I was on a course a couple of days ago, 20 business owners in a room and Blaise Brosnan.
Blaise was instilling his wisdom from the center of the room telling little stories and anecdotes, and it was brilliant.
This was the first of ten courses on a Tuesday morning 8:00 to 11:00, and Blaise had a power point presentation that he was going to go through with us, and he just gave his presentation at the end – he hadn’t done it.
What he’d done instead was round-robin through each of the attendees and get us to introduce ourselves and our business and one piece of advice to everyone else.
To be on this course you have to have attended the initial ten-week course with Blaise previously, and Mandy’s piece of advice to everybody in the room, was something that Blase had said in the previous course, that she’d picked up on and lived by, which was to “spend your money on diesel and coffee”.
At the start when you’re trying to grow your business get out there – meet people for coffees, chat to people, create relationships, try to help people, let them know what you’re doing as well, that’s how you get going.
Apparently when AirBnB was getting started they were talking to the guys in Y-Combinator, people like Paul Graham from paulgraham.com (his stuff is excellent) and there’s a story about how they got going. They’d realized that a lot of their initial BnB hosts were in New York, and they literally went to stay at the hosts. And meet them, go out for dinner and talk to them.
And by doing that they found out that some of the properties, the houses, were amazing but the photos didn’t do them justice. They asked some of the hosts, “Would you be happy if we send a photographer around to take pictures of your property?” The hosts were delighted, and then the next day a photographer came round, took pictures and made much better job than the actual hosts could do of taking pictures.
A lesson there is to “do things that don’t scale”, you’re not going to do that later on in your business, but when you’re small you can afford to do things that don’t scale.
And another lesson is something Gary Vaynerchuk says, that, “One is greater than zero.” Getting one extra customer is better than having zero.
Grow your business one customer at a time, which brings me back to my favorite quote from mother Theresa, “Never worry about numbers, help one person at a time and start with the person closest to you.”