All happy companies are different and rarely need to compete on price.
All struggling companies are the same and are forced to compete on price.
Creating incremental improvements to your product or service will do nothing to differentiate you in the market because everyone else is making the same incremental changes. You can’t just be different, you need to be meaningfully different.
Having worked with thousands of entrepreneurs from around the world and interviewed men and women who have built multi million dollar businesses and hugely successful personal brands all agree that at a strategic level, the 5P’s (Pitch, Publish, Product, Profile & Partnership) are the primary drivers of influence. Watch a video on the 5P’s by clicking here.
Buried beneath those 5P’s however are five hidden differentiators that comprise the raw materials that give the 5P’s their impact.
If you’re unclear about any of the following five principles, you will experience inefficiencies at all scales; the most obvious being a lack of available time and cash.
Refining the following as isolated components will yield little measurable effect. It is only when animated by the 5P’s that the product of the whole becomes far greater than the sum of the parts.
1. YOUR WHY.
Your purpose beyond making money is the prime mover of the entire caper. Those who lack, or are simply unclear on the philosophical reasoning behind their actions will lack the creativity, drive and enthusiasm to create new and unique value in the first place. Far from an esoteric ‘nice to have’, your Why is the essential force that gives everything else (and I do mean everything) it’s substance.
“Through the Force, things you will see. Other places. The future…” – Yoda
2. YOUR PEOPLE.
Who exactly are you for? “Everyone would benefit from what we do” or “I only need x% of the market to make y” are both red flags indicating a fundamental misunderstanding of economic principles. The fear of missing out (FOMO for our younger readers) on opportunity by targeting a small, even micro-niche is illogical, all be it counter intuitive. It’s far easier to dominate a small market than a large one and far more efficient to reach the few people who really need what you’ve got than to try and compete for the attention of a mass of scatted individuals.
“People like us do stuff like this…” – Seth Godin
3. THEIR PROBLEMS.
The most valuable asset in the world is the attention of your people. If you want their attention (and eventually their credit card), you had better be able to solve problems that make their lives better. Despite this obvious proposition, few founders can, upon inquisition, name their peoples problems with any degree of clarity or certainty.
What’s keeping your customers up at night? What’s frustrating them? What’s freaking them out?
Pro-Tip: Consider how to communicate those problems to people that are as yet unaware they even have the problems in the first place. Being the first to change someones thinking is a powerful way of making the competition irrelevant.
Sell someone on a new idea, and they will automatically be pre-sold on you.
“Great companies earn an monopoly by solving a unique problem that no one else can.” – Peter Thiel
4. THE PRIZE
Thinking of what products or services you could create to make money is a red herring if you don’t first understand what your people really want. Thinking you’re in the business of selling drill-bits will position you amongst a competitive ocean of other drill-bit makers making you just another commoditised option in an irrelevant sea of replaceable sameness. Recognising that in fact your customers couldn’t care less about the drill-bit (as they could care less about your product or service) is the first step to understanding what they really want is a hole.
Pro-Tip: Assume your people don’t want your products or services and don’t care much for you either. What are they trying get done beyond the obvious? Like Russian dolls, I often find there is a business hidden in a business which is where you will discover your real wealth.
“If you think it’s about your product, service or charming personality, you’ve already missed the point.” – Me.
5. YOUR METHOD
You’ve mastered your craft and so much of the work you do is automatic. You don’t even need to think about it any more. You may respond to customers needs unconsciously, naturally reacting to their signals and cues in the moment. The problem with this approach is that it makes you the essential component in the value delivery equation. Becoming a Key Person of Influence is about making you irreplaceable strategically, not tactically.
If you need to show up to deliver value, you are the product.
If you have not yet deconstructed how you deliver value, it will be impossible to deliver that value at scale, thus reducing your net relevance and value to the market.
Your method, when you define it, will become the DNA for every product, service and piece of supporting collateral you create. Without it, you will remain a functional component and struggle to earn more than basic wages.
“Though this be madness, there be method in it.” – Polonius
The ultimate goal of refining each of these 5 principles is to develop the raw materials that can them be applied to the development of the 5P’s.
These principles make up the raw materials required to develop the 5P’s and thus enable you to create an ecosystem of influence. A series of valuable and differentiated assets that presents your uniqueness in ways that attract more of the right type of customer at higher prices with higher conversions in less time.
In other words, you become a shit hot Key Person of Influence.