There are two parts to any successful business: having a product and selling it. Selling is the hard part.
The famous quote, “If you build it they will come” is wildly optimistic and situational. It’s not a bad thing, but anyone can build something. I’ve built a product and they’re not coming because simply building it isn’t enough. It doesn’t matter what your product is — even if you’re trying to sell ice to an eskimo — you have to be a good communicator and more importantly a good friend.
It’s all about making friends. I am going to officially change that quote to “If you build it, your friends will come.” Your friends (and family) will always be your biggest supporters. They will be your first customers and they will be with you till the end (which is hopefully no where in sight). People not only like helping out their friends, but they warm up and pay attention when you speak (for free!).
I’m not saying that your product will be successful or that it’s a good idea (seriously, what eskimo is likely to buy ice?), but building friendships will definitely increase the potential tenfold.
When I started Rockadoo I told all my friends and family about it. I spend a whopping $0 on marketing (excluding breath mints) and to this day that number hasn’t changed. Rockadoo has been profitable since day one. My friends and family are my biggest supporters and even if they don’t give me a dime, they give me their time and are likely to share it with others.
There’s nothing better than word of mouth. Really, there isn’t. Here, I’ll prove it to you. Girl scout cookies are delicious – tag-a-longs are my favorite, but I’ve never bought girl scout cookies from a grocery store. That box on the shelf isn’t speaking to you, it doesn’t say “buy me” it says “Tag-a-longs” with out-dated pictures of young girl scouts. Websites (at least the good non-annoying types) don’t speak to you either. Sure you can read the words, but they don’t actually talk to you. They aren’t friendly with you. They don’t really know you (well, as long as you clear your cookies frequently). Same goes for brick and mortar stores, office buildings or construction sites (if these things are talking to you I highly suggest calling your doctor immediately). When that girl scout comes to your door asking if you’d like to buy girlscout cookies, do you say no? Girl scouts make excellent business people.
Sure they’re cute and young, but they’re business people. They have a product and are selling it.
Friends will spread your word for free. In-fact, they’ll want to do it naturally – the best kind of marketing. No one’s shoving anything down their throats. They aren’t being paid for it. They are your friends and they are human and humans like helping other people out, especially their friends.