The Connection Revolution …
The most successful businesses will be those that treat different people differently. This is what I have determined.
There will still be plenty of businesses that sell average things to average people for a low price, and if you want to own one of these businesses that’s up to you. I’m not saying you can’t make any money at it, I am saying it’s not for me because it’s not interesting enough.
Not only that, but the race to the bottom is a sucker’s game. You don’t want to be in that race, and you should want to win it even less.
1. Don’t try to be all things to all people
Do you know what’s worse than winning the race to the bottom? Coming in second. You are not for everyone. Another word for ‘everyone’ is average and average things/people/services don’t stand out. If you are the same, you’ve already lost.
2. Don’t go it alone
In the connection economy (see what I did there … ) you should constantly be asking yourself who or what you are connecting your clients to. Other clients? Ideas? Solutions? People?
3. Find your tribe …
Tribes (for our purposes) are groups of people who share a worldview, who share a way of being together. Guess what? They are really easy to find online, on various platforms and getting connected to them is easy. Literally, a button, although I’d start by making a single comment on something one of these other tribe members has already posted.
Show up, contribute, and build some familiarity. Do you know who Joseph Michelli is? I bet you do, he wrote “The New Gold Standard” about The Ritz Carleton Experience. We are not friends, yet, but he knows who I am and all I have done is try to make the right impression on him by commenting on his posts. His reply to one of my comments from about a week ago, “This is wicked smart.” Doesn’t hurt. Rome also wasn’t built in a day but I’m not in a hurry.
4. Then lead them …
There are managers and leaders. What makes you (a leader) so impressive is that you did something everyone told you not to do.
You said something. You did something. When everyone else says the same thing, you don’t. That Tribe you are looking for wants a leader, not a manager. All these platforms you can use, from LinkedIn to Facebook to Instagram (if you want) are simple places to post and give people a peek into where you want to lead them.
5. Create art
The other day – I believe in a serious shift moment posted in our community – I got into this idea. I was only able to wrap my head around the benefits of social media when I shifted my thinking from “promote yourself” to “create art.”
This summer I am putting myself through a program to up my game. I want to make art for you, that helps and that you want to share. This will require more time. More effort. More risk. More selfless investment.
How can I lose?
6. Adjust …
Back in the days of bricks and mortar, a bad strategy backed up by failing tactics would be a disaster. The store would have to close. The sign changed. A paint job and a whole new start. The other day Tom and I thrashed out some great ideas, one of us said “We should shut down our website – we could tell the whole world that we are closed for renovations, and will reopen for September 1st better, and more different, than ever.”
We didn’t … but we might. We certainly could, and so can you. We can adjust in moments. This leads me to …
7. Accept or even embrace the tension
This is the hardest one, for me anyway. Want to make a million making burgers? Buy a McDonald’s franchise. You will work hard, but not think too much.
Or you can try something completely different. Your own burger joint, that does things differently, generously, in a way that nobody else has or would consider. That’s art. It might not work, but you’re willing to do it anyway. I am reminded of my friend Francois and his café, La La Land Kind Café, which outperforms Starbucks.
Everyone else is selling coffee, Francois is up to something else. He is trying to normalize kindness and change consumer expectations for the businesses they deal with.
8. Shut out the negative voices and people who are bad fits
Use Instagram to show people what you do, and see how it makes you think. Use Facebook to give people a community to belong to. Use LinkedIn to show your professional network what you know and think and best of all … Only pay attention to the people who get you.
But what about constructive criticism? I love it, from the people who are already convinced. I had a person tell me at a firm that one person felt my energy was a little too high, “To be honest Chris, I wouldn’t book him.”
Did I change my energy level? No. I also didn’t ask Chris who the person was. What do I care? They are not in my tribe. Let them go find someone who has a suitable level of energy, for them.
9. Slow build
It’s the danger that makes things worth doing. The guy that invented the automobile also invented the car crash.
10. Keep showing up …
As we have discussed, there are little tricks and tactics that you can leverage to make sure your posts get seen. Believe me, I wrote a lot of great stuff, improperly, that was never read by anyone other than me, Tom and my brother. It crushed me, to be honest.
Still, here I am. Taking what I learned from my past failures, and investing them into this next effort. One of these days, I’ll be an overnight success.