In a patriarchal capitalist system, pricing typically follows a top-down model: management or the powers that be set a fixed price for their products and services. Their primary goal is profit, so they constantly try to raise prices and lower the cost of delivery. They make up for their greed by leaning on an expendable sales force.
The sales team then does whatever they need to do in order to get paid. This creates a culture of competition, toxic masculinity, and compromising values, leading to the archetype of the slimy salesperson so many of us are familiar with.
Instead of trying to screw everybody but those at the top, what if our products and services offered clients what they actually need while empowering everyone involved? If you’re committed to this model, and to helping people with your business, you have to commit to knowing how to help them right now.
That means using empathy as part of your business strategy.
Understanding Your Client
There’s this myth that the most effective CEOs are detached from day to day operations of their business, that they’re up in an ivory tower manipulating things from afar. We don’t think that’s the leadership of the future.
We encourage entrepreneurs to be in the front part of their business—the part that has them interacting with clients.
Your business is a co-creation; it’s a meeting of what you offer and what the client needs. The only way to fully understand your existing and prospective clients is by spending most of your time with them. By regularly engaging with your clients, you constantly have a finger on the pulse of what they need. It makes you more adaptive (and it means your marketing lands better).
Markets are changing at a faster rate than ever before, so this is crucial. If this year has proven anything, it’s that your business needs to constantly evolve and stay relevant to ensure long-term survival. You need to let go of the idea that you’ll someday arrive at a static set of products and services.
At the Kite + Dart group, we’re about ensuring the survival of entrepreneurs who care about impact as much as profit. We’re convinced that together, as entrepreneurial activists, we can move the needle for social change in a way that’s much better for everyone.
How Kite + Dart Adapted
Prior to the pandemic, 90% of our revenue came from long-term coaching strategy and implementation packages. We’d meet with clients to do formative work and build a strategy for them to grow their business, then we’d build targets and benchmarks and coach them through reaching them. Sometimes they’d outsource part of the implementation to us.
When COVID hit, we saw a sharp decrease in demand for that kind of product. People are uncertain and not feeling ready to invest in long-term custom coaching packages. We totally understand that.
We wanted to keep empowering impact-driven entrepreneurs, so we pivoted. Karen and I have always wanted to have a certification program for entrepreneurs to radically empower them in their businesses. We decided this was the time to make it happen.
We created the Entrepreneurial Activism Certification program. The program consists of 3 courses (all online for now) that help you get clarity in your business, understand your relationship to sales, and figure out marketing based in empathy and consent.
These aren’t your typical business classes—we don’t talk about KPIs and the frequency of marketing emails. We focus on bigger, transformative ideas, like your relationship to your business and how you can use it to dismantle patriarchal white supremacy.
We think now is a great time for entrepreneurs to invest in yourself and your education, to invest in intentionality. Then when the market improves, you’ll come out with something even better than what you had before.
Learn more about the Entrepreneurial Activism Certification program here.
Each month we host free workshops about these topics and others related to running a business from a place of equity. Get in the conversation and see what’s coming up here.
Written in partnership with Ali Weeks of Moxie Writing Co.