If you’re an entrepreneur – really, if you’re any kind of leader – you need to be absolutely obsessed by one simple question:

What’s in it for them?

Call it empathy. Call it manners. Call it just plain good business sense. Call it what you like. Just never stop asking yourself that one question.

  • Why would this prospect want to buy from you? What’s in it for them?
  • Why would this blogger want to contribute to your blog? What’s in it for them?
  • Why would this new acquaintance want to get to know you, to spend half an hour on Skype with you, to maybe become collaborators or even friends? What’s in it for them?
  • Why would this investor want to put some of her wealth in your startup? What’s in it for them?
  • Why would this employer want to hire you (while you build your business nights and weekends)? What’s in it for them?

These are the sorts of questions I’ve asked myself at various times in my career. I continue to ask myself this type of thing multiple times every single day, often without even realizing it.

To me, this is just what you do.

Except, it’s not – at least, it’s not what most business people do. Which means once you start, you’re going to be in a class all by yourself.

Whether you’re leading a business or navigating your own career, if you ask, “What’s in it for them?” you’re going to see immediate, often remarkable results.

Because nobody asks this. Nobody starts with the other guy.

Nobody but you.


Founder + CEO is a commitment to share the adventures and misadventures of our effort to build OPENfor.Business into an industry-transforming market network, in 300 words or less. This is post #4 in that ongoing series. For the previous post in Founder + CEO, click here.

About Ted Coiné

Ted Coiné is CEO of The Extraordinary Network, a group that is rewriting all the rules of influencer marketing by cutting out agency middlemen to work directly with B2B and luxury brands. Proud “bleeding heart capitalists,” he and his team have built support of a great cause into every for-profit campaign they undertake.

His entire career, Ted has collected fascinating people, most notably other thought leaders who also have a large and loyal audience of large enterprise leaders. He has watched the Wild West that is influencer marketing until he realized an opportunity to fix this broken system, and give influencers the sway they need to move markets together, and to get paid what they’re deserved for this power they bring to bear.

An Inc. Top 100 Speaker and one of Business News Daily’s 15 Twitter Accounts Every Entrepreneur Should Follow, Ranked #1 authority on the Social CEO and #3 in the Future of Work, Ted is also a serial business founder and CEO.

Ted is a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and an Inc. Top 100 Leadership Expert. This stance at the crossroads of social and leadership gave Ted a unique perspective to identify the demise of Industrial Age management and the birth of the Social Age. The result, after five years of trend watching, interviewing and intensive research, is his latest book, A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive.

He lives in Naples, Florida, with his wife and two daughters.

Click here to hire Ted Coiné for your next event!

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