How do you launch the next big product or service? Many will tell you the key lies in technology – perhaps the savvy use of social media. I would argue that success in launching any new business venture does not begin with a technological element. It starts in a more human space.
The formula I’ve seen work again and again is this: Passion + Partnering = Success. By this I mean, you start with your passion, you look for ways to act as a partner to your customers, and ultimately, success flows to both of you.
Certainly, this was my experience in starting Rakuten. When I began, I had little more than my passion and I made sure to show it. When I made sales calls on my earliest customers, I would often do push-ups in the parking lot so I could burst into the customer’s store brimming with energy and adrenalin.
But it was much more than a sales tactic. I followed up my energized pitch with a promise to partner with my clients – to be part of the process that brought their stores into the digital world. In those early days, Rakuten staff often accompanied customers to the store to help them purchase their first computers. We helped them step-by-step to set up their websites and make this leap into the virtual world.
This is still our process today. Merchants in our marketplace are in close contact with their Rakuten representatives. That person is charged with acting as the customer’s partner – giving advice, support, becoming part of that merchant’s effort to be successful in the online world. When the merchant does well, Rakuten shares in the success.
Anyone can be passionate. But when you combine that passion with a commitment to partnership, you create a team. It’s that collaboration that can turn passion into success.