Author Archives: Marin Reynolds

How to Succeed in Business, Part 2 of 3

Winthrop Jeanfreau

Director, UVU Business Resource Center

 

As we discussed last month, success in business is achieved by solving a problem that exists in the market place, doing so in a unique way and offering a value proposition recognized by the audience with the problem. We focused on how to spot problems that need solving… niches in the market that are left begging for a solution, or more frequently, a meaningful improvement to an existing solution. This edition of How to Succeed in Business will focus on what providing a unique solution really means.

 

For example, I had an earnest client come into my office seeking my assistance to fund his “unique” solution to central processing unit (CPU) for use in our personal computing devices. The CPU is the electric brain that crunches through the ones and zeros that make up machine language that is the basis for all of our programs. One of the key measurements of a computers value is the speed with which it crunches through those numbers. The two major players in this space are Intel and AMD, formidable competitors. So you can understand why I listened to his solution with some degree of skepticism.

 

His solution was to build a faster chip. I was curious to learn if he had developed the next generation of quantum chips, so I probed his claim. I asked if he had indeed developed a breakthrough chip architecture that would push more digits through the chip per clock cycle, or if he was going to increase the clock cycle to improve performance, or both. His response was that he was simply going to create a faster chip and he’d like my help raising the $1 Billion necessary to do so. You can imagine my consternation at having my time wasted by such a wild, unfounded claim.

 

However, as outlandish as this attempt at a unique solution was, I get the much more frequent, but every bit as earnest claims that a client can build the same solution for less. Although price is a compelling element in the purchasing process, competing on price alone is usually the slow spiral of death for the undercapitalized competitor, which is usually the new entrant into the market.

 

What I’m referring to in the “unique solutions” category is to offer something not currently in the market, or to “reinvent” something in such a way that it becomes a truly unique offering. An example of this later type of innovation might be the reinventing of something as common as an arm sling, the kind you wear after you’ve broken a wing doing something interesting.

 

Type “arm sling” into Amazon and you get 2,222 results. It’s a space that is literally inundated with offerings, all hovering around the $19.99 price point. With that much competition, where is the opportunity for a “unique” solution, much less a making money one?

 

One way you might solve the problem of immobilizing an injured arm is to appeal to something other than immobilization. For example, I’ve found myself in need of just this type of equipment a number of times in my life. Invariably, I am asked what happened, to which I rehearse the event in as flattering a narrative as I can get away with.

 

What if, instead of an innocuous blue sling, I had a picture of my accident silk screened onto the sling itself? What if my sling became a poster for the kind of lifestyle I live, and a badge of honor for how fully I live my life?… a life so well lived on the cutting edge of danger, that I occasionally break my body in pursuit of a meaningful adrenaline rush.

 

Instead of an instrument of healing, which it still is, it has been transformed into a badge of honor. Appealing to my vanity, and advertising my lifestyle by offering a glimpse into the B.A. that I think I am. In fact, the sling could come with a website address, populated with all the other images and video capturing the nuances and detail of the injury, also contributing to my persona as “one bad dude”.

 

This solution won’t appeal to everyone, but 14 to 30 year old men would eat it up, and they’ll have more than enough images captured on their friend’s smartphones and GoPro cameras to fill the website.

Where would one advertise our sling and what messaging would we use to address this audience? That answer becomes pretty self-evident… anywhere these individuals participate in activities where there’s a higher than average chance they’ll break their arms.

 

Now the question that remains to be answered is how much to charge for such a unique solution to a fairly common problem. We’ll address this last element in next month’s article.

 

In the meantime, if you feel you’ve identified a unique solution to an existing problem, would like a reality check and possibly some help polishing and monetizing it, come to the UVU Business Resource Center for our assistance.

G2M Phase IV – Revenue Accelerator

Now that you’ve validated your idea, developed your business model and begun putting your business model into action, we invite you to attend Phase IV — sales acceleration.

You will be taught by one of the national leaders in sales acceleration training, Griffin Hill. Their Integrity Sales System is the most complete sales methodology available. Their six step sales process brings immediate and sustained results using a clear path to move from one step to the next. Companies like IntegraCore of Salt Lake City increased their new sales by 300% in their first five months of use, using this proven method for increasing sales success.

