Back in 2016 when I first started this business, an inspiring video that I reposted from another source gotten viral. I gained about 20k Facebook followers. Not only that, I also generated a surge of enquiries about my services.
However, this euphoric feeling I had was short-lived.
The impressive numbers are just an illusion. All the enquiries weren’t genuine. Besides, I had to spend more time filtering for the right people. Eventually, I shut down that page and restarted a new one, focusing on developing real connections beyond the online facades.
Nevertheless, this episode taught me a powerful lesson.
Data isn’t everything
Despite more and more companies focusing on data, it is not everything.
As the sociologist William Bruce Cameron stated: “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted”.
Often, numbers only tell us what is happening, but not why. The human layer of understanding that involves emotions, motivation, intention and purpose is missing.
In my case, the number of followers don’t matter. It is better to have 50 real people who are truly engaged than 10k followers who are just entertaining you with their likes, shares and comments that mean nothing.
While data is useful, the number’s game can be a distraction from the heart of what matters - the quality of human connection.
1 is better than 1000
A number of startups entrepreneurs I’ve met in the past are focused on aggressive growth strategies playing the numbers game. They can be spending their fundings building followers, clicks, views, web traffic and other vanity metrics to justify the growth potential.
However, when it comes to the actual sales performance, the truth can be depressing.
Looking from an outside perspective, the reality can be understood.
Fake growth looks cool and promising on the outside. Real growth, on the other hand, is organic, inbound, and hard won by focusing on the fundamentals that deliver growth.
When we think of scalability, most people look at the quantity side than the quality.
When we are obsessed by the quantity game, interactions are often transactional. It is a finite game; playing to win. Also, one is measuring the quantity in a linear fashion that more is better.
When we look at scaling the quality, it is an entirely different level. We are focusing on depth rather than width. It is an infinite game; playing to continue to play. There is sustainability, because one recognises that infinite game is a marathon, not a 100m dash. One is thinking in an exponential sense that 1 could be better than 1000, metaphorically. Focusing on going deep with that 1 quality relationship can bring you an ongoing or lifetime value of more than 1000 in terms of opportunities, referrals, network and resources, it is non-linear. Sometimes, trying to win that 1000 in quantity sense could burn you out for trying to save the scraps or for the fear of losing the numbers.
To end off and sum up, I would like to share with you an email that came to me recently from Jonny Nastor, someone whom I enjoyed having exchanges with even though we are living miles away and time zone apart. He is a wonderful entrepreneur and podcaster who runs this amazing series known as “Hack the Entrepreneur” which I highly recommend.
Here’s the full version of what he shared on email. It is simple yet packed with wisdom.
but wait, there isn't more
Stop searching for new tools to get people on your list.
Stop waiting for the one trick that will make it easy to get more followers.
Stop creating useless things you don't care about.
We are in the constant pursuit of more – more subscribers, more visitors, and more followers.
What about them?
They have 10,000 Instagram followers and we want that too. The truth is, they just saw someone with 15,000 and now they want more.
Let's play a different game. Let's stop and look at where we are. It's not about there, it's about here.
What if you had 64 people sitting in a room with you, giving you their undivided attention?
The number 64 is irrelevant. It could be any number because we always want more.
Now tell me, would you ignore them?
64 people waiting while you create a new promotion.
64 people waiting while you build a new website.
64 people who have raised their hand and said they want to hear from you.
Let me ask again.
Would you ignore them?
Of course not. You would walk into the room and give them everything you've got.
Yet, when you have an email list of 64 people or 76 Twitter followers, you don't send, share, or engage. You wait for more.
Each of those 64 subscribers is human. Human beings who want to learn, be inspired or entertained – and they will leave when they don't get it. Or even worse, they'll just forget about you.
Write, reply, respond, and give a shit about each and every person who has given you access. Right now, there is nothing that matters more.
Start showing up, connecting, and engaging.
Here's the thing.
Focus on the people who are paying attention. Focus on the connections you have, they are all that matter.
Don't take anyone for granted.
Be grateful and be helpful – everything you want starts here.
Have an awesome week,
Hack the Entrepreneur
A holistic communicator and purpose coach who cares about the bigger picture that connects the dots towards sustainable growth, healing and transformation. His purpose and intention behind whatever he does is to translate life’s wisdom into practical applications which can be adopted by others.