I was reading an interesting article on FasttoCreate.com called “How Bill Hader Went from Personal Assistant to SNL Hero to Leading Man,” and came across some interesting advice that Dan Akroyd gave to Bill Hader about building an audience.
What surprised me most about the advice is how much of it can be applied to business.
Dan Akroyd’s Advice to Bill Hader
“Dan Aykroyd sat me down at an after party and told me what my whole career was going to be,” Hader says. “He said, ‘Here’s what’s going to happen: your first couple years, you’re going to be on unsteady ground, you’re going to think you’re gonna be fired at any moment, and the audience will not know you. It’s your job to get the audience to know you and like you. Then the audience will know you, you’ll go out to your mark and get a little applause break because they know you, then you can start doing weird things and they’ll go with you. You’ll do that for a couple years and get to a place where you’re just clocking in. You’ll get to a place where you come in, do your impression, do your character, play a game show host, do whatever’s needed of you, do it really well–you’re a pro at it–and then you clock out and go home.’ He said, ‘Once you know you’re just clocking in, though, it’s time to leave (Saturday Night Live).’ And that’s exactly how it went. He told me that my third show.”
Dan Akroyd’s Advice Applied to Business Owners
PHASE I: Get them to know and like you.
For many business owners (or leaders of non-profit organizations), you’re in this first phase.
You’re on “unsteady ground” and you think it’s going to end at any moment.
If you are in this phase of business, then you need to focus on getting your target market to know and like you.
Why? Since there are so many options out there these days, one of the main ways for you to differentiate your business from others is to become a business they know, like, and trust.
How? Content marketing is a great tool that can enable you to do this.
PHASE II: You can start doing “weird” things.
Once your business has built up a loyal audience of customers, then you can begin to experiment and try some new offerings for your audience.
Here’s an example of this.
Have you heard that PepsiCo is experimenting with a Doritos-Flavored Mountain Dew?
They’ve reportedly been testing the new flavor, dubbed “Dewitos,” on college students.
I haven’t tried it, but it sounds horrible to me.
But will I give up on Mountain Dew? No. I know and like that brand and I’ll continue drinking it.
If you’re at this phase of business, then you might want to consider some small, safe, and inexpensive tests of some “out there” product or service.
Why? You might come across with a winner that could become very profitable for you. (Think “Doritos Tacos”.)
PHASE III: You’re Just Clocking In
If you have been in business for awhile, built a large “audience” of customers, and experimented with some “weird” ideas – but your business is now stagnant and you’ve lost the joy of it all, then maybe it’s time on to move on to something else?
There’s a financial risk involved in this decision, but it also opens you up to more opportunities and new audiences. (*This, of course, is not something that you should do without consulting with your financial adviser and family to make sure you can handle the consequences.)
If Bill Hader wouldn’t have taken this advice, then he would’ve never become a leading man.
Photo from NNDB.com
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