Back To Basics: Seth Godin.
Back in 2000, I downloaded the two hundred pages that constituted Seth Godin's brilliant Permission Marketing. Since then I've had the pleasure of attending his seminars and talks, and when I started blogging he generously warned his readers of that fact.
He writes shorter books these day and his new one Linchpin is published this month. It's about answering the crucial question of how you make yourself the linchpin of your market and/or your company. That ties in directly with the ethos of my "back to basics" questionnaire and I'm thrilled that he agreed to answer these five questions as well.
How do you get new business?
New business gets me.
This sounded unattainable to me for decades as I scrambled, often one check away from bankruptcy, to build a business, a product, an organization... but then, after a while, I discovered that people would contact me asking for this or that. The hard work isn't getting them to call, the hard work is breaking away from whatever pack I'm in, whatever ice floe I'm on and create an event or a product or an idea that people actually want to be a part of.
How would you advise others to do so?
Find 1,000 true fans. Earn the right to coordinate the actions of 1,000 people in a tribe. Connect and lead. Create ideas that spread, and find a niche small enough to be important in (but big enough to matter).
Do this while you're doing your day job (not easy). But if you do it a little, every day, for years and years, you'll find it. Which is a lot better than doing the hustle, every day, for years and years and not finding it.
How has this changed in recent years and why?
I think it's now clear that the internet makes this sort of connection and leadership significantly easier than it used to be. It brings with it more copycats and more competition, but it's still clearly a win.
How would your advice differ for someone who is just starting up?
I think now you get to skip a lot of steps that others used to have to take. Tickets that had to be punched. Now, you can start out fast, without paying as many dues. There's a big if. The if: you must have great stuff. Great ideas. Amazing art. Connections that work. Insights that people can't help but embrace. That's not easy, but in just about every segment, someone is doing just that.
Don't try to be the "next" of any successful person. That person is already occupying the slot. Be the next you.
How do you balance this with keeping existing customers satisfied and coming back?
People don't come back merely because you met spec. Lots of people meet spec. They come back because they got more than they paid for, more than they bargained for, and they're motivated to get even more of that.