Stage 2: Fountain
If a sponge absorbs and stores community insight, then a fountain pours out knowledge and value back into the community. People are all about the journey these days. As they should! Be open and frank with your followers about where your business stands on the road to success and use this active growth to your advantage by relating to the masses.
Being a fountain means asking the question: "How can I give value to my customers?"
Yes, I said "give" (as in for free). And no, I don't mean your products.
Let's go back to your coffee shop dream from Stage 1. Do you think people would rather read a blog post titled "10 Tips to Better Your Workflow" or "Why Our Coffee Is Better". If you had actually listened to your target audience, you might've learned that productivity is at the top of their priority list. What other types of things do they value? Best tech gear for working remotely? An info graphic matching coffee drinks to different types of coffee shop attendees? If your target is Gen C, they value individualism.
Get behind your target and see the world through their eyes.
What's the one thing you could give them that would absolutely blow their mind and change their lives forever? What's that one thing they would feel almost forced to share immediately with everyone they know because it was that good? Find out what that thing is. And give it away.
Three ways to give value to your community:
1. Exclusive workbook, e-course, group critique.
Is there a common question your followers keep asking that seems super easy for you to answer? Recognize the value of that knowledge and develop a quick worksheet or e-course that walks people through the problem. As an extra, offer an online forum or private email address so they can get in contact with you quicker if they get stuck / have questions. This is a great way to show your capabilities and lead them into a larger sale.
2. Private consultations.
Instead of donating 10% of your proceeds to charity, why not offer 10% of your time helping those who wouldn't normally be able to afford (or are on the fence about) your services? Pro bono work helps you gain charisma experience and allows you to hear firsthand what your clients are struggling with the most.
3. Do the research for them.
Be the one-stop shop for the industry's biggest questions by gathering research into one awesome blog post / newsletter / whatever. This could range from "Top Letterpress Studios Along the East Coast" to "How to Attract Generation C Customers" (you're welcome). You'll not only learn a ton by doing so, but your customers will be super grateful you just saved them a ton of time. It's a win-win for everyone.
You've mastered the sponge and now you're working on your fountain walk. Nice work! The last stage of The Success Cycle is sure to be your favorite: The Magnet. Sign up for our newsletter to gain exclusive access to the full mini series!