The Integrity Sales System is based on the principle that high performance is the outcome of systematic adherence to natural law.  This system focuses leaders and employees on consistent actions that govern success.  Adhering to these natural laws and high leverage activities help their client’s experience rapid, substantial and sustainable revenue growth.

This revenue acceleration course is taught in a 12 consecutive week format, for one hour each Monday morning, beginning promptly at 9 AM in our main conference room.

The $3,500 tuition is waved for qualifying students and their staff. To qualify for this free training, one member of your company must have graduated through the previous Phases of the G2M program and commit to attend entire training program. Seating is limited. Preference will be given to recent graduates of Phase lll, with the balance of available seats open to alumni graduates of G2M.

To register, call or email Marin Reynolds at 801-863-2720 or mreynolds@uvu.edu.

How to Succeed in Business, Part 1 of 3

Winthrop Jeanfreau

There are myriad books that titillate us with the promise of riches through some unique formula or insight recently discovered by the flavor of the month “expert” on the topic. Some of these experts promise to reveal rediscovered ancient wisdom. Some refer to the latest academic discovery on how to manipulate customers into frenzied purchasing. Others promise wealth through a “system” that, once mastered, will open heaven’s gate to perpetual wealth.

I’ve sat through hundreds of presentations by these “so called” experts, and read widely on the topic of business success. In the end, I’ve come to the defensible conclusion that the only path to success in business is to find the answer to three questions, and then execute on those answer as flawlessly as possible.

The questions are simple to ask, but difficult to answer, and when I say answer, what I’m REALLY meaning is the kind of answer that is of the bedrock variety… the kind you have an emotive response to, that you know is true deep in your bones.

Without the kind of conviction that comes from those sorts of answers, you’ll never develop the resolve necessary to carry through on your intentions and be able to weather the opposition to your resolve that will always manifest itself, and do so at the time you’re least prepared to deal with it.

When you develop that kind of conviction… the kind that only comes from discovering the capital T kind of truth, you become an unstoppable whirling dervish of momentum, capable of moving mountains and withstanding even the most ardent naysayers.

The questions I’ve had to find the answers to for every one of the businesses I’ve started and managed to success are:

  1. What problem am I solving?
  2. How am I solving it uniquely?
  3. What is the value proposition that my potential customers recognize as meaningful and compelling?

As I mentioned, the questions ask easy, but they answer hard.

The answers to these questions are most always elusive, and it’s VERY common for those seeking their answers to pacify themselves with poorly researched conclusions or half-truths. Actually identifying a problem that no one else is addressing is rare. That kind of brilliant insight is what the US Patent Office refers to as a “moment of genius”. The discovery of the shape of the human DNA is that sort of discovery.

Most of our “moments of genius” are of the evolutionary rather than revolutionary type. But they can be just as financially rewarding. The evolutionary type of problem solving occurs when you find creative ways to put existing things together. Like when it became obvious to us ALL that it made WAY more sense to combine the personal digital assistant, mp3 player, web browsing, modestly powerful computer, point and shoot camera and mobile phone into one device. Hence the landslide adoption of the smart phone… something now, that most of us find impossible to live without.

For the sake of time let’s skip the debate about the social impact our smartphones are having on the social fabric of our society, families and personal relationships. That small issue aside, these devices are GENIUS!!! Just like combining a bun with a burger, Oreos with ice-cream or and entertainment system to a car, being attune to the opportunity to innovatively finding a solution to a “problem”, usually by improving something that already exists to address it, is what entrepreneurship is all about.

What matters most here is that the problem is real, that there are lots of people with the problem and that your solution is demonstrably different than those currently developed to address that problem.

There are countless books on the topic of innovation and how to develop the perception necessary to identify an unfilled niche. Some of you were born with that innate ability to see those opportunities. However, most of us can train ourselves to become better at it and, with some properly applied analysis, make sure we don’t drink our own cool-aid, or put on our rose colored glasses.

Seeking the truth about our unique solution to the problem, once discovered, is what we’ll discuss next month. Until then, if you feel you’ve discovered gold in “them thar hills”, feel free to come to the UVU Business Resource Center for a reality check. The opinion is free and may save you meaningful time and money on your journey to discovering the business you were born to succeed at.