You are not running a business. You are copying grandma's hobby of making pies.
Like all grandmas, she had the hobby of making pies and we receive lots of them to make her happy. Like it or not, as grandkids, we are told to thank our grandma for the pie and tell her how wonderful is the pie, how we cannot resist finishing the last pie, which was the best. Then we ends up having more pies, although we did not like the pies till today.
Grandma is a very senior, (and I hate to say “old”) with very limited mobility and almost no eyesight. She will challenge her ability to make more pies and send them to her grandkids because she believes she makes them happier.
I was invited to the introduction of a new product with the business owner, and I was told that it is better product that best serve my health and my life.
I was given a bottle to try and I am just curious. I was told that it is a new product that is better than anything else for my health. I was intrigued and as I start to ask simple questions to find a reason to try the sample.
After asking few questions, I found a very strong resistance to answer these simple questions. Then, I was framed as a consultant who is looking for new clients. Then, I was told to not impose my service. The fact is I am not a consultant and I am not shopping for new clients. I wonder, if I should ask the business owner to simply search my name on google “Wael Badawy” to know who I am and what I do.
The product is introduced, as a combination of ingredients that I know, ingredients that I do not know, and ingredient that I may not heard about it.
This introduction triggered a flag, because I do not generally eat or drink what I do not know, in the absence of a strong motive, such as being ill.
THEN, the ingredients are very healthy and it has better fruits and vegetables that I do not know but I should consume for their valuable impact.
I am not sure what is missing here? But, my understanding is the consumers of organic products like to know everything about their food. They do not like the unknown chemicals that may impact their health. At this point, I saw the second flag, because I was judged again.
For me, rightly or wrongly, “organic” is good enough to justify its high price, but “organic” or natural ingredients that I do not know to be better for my health, is not true. Pure marijuana and marijuana’s leaves are organic and natural but they are dangerous and even though we need to know more details to understand its medicinal effect. If I consume it, I will be addicted and most likely, I will end up in Jail but I am consuming an organic natural plant!!!
THEN, the product’s presentation explained the principle of consuming the full fruit/vegetable in a juice, against extracts. In my mind, this principle is questionable with diverse arguments. As a matter of fact, having a full lime as a juice will change its flavor and texture with time because of oxidation, and it can turn to be poisoning or has a higher level of toxic. On the other hand, I cannot consume the whole orange or the whole banana. I have to peal it first!!!
– Anyway, I will pass on this argument because I am not the expert in food but I know what I eat.
At this point, I started to ask questions to better understand who is the business owner, what is the value of the product and what is the quality of the product in order to have a level of confidence to try the product.
I asked about the size of the business, to feel comfort that there are others who trust this product and buy it. I was looking for the customers’ WHY to compare it to mine, i.e. what are the reasons to buy this over-priced product. Oh, this product will cost 25x – 35x the price of a high quality 100% natural juice.
I asked about the plan to grow the business in the next three or five years. I asked about the vision of the owner to confirm the quality of the product, and there is someone stands behind the product. All what I received is “3 and 5 years are very long time”. In the absence of an answer, it demonstrates that there is no continuity and no guarantee to a quality control process. i.e. two samples of the product with the same ingredient, will have different taste.
I asked about the value of the product? The question aimed to help me to find my WHY, and I can try the sample. The articulated value is “You drink good natural stuff, so your body will perform better”. There is no confirmation or reference other than the business owner has issues and it was solved by personally drinking this combination. There was no testimonial and no confirmation of the business owner story. So, I attempted to clarify and I asked, does it help with a diet plan? or release weight? or having high energy? etc. The value was articulated as you eat better ingredients, you will be healthier and you feel good, with a proof.
I do not eat pizza and burger everyday and I eat apple and banana everyday. As it was said “One apple a day, keeps the doctor away!!!”
The articulated value is very general and I can have a blinder. I will use a mix of fruits and vegetables. AND, WOW, the juice will have the same value.
The answer continues to be “the ingredients used are planted by the owner in business owner’s garden and then picked and prepared to make the product!!!”
I asked about the science or the research behind this drink. The answer is that the business owner has researched each of the known and unknown ingredients. But, the business owner has two degrees (none of them are related to food, or health or technology or medicine). Yes, everyone may be impressed of these two degrees that have no relation to the business.
Moreover, the business owner has no passion to either degree and do not work with these degrees but the business owner offers this product to serve and help others.
