Recently I was watching a documentary on Netflix about these two highly talented Los Angel’s chaps, one in film and the other in the arts (tattooing, drawing, pin stripping etc)
Instead of trying to get some money together, hire a staff member, change how they appear to the world, get a small business loan and hope they are discovered out to the masses. These two guys embraced their business, fought to be around massively famous people and their bravery paid off.
They ensured famous people saw famous people getting a tattoo from them. And famous people saw famous people in their photography. All this obviously led to more famous people wanting to be associated with their brand and by extension other famous people, like an exclusive club.
This meant they could charge the earth and limit supply, which obviously added massive value and demand. ( There are a good few brands who have applied this practice, one being Supreme)
However, when looking at the general approach to business creation. Every marketing muppet out their will set up his slide show, run through some tacky spider diagram or digital wonderland of logo examples, trending ideas or how you can “penetrate the market through a tried process” speech. You then sit starry-eyed, hoping you have found the magical path to success, but in reality, you have found the most used path.
It is basically creating a duplicate of what already exists, just simply in a different skin. This means, that you slot into the market and don’t stand out.
Now if you are a starter-upper with minimal to no money, then ladies and gentlemen the last thing you want to be is remotely like anyone else. You simply cannot afford it.
I see people open up businesses simply on the back of a Facebook page…I mean in comparison to what you have read above, how could a sane person expect the same results?!
You do not have the time nor the money to wait on great ideas to pan out or the prospect of tomorrow. You cannot sit on Google and Youtube for advice, as once again you are duplicating what has already been done, ergo you are watching it on Youtube.
Yes, you can derive great ideas, which inspire and educate on technicalities. But who are you in the market? What is your most sellable attribute? And please do not say your product or service.
“Sell the sizzle, not the steak”
Getting your brand identity and marketing in place plus your strat on production and logistics is not a plan on how to create a brand. Let’s just clear that up. That is just the basics of business creation. (And if you are one of those companies who thinks marketing is something a random person with a Facebook account can do, best you go educate yourself on the subject as you are missing out on a key business function).
You have to find how you are going to inject your brand into a competitive space, all the while knowing you have bills to pay every 4 weeks. Your pretty CI bible and “go get him” attitude sadly is not going to cut it, unless you get lucky.
This brings me to my very own hypophysis. Which is, the business world has an extremely small amount of little businesses who have made it to corporate status or who have been listed on the JSE. But, every motivational muppet out there uses them as the example of a business success story which they then try to get you to base your goals and business infrastructure on. Nuts, I tell you!
Each startup is different, each SME has a unique story and all did not start with the same budgets, contacts and advantages. Therefore applying the same principles to every business is outrageous.
You need not place your future and more importantly the futures of those who believe in you, in the hands of an oversold, borderline motivational story. Rather you need to see how you can take advantage of what our country firstly allows and secondly what, through courage and effort, who and what you can gain access to you.
Let me give you an example. Sandile and Dave get a bright idea to sell spiced water. They watch Tony Roberson videos, do a 7-day online course on supply chain and logistics, and of course, get a free (because free nonsense yields the best tools in business..…I could scream).app generated logo, Wix website and poorly set up social pages.
Dave and Sandile previously were respectively in other industries and know virtually nothing about spiced water, the process, the dos and don’ts. Let alone the fundamentals of managing suppliers, logistics, insurances, audits, marketing, key account management, dealing with buyers and retailers, opposition and so on and so on.
So in other words, Dave and Sandile are rolling the dice every day in the hope of success and when it does not come, they blame the market, the clients, the economy, each other.
They had no idea, no goal, no plan. Now imagine, Dave and Sandile grew a pair and before jumping into the deep-end set up a plan to get their spiced water onto the set of a local popular TV series. They spent more money and time on the look of the bottles, packaging and overall sexiness and appeal of the product before even announcing they were looking at opening a business.
They had unified, captivating artwork created along with 30-second videos which invoked some kind of happy emotion. They met with retailers and buyers, dualling for shelf space and facings.
They set up faultless social media and marketing platforms all ready to go live and loud prior to the gorgeous launch event, whereby celebs and key people are invited and enticed through over the top giveaways, venue and overall happenings at the event.
Remember Dave and Sandile are not selling spiced water, that is obvious. They are selling a feeling, a status, an accessory.
With the world changing more and more, seeing weaker brands being pushed out. It is time for you to evaluate how you are doing business and how to sell your company through a unique approach.
Does your business have the potential to stand out? Is it a company with the potential to evolve in the online world, develop a following and stand out in a crowded market?
Being generic, doing what you were doing before this lockdown is just not going to cut it anymore. It is time to find your place in the new “paradise”.