Last week, I said we’d talk this week about understanding the value your business offers. Here we are.
I’m a huge fan of transparency in business. The more transparent a business is, the more I can trust them and support them. But I also recognize that sharing the recipe for your secret sauce could jeopardize your business health.
So we want to maximize transparency, but keep our proprietary info under lock and key. How do we draw the line to determine how much we share?
To draw the line - you have to understand the value that your business offers.
When you understand the value your business offers, you can easily tell where you should and shouldn’t be transparent.
Here’s what I’m talking about:
A small drum cymbal artisan makes an amazing custom cymbal. Should he share a video of his process or not?
It all depends on the value that he offers. Let’s say the value that he offers customers are his custom, handmade cymbals. His cymbals are his art. If people knew his process, does he need to worry that he’d lose customers because of it? No, he doesn’t. Because his customers come to him to own a piece of his art.
Is there a chance that someone may try to replicate his process because they see the video? Yes, of course. But the potential risk is small compared to the return of potential buyers trusting and supporting him more.
However, if the value he offered was cymbals that sounded completely different than every other cymbal on the market because of his special process, then he shouldn’t share the video. But if he still wanted to be transparent and if he used an ordinary metal composition for the cymbals, he could shoot a video sharing that information and discuss how metal composition affects cymbals. (Can you tell Mike’s in the market for new cymbals? I’m learning via diffusion.)
Ultimately it all comes down to the value you offer. You have to know why customers buy from you specifically. When you know why they do - don’t share that secret sauce. If your location is the strong suit of your business - don’t give away the landlord’s number and your rent price. If your product is why people come - don’t give away the recipe. If your speed of service is paramount - don’t share the process.
But share whatever is not essential to the value you offer. Give it away. Be open, honest and vulnerable about why you do your business the way you do. People are attracted to authentic vulnerability because they can see you through it. They can know you better and trust you more.
When you understand the unique value you offer, you know what to share and what not to share. Not everything in your business is proprietary. You don’t need to hold everything back out of fear. Examine your strong suits, hold those cards tight and give the rest away.
For more on why you should be transparent (in case you need some convincing):
- Why You Have To Be Transparent In Business by Mandy Edwards
- Let's Be Real: Why Transparency in Business Should Be the Norm by Robert Craven