Start Here: Your Brand Is Your Leverage in 2020.
Updated: Apr 17, 2020
Startups and new product launches always have an uphill journey, and I believe that’s what makes them great! But that doesn’t mean the journey has to be any longer, or harder than necessary. On the contrary, there are those who can seemingly churn out new businesses and successful products like they come out of a mold. That concept has always fascinated me...
We all have 24 hours in a day
We all have 24 hours in a day, some of us build empires, and some of us struggle to get the laundry done, or maybe a little of both! If you're reading this post, I'm sure you lean more toward an empire builder, or at least you aspire to. But really, the operative question is this. If Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, or Sheryl Sandberg COO of Facebook, or some other exceptionally high performer sat down in your chair, and took on your project, job, or business, how do you think they would do?
Of course, the answer I'm leading you toward is: he or she would probably do a lot better than you right now. The exact same is probably true for me as well. We all have 24 hours in a day, why do some get exponentially more done in a day? Sure, working harder helps, but only so much, and it definitely cannot account for the seemingly exponential results some of us are able to accomplish, compared to others who work similar hours, with similar educations.
What Do the Greats Do Differently?
Since the age of 16, I've had two goals primarily, 1. to race motorsports, and 2. to own my own business. Since then, I feel like I'm just getting started with both, even though I'm a multi time state champion motocross racer, (ex motocross racer) and accomplished entrepreneur. But do we ever really arrive at any sort of meaningful destinations in life? The longer I live, the more the cliche "it's about the journey" rings true.
My point is, since the age of 16, I estimate I've read over 500 books on leadership, business, marketing, etc. and while I'm not on Elon or Sheryl's level, my marketing and product launch "algorithm" has been proven with repeatable and consistent results. I estimate that I've generated an additional $10M in revenue, I've helped raise $2.4M in funding and $140,000 in grants. But could this really be a repeatable algorithm? YES.
*Algorithm is just a fancy way of saying pattern, or set of rules, but a.i. (artificial intelligence) is coming quickly and it runs exclusively on algorithms, so let's practice the lingo. :)
Success Leave Clues
I always knew marketing would be my sharpest sword in my arsenal. It always made sense to me, especially digital marketing. I was marketing professionally when the internet was quite young, from my first ebay store at age 16, to my first e-commerce website in the powersports niche. We went from $0 to $60,000 per month in about 2 years. When our competitors had mega stores with thousands of SKUs, I curated a limited collection of high quality race parts and sold them at premium prices. Since then, I've gone on to launch several successful national/globally distributed products.
It's Hard to Stop A Movement
The $140,000 grant winner is an environmental tech company with a brilliant inventor CEO, and a solid patent on a highly adaptive and powerful, biological water cleaning system. The test data from Princeton Univ and Smithsonian suggest we can clean up to 80% of the worlds polluted freshwater for nearly half the price of current systems. We're currently being looked at by several, billion dollar companies for investment and acquisition. I say we because my marketing results have earned early shares in the project.
Alas the industrial world moves slowly, but no hurry no worries, good things take time to mature. Meanwhile, we're making sales, compiling solid data and refining the product.
The Team Is The Opportunity
This project is powerful because it’s backed by a movement of highly dedicated people (several PhDs) who are on a mission. Sometimes things that ramp up quickly, also die quickly. But this one has a great combination of purpose and momentum that gains a little momentum daily, with no sign of stopping.
Million Dollar Branding Tip* Lasting brands are typically built around a movement and the collective of people dedicated to a cause that transcends the product, or business itself. You just read this statement, how many of you will act on it?
Avoid the Crowded Marketplace
Another big winner was a health and wellness product I co-launched. We saw Himalayan salt lamps going gangbusters, so we modified the product into a more useful adaptation and called it the "Heated Massage Therapy Kit," and we sold a million of them to Bed Bath & Beyond and Sam's Club. While the world was clamoring to get on Amazon, we walked right into fortune 500 retailers and happily took million dollar checks in exchange for our goods.
Another theme you will hear me repeat is to avoid the crowded marketplace. Unless you got there before it was crowded, tread carefully, otherwise your lack of acumen will typically force you to compete on price, which is almost always a losing proposition. On the other hand, the internet represents infinite whitespace, so your website, (not your FB, or Instagram page) represent virtually unlimited income opportunity, for those who can see through the matrix and play the attention markets. More on this in an upcoming message about real brand value and equity.
Market Fit First (Always)
It can be easy to fall in love with ideas, but how they map out in the real world is almost never the way they first hit our brain. Don’t get me wrong, every great product starts with an idea, but don’t fall prey to idea-romanticism. If there is one core algorithm I use, it goes like this:
Product to Market Fit First (facts, not assumptions in the form of tangible market research)
Deep dive into market mindset, what are they thinking, what are their needs?
Where are they already shopping?
What are they already shopping for that is similar?
Produce, Create & Promote stories toward the people you’ve qualified via the first four steps! The same process can be applied to any product, or launch. Period.
Once you get these concepts dialed, it just becomes a process of iteration and testing. Truth is, most projects and products don't survive the journey to profits, and that's because, it can be a long road, especially if you're starting way off the target because you didn't use my five steps, and especially, especially, especially if you're the only stakeholder. The team is the opportunity.
The Real Success Algorithm
I've read enough books and autobiographies to understand that the final algorithm to great accomplishment is to know your strengths, double down on them, and competently outsource the rest. So what if you've been a jack of all trades up until now? GREAT, this gives you a broad knowledge base so you can competently link up with and also appreciate the efforts of said experts, Ideally they hold skills in the areas you wish to outsource, just make sure you outsource competently.
The Business Profile Of a Billionaire
I could personally care less if I make a billion dollars in my life, even though my shares with EcoIslands could make that a possibility one day, but it's not on my mind much these days. As long as I’m making a positive difference in people’s lives, racing cars and doing work I care about. I feel as rich, or richer than anyone I know, or know of.
Did you watch that Joe Rogan podcast with Elon Musk? He didn’t seem that happy. I wonder if he’s really fulfilled. Or did he just build a life that looks good on paper? Ironically, our water cleaning technology is a powerhouse for recycling drinking water, so yes NASA scientists have been specifying our tech for long term space missions. So maybe when/if I get to meet Elon, I’ll get more of a true pulse check on the real Iron man.
The Billionaire’s Algorithm
The common denominator I see in most billionaires is that they typically own less than 25% of the companies they launch, or operate. Why? Because they recognize how important it is to give good talent a vested stake in the game to work hard to accomplish a common goal.
While I'm not Musk, or Sandberg, I have to ask you, who is on your team? What playbook are you working with? Where could you be outsourcing, or delegating to free up your time in order to work on your area of genius and what really matters to you.
What Are You Working On?
Is there a project, or mission that is wanting to come through you? Have you been waiting for the right time to take action? I am accepting new clients. While I’m in between major projects, I like to help small businesses and startups as much as I can. If you want to come through my program, check out Ignite-MyBusiness.com.
You’ll learn from my failures, as well as my wins, and most importantly you’ll have a real business plan based for the hyper connected world we live in today. I’ll guide you through the five steps I outlined above, and we can even build your marketing to get your project off on the right foot. All from a team who was wired into the internet since its inception. Safe to say, this ain’t your grandfathers Harvard MBA business plan written on parchment paper.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it.