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Blog 180: You Would Be Further Ahead If You Turned Away More Business

Updated: May 12, 2022

The other day, I told an advisor to do his work for people who care, and the example I used (and have used many times) was skateboards. I told him that if he were going to make skateboards to sell, he should make skateboards for people who care about skateboards and are willing to pay for them.

People who care about skateboards want to talk about skateboards and they appreciate the design, engineering and experience that goes into making a great skateboard. They will pay a premium for it. Not only will people who care about skateboards pay a premium for them, they know other people who care about skateboards and they’re going to talk to them about it.

People who care are worth more than people who don’t …

There are a lot more people who will buy a skateboard this year that want to pay no more than $100 than there are those willing to pay $1000. Someone might be tempted to play the numbers, to capture more of the larger market, believing that it’s easier. It isn’t.

The larger market is motivated to save money. That’s what they care about. They don’t care about skateboards. You’re wasting your time. People who care about price care about price. Don’t cry to me when they break your heart. They told you exactly what motivates them from the start.

You’d get further ahead if you told more people “I’m not for you.”

When you are small you have to leverage your advantages, and one of them is that you can provide an experience that can’t be duplicated, precisely because you have the capacity to do so. But when you are small you can’t offer a general experience. You have to offer a very specific experience.

Some people love it, some people hate it.

You are too small to be all things to all people. You must be all things to some people, and there likely won’t be too many of them.

That’s if you are lucky. When you create such an incredible experience that is only appropriate for certain people, then a natural and reasonable consequence is that you are going to turn some people away.

After all, not everyone is a Tragically Hip fan. Not everyone likes the same movies. Not everyone likes sushi or Starbucks or travelling or The President, and not everyone is going to be in love with your idea.

What we all love is when what we love doesn’t sell out, and I don’t mean that in a monetary sense.

We want and love the genuine article and this is what makes being small so irresistible. When you stay small, it is so much easier to be real, to make a connection and to share a little bit of yourself through your work.

To create true fans, you will create some people who can’t stand you. That’s the way it is. Trust me.

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