Focus On Value, Not Money

Providing value at scale is the surest way to make a dent in the universe and money. Yet why do so many people focus on the symptom (money) instead?

Some join the entrepreneurial world to make money. While there is nothing wrong with this on it’s own- if your sole focus of joining the startup world is to make a shitton of cash – seriously, there’s the door (unless you’re an investor, then you can stay 😉 )  In my previous post, I’ve alluded to the fact that the market doesn’t care about your needs, it only rewards those who focuses on THEIR needs and wants. Customers couldn’t care less about your goals and ambitions. If you want to reach your goals and ambitions, you need to focus on your customer. This also applies to your audience or people you wish to influence, such as employers or key staff. Focus on them and you win.

A few scenarios I’ve encountered over the last few months which highlight this misplaced focus:

  1. An applicant applying for an internship role. When the employer asked why she wanted the role, the response was ‘to gain experience’.
  2. A non-technical founder seeking a technical co-founder, offering little more than an idea.
  3. A digital marketer focusing on maximising subscriptions at the expense of user experience.
  4. A sole trader starting a company without developing a unique value proposition to differentiate from competition.

Can you see the common denominator between these scenarios? They are all self-serving, with the target audience being an after-thought.

You need to fundamentally provide value in order to get value back. I doubt many companies create an intern position to purely ‘provide experience’ out of goodwill. No – they created an intern position because they need shit done. If the intern can provide enough value they will expand the roles, responsibilities and ultimately remuneration of said employee.

This pigeon ended up landing the intern position
This pigeon ended up landing the intern position

What about the aspiring founder who thinks he can pull a tech rockstar to build his company:
Do you think he built an MVP to validate his idea might have legs?
Do you think he offers valuable skill-set in sales, marketing, financials AND deep industry knowledge to help complement the development skills required?
The answers to both are a resounding NO. What techy is going to help you built a castle from scratch while you stand on the sidelines watching her do all the work?

Providing value can also be seen in ensuring the user experience is upheld. A recent consultation to a small business owner which recently had an agency implement a plugin on his website that prompted a user three times to subscribe to their newsletter. This all occurred within one page. This aggressive approach to maximise leads significantly interfered with on a user’s ability to complete the desired outcome in a timely manner. Make it easier for the user to achieve what they want and you will be rewarded.

Last but not least comes the business owner who started a business for the sake of owning a business. The ego-boost of ‘being his own boss’ was apparently more important than defining the value-add his business offers to the marketplace. Unless there is a profound shift in his mindset, he will be forced down the road of commoditisation . And we all know how that ends….

Focus on providing value to the right people, then and only then will the other stuff (i.e customers/revenue/money/influence) come.

Author: Allan Manuel

Allan is a Digital Marketing Consultant who specialises in startups and also happens to be passionate about helping others find meaningful work. Allan is CMO of Topme — a prepaid mobile top-up platform that gives consumers the power to leverage their social data for rewards. Get in touch with Allan here.

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