Issue #30 But You ARE Unique

Last week I told you you weren’t a snowflake.

Relax, you are unique

It is just that differentiation is not in how you run your business.  

I learned this from an accountant. On a ski lift. In February.

I asked, jokingly, what he was doing out of the office during the busy season.

He told me that he doesn’t have a busy season. He had defined his business down to bookkeeping and compliance for e-commerce companies.

He knew exactly to whom he sold, exactly what their problem was, and exactly how the machine solved it with well-defined systems and processes.

His margins were good, the right customers flocked to him (long-term, no tax-season-only clients), and people liked working for him.

By specifically defining his business, he created a machine that ran whether he was there or not.

So he could ski.

The conversation was an epiphany for me – up until that point, I’d seen professional services as a different kind of business – hourly and effort-based. I knew there was something wrong with the model, but I didn’t quite get it until that moment that the wrong thing was the expectation of being different.

That is the snowflake theory: I am different, the tools don’t work, and I can only stand out through hard work. This is not real differentiation; it is an excuse that forces us to work harder for less money.

When you follow the process to define products and narrow your scope, you stand out in your customer’s eyes. You become the go-to business for the problem you solve.

True differentiation comes from a clear avatar and the problem you solve, not the assumption that you are different and can’t build a machine.   

And here is the thing: you already have it. You already do it. You just have to focus.

Struggling to figure out how you are different? Try going through the jobs to be done framework again. Think about who your Mario is, your perfect Mario, and what your Mario needs to accomplish, and define your value proposition.

Remember:

Next week I’ll share how tragedy becomes an opportunity.  

Until then, enjoy,
Jeff

What is a machine mean anyway?  

Last week I mentioned that Joe read me the definition of hustle. Then he read to me the definition of a machine:

An apparatus using or applying mechanical power and having several parts, each with a definite function and together performing a particular task.

Except for the mechanical part, that is exactly what a business should be: different parts with their own function working together to perform a particular task: solving a problem for a customer.  

Is your business a machine? If not, Thrivers360 may be the best place to start. Apply to see if this is a fit.  

Delegation should reduce your workload

Way too often, delegation creates more work for the delegator. This is a function of not having the processes or the machine defined as well as it should be. To make delegation work, you must spend time designing your business, working on not just in it.  

In general, the company should be spending:

  • 10% of available time designing the system
  • 20% of available time delegating and deciding.
  • 70% of available time doing the work

As a team, this is how you spend your time: if you have people you delegate the doing to, you will spend more of your time on design and delegation. The more time you spend designing, the more effective the delegation becomes and the more work you get done.

Make sense?  Read more about delegation here.

From Around the Web

  • ✉️ Expectations are key: Apparently, on average, off-hour email recipients believe they have to respond 36% faster than senders expect. Setting clear expectations can help with burnout communication and getting things done. Click here to read the article.
  • 👥 Displacing Amazon? Okay, the independents have a way to go, but Shopify recorded more average visitors to their platform (1.16 billion) than Amazon (1.1 billion). Is this a sign that small players can compete with the giant?   
  • 🛝 Looking for a new gig?  How about a water park in the middle of the Mojave desert?  Add water and people, and you may have something.  All of this can be yours for a cool $11 million. Read more.

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