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Dear Entrepreneur: Are you Confusing “Buy in” with “Buy Now”?

Knowing the difference–and when to use each–is essential. Your business requires both to truly thrive.

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Are you confusing “buy now” and “buy in?” Probably.

One of the chief mistakes I see entrepreneurs make as they build businesses, market their products or services, and grow a community of customers is that they confuse “buy in” and “buy now.”

Knowing the difference–and when to use each–is essential. Your business requires both to truly thrive.

“Buy in” is Important for Every Business — Here’s Why

So, what is “buy in?”

“Buy in” is how you engage and rally customers around your vision and purpose. It gives clients a big picture taste of the what’s-in-it-for-me and often points to how they are connected to other customers and community members. “Buy in” excites, motivates, and catalyzes. It brings people together. It rallies a small army to work toward a single goal.

Narratives are the stories that infuse our life with meaning. The narrative of business matters greatly, not only to the business community, but to every human being alive.
– John Mackey, Conscious Capitalism

The “buy in” for your business creates meaning and ties your community together. So have you considered:

What narrative gives your business meaning?
What story your customers want to buy into?
What vision drives you as a creator and your customers as consumers?

“Buy in” gets people on board, but it won’t get them to “buy now.”

The Difference Between “Buy in” and “Buy Now”

“Buy now” is a small step that brings customers and stakeholders closer to making your vision a reality. It’s a task to be completed, a milestone achieved, a question answered. It’s the job to be done and the result of “buy in’s” accomplishment. It’s concrete.

“Buy now” represents a marker on the journey between the present and the promised future. It delivers value to an acute need. It’s not “quick fix.” And it’s not so big and lofty that customers can’t realize why they need it now instead of later.

It’s the “buy now” that entrepreneurs so often get stuck on. In an effort to make their businesses appear as benevolent as possible, they spend all their time and energy–and their customers’ attention–on the “buy in.” That creates amazing amounts of goodwill, a chorus of well wishes, and many pats on the back but it doesn’t create profitability.

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