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Episode Info

Episode Info:

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

We’ve all heard that expression, haven’t we? And it’s a great saying when it comes to the benefits of education and passing on the skills that have served you well. As entrepreneurs we want to help people, solve problems and pass on our knowledge, but there are times when we have to forget this phrase and just give people the fish. Let me explain.

Let’s say you’ve been having trouble with your car and you take it in to the garage to find out the problem. The mechanic has a look, a quick tinker under the bonnet, and then he hands you an overall and a spanner. Time for you to learn a little bit about car maintenance! You wouldn’t know what to think, would you? Sometimes we just want the fish and we’re happy to pay someone with more knowledge than us to help us out.

In the world of web, design and digital, it’s easy to think that our audience will share our enthusiasm for how things work and products and services that we find innovative. However, what you might find interesting, others may not. Therefore, when thinking of building a business around something, we need to keep in mind the audience, because there’s a risk of spending time, money, and energy on something that there is no market for. The idea that you have may solve a problem, but is it a problem that people are willing to pay to have solved; does it have broad enough appeal?

We need to understand their particular pain points and which of your services that they will value. Don’t start off by giving them your tools, give them an end to end experience of how your services could make them and their customers feel. Don’t start the other way around. If they want to know more about your tools and processes, then great, that’s something that you can discuss afterwards. Always show off the very best of your business with an end to end demonstration of how your service could solve clients’ particular problems.

A great example of this approach is Apple. The whole experience, from walking into the Apple Store to using your new MacBook for the first time, is a prime example of being given the fish. You don’t need to think about which graphics card, processor or operating system you want. You simply buy the computer and turn it on. Building a new PC, on the other hand, can feel like a lesson in big game fishing that not everyone wants or needs. The vast majority of people want a computer that allows them to do what they want with the minimum of fuss.

When dealing with clients, remember that while some people want to learn how things are done, most people just want to be given the fish!

Issue Challenged in this Small Business Podcast:

Which is the right approach with clients?

Actionable Tips:

  1. Ask customers what they really want. Let them tell you about their problems rather than pitching to them. Most people will say your idea is great just to be nice and not to hurt your feelings. Letting them discuss their specific problems is so much more valuable because you can then set out to provide tailored solutions. Ask as many people as you can so you can to start spotted trends.
  2. Learn whether they are willing to pay for it. You audience may complain about a particular problem, but is it big enough of a problem for them to actually pay for it?
  3. Give them the fish! Don’t try and teach anyone, don’t consult them on it, just give them the solution that will solve the problem that they are experiencing. Teach them how to use the solution, make the most of the solution but not how to build the solution.

Top Quotes:

  • “We pay for convenience, we pay for value: we pay to be given the fish.”
  • “We find an idea and we stick on it without talking to people and we end up creating a product or service that people don’t necessarily want or need. Or, we solve a problem that’s frankly not big enough a problem for them to pay for.”
  • “All of the biggest businesses that I know started out solving a very specific problem for a very specific set of people and then scaled up.”


Key Timestamps:

  • [00:24] Challenged Issue
  • [02:33] Enthusiasm & Validation
  • [08:15] Giving Them the Fish
  • [20:59] Actionable Tips

Don’t forget, the more you expect from yourself, the more you WILL excel!

The post Give Them the Fish appeared first on Excellence Expected, by Mark Asquith.

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