Usage Stats Are Up!

usage stats amaretto coffeeUsage stats can be deceiving. I'm sitting here drinking amaretto-flavored coffee. A secondary flavor (almonds?) is supposedly flowing through its ground and dripped essence, but the amaretto is definitely coming through strong.

I didn't ask for amaretto coffee.
I would never buy amaretto coffee.
It was a gift, probably plucked off the clearinghouse shelves of TJ Maxx, and this morning I remembered it was hiding out in the trunk of my car.

The standard supply of Colombian had run out, and a trip to the store is a future not current event.

So I brought this strange bag inside and tried it.

The Misleading Nature of Usage Stats

Thus far I have not:

  • spat it out
  • recoiled in horror
  • said anything like, "OMG how AWFUL"
  • thrown the bag away
  • poured the decanter's contents down the drain and disinfected the container.

I am actually drinking the coffee.

It is not good.

It is not terrible.

It is coffee, and I wanted coffee.

The fact that this coffee has come along with amaretto and another mysterious flavor is secondary.


Let us imagine for a moment a survey company phones me up now.

"Sir!" begins the survey taker smartly. "Are you drinking an amaretto-flavored caffeinated beverage?"

And I would have to truthfully report, "Yes."

Yes, I am.

"Thank you sir, that is all I need today!" *click*


Usage Stats and Correct Measurement

Now can you see where this is going?

Our survey taker reports back to their marketing firm client.

My response is anonymously morphed into a total of many. Some of us are indeed drinking this specific flavor of beverage.

The marketing firm executive rubs their hands together with glee.

Usage stats are up!

Their efforts must be working.

And this, dear reader, is the extent to which most small and medium firms conduct their market research.

Not much depth, no correlation or causation testing, no deep inquiry into Why.

Let's look at what they did not find out.

They did not discover whether their product was actually wanted.

They did not determine if the user picked their product specifically, at random, or by default.

They did not find out if, as in my case, the user wanted something like that solution, and chose this one not because it was the best fit, or did exactly what they wanted, or provided the features they were looking for...but instead was an answer merely less painful to get than any other at the time.

And so on.

Yet the marketing departments will take the basic data they collected back to their offices, and congratulate themselves on providing precisely what the market wanted.


Are you guilty of this?

How is your level of dialogue with your audience?

Do you know exactly why your target market buys from you, what they value from you?

If not, it's time to do some information interviews.

Sometimes it's not fun to hear that the most cherished feature of what you offer has, in reality, zero value and makes no difference in your customer's buying decision. But if you're willing to set that aside, and go after a deeper understanding of usage stats, you will learn priceless information.

>> Jason Kanigan is a creator of converting funnels, using high ticket copywriting and sales training skills. If you want what your products or services deliver to match exactly what your customers value and are looking for, get ahold of Jason. <<


Living With Uncertainty

UncertaintyLiving with uncertainty is a fact of entrepreneurial life.

It's so emotionally brutal a fact that most people can't face it. They shy away. The job road is so much easier.

It has torn apart marriages, destroyed friendships, and hurt families.

Uncertainty is something you and those around you are going to have to get a handle on if you are going to travel this path.

Far Fewer People Than You Think Are True Entrepreneurs

Let's take a look at how many people are really taking that leap.

The number of real businesses being created every month is far fewer than you might believe.

Let's take the US. Population: about 319 million.

More businesses are shut down than started, according to Forbes. Other sources say births and deaths are about even.

At any rate, we're talking about around 500,000 people who have decided to open a new business this month.

Most of these, however, are not "employer firms," meaning they don't employ anyone and have an average annual revenue of $44,000. Enough to support one family, perhaps.

Also, a large fraction of these startups are created by people who already own one or more businesses--thereby cutting the total with entrepreneurial commitment even lower.

Historical data (p.3) says 10-12% of firms with employees open ever year, and about the same amount close every year.

So let's say over a year we have over 650,000 new businesses being created. About the same number are closing, but let's focus on the births. I couldn't find the source I'd seen before of how many startups were opened by people who already had a business, but I remember the number was close to 50%. Let's say conservatively that it's 25%.

So that leaves us with about 4.9 million true entrepreneurs who took the plunge this year, and that's being generous.

Out of a population of 320 million, that's about 1.5%.

And I believe it's less than that.

Not Many People Can Stand Living With Uncertainty

Now there is some statistical fuzziness in here, because every year new people do make the entrepreneurial leap...but so too are those who failed in a previous venture and are returning, or starting a second or third or twentieth business and would be double-counted. Estimates vary from around 8% to 13%.

This article from Entrepreneur.com explores the question of "Who is an entrepreneur?" The answer is not so easily defined as you may think.

My takeaway from this little analysis is about 1 in 10 persons in the US is comfortable with the idea of being self-employed, and another 1 or 2 in 100 takes the plunge over a given year.

Meaning the vast majority of the people who say they'd like to start their own business are scared to death of the uncertainty.

Most stay employed with the "regular people", where they feel it's safe.

And who can blame them? Most businesses fail, and quickly.

The first two years are often a terrible struggle.

And most businesses fail before the end of their fourth year.

As we entrepreneurs know, however, your job can be whisked away from under your feet at any time.

There are no guarantees.

How To Be An Entrepreneur and Stand Living With Uncertainty

The fear of living with uncertainty is paralyzing.

If you are really going to take the leap and become an entrepreneur, open your own business and face the heat, be ready for the uncertainty.

Make sure, if you have a family, that they are ready for the uncertainty.

Know your budget before you begin.

How much revenue do you need to bring in every month?

What are your expenses?

Have you figured out what is absolutely necessary, and what is optional?

If you have family, are they prepared for possible cuts in the lifestyle they have now and expect to continue?

The truth is there is uncertainty in everything.

If you step outside of your home, uncertainty raises its ugly head.

As a self-employed professional, there's nowhere to hide. Nowhere to go. No one to fall back on. You simply need to get it done yourself.

And this highlights an important fact: Personal responsibility trumps uncertainty.

Have you figured out your budget?

Do you have a revenue plan?

Do you know, in detail, what you need to do and how you are going to carry it out to make that revenue?

If you do, the pressure of uncertainty will retreat. Your sense of personal responsibility will be taking control.

If you don't, and you are trying to make "as much as you can get," then you are leaving everything up to chance. Small wonder the bugbear of uncertainty is right there in your face.

The numbers are scary.

Most businesses fail in a pretty short time. Well over half. What does that say about the entrepreneurs who founded them?

They don't have a budget or revenue plan. They don't have leaders who have taken personal responsibility for results.

They've left everything up in the air.

Less than 1% of the US population knows what it takes to be successfully living with uncertainty. To make it no big deal. You can be a part of this group.

>> For help with your revenue plan, talk with Jason Kanigan. <<