The product looks professional with an expiry date to expire in two days!!! The product comes in a quantity of 1, 4 and 8 bottles. I do not know the reason that of the expiry date given that there is no research or science behind the product to determine the impact of the three days instead of two. I wonder If someone orders a pack of eight bottles, will he/her consome them all in two days. What about the logistics of producing, distributing and consuming a product that has to be kept cold (I assume) in two days?
It translates to a very limited number of customers with limited quantity orders, within a very small geographical area. So, the production, distribution and consumption in two days!!!.
I have to say that this is not a business, this is a grandma hobby to make pies, as:
1- The pies are initially FREE, till she asks for a favor in return, which will be fairly pricy.
2- The ingredients are from grandma apple tree in the backyard – Oh, by the way, the apple tree is very natural and very organic, because grandma is a senior and can not take care of the apple tree and no one fertilizes the tree.
3- Grandma believes that she makes her family happier by offering more pies. She consumes her effort, while her grandkids do not prefer to eat the pies, or do not eat them at all.
4- Grandma’s pies have to be eaten hot, and within one or two days.
5- No one knows the secret ingredient of the pies, even grandma herself does not.
6- Grandma pies taste differs from time to time. It is a function of the mood and the time in the oven, but grandma does not read the time.
7- Grandma serves only her family and close friends, which is a very limited consumer base.
The whole time, I was simply looking for a reason to try a sample of a new product. I may feel lucky to put my hand on a free sample of this product. I was trying to find a reason for myself. I know grandma, but I do not know the business owner. So please stop copying grandma hobby making pies and focus on building a business.
Note from the author:
This is a true story and I held the name of the product and business confidential because I have the care and passion to every small business and entrepreneur in our community. I strongly believe that the message within this post will help everyone in their business, So please let me know your thoughts below.
I declare that I owe the business owner the price of the sample because I did not feel comfort to drink it, which is my fault AND now the sample expired!!!
DOs and DONTs in networking events
Networking is the process of fishing for new customers or new order within a focused crowd. The effective networking will result into $$$! Yes: we network to make money, not to have fun. Yes: we network to make money, not to know more people. Yes: we network to make money, not to spend time.
The 4 DONTs of effective networking are
- Do not start with your name or business name
Starting with your name and your business will frame you in the audience mind to the basic service of what you do. It will immediately create a barrier between you and the audience.
When you say: “Hi, I am Joe and I am accountant”
It automatically generates a barrier between you and the audience. In the mindset of the audience, it will be one of these messages
“Oh, one more accountant in the crowd.”
“Oh, another one of them”
“Oh, I hate these guys, they do not do a good job”
All of these messages are toxic to your networking goals
- Do not wear the company shirt
Wearing a company shirt frames you within the company image. It would be reflect on the ability of connecting with the crowd. In my own experience, having a shirt of an elite service with extremely high reputation was not a good idea. The message in the head of the audience were
“Another guy from this company that charges premium?”
“I just got a call from this company last week, please not again.”
It automatically position you in a frame that impact the acceptance to your message.
- Do not have your logo
Having a logo frames you in what your company do and not how better or effective than your competitors. It is the type of barrier that you do not want. You shall focus of how better is your service or product than others. The message shall be “How do you outstand against others and why you are better. NOT what do you do.
- Do not talk about your business
Do say what your business is doing, or the nature of your service. Focus on the values that your provide to the different clients. Focus on why your customer will come to you and how do you stand against the crowd.
The 4 Do’s of effective networking are
- Do ask an engagement question
An engagement question is the best approach to qualify your crowd. You shall be able to adjust your message to your crowd. If you the first question does not qualify the crowd, Ask a second question but there is NO THIRD. If you can not qualify the crowd, think about another question for next time.
- Do say a pain-hitting paragraph
A pain-hitting paragraph is a simple statement that characterizes the pain that your business is addressing. Identifying the pain immediately creates a link to the audience and you will get their ears for few minutes. Three – four statements conquer in the audience mind that you know and feel their pain. The audience perceives you are like them, and people like to buy from people like them, who they like.
- Do say what is your solution to the pain
After the pain-hitting paragraph pause for a moment, so the audience can digest what said. Then, say HOW you solve the pain, WHY your service is better, and the reasons they should use your service and not others.
- Do say how to access your solution
At the end you shall say how the audience can connect to your service, such as access a website. You must leave a contact information with an action so the audience can connect to you. Or simply, say “your name, I will be more than happy to assist you.”