As business consultants, we are often asked why one business succeeds and another, almost identical, business flounders. Once, feeling rather facetious, I answered: “It’s in the stars!” It was a stupid, throwaway line, of course, not intended as a serious thought. But, like many a jest, it has a kernel of truth…
No, we are not talking about astrology. Sure, we can cast you a horoscope that tells you the most promising time to open your business, and lay everything out in terms of the planets, houses, and all the rest. Once you do succeed, it will look like the horoscope was the secret, that the stars guided you to your destiny. But all those trappings are there to disguise the marketing research that underlies potential success.
How does marketing relate to the stars?
Simply, the idea is that there are ten characteristics that apply to every successful business. One of those characteristics is “People buy often”. Whether we are talking about a bricks-and-mortar business or an on-line business, the same characteristic holds. The products or services are irrelevant to the frequency. Every business needs enough buyers, buying often enough to sustain the business to succeed.
How can you determine whether your business will have enough buyers?
The answer comes back to the fan base you started with in your business.
Fan base? What is that?
With us, the idea started by looking at stars. Not the ones in the sky, but the ones on television, in motion pictures, on radio or on records. It also included authors, those who get published by the big publishing names, who get paid thousands of dollars for short stories in magazines. If you think about it, you probably know writers who make the best selling authors look like hacks. You probably know people who can sing better than the best selling singers, and people who are far better comedians than one seen on the stage. You yourself might even have more talent than all of these famous people, but your chances of breaking into the circuit are small.
What is the difference between those people and you?
In a word, it is the fan base. If you can bring a fan base to your business, your chances of success are almost a guarantee of being a winner.
Among our clients are writers. They keep wondering why their brilliant stories and poems are unaccepted by editors and publishers. The answer is NOT that they can’t present their ideas brilliantly. It is that they cannot point to a real fan base, people who will read their musings just because they were written.
Publishers and magazine editors have always been aware of the concept of fan base. They know the people who are likely to buy their books and magazines, their own fan base. They want to constantly add to that fan base. If a new writer seems unable to add to that fan base, then the editors are uninterested. But, show them that YOU have a fan base, even if it coincides with theirs, then they are willing to pay top dollar for your work. And yes there are some exceptions, but it is because the publisher sees an opportunity to grow their fan base.
The same holds for every business: show you have a fan base, and you can get other people to support you. Without a fan base, you are an unknown quantity, and hence a greater risk than someone who does, even if your product or service is far superior. Call it testimonials or referees but your fan base helps others to trust you.
That’s your first step in marketing. Rather than finding if people are interested in your product, establish a fan base.
Even if your fan base is comparatively small, you get leverage because it exists.
A base of, say, 100 fans, means that people with a fan base in the thousands are willing to accept you into their ranks. If you have thousands of fans, you are of interest to people with tens of thousands of fans. You are ready to make the jump, from 100’s to 1000’s to 10,000’s, to… MILLIONS and BILLIONS! To see how this works just look at connected figures in LinkedIn or Facebook
Your LinkedIn Network
1,405 Connections link you to 12,748,560+ professionals
18,189 New people in your Network since May 19
These are the figures for Eat the Rhino on Facebook
o Total Likes 56 ↑24.44%
o Friends of Fans 32,754 ↑67.86%
o People Talking About This 18 ↑50%
o Weekly Total Reach 622 ↑8.17%
How do you build up your fan base?
You start by actively looking for them. You find someone who can be your fan, and build up your base one at a time. It IS a slow process, at this point. But, if you are unable to find ONE fan, then you can be sure you will have a real challenge finding the hundreds and thousands you need to be successful.
This is one reason why “overnight success” takes at least five years to happen. It is a matter of finding the individual fans first. When you get to around 100, things start to accelerate. You become a “starlet”, and you start finding people with fan bases that are a magnitude bigger than your fan base. That’s when you “go viral” – a thousand leads to 10,000, to 100,000 to 1,000,000 and then up to the billions.
So, take a look at your “star rating”, your fan base. That’s the stars that tell you how successful you can be. As the title says: It’s In the Stars….