“Do you think this could work?”
“Can I bring this to the market?”
“Will I be able to compete with the big guys in the space?”
Questions I get asked all the time. No, that’s not the “people always ask me” intro to a humble brag, I literally hear this all the damn time.
So strap in for a somewhat lengthy read, and for some real, actionable advice on this shit.
You’ve got a business idea. You don’t know if it’s going to work, but you’re super passionate about it. It’s a crowded space, and you’re not sure if it’s worth pursuing or not.
Here’s what you do.
-Do some SERIOUS competitor research. Buy from the biggest player in the space. See what their customer service is like. What the buying experience is like. What makes them the leader of that space. Take notes on all this.
-Do this for a few different big guys in the industry. Take notes. Really detailed ones.
-Then using the rock, paper, scissors branding lesson (that’ll be down below) figure out where you can “cut” these guys. Slice and dice.
– After you’ve done this, write a business plan, as if you were going to show it to someone to get investment capital/seed money.
Sub Question: What goes in a business plan? Here’s a 30,000 foot overview of one.
-Basic Business Concept: The industry, the structure, the product or service.
-Strategy and Action: What goals do you have for this business, and how do you plan to achieve them. Give a time frame.
-Competitive Advantages: That big list we put together up top there, drop that here. (The Rock Paper Scissors Brand Exercise I’m about to drop)
-Markets to Pursue: Target Audience, where to find them, how to get their attention, and their money.
-Key Employees: Detailed biography of everyone that will be working on this project, and their skill sets.
-Finances Needed: This is exactly what it sounds like. Put a list together of how much money you need total, and then divided that into individual pieces with prices for each thing (branding, ads, website development, etc.) (Pro Tip: Once you’ve found someone to do all that, list them in the key employees section as well.)
Now, the Rock Paper Scissors Exercise. Strap in for this.
There’s 3 types of companies. Rock, paper, and scissors.
Rock Companies: These are the big boys. Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, etc. These guys can buy their way into pretty much anything they want. But, they aren’t agile. They can’t move very fast. You’ll never out spend these guys, but you can out maneuver them
Paper Companies: Decent sized, not as big as the rock companies, but slightly more agile. This is the worst place to be, and is looked at as a transition stage.
Scissor Companies: This is you. This is where you start. You have very little funds (even with investment money) to buy anything, let alone outspend the Rocks. But, you’re nimble. You can bob and weave. This is your strength. Be proactive, and reactive to the market and what it needs.
These companies work the exact same way the game Rock, Paper, Scissors work. I’ll let you figure that out, and not insult your intelligence on that one.
Once you’ve figured out where you can slice and dice, and take pieces out of the competition, THAT is your key differentiator. The thing I preach about and have for years. That is your bread and butter.
This is the thing you need to do every day, all day, without fail, until the end of time (or until the end of the business.)
And that, my dear friends, is where branding starts.