Let your customers into the club

There is an inner desire in all of us to feel like we’re part of something. We all want to be in the inner circle. We want that VIP status. We want to be recognized. 

Your customers do, too. So, if you can feed into this desire, you’ll turn customers into fans. They’ll become loyal to your brand, rather than nameless entities doing a one-off transaction.

Airlines and hotels know the importance of loyalty. It’s why they always push their frequent traveller programs, with tiered membership levels. They want you to work your way up and feel more special as you do it.

Other companies foster community around their brand. Harley Davidson riders have clubs all over the country. Crossfit speaks to customers with shared values and a shared purpose. This creates very powerful loyalty to their brand.

Ask yourself – what can you do to build community around your company? How can you make your customers feel like they’re part of something special? How can you make them feel recognized?

If you have good answers to those questions, you’re likely on your way to building a very successful business.

Let your customers into the club.

Want to build your customer base and increase loyalty? Geoff and his team at Three Five Two can help. Find out more here.

What’s your niche?

I’m a big believer in starting a business with a niche audience. Why? It’s easiest to identify who your customers could be and how to market to them.

Most newer entrepreneurs come up with ideas that try to serve a very broad market. Their customers could be anyone. But this lack of a very specific target actually makes marketing more difficult, not easier. By starting with a tightly defined group of potential customers, you can figure out how to get to them.

Take a look at their habits. What YouTube videos do they watch? What social accounts are they following? What websites do they read every day? What organizations are they embers of? What trade shows or events do they attend?

Chances are, many of the important players in the niche know each other, so if you can get in with one of them, you now have a connection to lots of them.

Your niche can be based on demographics, occupation, behaviors, geography or lifestage. Better yet, it should be a combination of these. The more specific you can get, the clearer your marketing plan will become.

The best businesses I’ve invested in started with a niche. Many of you know me as the Sports Card Investor. Talk about a niche. My audience is mainly middle-aged men with a passion for sports who collected cards as a kid and are doing it again, only now they’re interested in making a profit from it as well. Knowing so much about my audience made it easier for me to know what content and products to create and how to reach my audience.

But don’t think that starting with a niche means you are limiting your business’ potential. Facebook started with a niche audience – students at one college. Uber started with a niche – limo drivers and passengers in one city. You see where they are now. Focusing on a specific group can accelerate your start, while still letting you expand in the long run.

What’s your niche?

Need to figure out the best audience for your next venture? Geoff and his team at Three Five Two can help. Find out more here.

The upside is so much greater than the downside

That new venture you’ve thought long and hard about will take hundreds of hours to get off the ground.

The fresh product you’ve been waiting to share with the world comes with a $30K price tag just to build the prototype.

That life-changing idea you’ve sat on can’t get off the ground for anything under $150K.

Yes, all three scenarios involve a lot of time and money that you might lose. The first effort you try, you’ll probably fail. Most new businesses don’t make it.

If the project doesn’t work, you’ll have the losses of time and money that were put in. But that’s also all you’ll ever have to lose if things don’t work out. Mathematically, you can’t lose any more than that. You already know the worst that can happen before you’ve even started.

What if the new venture works, though? What if this idea becomes the next big thing? The potential gains literally have no limit. You could be sitting on a concept that could become worth a million or even $100 million.

But let’s take money out of the possibly lucrative equation. Having the satisfaction of getting something off the ground sparks an incredible sense of pride and accomplishment. Who can put a monetary value on carving your own path to the future?

To experience any kind of success, though, you’ve got to take the leap. The leap will cost time, money or some combination of the two. But if you can muster it, I think you should take the jump. 

The upside is so much greater than the downside.

Are you a growing company looking to build a game-changing product? If so, Geoff and his team at Three Five Two can accelerate your mission. Find out more here.

Now is the best time to start

Whatever you dream of doing — the company you’d love to start, the product you’ve been dying to build, the career move you thought about making — there is no better time to begin working at it than right now.

I started my first business in high school. Got my second company rolling in college—and I still run it to this day. Both were damn good times to start. No kids. No mortgage payment. No issue with eating ramen noodles and crashing on the floor of a friend’s house. I had dreams to fulfill and nothing was going to stop them from materializing.

Had I waited, who knows what would have happened?

Every year that goes by, more things will try to hold you back. More responsibilities. More obstacles. More excuses for staying comfortable with the life you’re currently living.

I promise you that, tomorrow, it will be harder for you to take that next step than it is today. Next week, next month and next year will only make it more difficult to make the moves you want to make.

Now is the best time to start.