By Samuel Ukah
You remember Keke Palmer? Yes, the “Akeela and the Bee” girl. I saw her video interview where she was talking about her new song. With all enthusiasm, she went on and on to explain her lyrics and all that.
As Naija guy wey I be and amebo concerned, I paused the video and went to the comments section to see what people were saying.
You know what the comments section can look like.
Slowly, I started reading from comment to comment. There, I saw so much hate. People were complaining about how much she is just trying to be everything. Some people went as far as advising her to stop “trying” since she will ever remain Akeela Anderson to them.
From these reactions, I saw two things.
One, a person who does not seem to have a clear sense of why she is living. She has tried a lot of things so people don’t know what to associate her with any longer.
Secondly, the Akeela Anderson character she played remains the major thing people can associate her with and she has not been able to clearly communicate to people what she is now and how much the Akeela they know has not evolved out of her.
This is the situation of several businesses and brands today. Things have become so complicated that no one takes them seriously any longer. This complication is something that many still don’t understand why it is so.
So how can a business who has been lost in the crowd find it’s winning formula?
How then can you become first in business? I am going to try as much as possible to summarize the major points that will do the job. Read slowly please.
Three Secrets for Transformation
1. Focus on People
Truth be told that the desire of 98% of people starting up a business is to make profit. In fact, your business cannot be profitable if it doesn’t make money for you. We can only call it a business if it brings tons of money otherwise, it’s just an NGO.
While this is the focus, let’s look at another angle.
Businesses that start up profitable, are they always sustainable? The brands that come up and make huge profits within a few years, still fail, go bankrupt and leave the market.
Among many reasons why they fail, the biggest is that they are not people focused. People look at them and see them as crooks who are simply interested in money. They lack loyal customers so the day they face serious competition, they lose out.
In starting a business, see it as solving a particular challenge/need of the people. Instead of talking about what you do or designing great products, first show people why you genuinely decided to do it. Then design a great product.
What happens when you hire your staff?
Let these people, more than knowing their roles, understand clearly “why” that business is running. Please make this the first thing you will explain to your staff when you hire them. Then, go ahead to remind them of this “why” every month.
See people of God, do not be concerned with coming up with best products more than showing people why your product will help them achieve their goals.
For example, the baker should not talk about the wonderful cake she makes but how cake brings relationships closer. He/she should explain to the people that her cake is designed for one particular purpose, and that is to bring together family ties. The cake will encourage booming relationships.
Show your business as one that helps people live the great life they desire. Let your “why” be able to arouse emotions. It should be able to start a tribe. If you can raise enough loyalists up to the tipping point of market decisions (about 15%), you will be able to challenge for number one position in your niche.
Your “why” for what you do should first be about people. Let people see themselves in your product.
Write this down as your personal mission statement. Remember to start with why you are doing what you do. This must be centered on people, then explain what you do to meet this “why”.
Let me say this please. Forget about competition. Don’t compete with other businesses/brands. Compete with your yesterday but in doing that, never lose focus of your “why”.
Be Concerned with the Name You Choose.
The name of your business is your first identity. When choosing a name, first ask yourself “Will people like to associate with a name like this?”
“If I should design a branded T-shirt with my business name, will people be proud to wear it?”
Do you get that? If you don’t, please go back and read the last statement again.
Okay, now let’s look at this.
Which of the following T-shirt will you gladly put on?
a) Mama Chika Homemade Foods
b) Laxic Meals
The name may not sound that great but you’ll surely love to wear the second. It looks and sounds better. More refined.
Your name should not be found poor and too personal. It is not advisable to use something like this “Ojewale and Son’s limited”.
The problem with the name above is that even your staff may feel they are just slaving away for one selfish family.
Is it just by great names?
Well let’s see.
If there’s nothing you should avoid, it is copying names. This advice is for those who are into making products.
Let’s take for example; you developed a great product that is highly demanded. Let’s take the name to be “Shaviz skin care”.
The temptation will be there for you to develop a powder with a similar name e.g. “Shaviz powder” to remind people that this was also made by you.
Research shows that this model will not work.
You may think people know the first product as “Shaviz skin care” but you would be shocked if you should do a research.
People will actually recognize the product as “Shaviz”. The brain will pick the first and leave the second and last.
So where will your powder be placed?
Still as shaviz? No dear. This will only lead to confusion.
Avoid names that sound similar. Please avoid confusing us.
Take for example what we see today. Let’s say you are not Ijaw.
An Ijaw woman will give birth to 3 girls and name them Sobiete, Sobife and Sobieme.
How long did it take you to avoid misplacing the names? Maybe you still do it self. Lol.
Or naming the children Sophia 1, Sophia 2, Sophia 3. This is dangerous if you want people to recall and place names rightly.
This is one of the reasons why organic chemistry was a no-no for many people. One name will extend to 5 different things (butanol, butan-2-one, 2,2-dimethyl butane) and they will tell you it is isomerism or a polymer.
Finally, avoid abbreviations. Forget about A.J SuperShop, you may have issues going global with such names. By the time you push global and there’s another established A.J, it doesn’t depend on what they do, they will swallow your name. To do this, avoid long names. People should know your full names first. Let them chose to give your business a short name if they wish. Even if they do, run simple adverts from time to time to remind them of the full name.
So please look well at the name you are choosing. Names matter. Choose names that can start a movement.
3) Develop Your Human Relationship Skills.
In order to build a strong business, you must leverage on the power of relationships. You need to note clearly that you are dealing with people, so build a relationship that can make these customers loyalists.
If you have people working for you, place them first before the customer. The people who work for you should be able to get their soul/mind and body involved in building your business.
One way of doing this is becoming genuinely interested in them. Know the full names of your staff. All of them even the cleaners. Be able to detect a change in their mode. And if you ever find them in a bad state or working poorly, don’t try to scold them into doing their work.
Everyone has an ego to protect. No matter how lowly an individual is, his personal ego is more important to him than anything. So instead of shouting, carefully ask questions to identify what must have gone wrong. Inquire about their family and health. Ask questions to show you genuinely care.
People expect to be scolded if they do something seriously wrong. Imagine seeing your staff hidden in one corner of the office eating when it is not yet lunch hour. Let’s say you simply walk up to her and give her a glass of water and then tell her gently to always eat her breakfast. No scolding.
What do you think her reaction will be? How much do you think she will respect you after now? From this time, she will see the office as home. A simple action that shows you care genuinely about people has more effect than any motivation you will give them in form of money.
I’ve written so much already so I have to stop. I hope you find value by applying the principles above in your business. Many have gotten massive results just by implementing this powerful material in your hand. I advise that you come back to this material once every month for best results.