You've got to want it so bad I can smell it

Those, roughly, were the words spoken on national TV last week by Thomas Blachmann, or so I read in the paper. The program is like American Idol, and there was a group where Thomas apparently couldn’t smell their commitment, their passion. And as a listener, you sense that, and then you can’t lose yourself in the music.

It’s the same when you start a business. You have to show commitment. And you show that through investment. In design, packaging, copy, the way your office looks, and the way you dress. All the things around your product.

When people buy a product, they look for whether the store and the packaging look like the producer is in the game to stay. You know when you go into that restaurant that feels a bit too much like you went to someone’s house, in the bad way. Or the shop that hasn’t replaced that broken window for 2 months now. Or where everything is a mess, because they couldn’t be bothered to clean things up. Or a web product where the marketing site is lacking that thing that makes it really pop.

It’s all tell-tale signs that the owners haven’t committed to the business, and it’s a turn-off for most people. You want to buy from someone who’s in it for the long haul. Partly because it’s good to know they’ll be around for support and updates. But also because if they don’t signal that they mean it, you end up feeling cheated a little bit. Either it’s because they’re so good, they don’t need to make something of themselves. But more likely, it’s because there’s something fishy. The actual product and value proposition may still be a steal, but the feeling you’re left with is off.

I’m learning this the hard way these days. I have a couple of interesting products in the pipeline, but none of them are going to generate any cash in the near term, and I need to make some cash in the near term. So I’m talking to a lot of people and generating some leads on coaching and software projects. But none of the 6 or so proposals I have out seem to want to close. Not that any of them have been turned down, they just won’t close.

I know some of them are just bureaucracies in large organizations moving painfully slowly, and there could be a million other reasons why, but I can’t help but suspect that some of them are because of the absence of that fragrant smell of commitment.


Alexander Kjerulf

Many people believe that "really wanting it" is a success factor - I think they're wrong. Some things are much more relevant than being committed or "wanting it bad". Things like enjoying what you do, being enthusiastic, having fun.
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Difficult theme - I think my first business venture probably failed partly because we did not know exactly what we were aiming for - which in turn made our smelliness too faint. Or, in Alexander's terms, undermined our enthusiasm just enough to show a faint smell of doubt on the outside.
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