Three Lessons Entrepreneurs must learn from Street Fundraisers

Street fundraisers raise donations for a particular cause or campaign on the streets. You probably have been approached by one or more whilst walking down the high street or market squares, as they are growing in number due to its effectiveness in generating revenues for charities or non-governmental organizations. Having participated in various forms of face-to-face fundraising myself (mall, street), the experience taught me lessons which are vital for start-up entrepreneurs in today’s challenging business environment. Here are three lessons necessary to drive sales for your start-up idea, product or service:

  • It is worthless if you cannot sell it.
Real Entrepreneurs Don’t Write Business Plans (CC) by Francesca Di Meglio
Real Entrepreneurs Don’t Write Business Plans (CC) by Francesca Di Meglio

Wade Fulton in his article titled –You might have a great idea, but can you sell it? stated that “an idea is worthless until someone pays for it “. Street fundraisers are trained, not only on the campaign specifics, but more on various selling techniques from body language to pitch development, fine-tuning and delivery. This is because these fundraisers know the importance of selling and the cost of not doing it right. They understand the key to selling which is- people buy from people they connect with.

The same applies to you as an entrepreneur when you are trying to build a team or raise funds to bring your idea to market or scale up. Communicating your vision or idea can be the key differentiator in starting a business with a committed team and a business with no team. Knowing your idea, vision, product or service details is not enough, being able to tell it in a way that people clearly understands is equally as important. Once that is achieved, it becomes easier to connect with what you are trying to sell in order to achieve a desired outcome.

  • Passion is very important but only in moderation.
Keet: Profolic photo (CC) by animaltrainer104
Keet: Profolic photo (CC) by animaltrainer104

I have come across street fundraisers, so passionate about the cause they are promoting, that they are unable to take or handle any form of objection from people. They expect everyone to see their passion and buy into their pitches for support and once they are rejected, they get stuck in a bad mood which is displayed externally in their body language, voice level and so on. It eventually leads to a bad day with little or no sales for such fundraisers. A good street fundraiser knows when to draw the line and control their emotions. So also are successful entrepreneurs. As a start-up, passion for an idea, product or service is very essential but it has to be moderated when it comes to selling. You need to know when to go for it and when to slow down so as not to scare off your potential customers or come across as been pushy, desperate or somewhat aggressive.

You will encounter people that will discourage you with their words or actions, talk down at your idea or fail to see the bigger picture with you no matter how clearly you paint it but that does not, and should not, make them your enemy. Instead your passion should be used to observe your customers or clients to understand what they really want and adjust to it even if it means doing something extra or outside your initial area of focus. As stated by Mike Michalowicz,  “Passion can get you started, so use it to spark the flame, but don’t use it exclusively to fuel the business “. This explains it all.

  • Every NO brings you closer to a YES!!!
Power of Perseverance (CC) by Russell Aaron
Power of Perseverance (CC) by Russell Aaron

This is like an anthem to street fundraisers. They apply the law of averages to every rejection and believe the next person they stop will sign up to their causes. This is the right approach to adopt and attitude to maintain as you embark on your entrepreneurial journey. Don’t expect everyone to like you or what you are trying to sell. Maintain a positive attitude always and have your eyes on the bigger picture. Pick yourself up from every rejection and approach the next client or customer with a renewed form of energy. Do some self-assessments to see if you could have done anything better to win that customer, client or investor and make appropriate changes. Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs and many others are all good examples of people who persevered in the midst of rejections and failure to become famously successful. As failure is said to be the first step towards success, so also is rejection towards acceptance in the start-up space. Keep that in mind!

Your goal as a start-up entrepreneur is to grow your business and be successful but without the right attitude towards selling, this might be a long-gone dream. These lessons from street fundraising can help you develop a winning attitude that will positively impact the sale of your idea, product or service, any day anytime!

What is your advice for a start-up entrepreneur looking to gain traction for his/her idea, product or service? Please do share your responses in the comment section below or through your preferred social network.

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