Some time ago I received a DM from a management student asking for answers on few questions. And because those questions were different than all others I get… so thoughtful and wise… I decided to get him on the phone and answer few more. Here’s our chit chat transcript.
You talk a lot about spending time with winners/achievers, but on what project you hate spending time on?
I hate spending time on something that I know it’s not gonna sell or something that’s overpriced. I see that quite often. People are so excited about what they have created so that they can’t deal with the unpleasant truth. I’m in business for some time now and I can more or less guess what will be valuable on the market and what is just loose of money. You (as a business owner) must know that not everything sells.
Are those project possible to save, somehow?
Yes, with the right idea of how to market it and big marketing budget it is possible. But what I found is that even after investment in proper marketing there will be not much profit. So it’s better to deal with the failure straight away and not to loose more time, energy and money on it. It’s better to came up with new idea, validate it and then produce.
What do you mean by saying validate? Do you mean market research?
I mean: sell. I’m all about money – I know it’s not common thing to say/admit. But this is the truth. Business without money is just a hobby. You can play, pretend, wishing or you can collect money and get your people paid. You can research the market forever but it won’t quarantee success. Neither asking family and friends if they like your idea. Useless.
Do you do a special plan for this validation/ sell, how you will talk about it?
It depends mostly on the product. If I have the target audience in front of me I would use it instantly with no preparation – straight from my head. If the project is more complicated or I don’t have the ideal audience yet, I do the research, make a plan.
If you could come up now with an interesting marketing strategy what would it be?
Interesting question. I don’t want to say something obvious, everyone knows I’m into innovation… Well, the promotion against your competitors may be an interesting strategy to do and not many people talk about it. It’s not truly innovative but it does the work.
Wow! That sounds new to me. Can you explain it? It’s about going against competitor’s products, why people shouldn’t buy their stuff? Isn’t it rude?
The way you talk about it sounds like politicians war during the presidential election. What I meant is that you must know your target customer alternatives. What solutions are available for them, that solves the same problem your product does. And you can either market your product pointing out that let’s say your tech solution is better and why or you can make sure that your solution is advertised with every alternative product available. So when people visit your competitor website, google their product, your product will show up too.
Sounds good. Do you this validation thing yourself or you have someone to do that?
For my company? I’m on the beginning of my journey with a new business concept so until I will figure things out I’m doing validation myself. Completely different is if we talk about the validation of my client’s product. Sometimes I do things myself but more often I want my client’s team to learn how to do it.
Isn’t it making your clients less depended on you? Is it worth it?
I know what you mean. When I started my journey with businesses I thought the same. But the truth is that this differentiates me from my competitors. And of course, there will be clients who learn from me and say our cooperation is over. But what I see more often is that people trust me even more and they know that this is not the last thing they can learn from me.
Kinda logical if I think through it. You are very direct and honest with your answers, the way you do business etc. I’m wondering if this way of being is beneficial for your business. You are though for clients on the other side you tell what to do and how to do it…
You know, I can share all my tips and tricks but the execution is the key. 1 person out of 10 people will actually follow my advice and do what I say. Many will not believe it will work or will write it down in the notes but never do the work needed to benefit from those tips. People are busy being busy. They hear but not listen. They let their limited mindset, belief system define them. I don’t have to worry that I will give someone my know-how. We all can execute on the same idea and have different results. People can copy me but they are not me. And about my honesty – I believe that we all prefer someone who has an opinion, is confident and powerful rather than another face in the crowd, right?
True. But aren’t you afraid that you give people a reason to hate you? Even your competitors can use it against you.
I don’t need cheerleaders in my life. I was nice for many years, afraid to say a word. Did I benefit for that? No. I was called looser. There will be always someone who will not like us and often it has nothing to do with us. I say fuck and shit a lot but this is me. I talk as I want when I want. My behaviour filter people that come near me – for me it’s a big plus. I don’t fight with my competitors. I know that jealous people can play dirty. I can’t change that but when I see a client I don’t want to work with I send it to competitors.
Unbelievable! Seriously, you send your clients to the competitors?
I know, no one does that. But if I know that we are not the right fit for each other, if I feel in my gut that it will be a problematic client. Is better to send him to someone. And people appreciate that.