The video above is from my failed Indiegogo campaign for the Power 20 Method. That’s me working out in the snazzy blue outfit.
I use my own products every day. I stick to the Power 20 Method’s low-sugar diet; I meditate using my recordings; I drink the green tea that I sell. My Kindle is packed with health and meditation books. Because I live and breath my work, I consider my approach to be authentic.
So I’m shocked when I see company founders who don’t use their own products. Or when their reading lists don’t include books specific to their industry. Big companies have budgets big enough to bamboozle, but startups are judged by their founders and teams.
Being fake is bad for business. Here are some real-world examples I’ve seen of inauthentic behavior leading to failing companies:
- A company that encourages employees to exercise is founded by a team of totally sedentary, soft-bodied people. No investor or fitness expert takes them seriously; they are running out of cash and they have few customers.
- A wholesale distributor of non-perishable goods tries to sell jewelry online; he neither wears jewelry nor buys anything online. His company has zero traction after 3 years of lackadaisical effort.
- My own product, ClearGears, became annoying to use for our own team. It obviously annoyed customers too, leading to slow growth. We had to kill the product.
So try to be authentic. If you’re going to sell high-end products to rich people, you have to live among them and love what they love. If you’re working with underserved populations, you have to embed yourself in their communities.
Other steps you can take:
- Hire for authenticity. When your employees share an authentic passion for the industry and the products you’re creating, they can offer more insight as to how to improve and market those products.
- Design for authenticity. Your office should look the part. You should dress the part.
- Spend time with others in your industry. Go to industry Meetups and have authentic board members.
- Make it personal. Your free time should be devoted largely to learning more about the work you do.
- Change. If you can’t stomach being authentically connected to your work, switch to something you can be authentic about.