A few weeks ago I had the chance to meet a multimillionaire: a Dutch self-made entrepreneur owner of a £300 million multinational company that operates in the catering industry.
Being naturally curious, I took the initiative to offer him a beer in exchange for some valuable information I could receive as a direct consequence of his highly successful business experience.
As a person who doesn’t like having an opinion on matters in which I do not have particular expertise, and considering having an opinion a modest way to cover up an attitude of laziness rather than working on the implementation of a few healthy changes, I took pen and paper and started taking notes endlessly. That way, before leaving the place I had written down four pages of advice I could implement straightaway in my business.
I do not really know why I am sharing this with you for free, but it is surely something I think you should know to clear up all the bad information that self-proclaimed experts are spreading around in a desperate attempt to make a life.
Before I enumerate the three focal points of our conversation, it’s also my duty to underline that this free consultation isn’t the result of some chat with my cousin or uncle but a real meeting with an even more real--and extremely accomplished--entrepreneur.
1. WHAT YOU DO TODAY WILL FOSTER RESULTS IN 3 TO 5 YEARS
Being a millennial, I belong to a generation of people who are heavily sold on get-quick-rich-schemes, particularly those schemes that are often diplomatically hidden behind a start-up:
“I opened a business and became a millionaire in six months.”
If you take a look at the most successful bestselling books on Amazon, you can clearly see that the most clever way to sell your book is having a title that sells shortcuts: Build a Brand in 30 Days, The 4-Hour Work Week, etc…
People don’t like being told that the bigger the result you want to achieve, the harder you need to work: even if you work smart, you still need to work hard.
In the UK, for example, there is a saying: “You do not need to work many hours. You just need to work the hours.”
That might be legitimate if you are an employee, but if your status says “Entrepreneur,” well…You already know that the personal sacrifice is huge.
If you consider the marketing industry during recent years, we have seen the rise and fall of ninja marketing, and we will soon see the fall of growth hacking, the name of which showcases a clear intention to “hack”--to quickly escalate avoiding the hard way.
2. PEOPLE DON’T BUY YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE
Entrepreneurially speaking, we live in a product-centric culture where focus is given to building a better product. From a theoretical point of view, this might make sense. But from a practical point of view, it’s a total mistake: people don’t buy the best product; they buy what they are made to believe to be the best product--and, with consequential logic, what makes them feel the best (distinguished, recognised, accomplished, integrated, etc…).
Although your job as an entrepreneur is to deliver exceptional results as a consequence of the purchase of your service, you still need to build around your product/service the idea that you are the only one who can help your client solve their issue in the most efficient way.
To do so, if you sell a service/product that can be sold by any other competitor, there is still a chance to differentiate yourself without cutting on your margins by reducing the price:
In his words:
“People don’t buy your product. People buy what you have in the background.”
3. DON’T COMPETE ON PRICING
I already knew this principle, but I am aware that many entrepreneurs don’t see it in the same way.
If this is the case, how do you avoid the worst scenario of competing on pricing when your industry is overcrowded and undifferentiated? Don’t people always buy the best product at a lower price?
The Dutch entrepreneur told me:
“Price is the fifth or sixth variable that a potential customer
considers while purchasing a product/service.
Customers don’t buy your product.
Customers buy the problems that they will not have by purchasing your product.
As long as there is the ability to stay in the market and pay fixed costs, everyone can still do a price lower than yours.”
The logic is more or less the following:
There are a few principles more in the list, but for the moment the three listed above are sufficient to justify a few targeted adjustments.
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Founder and Managing Director at POWER BRAND. PR that Sells for Startups and SMEs,
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