I was early for the meeting the other day so I opted to spend time at Starbucks Store. With the Kindle app installed in my mobile, I read the ebook for an hour. Neither anyone asked me what I would buy to justify my occupying their chair there, nor there was any compulsion to buy anything. Like me, I was not alone, there were a few more like me completely engrossed in their mobile phones.
Michael Sterner of Social Media Examiner in his book ‘Launch’ writes;
“Don’t think people are targets for the sale….. rather than focus on people who are buying your products and services, shift your attention to people you want to help… If you are only focused on the sale, you are missing a mega opportunity.”
This is the future. ‘For Profit’ enterprises have to change their ways of doing business. They will have to employ ‘Not for Profit’ way of doing the business. Rather than having only sells focus, enterprises of today are focused on helping their customers. Non Profit route is the route to earn the profit.
“Companies with higher sense of purpose outperform by 400%.’’
From Zappos.com website.
Free selfless help will bring more customers to the business. Hospitals need to focus on preventive healthcare awareness program for the benefit of people at large. Real Estate companies need to educate people about precautions while buying a home or precaution while selecting the developer for the redevelopment project. Restaurants and hotels need to offer free culinary classes to the people in the nearby vicinity. LinkedIn is a free service. Even without their premium services, LinkedIn is extremely useful service for the professionals.
When I launched my previous two eBooks, it was free for an initial 3 to 5 days. Not only me but most ebooks are available for free as a part of Amazon’s book promo package.
What is this free economics?
Educate, allow free entry, allow free usage, help them with your knowledge and relax. Free service users and customers would get converted to paid customers and paid to premium customers. This is applicable to LinkedIn as well as to the Starbucks and may be to every business. But most are not used to help customers and therefore no free business. But it is a good business. Free ebook means more downloads, more downloads means more reader reviews and more reviews means more buyers even when the book is not available for free.
There is a whole book titled ‘The Starbucks Experience’ which is about how Starbucks is doing business and how many of their customers are managing their work life from Starbucks stores. The book is also talking about how Starbucks store is engaging with surrounding communities. All these have nothing to do with their CSR activities, but it is their way of doing FOR PROFIT business.
Every business has to help their potential customers for free in order to earn profit. Yes, we are in a strange economy. Yes, this is a strange sharing economy where companies focus on helping customers and customers help fellow customers in deciding to choose their service providers with their user reviews.
The author of the book ‘Looptail’, Bruce Poon Tip, aptly puts this;
“…. Social enterprise to me is about solving standard business problems with solutions that address social issues like environmental sustainability and economic inequality. That idea started a non-profit world, but more and more, you see it creeping into the for-profit world because the consumer is demanding it.
The customer doesn’t want to purchase something randomly; they want to know where that product is coming from and to identify with that brand. They want to know why they should purchase it and why they should purchase it from you. They want to understand what that brand and the people behind it stand for.”
Though the bottom – line remains the same, approach and route of doing the business has changed. We now don’t need a separate CSR team or activities or funds, it has to go hand in hand with the business objectives. Helping customers genuinely in solving their problem by charging for some solutions and not charging for others is the real CSR and new marketing.
People don’t trust enterprise communication and monologue, but they believe in fellow customers. Therefore, talk less and focus on helping and serving customers.
“If you are only focused on the sale, you are missing a mega opportunity.”