A story about giving a business away.

business strategy

You got the heading right, this is about giving a business away, it’s a great idea – you have to try it.

To do even better, it’s a true story that really happened. Interested? I can guarantee you that now we are not thinking about the same thing. Read on and by the end you will see exactly why it’s a brilliant idea to give your business away.

The story played off in 2005, in a recently opened business that’s just starting to settle in. At that time a few things where out-of-place. The turnover needed a big boost and that something special that makes you go back, lacked.

The first couple of months went to learning some lessons about specials and giveaways. It boiled down to the difference between short-term and a long-term solution. This long-term solution must be able to make permanent changes to how the business work and have a positive outcome.

Here I am getting myself into some sort of flat spin, and that meant back to the drawing board. About 3 weeks trying and working out different ideas, the best plan ended up being that I needed to give my business away, so I did.

To make this easier to explain, the business I am talking about is a small 30 seater bar. At that time, the client base is slowly growing but not really fast enough. Most of the clients dropped in for a quick drink, some already started hanging out for 2 or 3 drinks on weekends and a few clients already become regulars.

So, if you want to give a business away you have to start somewhere, and that was with telling the clients that they just got a business, it no longer belonged to me. I will manage it and make it work, but all of that are done for the new owners, the clients.

I needed to know what they want? And this created a way to engage with my clients on a more personal level, because now it is about what they like and dislike. In reverse the clients never experienced this kind of engagement and came back for more.

Business Mindset

One small adjustment

By doing that one simple adjustment, the mindset behind this thing changed from what I want to do, and the way I see things, to the total opposite. Suddenly everything is about the customers.

Almost everything in the business changed. Weighing up the demands to what was possible became important. One of the first steps was to reduce my expenses and plow back into the business as much as possible. This became easier, because we identified what was missing.

Sticking with the plan made it possible to add something or change something, constant improvement. If it’s not buying a microwave, it’s adding new items to the menu, or making a plan to get some snacks going.

What was busy happening here?

By “surrendering” the business to the clients and actually listing to what they wanted, showed me what to do next. This means that the clients experienced the complete transition and felt like they where part of something good. This lead to telling more of their friends to join them there and at the same time, sort off…slowly, repelled the people who did not fit. Getting rid of trouble and stacking up on the good stuff, in one go.

The Result
There are much more to this story, but to keep this short, we’ll leave it here. With in the next six months the turnover leaped into gear and started a steady climb that lasted the following 3 years.

the internet

 How do we apply this on the internet?

Taking some pointers from giving a business away:

  •  Mindset
  • Put some money back
  • Sticking with the plan
  • Target the right market

Put yourself into your customers shoes and do not ignore the facts. Here is a practical example: Facebook recently concluded from surveys, that the people using Facebook does not want to see the same old business adverts day in and day out. Facebook’s response are to restrict the number of adverts shown in streams.

You can kick and fight that or you can listen and learn. If people do not want to see ads, and now adding  the new Facebook rules, it becomes pointless to carry on posting the same ad over and over.

Time to change your mindset, and work out what, and how, you can interact socially with your clients. A way to get interactive with your website visitors will be to add opinion polls or ask them to complete a quick survey.

Put some money back

think about this: All the big online applications that generates income from advertising does not like your competition and constantly adapting their applications to restrict your advertising. It’s a fact if you want to advertise you have to spend some money.

Getting the best results from your paid advertising is beyond the scope of this post, but know that simply paying for ads does not guarantee results. You still need to constantly adapt and optimize your advertising campaigns.

Sticking to the plan

In order for you to stick with your plan, you first need to have a plan. Blindly posting and adding random unplanned content to your website, can have many negative effects and help you in the wrong direction, fast.

Make use of all the online monitoring software, analyze the results and build up your short-term planing from there.

Target the right market

I can tell you about selling snow to Eskimos, but rather think about this: By using social networks the way they are intended to be used, you can meet people before making the sale. It’s not just all social networks, you can use the internet to study trend and find out where your potential clients live, or their age, gender, busiest times etc.

The internet is here to help, you can do valuable market research and target the people who want to buy your products, instead of wasting time trying to sell people who are not interested.

Renier van den Berg
Working alone, providing digital services to businesses in different sectors, comes with an advantage. I get to see the similarities in businesses operating in different sectors and will gladly help you to implement the right digital strategies and applications to save money and generate more business leads.