When I first considered becoming an entrepreneur, one of the books I read was Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles. The premise behind Raving Fans is that a business owner who intends to be successful must recognize the importance of creating Raving Fans.
Raving Fans chronicles the sad state of American businesses by providing a story that illustrates that customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing better. Raving Fans makes it clear that just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. Great businesses, businesses that last create raving fans.
Apple And Cameron Crazies
Raving fans are the Apple customers who sleep outside days in advance of a product launch. Raving fans are the Duke students who sleep in tents outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium, in an area affectionately known as “Krzyzewskiville”.
Raving fans are loyal customers who constantly return to make additional purchases regardless of price or similarity to less expensive products. Raving fans become the strongest advocates and the best form of advertisement for certain products, services, entertainers and teams.
Our Children The Small Businesses
Children like small corporations also benefit when they have raving fans. Raving fans are people who think of your child whenever an opportunity to do something new and exciting appears. Raving fans are the people who want to help your children do well and achieve at the highest level for no apparent reason.
Raving fans are people who come to your child’s aid or defense with the same vigor they would if your child was their child. Raving fans become the village that can make all the difference for a child. Unfortunately, too many children are being robbed of the opportunity to develop raving fans by what I call the “Declining Age of Parenting”.
Children of the Lost Art of Civility
The dreaded offspring’s of the “Declining Age of Parenting” are the Millennials. Millennials are best known as the Entitlement Generation. Millennials are the generation condemned for suing their parent’s for living expenses after moving out and chastised for creating a new area of law to avoid personal responsibility, Affluenza. Yet for all the criticism the Millennials have received few have taken time to acknowledge that the Millennials are not raising themselves.
Believe it or not, the circle of life remains the same – parents must continue to raise children. Self-absorbed adults are raising Millennials. Oblivious parents are the reason Millennials behave more narcissistically and feel more entitled than other generations. The lost art of civility and deterioration of parenting is the reason fewer and fewer people outside of our own homes are raving about our children.
Raise A Standout
Don’t be the reason, your child isn’t informed about a scholarship. Don’t be the reason, your child’s fundraising goals are unmet. Don’t be the reason, the maximum number fans are not in attendance at your child’s big event.
Give your child a chance to stand out from the other children. Give your child a chance to be known like Apple and Duke Basketball – a child others can’t wait to see and help. Give your child a chance to create raving fans by doing these three simple things:
1. Care About Others First. Theodore Roosevelt famously said “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care”. Similar words should be shared with parents. “Nobody will care about your child, until they know that you care about them and/or their child.”
Too often, parents expect that others will want to celebrate their child’s birthday, attend a school event, or donate to cause of their child’s choosing without ever asking two all important questions – “Have I celebrated, attended or donated to the family who I expect to care about my child?” “Has my child celebrated, attended or donated to the family who I expect to care about my child?”
Creating raving fans for your children is about reciprocity. Everyone wants to feel special and appreciated not just your child. Give your child the chance to be a humble and deserving star. Be a model parent who seeks to give first before expecting to receive. Be the parent who cares about other people and/or their children before wanting others to care about your child.
2. Show Others They Are Important. John Lubbock said “In truth, people can generally make time for what they choose to do; it is not really the time but the will that is lacking”. Mr. Lubbock’s words provide insight about why others are not our children’s raving fans. Others merely lack the will to rave about our children.
For example, parents who frequently wait until the last minute to invite someone to an event and/or request assistance for their child are parents who make it easy for others not to be raving fans. If attendance is truly desired, if assistance is really needed, parents must make others feel significant. Texts, Facebook messages and emails are not the methods that motivate others to become raving fans.
Create raving fans by sending invitations as soon as you learn of the event. When the unfortunate but rare last minute invite is required, create raving fans by calling and asking for what you need. Create raving fans by making the invited feel like esteemed guests rather than eleventh hour devalued benefactors. Parents who do the aforementioned, will create raving fans who will find the time to help and support your child even when request is late and time is lacking.
3. Don’t Dare Skip Gratitude. Marcus Tullius Cicero said “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” Parents wishing to create raving fans for their children would be wise not to forget this.
Millennials are deemed the Entitlement Generation for essentially one reason. Millennials are known for an inability to express gratitude.
There was a time when parent’s sent actual thank you cards when others showed care or concern for their children. There was a time when parent’s sent birthday and other holiday cards to those who thought of their child in the calendar year. There was a time when parent’s sent a gift or token of some kind to the child of the family who cared for their child.
These are the type of things that occurred during what I call the “Enlightened Era of Parenting”. A central theme of the “Enlightened Era” was civility. Today, the art of civility – like fine arts being taught in the schools – is mostly missing.
Give your child a chance to be the child everyone remembers. Give your child a chance to be the child everyone wants to help. Make sure you show your child by your own words and deeds the virtue of expressing gratitude to all those who do for them.
My Fellow Parents
One of President John F. Kennedy’s most celebrated quotes is “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. President Kennedy was giving a prescription for being great citizens. President Kennedy was giving instruction to help America be Her best.
The prescription for creating raving fans can be summed up similarly. My fellow parents, ask not what others can do for your child, ask what you and your child can do for others.
When was the last time you mailed a timely invite? When was the last time your child sent a handwritten thank you note? Do you make it a habit of doing for other people and/or for other’s children?