5.10 – Marshall Marination Business Coach Moment: Marinating with Your Ideal and Likely Buyers
As you begin to grow the business, you must develop an intimate understanding of who your ideal and likely buyers are. This does not mean merely studying trends, measuring numbers, and creating graphs. Here is a practical piece of Business Coach Advice: GO TALK TO THEM. You must install listening posts and touch points into your product or service experience until you dial in your scalable model. Think about the length of the experience your customer has with your product or service. While your touch points may only exist for 5-10 minutes on the phone or in-person, the customer experience may last hours, days, weeks, months, or years with your product or service. It’s important that you make the experience as high-touch as needed to learn at an expedited rate while starting a business and dialing in who your ideal and likely customers are. When Airbnb was just joining YCombinator (a highly successful business incubator in Silicon Valley backed by Paul Graham and other investors), Airbnb was simply trying to “code” their way through business challenges – meaning they were trying to solve a problem by building mechanics that solved it en masse. Then Paul Graham flipped their world upside down. He said, “Do things that don’t scale.” Go meet your ideal and likely buyers, call them frequently to check on their experience, send them unsolicited thank you notes, build a relationship. This is possibly one of the best returns on investment that a fledgling business desperately trying to understand its customer base can deploy. At the core of business is people. If you’re struggling to figure out how to solve a problem for the entire business, think about what you would imagine to be an over-delivery and WOW for yourself in that situation. Then do that. Come back later and figure out how to make the repeatedly successful business coach solutions scalable.
5.11 – Identify Your Main Competitors and Then Take the Food Out of Their Mouths
“It’s not sufficient that I succeed; everyone else must fail.” -Larry Ellison (The billionaire CEO of Oracle who you may not agree with, but who you may be competing with)
You need to clearly know who your competition is, or they are going to beat the crap out of you in the marketplace. Why waste time trying to reinvent the wheel when you may already have a competitor out there who can point you and your marketing efforts in the right direction? Take advantage of what their mistakes and business coach successes can teach you.
You want to take the time to complete what I call the SWOT ANALYSIS ON STEROIDS, which we have made available for you at http://www.thrive15.com/SWOTOnSteroids. The SWOT is an acronym that stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. I also recommend that you ask:
I once coached a Dallas-area-based attorney who reached out to me after reading an article I wrote on Entrepreneur.com. He was absolutely being killed by another attorney in the marketplace. When I asked him who his biggest competitor was, he responded with the typical dumb statement entrepreneurs initially make, “Well, my biggest competition is myself.”
“Buy or bury the competition.” -Jack Welch (Former CEO of GE who many consider to be the best CEO of his time)
Just like him, I also once had the physical flexibility needed to shove my entire cranium up my rectum, so I understood where he was coming from. I pointed out that he might feel like that, but he was absolutely being crushed by multiple competitors, with one in particular just killing him. To help my client figure out why he was being killed by his competition, I led him through answering the questions listed in this section. We hired some people (you could call them spies) to enlist the services of his competition and we quickly realized how his competition was getting his business and out-performing him in nearly every way. Within 60 days, we developed a strategic plan to beat the living daylights out of his competition and within 12 months, we were doing just that. You may think that I’m a little dramatic when I say, “killing the competition” and “spying on your enemies,” but I promise you that if you are not spying on your competition, they are going to take your lunch, take your customers, and take half of the potential income that could be coming to you.
Fill out the SWOT Analysis on Steroids
My friend, Netflix and Amazon absolutely destroyed Blockbuster Video by redefining the way people rent movies. iTunes came into the industry and devastated the CD manufacturing business. Uber is taking massive quantities of business away from taxi drivers. Airbnb is decimating the hotel industry in many cities. Henry Ford showed up with his Model T and single-handedly blew up the horse and carriage industry. I took my wife away from a dude she was dating at the time (true story and I still feel very proud of this achievement). My friend, you have to ask yourself this business coach question: Who is the Darth Vader who has the potential to absolutely destroy your industry?