If there is one thing I’ve learned about business, it’s this. Getting someone to do something for you is all about eliminating their fears. Naturally we are risk averse animals. Which means we are constantly analyzing our situation to make sure we do not fail.
The reality is, a majority of the world is based on the crystal ball business – meaning you pay me in order to expect something to happen in the future. In some cases this is 1 hour, in others this is 10 years. The longer the time frame, the more fear is associated with it.
Currently with my new startup – Compete Hub – I have the following stakeholders and associated fears:
My team – The three of us (myself, Philip, and Alexei) are all not being paid for our work. There is a lot of uncertainty around paying bills, eating, etc. So I’m constantly reminding them (and myself!) that the idea is good and the money will come eventually. More importantly I asked constantly what things are important to everyone in order to ensure that they are comfortable. It’s also why we launched www.ignitelab.net in the interim and I’m spending countless hours trying win our team some business. (ps – guys if you’re reading this and I’m not doing a good job, let me know!)
My potential investors – I’m currently pitching the business to angel investors to get seed money to keep the team happy for the first year so they can focus on what’s best for the business. Investors are very fearful people, and they have a right to be. For angel investors, their fears can be a multitude of various things. For example, what will my wife think if I put $10k into a friend’s startup? How will I pay for my mortgage? What if the startup fails in the first year?
My customers and users – The people who will use Compete Hub are also very fearful people. The biggest question when dealing with startups is knowing: Will you exist n years from now? Many startups will reduce these fears by putting up a page (like this) that explains that they do have funding to keep them alive for years. Which means if I’m going to invest my time to use your service as a client, I want to know you won’t disappear tomorrow. Also, it’s the reason the ideal landing page is set to reduce fears by showing what problem your solving and more importantly how it solved someone else’s problem (the testimonial!).
Fear is above and beyond the most motivating factor in business. So if you’re trying to move and motivate someone else – be it, an investor, a business partner, or a potential client – focus and understand what they value first and then eliminate the fears associated, second.