Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
This quote is often used to highlight the weaknesses of market research. It also highlights a simple truth about human behaviour. We often don’t have the imagination to know what we actually want or need.
This is particularly true of new business owners. In fact, it’s common among us seasoned business owners, too.
We often don’t know what we don’t know and, as a result, we risk making the same obvious mistakes as others who came before us.
Here are three examples of what I call ‘perpetual rookie’ mistakes.
They are common mistakes that so many of us seem doomed to repeat, situations where we fool ourselves into doing things in the seemingly logical way because that is the familiar way.
But familiar and logical aren’t always right. Right?
The first rookie mistake (customers versus partners)
We all dedicate time and resources to the pursuit and attraction of customers and clients.
This is logical.
But most new and seasoned businesses do this very inefficiently, chasing their targets one person or organisation at a time. It’s how most new businesses begin (and probably should begin). But it is rarely the most effective way to grow a business.
As was was highlighted by Fiona Adler and Simone Novello, it can be exponentially more efficient and far more effective (for our sanity and hip-pockets) over the longer term to dedicate time and resources to the pursuit and attraction of strategic partners instead.
Of course, I’m talking about leverage, finding ways to reach new audiences through the channels of others. But most new business owners (and even experienced ones) struggle to make this leap, from selling to individuals to forging alliances and selling to much larger audiences.
Here’s another example of leverage. (And another ‘perpetual rookie’ mistake.)
The second rookie mistake (phone versus email)
I recently spent three days drafting one email. That might seem insane. But consider this.
Do you spend hours on the phone trying to arrange meetings? Do you spend hours in meeting rooms and coffee shops trying to demonstrate your worth (while slowly dieing of caffeine poisoning)? Do you sell your products one unit at a time, to one customer at a time?
So, I spent three days phrasing and re-phrasing three paragraphs.
However, once the email was sent, it triggered over $20,000 in sales in four hours. Now, imagine, what if my goal was to book meetings? Or to educate prospects? Suddenly, those three days don’t seem like time wasted. (And no more risk of caffeine overload. Booh-yah!)
We have already posted a course on two on the principles and tools needed to build an email database of hot prospects. And, in the not too distant future, we’ll be running a course on how to write effective emails… how to get them opened and how to get people responding (buying, booking and forwarding).
Sure, in some cases, nothing will beat a good phone call or a face-to-face meeting but, more often than you might imagine, labour intensive tasks like these can be supplanted by a good piece of copy or an entertaining video. (Just ask Pete Williams.)
I have but one more example of a ‘perpetual rookie’ mistake.
And I think it’s the most important.
The third rookie mistake (vitamins versus pain killers)
Below you will find the outcomes of your activities online. That’s right. We’ve been watching and observing your movements and the movements of your fellow Anthill Academy members. And we’ve been able to observe what desires and needs are attracting your attention.
But, before I reveal the outcomes, I want you to consider this.
Why is it that, when you log in to the Anthill Academy, we simply don’t point you to a library of courses? Why is it that we ask you what business headaches keep you awake at night and if we can cure “what ails ya”? The first reason is obvious. (We want to collect data.)
But to explain our primary motivation and, in doing so, reveal what I consider the greatest rookie mistake of all, I invite you to watch this video.
Have a look at your website. Revisit your company brochures. How many times do you use the word ‘we’? How much space do you dedicate to articulating your vitamin-esque qualities, when all your customers want to know is whether you can cure their headaches?
If you’re struggling to see how this might apply to you (or if you think that is doesn’t apply to you), leave me a comment below. Take advantage of this moment to start a discussion or seek feedback. We’re all friends here and itching to help.
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