An advice that can ruin your business

by Ashvini on July 10, 2013 · 2 comments

in Entrepreneurship,My Personal Thoughts

When you are owner of your small business, the first advice you will get ( often from esteemed VCs) is that you need to go out there and sell your idea. If you cannot do it who can?

I only partly agree with the idea of “selling” your idea. Entrepreneurs are not your run of the mill business graduates. Most of them are not even possess any degree. Many of them are dropouts. They have no idea of the concept of salesmanship. It is probably not their strongest point. They cannot run slideshows and presentation because they are more passionate about creating and enhancing their products.

Can everyone talk like Steve Jobs?

Its really quite hard for a person who is for example not familiar with speaking to a crowd and provide a Steve Jobs-que kind of presentation. Just like any other quality/trait , one might have it or one might not. Of course it can developed over time but it will probably never be primary strength of the person.

On the other hand a salesman will often find it difficult to talk about technical feature of a product in detail.

So how to “sell” your idea?

Have you ever seen a person who is least talkative becomes very much talkative, when you touch upon a topic of interest? It is then impossible to stop him or her. The details just keep tumbling out. The most introvert person suddenly start looking like an extrovert.

If you are owner of a business ( small or medium), the first thing to do is to stop taking unsolicited advice. The next thing is to determine what works for you. It could be about the features of the product or the fact that it improves the lives of people using it. It could be about the difficulties that you faced while developing/marketing/getting funds for it.

If you have a team, you can sing praises of the team or you could even ask a team member to do a small presentation in his area of expertise. All you need to know is who does what best. If you have an employee who is good at sales, well , the role goes to him or her.

Real strength is the winner

Look for real strengths and not made up strengths. Real strengths are the ones which will be recognized by your customers, investors ( may be not VCs) and others. Real strength lasts long. People can see right through the “Salesy” pitches. Even if you succeeded once does not really mean much. Soon customers will find out what is wrong about your product( through social media ) and they will avoid your product.

The world already has a lot of people trying to sell it something. These days, people are looking for something genuine and sounding “Salesman” like is a recipe for trouble.

Be genuine even to a point of being vulnerable

People like to see how did you face a challenge. That makes you like them ( real ). Imagine how many people go to their homes and start talking to their kids in “sales” pitch. Everyone would soon see through it.

In the end, don’t worry about if you cant sell your product. Just talk about what makes you tick. Isn’t that what every inventor did. Not all successful inventors were sales pros.

About The Author

{ 2 comments }

Silviu July 13, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Hi Ashvini,

1. I don’t know what VCs means. I figure it may be about some internet marketers or influencers or entrepreneurship leaders or something like that. The so called “gurus” in the respective domain.
In my country VC is either an abbreviation for vacuum cleaner or more often, it is used in the form of WC (water closet). Those who give you bad advice are sometimes labelled as a VC/WC people.

2. I think the whole post revolves around the idea of problem solving. Identify a problem, create a product that solves that problem, identify people that struggle with the problem and talk to them about that problem.

3. How to talk about that problem? Well, sometimes it is not a good idea to talk, at all. It is better to let other people do the talking. I think this is one of the reasons why affiliate marketing exists.
However, everybody has a real strength that he or she can use in the communicating process: writing, speaking, computing, dancing etc. Use that strength and be honest. This is all that it takes.

Have a nice day

Ashvini Kumar Saxena July 13, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Hi Silviu,

I am sorry for not explaining what is a VC . These are Venture Capitalists. Though there are good venture capitalists who actually help business become successful a few of them are only good at advising ( like in all other industries). So they are not much different than so called “gurus” ;).
I often felt that people are pushed by “know-all” kind of guys into doing something they are not comfortable with. I am good at using mobile for example but I dont obsess about every spec. It is not the area I am comfortable with. It will be difficult for me to sell a mobile. However on topics such as entrepreneurship, WordPress and other things I like, I can talk a lot about them.
It is not easy for everyone to do a sales-y talk. Some people are comfortable with what they know and those include senior managers, entrepreneurs and leaders. All they talk is vision and it sells. If the product is good and creator of the product has his ear to the ground , he/she knows what market wants. There is no need to sound salesy in that case. If you know the market well, product will sell anyway.
So the advice from gurus that one needs to be like someone is not fruitful to entrepreneur. Of course nothing stops one from learning new skills but doing something that one is not really good at is not necessary.
Being honest as you said is the most important thing.

Thanks for your comment. I was not keeping well. I will be soon at your blog :).

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