“On August 28, 1963, 250,000 people from across the country descended on the Mall in Washington, D.C., to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. give his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The organizers didn’t send out 250,000 invitations and there was no Web site to check the date. How did they get a quarter of a million people to show up on the right day at the right time?” – Simon Sinek
The power of what Martin Luther King did that day I believe to be one of the most powerful grassroots campaigns that has existed to date. And the reason why it was so successful was because of his passion, his “why.” He followed his passion and the result was one of the biggest most impactful results in US history.
At the last company I worked at, we constantly spoke of the phrase “Giving without the expectation of receiving.” They were very big on truly trying to give back to the community, and although they knew that it would eventually come back full circle, the key was that when we made community outreach plans, our intention was never to get anything back, it was simply to spread health and wellness throughout our community.
Giving without receiving is an interesting yet complex concept. Our brains naturally associate giving with receiving. It is how we were raised, I give and I get. And, when you are a small business owner, counting every single penny and every single dollar, the thought of giving to the community can seem overwhelming and often times impossible.
Naturally, when your business is on the line, you will find yourself focusing on a style of marketing that you feel will get you instantaneous results (deals, ads, sales). When it is our money on the line, we go into survival mode, and fear kicks in; what I want to invite you today to look at is the power of “giving without receiving,” and give it a chance.
I want to pose a question to you. If some were to say you have a choice between the 2 businesses below, which would you choose?
A business that has taken a few years to really take off, but all of the customers are a natural fit. They are your ideal clientele, they have heard about you over time and found you. You have not forced them in the door or bribed them through an offer, they truly want to be there. They believe in your mission and your passion and they are there because of it. You believe in your product and message, and you know you are worth it. Your clients appreciate and respect you for that and they know the quality they are getting.
A company that takes off right away because of some sort of huge deal or advertisement, or it is simply trendy. You have a lot of clients all at once. You have to practically give away the house, but you have bodies in the door. You are constantly trying to think up a new deal to get people in, sacrifice your pricing, but you are always busy. These people don’t know your mission and don’t even know why you are business.
Now although business # 2 sounds appealing because of the instantaneous results, business #1 possesses something way more powerful than business # 2. That power is a foundation that will be able to stand the test of time.
If you had no marketing dollars or budget and could only do one thing, the one thing I would suggest would be getting out in the community and spreading your message. The power of that message, if it is indeed genuine, can have a far bigger impact than you could ever expect. I couldn’t imagine that on August 28th, 1963, Martin Luther King anticipated what was to come, but what he did know was that he was passionate about his message and that it needed to be heard.
If you truly want to make a difference, if you are in business for the right reason, then when you hit the community and spread your message, your genuine nature will be seen. It may take time, community outreach is definitely one of the slowest means of marketing, but with “slow” comes impact and with impact comes change. So I challenge you to start a grassroots marketing campaign, hit the streets to spread your message, and do it without the intention of getting anything back because the power of “giving without receiving” could be exactly what you need to take your business to the next level.
Next TD Times I will share with you community outreach and marketing campaign ideas. Stay tuned!
Keep Loving, Laughing and Failing,