Lessons for Online Business from Political Campaigns

4 Online Business Lessons from Political Campaigns

Allan Caeg Set Goals

How is your motivation compared to a politician running for office? You know they want to win an election. How about you, do you know the game you’re playing?

The politician knows exactly what has to happen. She takes polls seriously. She knows that there’s a clear result on election day. It’s either she wins the election or doesn’t.

Online business isn’t too different. Your product is also designed to transform lives. A purchase of your product is a vote of approval. You also want enough happy people to vote for you with their wallets to achieve the end result.

Here are 4 lessons from the game of politics that you can bring to your online business.

1. Label Your Enemy

Don’t just have an enemy. Give a name for it. Tell the world why your cause is clearly the right side. In politics, an opposing politician is nicknamed “Slippery Harry.” While I disagree with calling other people names, the point here is labeling an opposing idea. For your product, the enemy might be “ugly software.”

Whatever the enemy is, attach an adjective to it, so your audience knows why your fight is important. This also implies that your solution is the opposite. If you’re fighting “ugly software,” your software must be beautiful.

2. Know the End Result

What’s especially motivating for political campaigns is the clear achievement. If you’re running for office, it’s either you get the job or not. In online business, there’s a wide spectrum of results that can be regarded as a success. Your teammate may feel that a $7,000 monthly revenue is enough while you’re personally looking for $12,000.

The solution? Agree on a number. Be on the same page with everyone by setting clear expectations. Set a “lose” criteria so all results above that is a win. For example, if you agreed that an $8,000 monthly revenue by September is the success criteria, $7,999 and below would be the “lose” criteria.

3. Be Public

While politics is supposed to be about platforms, voters tend to be unfamiliar with the platforms of their candidates. Because of this, politicians express dramatic ideas for the main purpose of being on the headlines. The public votes for who they’re familiar with. For online business, this highlights the value of publicity.

Stay on top of your audience’s minds by keeping on publishing. Just make sure that it will keep them subscribed because you’re not getting the same TV coverage that a politician gets for infamy. Online, your audience are looped in because they find your mailing list or Twitter feed valuable.

4. Set Your Election Day

There’s judgement day for elections. The results will be announced at a definite day. Everyone expects changes to definitely happen.

Since online business doesn’t have the same luxury, you should set your own “election day.” How? If others didn’t give you a foreseeable deadline, give yourself one. Say you’re looking at serving 5,000 customers in 5 years. Give your 10th customer milestone a deadline. Given your expected rate of progress, is it on your first year? Your 6th month?

Over to You

Those were some key lessons that online business owners like you can use. I invite you to spend three minutes today to reflect on the milestone that your business is working towards. Look at it as if you’re campaigning for an election.