Bill Gates when it comes to piracy. If you are going to steal, then steal from me! What we ultimately want is for our ideas to spread and become popular. If this happens we become authorities, which opens up far more opportunities. For you beginning entrepreneurs out there, do not let the word free scare you. Find a way to apply this to your existing products and the results could be magical.
Just look at Google. Which Google products do you pay for? How does a company that gives most of its best stuff away make such huge profits? By giving stuff away, they removed the risk of using their products, which overtime significantly increased their user base. This has made them the standard in a number of areas including search and webmail. Microsoft did the same thing by turning a blind eye to Windows pirating for so many years. By the time they finally cracked down on pirating, we were all addicted!
What if you have a cleaning service? Why not offer to do the first cleaning absolutely free and the client only pays if they are satisfied with your work? In fact, make this offer to an entire block of houses. How many home owners would not pay you if they truly were satisfied with your work? Very few if any. Just be sure to make it the absolute best cleaning job ever.
Pizza shop? Give away free pizza to your most loyal customers. No, I don't mean those annoying cards we get stamped each time we make a purchase. But if you know you have a few people who come often, tell them to bring their friends by to enjoy free pizza and soda. This will make them feel like one of the family and will likely create new customers out of the friends they bring. Most importantly, you turn a customer into an advocate. What do you think is going to happen the next time this person gets invited to a pizza party?
People love free but they also love quality. Offering a quality service or product for free can help spread your ideas and your products far beyond your wildest dreams. Sure, Google could have charged us to use their superior search engine but who would have paid? Now Google has mind share that will not be easily broken, not even by Facebook.
So, give free a try. You might be surprised.
Godspeed and I look forward to seeing you in the Players Lounge.
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