Small Business Success – Who’s Raiding Your Intellectual Pantry?
As a solopreneur, sole trader or micro business owner – would you let you neighbour walk in and raid your pantry, at will, for free? After all you took the time to go shop for the contents, you paid for the contents and you stored the contents for your benefit, right? Even the neighbour who pops over for the odd cup of sugar can get a bit annoying if they do it often enough.
So why are you állowing others to raid your intellectual pantry – after all you sourced the training and life experience to fill it, you paid for that training and experience and you currently have it stored for your own business purposes, in the most fabulous computer system of all – your brain. Not to mention all those manuals and books in your book shelf, CD sets DVD’s…..OK so you get the picture. So why DO you allow others to raid your intellectual pantry?
Some times the person wanting to pick your brain looks innocent enough, they stroke your ego and talk about how they’re just getting started and see you as the expert
‘Mary-Jane suggested I call you and arrange a coffee, she says your an expert at……………..and might be able to give me a’some guidance’
They offer to take you for coffee or meet you for lunch and take up at least an hour or more of your time, sometimes emailing or calling again later for more FREE advice.
‘Oh Just a quick phone call, what would you do about…………..’
Now it’s all very well to be willing to make a contribution BUT your need to be very clear about what you’re doing.
I find this happens a lot when your business is - consulting, coaching, marketing, PR anytime someone thinks they will get what they need from you during a conversation. Somehow they think a cup of coffee is appropriate compensation for an hour of ’picking your brain’.
Lets face it there is loads of FREE stuff available out there – articles, pod casts, videos and if you can’t find what you need for free it probably means you need to pay for that level of expertise. In my situation as a business coach to solopreneurs, sole traders you know micro business owners (1-4 team members), they have a bunch of information or ideas but they really struggle to implement. I am super good at what I do and an hour with me does make a difference, an hour a week or a fortnight makes more of a difference – but here’s the thing – like any business owner an hour of my time is worth way more than a cup of coffee.
So what to do when some calls asking to take you to coffee for a chat?
- Ask Them specifically what they want to meet with you to discuss – you can do this over the phone or ask them to email you a list of things they hoped to cover or discover during the time with you.
- Ask Yourself - what’s in this for me? - I am serious, is it going to make you feel good, bring you a new client, maybe this person could be a great Joint Venture or referral partner OR does it feel like a waste of time for you?
- Make a Choice a) agree to have a coffee and explore the mutual benefits b) let them know what your consulting fees are and send them their payments options, once they have paid for the consult they can arrange an appointment with you; c). say ‘No Thanks‘ that doesn’t work for me and direct them to some free resources
We’d love to hear your thoughts, feedback and experience so please leave your comments below!