I got involved in a discussion about ambition versus lifestyle design when a guy asked if he and others were playing too small with their businesses and their lives. It quickly devolved into judgements about others’ lifestyle choices that didn’t match their own. I decided to change up the conversation. Maybe it will be useful to you too.
Instead of asking, “Are you playing too small?” try asking, “Am I doing the hard things my market desires?”
I’d like to try to reframe the “am I playing too small” question to be a marriage of lifestyle design and ambition. Instead of solely focusing on your wants try looking for the intersection of your desires and your market’s pains and pleasures.
To crush your competition, do for your market what your competitors are unwilling to do. No one wants to do the hard stuff. A couple days ago, I got asked by a doctor who just opened her practice and she wanted to know what kind of gift bag she could give to her patients.
My response was, “How about call your patients to see how your treatment is helping them? That’s what they really want.” She said she couldn’t do it because it would take too much time. Not spoken in that was she couldn’t bill for it either.
This is an example of a hard thing that her industry doesn’t do any more, but the market wants it.
Sometimes just being nice, not even going the extra mile for a customer, is enough to stand out from your competition. But to put a ‘Blue Ocean’ between you and your competitors you need to do the really hard things.
I was consulting with a client who was in the scrapbooking market. She was getting squeezed by all the blogging scrapbookers and her growth had plateaued. After discussing what her market really wanted we figured out they would dig an app that helps them scrapbook.
Her first thought was, “This is going to be expensive and difficult to do.” Exactly. No scrapbook blogger making $300 a month in affiliate commission is going to spend $15,000 or more to create an app. They won’t do the hard stuff. They’ll do the easy stuff that you are doing and muddy the market with mediocre products and content.
Another thing we discovered was that there was a desire from the market for physical publications again. It would be expensive and difficult to put together a quality publishing company, but she would be the leader because no one else was serving this segment of the market.
If you’re playing small it may be because you’re unwilling to do the hard things in your market.
What hard thing are you not doing that your market is crying out for?