By Orsi Parkanyi, published in Shoestring Startups on August 1, 2012
Are you always totally honest when it comes to answering tough questions about your business? Questions such as “What is your expected revenue for this year?” How many paying members do you have in your organisation?” How many clients did you have this year?”
Most of the sales, marketing trainings and strategies I have ever come across with believe that you can boost your sales if your make your potential consumers believe that you are already a success (meaning: fake it! Sell like you were already a market leader). In a way it does make sense I have to admit, as the majority of people purchase goods and services that other segments of the market “the early adopters” had already tried out and liked. But what do you do if you only just starting out? How do you answer the questions above if you are a startup and only have a handful of costumers?
Having spent most of my adult life as a researcher, I know exactly how to play around with data. Let me give you an example: if my organisation, Women as Entrepreneurs has 2 members this week, and they are both happy with our offerings, and the next week we have 6 happy members, I reckon I can easily go for the title “the fastest growing company” or “the most liked company in the country”, since data shows that 100% of my costumers are satisfied (who else can say that, right?!?!?), and we even showed a 300% growth in only 1 week! Our membership tripled in a week!! Very impressive don’t you think?!? On the other hand, scientifically (statistically) this result is invalid due to lack of sufficient data… it all depends on how you interpret and communicate your results.
So the question remains: how should we communicate our business results and achievements without being “fakers” and remaining authentic? Is it a viable strategy to refuse to lie and decide to be proud of our achievements for a change, let they be big or small?
Of course I would want a thousand new members each week for WE, but I can not even describe the amazing feeling I felt when I had the first person actually payed for WE, and when I had the second, the third, the 50th, etc. I just wanted to shout out loud, “People! Look at me! I have a real, paying costumer!! J” instead of following on the “fake it” advice of sales trainings and saying I had heaps in order to tempt and convince even more to join! I knew that every single one of those women joined the network (that I founded all by myself let me add!), because they believe in what I do, and this means the world to me! I didn’t care if that was 5 or 500 at the time, I was just happy to have any at all!
There is no big money or large management/sales/marketing team behind me, I don’t even outsource anything. I deserve to be proud of every little step I make that brings me closer to being the market leader one day (which I have no doubt I will be!), and so do you! Because building a business does not happen overnight, and this is the beauty of it!
As far as I’m concerned…
- as long as you genuinely believe in and love what you do
- as long as you give 100% and work hard to achieve your goals
- as long as you don’t damage the environment and harm others in the meantime
- and as long as your business is actually growing (with any growth rate) and making money
YOU ARE A SUCCESS AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO FAKE ANYTHING!