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Can I Learn Business Innovation from a Topless Dancer?

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in The Wrong Question

Seth Godin blogged about this video the other day and I want to expand on a couple deeper ideas that impact most small business owners and entrepreneurs. Seth talks about the importance of "Guy #3", and after watching this video a half dozen times I realized a couple important lessons hidden among the dancing.  Watch the video and then read on.

1 - Being first is weird and different and it causes people to be unsure of what that means to them.  However, and this is big, he gets noticed.  He enters peoples awareness.  Future customers or clients can not pass judgment on something they do not know exists.  Criticism shows progress.  If you are a leader or innovator, expect it.

2 - When the second dancer (customer) joins in about 18 seconds (there are always early adopters) this becomes a little less weird simply because there is more acceptance from another person who is having fun with the product.  At this point, awareness evolves into an internal conversation.  "I can dance that well, maybe even a bit better."  "That looks like fun."  "Should I try?"  "What will others think?"

This illustrates how critical your first customers are to a small business; they can literally make or break a new venture.  The secret to a successful business is to treat every customer as make/break.

3 - Guy #3 shows up and proves to be the tipping point.  He shows up at 55 seconds and, building on earlier awareness and internal conversation, watchers realize this situation is more fun than weird.  It is now safe to participate.  Others can relate to this small community partly because they are not great dancers, not intimidating, not full of technical jargon or dance moves, just people having fun and benefiting from the product.

4 - Just 18 seconds later, the customer base grows by 67% and then doubles again less than 10 seconds later.  It becomes more uncomfortable to not participate than it does to participate.  You have momentum, you have a hit, and if you manage it properly, you may even have a successful business.

You never know how close you are to a tipping point in your business, keep innovating.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

sharon June 12, 2009 at 1:27 pm

So…how do I make it more uncomfortable for clients NOT to use my black car service?



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