and what have been done, then say in my opinion, what I think should be done. My passion for start ups is because, as a starter, I know the pains, I feel the pains, and I go through, daily, the pains. Due to knowing, to an extent, I don’t like people going through the same pain if there’s a way to circumvent it.
One day, I walked into the new cafe on my street, and started asking them what their marketing plans are (I was, and still ready to offer them a month free promo on my blog as a way of supporting what they’re doing). They told me a few things, but I wasn’t satisfied. I made some suggestions that will help drive the footfall they need to their shop. They actioned a few; the result improved a bit. The others, they utterly ignored.
Every start up goes through a storm. My heart burns when I see empty shops that should be doing well. My emotion goes riotous when I see good books that aren’t selling. Anytime I see good businesses and talents not producing the right result, in a corner of my soul, I sob. I sob because I’m also in it; I identify with the people. Identity feels the pain of another. Identity walks the road treaded by those in a circumstance.
There are certain attributes that have kept me on the road to the destiny of that picture I have been seeing since childhood, and that, I’m about to share. For the past four weeks, one person asked me one question repeatedly as I taught them about embracing purpose in their calling. He asked, ‘how do you do it?’ My response was, ‘do what?’ ‘I mean, how do you cope in spite of the fact that you haven’t started seeing the financial result?’ He added. That question is what I’m about to answer in this article.
1. To walk your vision through the storm of uncertainty, you must put people before money. I know someone is going to yell at me for saying that, but that is the truth. If you value people, it may take a while, but nothing, and I mean nothing can stop you from succeeding. Valuing people will make you put quality and perfection in what you do. If you think people are important, then they deserve the best. If they deserve the best, offer products and services that are best, even if it comes at your expense. What you lose in offering quality will come back to you a hundred fold. You are not losing for giving people the best; it may appear like you are at first, but when the gains start coming, you will realise how smart you are. Don’t cheat people; it’s better to cheat yourself than cheat those that have the buying power. A day before writing this article, I was in Guildford, United Kingdom. From the station, we took a chattered cab that uses metres to calculate fares. As we were alighting at our destination, the metre read £10.60. Before we could blink our eyes, it turned into £11.60. Whatever abracadabra the driver did, we couldn’t understand. Before paying, we let him know that we were cheated, because the usual fare is £10.30. Such a dishonest attitude puts money before people. Anytime I see him, whether in Guildford or anywhere else, I will avoid him; he has surely lost a customer. Let me end this point by reiterating that people must come before money, even if it has to be at your expense.
2. To walk your vision through the storm of uncertainty, you must aggressively use non-paid media. Marketing cannot be overemphasised in business and every purposeful endeavour. Most start ups don’t have marketing budgets, but there are loads of free marketing channels that are inexhaustible; the social media is one of them. The organisations that have the huge marketing budgets still use the social media, let alone those that don’t. The challenge with some start ups is drive; some, if not most, are not market driven. One of my friends, one day, said to me, ‘bro, my problem is that I don’t know this marketing thing; it’s not my passion’ Listen folks, marketing is nobody’s passion; you push yourself to do it, if you really have something to offer. Commit yourself to using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and a host of others. Determine to put your face on the net in order to make people see what you do. No one will buy what they can’t see. Be aggressive; there are channels to do it; just do it now!
3. To walk your vision through the storm of uncertainty, regularly update your strategies. What worked yesterday may not work today. Strategies must not be static; they are renewable. Your approach must go beyond the old culture. The organisations that refused change are no more today. Sometime ago, I knew a DJ; he was a bit elderly, and was stuck to playing ancient traditional songs. He was advised to blend the old and the new, but he preferred doing what he liked than adapting to the change in the market. Slowly but rapidly, his client base began to dwindle. No one told him any further to embrace change; his depreciating finance did. He later cautioned himself, and his business peaked. Watch the change, and adapt somehow.
4. To walk your vision through the storm of uncertainty, copy the big boys! How do the big boys play their games; how do they manoeuvre? Before launching my blog, I researched 100 best blogs in the world. I looked at what they write about, the layout of their blogs, the ease of navigation, their strategies and tactics, etc; with that in mind, I designed my own blog. Regularly, I go back to the big boys, not in person, but in reading what they write, especially those that write on leadership, vision, entrepreneurship and personal development. One of the platforms that you will find these boys is when you follow ‘LinkedIn Influencers’. The contributors on LinkedIn Influencers give some innovative information to people. Another source of invaluable information is Harvard Business Review (HBR). Even if you don’t subscribe, there are hundreds of free articles you can read from various apps on HBR.
5. I will end this article by saying that consistency is the main key that can and will take your vision, business, career, or education through the storm of uncertainty. You may know what to do, but if you’re not consistent in doing it, what you know cannot help you. Knowledge is a waste if not actioned.
You can survive the storm if you follow these few, and other relevant attributes. Storms will always rage, but if your building is strong, they can’t bring it down. Some buildings can withstand the tornadoes and tsunamis; let yours be one of them!