When it is time for our annual business school in Bali, the air fills with electric excitement as entrepreneurs fly in from all over the world. In the last couple of years, we have had participants from at least fifteen different of countries, ranging from the tri-nations to Japan and France. Forces are joint together with high expectations, ranging from finally getting some clarity on global positioning, growth strategies or how to scale as an expert. I’m fairly sure that that pool is another big pull to this particular event, as over the years it’s got a bit of a reputation for producing anything from world-class business strategies to stories that will make you crawl with laughter.
During these schools, Mike and I like to ask people about their most pressing issues in business, and this year the same theme seemed to repeat. The entrepreneurial leaders that takes an interest in our school are no amateurs, so it is not uncommon to have a best-selling author, award-winning ecopreneur or startup success story working on a particular business challenge in group context around a table. As you can imagine, the honor in the work that Mike and I do, does not only lie in witnesses the coming together of world-class ideas, but the incredible intelligence that are born from this ecosystem. So back to the burning question we were faced with this year. Productization. It seems most subject-matter-experts such as consultants, coaches, speakers and authors are stuck in the development of a high-end product or service that is really well priced.
So, what's the problem?
The problem is not necessarily the quality of the content that the business professional has created, but rather the way in which it makes business sense to a prospective buyer. And in most cases, the careful way in which the products and services are packaged for a specific audience. This has led to the birth of our High-End Product Design Process, a twelve-step business technology that promises to turn your intellectual property into a piece of well-packaged genius. The process helps business owners to make sense of their own solution in such a way that they actually cannot wait to go out there and sell! In short summary, it shows entrepreneurs how to re-engineer their client solutions around THEIR purpose first, before extensively researching the target audiences problem. This is humorously referred to as the ‘big fat problem’, which are turned into a three dimensional solution that has monetary value, creates a sense of belonging and help your potential client to better understand the journey that you will be taking them on. Eventually the process takes you to the packaging, testing and launching of your offer.
How to approach it?
But that is not exactly where everyone got stuck this year. Most of the steps in our product design process created massive clarity for our participants at our Bali Business School. And even though the logic behind it seemed to set in with most people, there was something specific missing. The products and services that they managed to develop seemed great, but not inspiring enough to make a client’s heart jump with joy. We tested this with the audience. Who wants to know more about Tony’s product? A few hands went up. Right. Who feels like giving Janice their business card? Mm. Perhaps we should just all go jump in the pool! Then it dawned on me. Step 4 of the process – Design – ask the Bali participants to explore and bring to the surface something interesting about themselves. A special hobby or some crazy obsession that they haven’t shared before. The audience went silent. Anyone? Barbara’s hand went up. I really love my coral nails, she said. Everyone laughed. Then I remembered a conversation between Mike and Philippe, and industrial engineering Frenchman that lives in Australia. Would you mind sharing your essence with the group, I asked. For a moment Philippe seemed to panic, but then his eyes softened. And there, in front of everyone, he shared his love for chocolate mousse, describing the fortysomething recipes he published and how surprisingly successful this pet-peeve project turned out to be. People applauded and Philippe sat down. I then asked a similar question as before. Who would like to do business with Philippe, and get some tasty chocolate mousse recipes while doing so. Almost the entire audience’s hands shot up.
The key is your essence!
What happened here? The big secret lies in your essence, that one thing that makes people absolutely love who you are. Surely, we need to take business serious, but not so serious that you burn your entire fingerprint in the process. We have heard this many times before. People want to do business with people. It doesn’t matter whether you sell insurance or ice cream, the person who will ultimately buy from you are looking for something inspiring that will slam a little bit of spring into their routine lives. The photographer whose business partner is a bulldog called Sam. A top-notch business consultant who happens to climb to be an award-winning mountaineer. The wellness coach who was brought into his country with nothing but his mother’s faith and a rubber duck. Or the corporate expert who is also a cognac connoisseur.
How we define ourselves?
Our essence is an incredibly concentrated drop from our soul. It is the part of us that people remember when they have only met us once. An curiously, the very piece that we leave out when we share our business offers with the world. It blows us away to see how people’s faces change when you ask them to share something about themselves that not many of their ‘serious’ peers know about. It leaves us feeling awe-inspired each time, and it will have the same effect on your clients, especially the premium ones who wants quality combined with your incredible essence. If you have spiritual beliefs, weave that into your product. Perhaps you just cannot stop making pizzas, then create an experience for your crowd. Some of you have called the most incredible creatures into existence with your writing. Now please let us have the privilege to meet them too.
Where to go from here? At first, use our High-End Product Design Process to get you going. Once you have reached step twelve, return to step four. Have a honest conversation with yourself about the things that you really love, including your obsessions and convictions. Notice what puts a smile on your face when you talk about it. Then think of some creative ways in which you can align this with your product or service. When you really understand the power of your essence, you are not only geared to create offers that no one can compete with. You are ready to put in place empires that operate by its own rules and help people to have fond memories of the unforgettable experiences that you have created for them. The journey within turns out to be much more profitable than you think! So say our clients from Bali.
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