As I noted in my last entry, platform thinking is a problem when you try to communicate the value of your product or service offering to a potential client. The problem is that I have been struggling with the same issue for the past couple of months and only now have been able to put together the compelling story for my own business. (Something that several in my network have been pointing out to me for a while now).
Putting together the compelling story that will sell your product or services can feel like either finding a needle in a haystack (if you are unsure of who your target market is) or limiting your potential (if you are guilty of platform thinking). I have always been sure that my target market is the Entrepreneurs who run new and small businesses in Halton and Hamilton so I didn’t have the problem of the haystack, but I come from a generalist background so colour me guilty of platform thinking. I could not find the right way to package and wrap the compelling value proposition of Key Consulting to my target market.
I am happy to say that I have finally resolved the internal conflict of what Key Consulting brings to the table and why an Entrepreneur should contact me to help them in their business. It is the true story of “eating your own dog food” (the software term for practicing what you preach) and I can genuinely say that it was a painful process, but now that I have arrived at it I am more confident than ever that I can communicate my value to a potential client in the requisite 15 second timeframe. Here goes:
“If your business isn’t going to grow by at least 50% in the coming 12 months then we need to talk.”
Simple isn’t it? And I dare say it’s compelling to any Entrepreneur who has been struggling in a competitive market over the past 12-18 months of economic turmoil. Some might even call it a bit daring… but I am so confident that my process works for the types of clients I want to work with that I am willing to put out truly aggressive claims to catch someone’s ear.
Now… this nice 5 second snippet doesn’t get to the service that I offer to meet that target, but it does what I need it to do – catch the ear of the Entrepreneur so that they want to hear the rest of the elevator pitch that describes the process. That’s the second stage that goes a little something like this:
“Most small businesses and startups have built their growth around a traditional product or service in a traditional market which is inherently competitive. It is possible to be moderately successful in these markets through a ‘brute force’ approach, but ultimately a competitive market drives commoditization which results in price competition and erosion of profits.”
“By working through my five step process I can help an Entrepreneur to identify stretch goals (that are still SMART), assess their marketplace (including Blue Oceans they may not have considered), develop a strategy based on real opportunities, design the business plan that documents the execution of the plan, and realize their goals within a short period of time.”
“I expect that through my five step process that Entrepreneurs in the small business space should be able to realize growth of 50% (and potentially significantly more) in a single year if they are willing to open their mind and work with me as a partner in the growth of their business.”
Still less than one minute – still compelling – but now you have a better idea of what I’m bringing to the table.
The principles of the five steps are not new – they have been documented well in books like ‘The Fifth Discipline‘, ‘Blue Ocean Strategy‘, ‘Good to Great‘, ‘Execution‘, and ‘First, Break All The Rules‘ as well as numerous MBA textbooks and courses. My unique value is that I have put them all together into a program that is designed for the Entrepreneur, leveraging the unique qualities of a visionary and providing them with the tools to execute for success.
Now that I’ve developed the compelling story the next step is to put together the marketing materials that back it up including updates to the content of this web-site (coming in the next few days), flyers that I can bring to my networking groups (next on my list tonight), and updated communications going out to my registered members, subscribers, and valued network associates.
I’d love to hear your comments or thoughts around the ‘packaging’ I’ve put together. I went through the same exercise that I take my clients through to get here and I am truly confident that by “dogfooding” I will find the same success as my clients can expect in their own businesses.
Tim Empringham, MBA
Tim Empringham is a passionate advocate for Innovation in organizations of all sizes as a mechanism to drive growth, create uncontested market space, create new customer value, and drive efficiency into the internal organization. His focus is on disruption of thinking and markets through integrative thinking, structured Innovation frameworks, and leadership development of Innovation and Change leaders within the organization.