Today Jeff is joined by David C Baker. David runs his own marketing communications firm and a management consulting firm focused on helping entrepreneurial experts make better business decisions through writing, speaking, and advising. He is the author of five well-received books, he typically speaks at 30-35 conferences per year and has done in-depth consulting with over 900+ small independent firms. David’s work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, USA Today, Fast Company. Inc. Magazine, Forbes, BusinessWeek, and CBS. David has also spoken at multiple TEDx events and sits on the advisory board for the graduate “Design for Social Innovation” program at VSA in NYC.
His hobbies include teaching motorcycle racing with the Superbike School, photography, flying aeroplanes and helicopters, and custom woodworking. And a few months ago he became the proud owner of a puppy named Frida. A large dog.
- Positioning in the market is synonymous with business strategy. It lowers the interchangeability and substitution of your offerings and results in pricing power.
- An ideal customer is one where:
- You have access to the decision-maker.
- They have experienced in what you offer. You typically don’t want to ‘break-in” a new customer.
- The buyer is big enough to support your firm’s focus and the price you are charging – too many smaller customers will spread you too thin.
- Many leaders and business owners get distracted from their core position and focus by chasing innovation, new opportunities and the so-called “shiny objects.” It takes real discipline to maintain focus while not completely quashing innovation.
- In professional service businesses, you ideally want about ten competitors and 2,000+ prospects in the market you serve. From there you look for ways to focus and differentiate.
- Differentiation can come from various sources – your IP or methodology, your product mix, your processes – but the most powerful is precisely WHO you service (your target market) and HOW you create value for your ideal customer.
- Pricing is less a financial tool than it is a positioning tool. It communicates to the market where you fit relative to other players.
- Rightsizing a business is always ensuring the opportunity demand is higher than the capacity. This difference is healthy and allows companies to always say no to some customers that aren’t an ideal fit. It also removes unneeded pressure on the firm to desperately seek new customers to service its size and infrastructure.
- In professional services, becoming friends with a client can compromise your ability to give sound, unbiased and objective advice.
- Businesses fail less due to poor quality but more due to poor business decisions. Wrong decisions about positioning, culture and finances are typical culprits for business failure.
- Ongoing lead generation is essential to all companies. It should be all about community building and informing, not about transacting so that prospects can decide to reach out if and when their need arises.
Actions You Can Take Right Now:
- Listen to your customers, the questions they are asking, and make a list of 10 topics that would make you more valuable to them if you had knowledge and a perspective on those topics. Then spend time doing your homework and knocking them off one at a time.
- Decide to stop doing something this is a regular part of your work life. You have no capacity to take on new things until you say no to others.
- Setup up at least one morning each week to focus on creating or writing for publication. The power of shame, knowing your thoughts and perspectives will be shared publicly, will force you to become an expert.
Take Your Business to the Next Level
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Each episode of Unleashed is hosted by Results’ CEO Jeff Tetz who spends most of his day exploring what makes high performers tick and helping build a community of leaders who want to learn and grow together. Follow Jeff (Twitter; LinkedIn; Instagram) for more great leadership insights.