Starting a buzz about your business is an all important factor in creating success. You need to be seen, but by the right people, and that is achieved primarily through education. The right people are in a niche audience for your niche product or service. (And if you think that you’re not niche, I suggest you really scrutinize your offering more closely, especially how it fits into existing markets). You have to identify and then educate your niche audience. Then educate them some more.
I hope that you had a great education and that your schoolteachers excited your interest. The chances are that if you had an outstanding teacher, they shaped who you are now, by getting you enthusiastic about a particular subject. A great teacher can help produce people who go on to become outstanding in their chosen field. What’s for sure is that no teacher ever got their students interested by boring them.
Education is a continuous process, and it has to make your target audience feel like the smartest people, because they have been nurtured by you to understand everything there is to know about your business, and the market niche it occupies. You too must be a great teacher, and never bore your audience. In fact you have to supply them with a constant flow of information which is full of quality, color, and value.
Quality, color and value are the hallmarks of all good education, and a startup has to supply the same to its core audience. It’s not trying to ‘teach the world’ – only the small niche audience that will become the supporters and investors of the enterprise.
Quality will always relate to the content of your startup: giving people real information that they need. By real information I mean measureable, checkable facts and figures. I mean the costings, the market analysis, and the information that shows you have done your homework. OK, so some of it may be projections, but it is all based in reality, not empty promises. With real information, people are then able to make real decisions – like supporting your enterprise. You create Quality in your communication by following the ‘PSPS Path’ –the Problem/Solution Path. This means that you always introduce the problem that your offering brings the solution for.
Sounds obvious? Most startups begin with the solution and forget to even bring up the problem! Imagine a Math teacher in school who gave you the formula, but didn’t tell you what the problem was that you were trying to solve.
Bringing Color to your communications can be literally true: Why do things in black and white when you can use color? Think of those far-off days when TV shows were monochrome – imagine watching a game of Pool or Billiards, and trying to figure out the colors of the balls! Then along came color TVs, and a whole new dimension was added.
So of course color is important, but I also mean that how you educate your audience should be entertaining and fun. That’s another way of describing ‘Color’. At school the teachers who really got through to us were the entertaining ones: They used color and games to get their message through. Color should be in everything you do. - Never try to bore your audience into accepting you! They’ll just turn off and move on to a more interesting ‘teacher’.
Then there’s Value. Education is pointless if it has no value, and startups must always provide value. If we learn things that have no value, then that’s just a lot of ‘noise on the line’. There’s nothing especially wrong with learning Latin at school (for example), but how valuable is it? Is it going to be much use to 99% of the students who learn it? – Probably not. Value should run through everything that you offer your audience, so that people always come back for more. At the end of any communication from your company, your target audience should be able to say, ‘Wow, I didn’t know that before!’ Manage this, and you are educating your audience with information which has real value.
Your startup is not a charity which is educating people for fun. The point of education is to nurture informed and eager supporters for your enterprise. Your education program will encourage people to engage with you, and then stay engaged with you. And when they feel nurtured and educated, then they’ll do something very simple: They’ll spread the word. People spread the word to others in their own network, to tell them what a smart decision they feel they’ve made in getting involved in your startup. So your initial outlay of time and energy, in creating an educational program, will pay dividends as more and more people come to learn from you.
Quality, Color and Value: Simple steps that will make you a great educator, and able to attract great investors.
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