I'm not going to build your Web site ... yet

This week I had a great meeting with a local organization that wanted me to give them a quote to revamp their Web site. I listened and asked questions and talked to them about their goals for the organization over the next few years. And then I did something really radical. I told them they were boring. I told them they were never going to accomplish their goals if they weren't excited about what their organization was doing.

They stopped trying to look professional and just let the tiredness sink in. Here was a burnt out bunch of board members trying to sell memberships for an organization that was no longer inspiring them. It made me sad. So I asked them to tell me about the things that do make them excited.

The tone in the room instantly change and they started bubbling out ideas of the kinds of things that make them excited. None of the ideas had to do with selling memberships or products through their Web site. We talked more and they got more excited. I looked at my notes and suggested two key changes for their organization:

  1. Double your membership price.
  2. Host an annual event -- exclusive to members -- that has all of the characteristics of the things you love.

The membership and the event are tied directly together. You can't be a member and not get a ticket to the event; and you can't attend the event without being a member.

I could tell it was one of those moments that was going to either change everything or nothing. So I sealed the deal with this: I told them I wouldn't quote on their Web site. I told them to hire another firm that I liked to make a simple four-page Web site. And I told them to go ahead and make the organization something they were excited and proud of.

My prediction is this: a year from now they will have doubled the size of the organization. They will have found more members who are also excited about what is possible. They will have tripled their current volunteer base. And they will be ready to build an interesting, engaging and truly useful Web site that provides value to its members.

Does your business excite you? Or does it just make you tired? Let me know where you're at -- maybe you too need a reminder about why you're actually in business. I'd love to hear from you.

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