Had a phenomenal conversation with my brother Jim today. Not just because he’s my brother and always a great guy to chat with, but because he’s moving forward at breakneck speed on a business launch of his own.
I happen to eat this stuff up: nothing in the business world is more thrilling than getting something off the ground.
I won’t share what he’s doing just yet — he’ll do that on his terms and when he’s ready — but I will tell you that our conversation ended up centering on the three things every business NEEDS. Right Now. Be prepared to be surprised, as these won’t be what you think you’d read in this space.
1. Influencers — and a Strategy to Reach Them. Let’s assume that Jim has a crystal-clear value proposition for his business (something he has and didn’t need to explain at all). Who is most important to connect with?
Jim knows his influencers and he’s actually sitting down with them already. The strategy, for him, is coming up with the WIIFM: “What’s In It For Me.” These influencers can be enticed, sure, with the right “thing” — maybe it’s an affiliate relationship, a cross-selling agreement, a cross-promotional idea.
Jim’s well on his way to sorting this out. I like his approach already, and the word “co-opetition” comest to mind.
2. Distribution — Getting The Stuff To Market. Nice, one, Jim — he’s already mapped this out. There are people who can use the widgets and happen to be the logical distribution channels for what he’s got. He’s picked up the phone and called them — again, WIIFM — and talked about what partnering would do for them.
He’s used the term “sub it out” a couple times already: he will tap the right people to implement this solution, so his value here is in his expertise in this niche. (Which is actually a niche within a niche, one of my favorite approaches.) This niche expertise brings us to thing three…
3. Positioning, or, in this case, “Brand Jim.” Because he has his crystal-clear value proposition, and it is something he is 110% passionate about, this will be pretty easy. But the proper positioning here is vital.
I’ll offer that steps 1 and 2 will help quite a bit with these. Aligning himself with the right people (he’s doing that already) helps “position” him as the expert in the understanding of this “niche within a niche” and what it means to the consumer. It’s impossible for him to be positioned as the low-cost leader here, because of the nature of his distribution channel and the influencers he’s already worked with. If he got different influencers on board, he could paint himself into a corner, something he’s very careful about. Plus, there’s a value exchange: you’re not just buying the widget but also the implementation of the widget AND Jim’s expertise in helping you use the widget.
Will this three-step program make you wildly successful? No guarantees of that.
But we’ve seen many a product and service launch that were missing one of these three, and that can doom you from the get-go.