1: Embrace the madness.
We are living in the Crazy Age. Everything has changed. Forget everything you thought you knew. It’s time to start over. The greatest business visions and the most amazing products are rarely born from the insights and information that exists all around us. They are born from something intangible, from the imaginations of people who see the world through a different lens. Don’t be scared of this. Embrace it. Be crazy. Companies that can get their heads around the concept of re-inventing their business from the inside out are destined for success.
2: Forget shareholder power.
Shareholder power is an old fashioned concept. The most important people are firstly your employees, secondly your customers and thirdly your shareholders. Make sure you get this right. It’s the polar opposite of what most of us have been taught, but it’s the economic business model that will see us through the next 30 years.
3: You’ve got 30 seconds.
If you’re potential customers don’t get what you do in 30 seconds you’ve lost them. The best companies not only do this but create a WOW moment as well. You have to be able to articulate the reason you exist at lightning speed. Get this right and you’re on the fast track. Note: this is the emotional soft centre of your brand i.e. your reason WHY, not the functional problems you solve.
4: The path of least resistance is for losers.
Your customers don’t want a ‘me too’ product, but most importantly they don’t want a ‘me to’ experience. In many categories it can be difficult to differentiate the core product/ service but you can absolutely make the experience of owing it unique. Winners know this. They follow the path of most resistance, it’s the road less trodden and it leads to glory.
5: Stop boring everyone.
Your employees and customers want to be inspired not bored to death. How does your product or service do that? Every functional product needs and emotional wrapper. What’s yours?
6: Segmentation made simple.
It really doesn’t matter if everybody doesn’t like what you do, don’t try and please everyone, but make sure you create something that your core believers absolutely love and will evangelise about. As Simon Sinek puts it “Find the people who believe what you believe.”
7: You have to be MORE than your product.
People care that you’re a ‘wholesome company’, your contribution or what I call Business PLUS (what are you doing to improve your community/society/planet over and above what you sell) is vitally important to create authenticity and differentiation. Turn the volume up. Pay if forward at every opportunity.
8: Traditional selling is dead.
Seriously, you have to look beyond the conventions of traditional sales engagement and create ways to engage your customers that are interesting, surprising, relevant and magical.
9: Become your industries ‘best listener’.
Listening has never been easier. The vast amount of insight that exists on the social web can create valuable sales gold dust. There are lots of free tools like www.socialmention.com or paid tools like www.uberview.com that will let you do this.
10: Do it your way.
It’s easy for all of us to copy-cat ideas and conventions about how a business should be run. But cut through all that bull shit and have the confidence to articulate a type of company and brand that you believe represents ‘the real you’. Believe in you. Authenticity is one of the most powerful customer aphrodisiacs of the new economy.
I would love to hear from any companies and brands who are treading this path, please join in the conversation.