“I don’t get it! All my friends said they thought my idea was great, but I launched and I’ve had basically no sales. WTF?” – Countless discouraged entrepreneurs
Any new venture is terrifying, and those of us who have the blessings of supportive friends and family often make the mistake of believing friends and family will become paying customers.
Sometimes friends and family do become customers, and that’s great (because birds of a feather flock together, and people want to be supportive, God bless ’em), but it puts incredible strain on friendships if you expect (and maybe even kind of demand) that your friends support your venture.
I have seen it, and it isn’t pretty.
That’s why things like marketing, press, and search engine optimization are so critically important to start right away
If you hope to have a business, you absolutely can’t lean on your friends and family to be your customers. You can make it available to them, but availability and pressure are very different energy.
The key is to cultivate a relationship with customers
If you’ve done your market research and you know the customers are out there, you have to set your business up in a way that will reach your (future) customers. You have to find people who love your product not just because they love you, but because they truly just love your product.
In fact, Facebook even penalizes businesses whose posts don’t get a lot of click-throughs and comments, so if you just beg your friends for a ton of page “likes” without any strategy, that can actually hinder your marketing efforts.
The world is mindblowingly vast, and millions upon millions of people are searching for products, services, and experiences that resonate with them. Is yours one of them? You have to get in front of those people so they can find you!
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.” – Chinese Proverb
All these things take time, money, or both. But you have to start somewhere, and sometime.
If you’re a new business just getting started, you may not have yet traversed the muddy bog of getting strangers to buy your products. It isn’t as difficult as you might think. Stay tuned for my small business marketing tips.