It is time for an anti-sameness movement. Let me explain. Yesterday I did a workshop for Qredits about “future-focussed entrepreneurship“. Part of a 6 series programme where Bernd Mintjes or myself deliver the last and final session, focussing on the 100-day plan. It is a true pleasure to work with entrepreneurs and SMEs and help them to think differently.
I start with explaining the factors I would consider when I look at a business, namely:
- The future; does the business fit with the future trends
- The story; what is the story behind the venture, and how well is the story told (goes beyond pitching)
- The founders’ dream, preferably expressed in an aspiration break-even.
- How well can the company can explain the deal in one sentence (we ______ selll ________ for _______)
- The market definition and, more importantly, the niche or beach head market. The smallest market possible. Becoming a super-nichist.
- The value proposition, preferably expressed in a number (how much better are you expressed in money compare to others). Always linked to your price. Most companies do not charge enough.
- The competitive advantage, how different are. What is your not-to-copy?
- The financials and the metrics (revenue model, LTV, COS, NPS, etc.)
- The strategy, using the strategic box
- The team, the skillset, the network, the reputation and their ability to execute
- The product, the least relevant part of the assessment
The first part of the workshop covers that, and the advice is to consider developing a unique methodology, focus on a very, very small market with a deep understanding of the problem, with your unique solution, where you can become the undisputed market leader and thought leader and, as a result, be able to increase the price. Pick a very specific problem and deliver a very specific solution. Making you able to compete in your own little pool (instead of competing in an ocean).
Getting the participant to think smaller, lesser, shorter, directer. Taking things away. Making it simpler. With a focus on creating a routine and a 100-day plan. Choosing one priority and one target, expressed as a number. Mapping the process to achieve goals on a calendar every day for 100 days. Building an engine. And if you achieve your goal, you celebrate. You reward yourself. We ask participants to define that celebration. Mostly the rewards are a weekend away, going for a nice meal. I also ask about the anti-party. What will you do when you do not achieve your goal in 100 days. Much more interesting. Eating sauerkraut, doing the laundry, scrubbing the house, visiting your mother-in-law, bungee jumping, etc.
Be very different
I was thinking about it later. What struck me is the difference between their external communication (website, LinkedIn, Facebook) and their story. How unique they truly are. They appear to be almost ashamed of their difference. And that the fear of expressing their uniqueness is getting in the way of becoming successful. It is time for an anti-sameness movement. Embrace what makes you unique. Express yourself, be weird, be strange, be who you are and be proud of it. Go for extreme differentiation.