“Playing business” is a very easy trap to fall into when scrambling to do any and everything you can think of to “help” your business. When I was starting HK Austin, “playing business” meant, among other things: setting up profiles on sites like AngelList, trying to get local bloggers to come to various BBQs, reaching out to other local business owners, researching complicated legal structures for when it was time to grow, trying to gain Twitter followers, spending weeks on logo creation, and plenty of other premature things that didn’t directly impact a guest’s stay at our hostel that night.
The reality is none of those tiny details matter if nobody likes your product.When we dropped the bullshit and focused solely on the guest’s experiences, our reputation grew, and all of the little details started to take care of themselves. Now bloggers reach out to us for write ups, people follow us organically on Twitter, and other business owners want to talk business with us.
If what you’re doing each hour doesn’t directly and immediately benefit your customer’s experience, you should probably be doing something else. Be honest with yourself: Are you setting up profiles on these sites for the dopamine hit of satisfaction they gave you, or because they will actually improve the business? Are you ignoring or avoiding some more difficult task that’s actually tied to your success, in favor of idling on social media websites, gaining “followers” who will never become customers, and planning for realities way off in the distance rather than focusing on the here-and-now?
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