How to Get Past All the Hype about a New Business

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, otherwise known by the pen name Mark Twain, once said, “There are three types of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.” Today, we’re past the sad story of Theranos and the fall of Elizabeth Holmes. But, Elon Musk and Tesla are filling the void. (As are a number of other brands and emerging technologies.) You can pick your favorite, because there are a number of these hyped or buzz generating entities out there. And, it’s precisely the attention and shine that fools so many people. This includes people looking for opportunities to go into business for themselves. So, how do you know if it’s legitimate or just hype?

Why Hype often Falls Short

Let’s begin with an important lesson. Buzz dies down and hype eventually wears off. But why? The question is more about a matter of time than some exotic explanation. The fact of the matter is, when an organization or a product is surrounded by hype, it’s usually due to an artificial yet real, phenomenon. In other words, some outrageous (or ingenious) marketing tactics work. People are awe-struck and want to believe.

Fortunes were made on products using such hype marketing strategies. Many a consumer bought in to the sizzle once, never to be burned again by products that couldn’t possibly live up to the hype. The world’s a different place today, and consumers are far more demanding. The list of tactics that no longer work on today’s savvy consumers is long, and so is the list of things you can learn from the failures of hype-marketing tactics.
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Although, we all know, reality will rear its presence, at some point. There comes a time when hype and buzz just can’t conceal the fact there’s not much there, there. When the dust settles, hindsight becomes 20/20. Now, sometimes, like in the case of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes, it’s just investigative reporting. But other times, it’s just high expectations. Remember when the Segway concept first leaked to the public? It proclaimed the future of transportation. That fell way short.

How to Get Past All the Hype about a New Business

So, just how do you tell if a business idea or even a product or service is only hype? What are the telltale signs? Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet. But, there are some things you can to do get past all the hype about a new business:

  • Quick! Stop the press! Thomas Edison didn’t exactly invent much. In fact, he once said he’s more of a sponge than an inventor. He also used what’s known as the vaporware marketing tactic. Hearing a rival would soon introduce the first incandescent light bulb, he invited newspaper reports to see his, first. He brought them into a room, one-by-one. And, showed them a prototype. He’d then hurry them out just before it burned out. The same remains true today. You’ve got to look past the glowing press coverage.
  • Look at the fundamentals. Speaking of looking past the media buzz, how about going a bit deeper and actually investigating the fundamentals. Is the company sound? Does it have a workable plan to grow? These and other questions will help you separate fact from fiction.
  • If it sounds too good to be true… Okay, this is practically cliché. Or is it? Take a big step back. Take time to breathe. And, come back with a fresh disposition. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But, it takes an objective look to cut through the buzz.

What other ways do you spot hype? How do you look past the buzz and get to the real story? Please share your thoughts and experiences by commenting!

Interested in learning more about business? Then just visit Waters Business Consulting Group.

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