What really makes a business successful? Many factors, I must note. Then, what do you think is the reason for the continuous progress of your company, that’s if you’re already running one, or if you want to venture into one, have you really figured out what makes a business succeed? That is a very critical question you need to figure an answer for.
Over time, I have seen a lot of successful start-ups, and I try to trace their histories way back, and I wasn’t surprised they were successful. The qualities of the founders or CEOs are always key factors.
There are two ways businesses position themselves in Nigeria and I will quickly say this; you might not agree with me but with time, you’d understand what I’m saying. The two positions are HYPE and HEART.
A lot of times, we play a game of hype; we play a game of “more means more” that we tend to forget that business thrives on something really different.
Here’s what I mean and this is an example: I traveled to my sister’s school to pay a visit, coincidentally, a bank came around to hold an event. The event was a massive one and even a popular Nigerian artiste was invited for the event. There were lots of freebies to be won. To participate, simply open a bank account, deposit a sum of ten thousand Naira and you qualify to win a Grand Prize. That was easy; I simply transferred from one of my bank accounts, registered immediately and I got my chance to have an account in the qualification for the prizes, and I won a prize.
That same day, I transferred my money back and that was the last day I used that bank. Funny enough, I don’t know the account number or any other thing related. I wrote a post earlier on why we need to measure metrics, and one of the reasons I mentioned that was because if some banks really do metrics, they will not hold some huge events they organize. If an event is held and over one thousand people attended, then just one person is converted, the money spent to get the remaining nine hundred and ninety nine person was wasted.
Now, you may say, the goal was eventually achieved right. It was but based on metrics, the money spent for advertising was to convert one thousand people directly, and it got just one person which makes it wasted. Fine, you may have a good point saying some of such events are for awareness. Awareness for what? Just awareness or conversion?
Now, let’s take another example. I was in my early days as an undergraduate when GTBank came to my campus to give zero accounts. Every student needed a bank account but most of them do not have money to start one. When GTBank gave the opportunity for students to do it with zero money, it was a Heart connection. Did, it pull numbers? Yes! However, the connection was based on heart and not hype. Students remain loyal to GT Bank because subtly they feel the bank was made for them. They feel the bank came in to save them from the non banking life. Now, that’s heart, that’s emotions.
I must quickly say that hype and numbers are not equal to conversion. I established this on a group I belong to yesterday that some brands spend so much money to get attention, creative ads and all. Creativity can sometimes not be equal to emotions. If there’s any game that will always win, it is a game of heart. So what should be your focus? It should be on how.
When you go for the numbers, you lose on the long run. When you go for the hype, you fade with time. Now, I’m saying this because I have really seen Wantpreneurs come up with strategies that will help them get their names out, their brands visible but no customers eventually because there’s nobody that can connect emotionally with them.
People connect emotionally when you intervene in their problems; you show care, you have empathy. The issue is that in the Nigerian business ecosystem, people have been made to believe that hype is the best shot. That a game of numbers always wins. I beg to disagree – that is false and such people do not measure metrics.
Two basic reasons why the game of hype may not work for you on the long term.
- Hype is short-lived:
The problem with hype is that it cannot be forever. The excitement, the rush of adrenaline, the pulse to keep wanting more has a short life span. I basically didn’t see a need to open a bank account that day but I was excited because there was a prize up for me to win so I jumped on the offer without giving it a second thought. When I got it, the motivation ended. This is the same thing that happens to every customer. People basically buy products or get services because they see the need not really because there was a bait. If there was bait, fine, but you need to create a structure for them to see the need else you’d lose.
- Humans are comfortable with old things.
The law of physics applies here. People will keep using that old product unless an external force stronger than their purchasing decisions influences them to go for another product. People will keep being customers to that bank unless the bank messes up or another bank provides a value that is better than the former and the customers can see this not just some bait process. This is why the hype approach in business needs to be checkmated so as not to run at a loss in the long run and a handful of businesses make this mistake and that’s because like I always emphasize, we don’t apply metrics to processes.
Yet, I must acknowledge that you need numbers. Numbers is the business. But to get the numbers, you may need to get emotions to package your strategy. A hybrid (combination of numbers and emotions) is optimal to have a sustained result.