To enjoy radical competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace, you’ll have to focus on what makes you matter to customers.
If you’re an early-stage creative entrepreneur at the beginning of your business success journey, I’m confidant the number one concern on your mind is how can you build a successful business that enables you increased creative and financial freedom to engage in the great work that matters to you and serves your clients and customers in ways that deeply matter to them.
Most likely, you’re in business for the love of doing what matters deeply to you. At this point in your entrepreneurial journey, you are the business and the business is you. Your business is the authentic and highest expression of who you are and the contribution you make in the world. Your business is a sacred mission. Chances are you view the “work” of your business as fundamental to your life purpose/passion/cause.
Your decision to venture out and run your own show was most likely made for many more important considerations than simple money making. As fundamental as money making is to your business and life success, you view the money as the exhaust of your entrepreneurial engine not the gasoline. Through your business, you want to add to the life of the world bringing great value to people in meaningful ways.
Love is not enough to guarantee your business success.
In every business category today, more businesses are being commoditized by the sheer abundance of choices customers have. This is true if your business sells products or provides services. This is true for businesses large and small. Customers have abundant choice. It’s customers who decide who leads and who fails. When customers have abundant choice, the competition will always be fierce.
Your love for what you are doing is essential for your motivation, but by itself, loving what you do won't create a customer.
How do you differentiate your business in ways that matter to your customers? How do you command premium prices and enjoy greater profit margins when everyone else is fighting to break even? More importantly, how do you, a creative entrepreneur, gain radical advantage over your more established competitors in an ultra-competitive marketplace?
If you’re serious about getting your business to the next level, I’m sure these questions swirl around inside your head on a daily basis. For many early stage entrepreneurs, the learning curve inherent in taking their business to the next level can be steep and progress can be slow. To help shorten your learning curve and unlock your creative powers, allow me to offer six strategies for growing your business in ways that will energize and sustain you for a lifetime.
Strategy One–As you think, so it becomes.
If you fear your competitors, and believe their presence controls your success, they will. On the other hand, if you believe there is an abundance of opportunity always available for you, and your thinking is always in that inspired direction, opportunity will always be present for you. As you think, so it becomes. Every great thing that ever was, is now, or ever will be, is first a formless thought within the creative imagination. What dominates your mental thinking will show up in the form of the reality of your experience. All great success begins with great thinking in a certain way. Your philosophy is the beginning of everything and determines the outcome of everything!
Strategy Two– Do what matters to you and serves the good of others.
Your business must be a reflection of two essential components–what really matters to you, and what matters to customers. Your business must bring meaning and joy to your life. More importantly, what brings meaning to you must serve the good of customers as well. One is no good without the other. They are two sides of a coin. The creative combination of these two elements powers an ever-evolving process for innovation and increasing your value to customers. When you align your business activities around your core purpose, you begin to realize there are no limits to your growth and success. You will delight in asking yourself ” how far can I go with this idea?”
Strategy Three– Be different and make a difference.
There are only two positions in a customer’s mind you can occupy– order-taker or value-creator. In a commoditized world with abundant choice, “good” means the same as everybody else. Everything is good… good enough. Good is the slush pile. To enjoy competitive advantage, your business must provide outcomes that are highly valued by your customers–and not in abundant supply from somebody else. To radically differentiate your business from the slush pile of good, you must position your value proposition within a deep and narrow focus. When you are known as the expert at solving a specific problem, customers come to you! You remove competition. Prospecting for new clients becomes more focused and effective. You don’t bid for jobs, because your expertise allows you to be selective! You only engage with clients who are a good fit for you–who are a joy to work with, and gladly pay a premium to do business with you.
Strategy Four– Provide more use value than customers pay in cash value.
This strategy is the source code for wealth creation. Providing your clients and customers with more “use value” than they pay you in cash does not mean you do something for less money. On the contrary! This strategy simply proposes that whatever the amount of cash your customer pays you is always reciprocated with a perceived experience of greater use value. You must understand that value is never created in the competitive realm (think hard bargains and lowest price), rather it comes from the creative realm (inspired thought and innovation). Whenever customers perceive greater value in the use of your product or service than they paid in cash for it, they become raving, loyal customers, and outright non-paid advocates of your business.
Strategy Five–Focus on your Genius.
You have within you a unique blending of talents and capabilities with the inherent wisdom to use these unique gifts to create massive competitive advantage in your business. In my experience working with hundreds of business owners, I’ve found there are two types of entrepreneurs– rugged individualists who do everything all by themselves, and those who recognize their unique genius, focus only on their expression of it in the world, and delegate everything else to others. Take some time to reflect on your unique genius and how you can build an amazing team of genius collaborators creating a force multiplier to take your business to the next level at light speed.
Strategy Six– Turn customers into your non-paid sales force.
To enjoy competitive advantage, your business requires more than happy, loyal clients. It requires clients who act as non-paid advocates (sales people) of your business. Advocate clients are the ones who believe you walk on water. Advocate clients believe they are receiving more compelling value doing business with you as opposed to your competition, and they wouldn’t think of working with anyone else because it would not be in their interest to do so. The marketplace will reward those entrepreneurs who earn and deserve, never because they desire or need. Enlightened entrepreneurs know opportunity in business (and life) only comes after creating value for others first. If you want more clients, be more to the clients you currently work for.
Go deep and narrow into these strategies and take a quantum leap in your progress.
When you develop the focused thinking and action required to implement these business development strategies as a daily practice, you’ll be astonished at how fast your breakthroughs in growth will occur, and how energized you will be to innovate ever greater value for people. Your progress will be in quantum leaps rather than incremental spikes. The reason is simple– you become free to laser focus on your most important activities, relationships and opportunities to provide greater value to people–increased revenue and profits are the natural result.
You’ll also notice all your relationships in life will become richer and more meaningful as a result of how much value you are bringing to the world through the venue of your creative business. Indeed, the lasting reward, beyond money making and financial success, is the knowledge that you are having an impact and making a real difference for the good of others. That’s how you create a value monopoly and a red hot business that will reward you for a lifetime.
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