An Unsettling Sight from 400 Years Ago…
A dead pioneer on the side of the road. Body rotting, pungent odour spilling from every orifice, ravens pecking at their deflated eyeballs.
Not to mention… arrows in their back.
They were first into unchartered territory, and paid for it with their lives.
Those that followed closely behind learned from the pioneers’ mistakes and enjoyed the riches of a new land.
Will You Suffer the Same Fate?
Think that the pioneer from 400 years ago is an old story locked in the past?
Don’t be so naive.
Just remember: lots of business owners have gone (and are presently going) before you… painfully making crippling mistakes, going bankrupt and losing homes, marriages, families, and even their health… dying from devastating, stress-related chronic illnesses.
They are learning the hard way what works, and what doesn’t.
But there’s a different way… you don’t need to suffer the same fate!
Be a Humble Student of What Works, and What Doesn’t
People who insist on being creative, “disruptive” innovators… who want to do things “their way”… are walking a very thin tightwire, one single slip away from a very terrifying fall.
Business is hard enough as it is. There’s a reason you see such a high failure rate. Trying to reinvent the wheel at the same time as building a business puts you severely behind the eight-ball before you’ve even begun.
Picking your battles is often more important than fighting the battle itself. I don’t care how good your training is, your work ethic, your attitude, or anything else… if you you choose to fight Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali, or Georges St-Pierre at their prime, you’re doomed to failure.
(And don’t get blinded by the pageantry of “David and Goliath”… leave that for Disney… be wise and put the odds in your favour.)
Which Road Will You Choose?
There’s a clear fork in the road before you right now…. you can choose the path of “Humble Student”, or the “Egotistical Innovator”.
Make no mistake, there’s plenty of room for creativity, innovation, and new ideas in business – absolutely – but that’s entirely different than being the Egotistical Innovator.
I’m a regular human being, and I want to see everyone succeed. I want to see YOU succeed. So it’s from that place that I carefully caution you against the persona of the Egotistical Innovator.
There are just too many corpses lining the side of the road… in my life and that of others too. Corpses of not only entrepreneurs, but their families, friends, and finances who took the fall when the entrepreneur went down.
The “Humble Student” is the way to go. It doesn’t guarantee success by any stretch – but it puts the odds in your favour.
“I Found Three Dead Persons It Was Very Horrifying”
Came across an article by Patricio Tissalema about his ascent of Mount Everest with No Sherpa (guide), and No Oxygen.
No jokes, the title of his article was:
Ascent to Mount Everest Without Oxygen and no Sherpa by Patricio Tisalema from Ecuador: I found three dead persons, It was very horrifying
It’s no mistake that climbers using sherpas have better odds than those without. These sherpas offer extensive guidance on when to climb, when to wait, how to prepare, what to wear, everything….
Believe it or not, there’s actually a way for you to find a sherpa for your own business.
(And no, this isn’t some lame “setup” to sell you my services. Nope. Your best sherpa isn’t even a person.)
While it isn’t obvious, your best sherpa is actually easier to identify and learn from than you might think…
Your Market’s Rockstar
Ready for it? Your best Sherpa is actually the #1 leader in your market / industry. You know, that one competitor that seems to be killing it. They’re ahead of you and beating everyone else too.
If this bona fide leader just seems too far out there, then scale back.
Play along for a moment: assume you are eager to become the world’s #1, most-recognized, most profitable psychologist. That would be Dr. Phil, and it just seems impossible to attain that. He’s too far ahead.
Who is the #1, most-recognized, most profitable psychologist in your country?
Keep scaling down until you’ve got someone in your sights that seems attainable.
It’s No Mistake Why They’re Kicking Your Ass
The market leader in your industry, in your market, got there for a reason.
It’s no mistake. The principles of marketing, nature, and life are too perfect-yet-harsh for random accidents like that to happen.
Simply put, they figured out what works, and what doesn’t. Maybe it’s better pricing, better offers, faster service, a more attractive personality – who knows – but it’s working for a reason.
And they paid a high price to achieve their #1 status. They spent months, even years making mistakes and discoveries. They spent tens of thousands on advertising and experts to discover how to reel in clients and cash alike.
The Good News: a Cheap, Fast Shortcut to More Clients
If you’re a humble student, you get to fast-track your success.
This massive shortcut is, in fact, the simple analysis of what the market leader did to climb to #1.
As the saying goes, Success Leaves Clues.
Find the market leader – who’s making the most money – and reverse engineer what they do. There’s a reason they’re the market leader… they’ve figured out what works!
If they offer a free consultation up-front, then do that too.
If they offer specific up-sells, do that too.
If they advertise in specific ways, do that too.
Heck, even go ahead and buy from them. See how you’re sold to, see how you’re treated. What follow-up calls do you get? What email promotions?
(DO IT. JUST DO IT. I know you’re tempted to brush it off, but – seriously – go and buy from them now.)
Then, once you understand how things work…
Duplicate and Differentiate
Now you know intimately how they operate, and have a good grip on how to duplicate what they do.
At this point, you should have some of their best practices now rolling in your marketing, and probably your operations too.
This is the duplicate part.
Now – when you see the opportunity – figure out how you can do a few things better than them.
Not “better” from a purely innovative perspective (i.e. what you think doesn’t matter), but “better” because it’s what your customers say that way. When you respond to customers’ needs, ultimately you’ll make more money for yourself.
Could be as simple as offering a better guarantee.
Could be offering better service.
Could be faster delivery.
Could be a more fun experience.
Perils of Not Differentiating
Take heed: if you don’t make yourself unique, you’re tempting the grim reaper.
You’ll get commoditized. What that means is your prospects and customers will just chuck you into one big cauldron with all your competitors. With no real difference between you and your competitors, your prospect has no choice but to make their decision on one factor, and one factor alone… PRICE. And they’ll choose the business with the lowest price.
The problem with competing on price is it’s always ends with financial apocalypse.
There will always be someone who’s willing to cut more corners, and live on Kraft Dinner for longer than you…. thus putting you out of business if you’re only competing on price.
Summary: To Get More Clients…
To get more clients, first figure out which of your competitors is the top-dog, making money, and winning clients.
Reverse engineer what that competitor is doing to win clients and customers themselves.
Hope that helps!