Most of the people in your business sector are wrong, most of the time.
That’s a pretty bold assertion. Let me explain why.
Market dynamics – the Pareto Principle
The Pareto principle often referred to as the 80:20 rule is often quoted in business. You get 80% of your profit from 20% of your customers. You get 80% of the grief in your business from 20% of your customers.
Note: the two 20%’s are not the same customers.
In fact, in any given market of a reasonable size you get the following distribution of performance in that market.
• 20% are failing
• 60% are getting by, often struggling hand to mouth
• 15% are getting it right and doing ok thank you
• 4% are doing really well
• 1% are super successful
What that means for you?
Three key things:
1. 80% of your competitors are getting it wrong.
That’s why so many businesses fail within the first two years of setting up.
2. Don’t copy them.
If you want to copy anyone, look for the top 20% and emulate them.
3. You need to stand out from the crowd.
Better than copying the top 20%, be unique and authentic in your own way. Remember, people buy from people. People they know, like and trust.
How to stand out from the crowd
The first piece of advice for standing out is don’t do a Kevin Costner. There is a famous line from his film Field of Dreams. He created a baseball field saying:
“Build it and they will come”
Trust me – they won’t.
My first consultancy business was in the 80%. Started in 2003, we were very good project managers. We had the skills so clients would come, wouldn’t they? We bumbled along for 7 often painful years, just about surviving the financial crisis before calling it a day.
When I set up my next business, I looked back at why the first had struggled and it was because of a lack of knowledge and understanding about marketing and sales and I vowed to put the right.
One way to stand out from the crowd is by being brave. Google AdWords launched towards the end of 2000. Businesses that were enlightened took the plunge and made millions of pounds and dollars from being early adopters.
I know several businesses that have spent over a million pounds per year on AdWords campaigns. These are not large multi-nationals. These are savvy, switched on small businesses. They knew for every £ they spent on AdWords they would generate £3 or £5 or even £10 in sales. They knew because they could track what they spent and the return they got from it. Early adopters of Facebook Ads reaped a similar benefit.
They did things differently from the mass of businesses. They stood out and took action. They were in then 1% and 4%. Those that spotted their success and followed pretty quickly were in the 15%.
The 60% dabbled but couldn’t get it to work or didn’t track the numbers. They didn’t get educated in the new areas of marketing. The 20% stuck their head in the sand and hoped the internet would go away.
There are a number of simple ways you can stand out from the 80%:
Most businesses don’t go networking. Many that do only dabble and withdraw if they don’t get quick returns. Others use it as an excuse for marketing and only ever huddle in the corner with the same old buddies. Effective networkers turn up regularly, building trust so that the contacts they meet recommend them to contacts outside the room. They work the room, introduce new members and shy away from clichés.
Exhibitions and fairs don’t work for every business and you can waste a lot of time and money. But get it right and they can be a great source of strong leads. There are all sorts of lessons about how to be an effective and successful exhibitionist – too many to go into in this blog, but in summary:
Be seen by having a good stand.
Show up on the stand – don’t look disinterested and spend time on your phone.
Don’t foul up the follow up.
You should take every opportunity to speak. And there are plenty of opportunities:
• Your 60 second pitch at networking,
• The weekly 10 minute slot most networking groups offer
• A speaker slot at an Expo
• An event speaker
• A webinar
• A podcast
Speaking may be outside your comfort zone but nobody gets out of the 80% staying in a comfort zone. Start small and build your confidence.
Create great content
Content is king in all forms of marketing. And great content is king amongst kings. So whatever business you are in, you need to create great content demonstrating your knowledge and expertise.
Once you have great content, flaunt it.
There is no better set of tools to flaunt your content than social media. Careful use of social media can drive traffic to your website and your LinkedIn profile further building you credibility and authority.
But you have to know which social media channels are right for your business. Otherwise you can spend huge amounts of time and money on ineffective campaigns. That leads to my next tip…..
Know your customer
One of the things we bang on about at the Guildford hub is creating your customer avatars. If you don’t have a clear understanding of who your customers are your marketing messages cannot be targeted at them.
If you don’t know your target customer, how do you know if they are on Facebook or twitter, or Pinterest and whether you should be putting time or money into those platforms.
What do the top 20% do?
They look at what the majority do and do something different.
The top 20% really know their markets and have clear, targeted messages they want to get out to those markets. As they see new developments in social media they look to see which markets adopt them. If their target market is using Snapchat then they test, measure and adjust their use of it. And if it works, they go large! They amplify their use and make it their own.
The 1% and 4% lead the charge here. Being really successful gives you the confidence and the funds to try these things. The 15% look at what the top 5% are doing and quickly follow suit on what works best.
What can you do?
The difference between the top 20% and the 80% isn’t huge. Yes the difference in financial terms can be huge but that is merely a consequence of the real difference.
The real difference is attitude – your attitude. If you have a “can’t do” attitude then the age old saying will always be true:
If you always do what you always did,
you’ll always get what you always got
You have to be different from the pack, different from the masses. Different from the 80% that are almost always wrong!
So you have to have a “can do” attitude, get yourself educated and surround yourself with the right people. Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. That’s why you don’t join the has-been clichés at the networking meeting.
You don’t have to do this alone
Trying to build a business can be lonely, even if you employ people. You are the boss. The one everyone looks to for leadership and decisions.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. At the Guildford Hub, we provide education, inspiration, collaboration and support to a community of business owners.
Why….“Because no one should have to build a business alone”
Why not come along to the Hub and give us a try. Your first meeting is free. Find out more here: