Part 1: Your business strategy might not be as future proof as you think
First published on my mailing list.
Learn how to set your company up for continuous success, stop finding average solutions, be a head of competitions, disruptive markets and earn users trust.
The key success factors for this is to write down and promote your “higher” purpose (with values & beliefs), challenges and mindset for the company and each project. The purpose will keep you motivated and focused on what really matters. Using two techniques, the “5x why” and “the golden circle”. Now lets get your ready to think of the next Uber or Airbnb for your market.
Why do average solutions happen?
As an entrepreneur and user experience designer i have work with startups and established companies for 10+ years. What i have seen, is that people search for innovation in a narrow focused way. Outcomes of these projects usually result in average and sometimes good solutions, but rarely the best / disruptive one the users really need and what we are looking.
They assume to know the users needs without fully understanding the underlying (emotional) motivation behind them. They quickly jump into technology and trends (like features, new app, snapchat channel, etc) to enrich their existing services and products. This all without evaluating and standing still at the fact that actually, the current service might not be the best opportunity for the solution.
As you want to build a sustainable business and gain trust from your users. You must start in the right order, don’t get stuck by beginning with WHAT and HOW (or looking at specific metrics). Rather start with WHY and focus on user value.
How to set your company up for long term success?
Remember: Users don’t buy a product to be who they are, but who they want to be.
Your company has been established with a specific purpose in mind, but are you sure it is wide enough? New competitors will always have a fresh look on things, resulting in a broader vision. While you might get trapped in details and metrics leaving you with evolution, not revolution.
Let’s take the train industry as an example, they got stuck in thinking like “better, faster, stronger, economy and premium models”.
COMING: Illustration of train wagon metaphor (faster, better, stronger, premium)
While the train industry should be thinking of “mass transportation” as their higher purpose. In this way though would have thought of the airplane, drones & more.
The 3 key elements for a successful start
- Connect with and understand your users
- There needs, challenges and the underlying (emotional) motivation that drives them.
- Know the person and context.
2. A write down your “higher” purpose, values & beliefs
- This makes sure you keep a peripheral vision (broad view).
- Need to be clearly written, relatable and understandable, one that ignites an eager desire to achieve this common goal together.
3. Have an open mindset
- Your services and products are tools to achieve your purpose. These tools are not your company. Your company is your purpose, values and believes, the people, vision and culture. Tools may change, but you will fight for the same thing. So when your service (tool) is not the best option to solve a challenge, find new opportunities. (look at Richard Branson from Virgin, time after time he builds successful companies in different markets.)
Method & techniques to use
Lets get started on how to find your higher purpose.
(If you don’t know how to connect and understand your users, there will be another article coming. The most important things to know is listen carefully between the lines at what they are saying and place yourself in there situation. Get out of the office ;) ! ).
- The golden model (by Simon Sinek)
- The 5 why’s (by Sakichi Toyoda used in Toyota Motor Corporation)
- Helps you to find the underlying problem of a challenge you are facing. Always make sure you are solving the root cause of the problem.
Example of methods in practice
Lets take a self help blog.
Why: dive in 5 times (or more if needed)
Don’t focus on being known or making money, if you provide real honest value to other people this will naturally follow.
- Why do your write your blog?
- Because i want to become known so i can reach a lot of people.
- Why do you want to reach a lot of people?
- Because i want to help other people to be inspired and achieve more in life.
- Why do you want that?
- They might feel alone in the situation and take it for granted or don’t know where to start improving.
- Why do they need to know?
- So they see others have overcome and improved as well.
- Why should they improve?
- Because it opens the mind to new possibilities that could raise the quality of life.
“Inspire people to be openminded and explore possibilities to raise the quality of life”.
How: Now lets look at how we can achieve this and reach many people.
- Make the information easy to consume for all levels.
- Make the information go viral.
- Help people to get started.
- Learn people to challenge common thinking & beliefs.
- Let people connect with each other so dialogs will be created.
- People need motivation, let them help each other.
- Show people there not the only one, social proof.
What: can we do to enable this to succeed?
- Research and communicate techniques that can help people.
- Make clear material to communicate the message, articles, images like infographics, video, documentary, book, etc.
- Make material like actionable todo lists, guides and templates for people to get started.
- Start a community with comments, forum, chat, meet-ups, events, etc.
- Spread your word through social media, write quest articles for other websites, posters, stickers, competitions, etc.
Now it is time to select those that respects your WHY the best and you are able to do now. Start lean, the ones that need more resources come later.
Remember: Your WHY (purpose, values, beliefs) comes out in everything you do, your actions, message, choices, services and products. If you don’t then you won’t be authentic.
I strongly recommend you to read the Start with why book (no affiliate link), which is great to find your purpose for both in your professional as your personal life. But also to understand the impact it will have on your daily actions.
A great example by Momondo: The DNA journey
How they took there purpose from something like “best way to find cheap flights” to “open your mind, the world, we are one race” (fight racism and “box-thinking” at the same time).
More information: https://www.momondo.com/letsopenourworld/dna
Let me know if you have another technique that would help you set yourself up for success!