Monday, November 23, 2015

Long-form thinking in today's short-form world

I've written a lot about having a cogent strategy when you start a new nonprofit or small business. I'm beginning to think that the market for that advice is as dead as a fossilized woolly mammoth.
I get that in the age of information overload, you have about 7 seconds to capture your target's attention. I've written my share of SEO-friendly 50 character action posts and catchy sales pages.

All that's fine, well, and good, as long as there is some actual thought behind your hastily thumbed tweet.

The problem is that it seems as though our brains are now in permanent short-form mode.

Recently a twenty-something wanna-be nonprofit founder/entrepreneur asked me to come up with some content for their Twitter feed. As she put it, "something that will show people we care about "X" and need their money to help."

So I did what any consultant would do…I asked her to outline her value proposition or mission and vision statement so I could better represent her organization.

She didn't have anything, beyond the idea that if she could separate enough people from enough money, she could "help."

No budget, no program/product outline, not even a firm idea whether she wanted to be a nonprofit or a for-profit with a philanthropic division.

Her reasoning?  She did know that it takes money to make money, and she didn't have any, so she figured she'd get the money first and figure out what to do with it later. 

I'm not sure if she was simply naïve or she'd gotten her hands on some really good weed, but that ain't gonna cut it.

Maybe it's old-fashioned, but believe it or not, people actually want some substance available before they invest in anything.
If you want other people's money, you have to provide value.  It's just that simple.

As boring as it might be, you have to have a plan, objectives, results and at least some understanding of why people purchase or support anything.

In short, this business thingie is a lot of real, brain-busting hard work.

Hopefully, there are still people out there that can think in those terms. 

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