Geoffrey A. Moore’s book Crossing the Chasm starts out by saying “If Bill Gates can be a Billionaire”. Implying that so can you. I remember in high school using similar logic while waiting to take my driving test, saying to myself, “if Wayne can pass the driving test, then so can I”.
For those of us who don’t remember, Crossing the Chasm takes us through stages of marketing and selling our business & products. The book then points out the phenomena called “The Chasm”, and why businesses fail as they fall into this crevasse instead of crossing over it. COVID-19 has dramatically widened the chasm and small business owners see it as an impossible task to cross. Forbes Magazine reported that more than ½ black owned business have permanently closed because of the pandemic. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a report that said black-owned businesses were more than twice as likely to close than other businesses. So, if you own a small business, what should we be doing? Here is my opinion on what we should be thinking about.
I started my first business back in 1992. I was already working full-time as a software engineer so I guess that you can say this was my “side hustle”. But it was much more than that. The business model aimed at providing IT support for small businesses who cannot afford to have their own IT team. But I quickly learned about “cross-selling” & “up-selling”, “channels” & “partnerships”. Cross-selling and up-selling are textbook, so I won’t cover that here. But channels & relationships are essential to growing your business organically. All too often we forget that business and relationships go hand-in-hand. And these relationships will open up other channels of revenue streams for you.
Here is the framework I suggest that you follow. Make a list of any and everyone associated with your business. Create a category of “Know”, “Like”, Trust”. Then label your relationship with these categories. Consider this a living document that you visit and update regularly. Deliberately and systematically communicate with everyone on this list 1:1. What you will find is that relationships that you have labeled as “Trust” will be your saving grace. These are the folks that will stretch out their hands and pull you across “The Chasm!