Being a Generosity Based Business

This is my friend Jimbo.

He’s a street performer.

Street performing can teach you a lot about magic.

You seem them every summer. Juggling, riding unicycles, balancing on things, setting things on fire or doing magic.

And people often say, ‘What amazing tricks!’

But they miss the point.

The real trick is not that they can make a goldfish bowl appear from under their hat while totally surrounded (like Jimbo can) but that he gets hundreds of people to stop and watch his show for 45 minutes and then gets them to pay him money at the end.

Think about it. If I took you to a street performer’s festival and put you in one of the circle pitches – could YOU actually get people to stop? And if you did – for how long? And would they pay you at the end?

I do close up magic and tried street shows for a while. Which convinced me that it was a lot harder than those buskers made it look.

Of course – the first (and hardest) job of any street performer is to gather a crowd.

Here’s how this relates to your business.

The best street performers in the world don’t get their crowds by saying, ‘Everyone! Come and look at me. I promise you a great show! No really! Stop for a little bit. Okay. Great. Just wait here ’til more people come and . . . what? No. Can’t tell you yet what kind of a show it is . . . Just trust me and wait for 15 minutes while I build a crowd. Oh. And please be quiet while you wait.’

But a lot of businesses do this. They say, ‘Work with us! Hire us! We promise we’ll be good.’

It’s basically asking them to trust you – sight unseen. And there’s nothing wrong with this. Nothing unethical. It’s just not very effective.

What’s more powerful? A cafe SAYING they’ve got the best coffee in town or GIVING you a free cup to try yourself? Someone SAYING that their weekend workshop is amazing or GIVING you a free intro workshop to let you try it out? Someone SAYING that they give amazing massages or GIVING you a free 15 minute sample session? Someone SAYING they’re an amazing therapist and listing their credentials or them actually GIVING you their undivided attention so you can FEEL what it would be like to work with them.

It’s vital that you give people a taste of what you do so they can sample you for themselves. It helps people feel safer about approaching you and hiring you.

These days, I’m talking a lot about being a ‘generosity based’ business. A business that gives advice, insight and wisdom liberally. Some people look at how much content I put in my blogs and online videos and free reports and say, ‘but Tad. You’re giving too much away.’ They could be right. But I don’t think they are. I think the more you give to people in context and information – the more they trust you and the more open they are to hiring you. They feel safer and clearer about who you are and what you’re about.

Start with giving value, not asking for attention.

Don’t start your show with promises. Just start your show.


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