01 Oct We’re All Running a Pyramid Scheme
I am going to let you in on a little secret.
If you are in business, you are operating within the context of a pyramid scheme.
I am not talking about the multi-level marketing or pyramid business models that promise people they can become millionaires or drive a fancy car if they use some secret formula or social media magic.
I am referring to a concept that I like to call The Positioning Pyramid.
The Positioning Pyramid is a pretty powerful concept that has helped many people in the Business Owner Tribe make the transition from zero to 100 in a relatively short period of time. Everyone starts at the bottom of the pyramid, but to get to the top takes extra, special effort. Most of the effort should be developing a laser-like focus on doing one thing – and only one thing – exceptionally well.
The thought process that suggests a business owner center his or her efforts on doing one thing is not new. In fact, it’s the basis of nearly every successful business. Think about it: McDonald’s did so well for so long because the corporation focused on making tasty hamburgers and serving them to people who don’t mind eating food that is delivered to them out of a window. Facebook is the mega social network it is because it singularly focused on finding new ways to connect people to their family, friends and interests (at least in its early days).
It is not rocket science. Yet, when you are brand new to the Business Owner Tribe, there is often pressure to try to be all things to everyone. There is pressure to feel as if you should lower rates to be competitive with others who offer the same or similar services. Moreover, there is pressure to expand your service or product offerings to accommodate customer requests or feel competitive in the marketplace.
In the early days of DENOR Brands & Public Relations, the boutique public relations and branding agency I founded and manage, I offered a lot of services because I thought that would make me more attractive to the people, brands and organizations I sought to serve. I thought that if I offered more (and more) to a potential client that would make them choose me over one of my competitors.
I thought that if I offered more, I would eventually get more of the pie – the quintessential pie that represents the American entrepreneur’s dream of business success, time, freedom, financial wealth and all around happiness.
I can tell you now: that is NOT what happened.
Most of the time, when I promised the world to my clients, I delivered. Because I am outright determined to be successful and to make sure my clients see great results, I did everything in my power to make good on what I promised. I offered more and then some, often without much of an increase in my fee, and without regard to how much time I was giving away for so very little. They ended up happy.
I ended up burnt out. The business model I had created was broken. I was frustrated. I was jaded. I was overtired. The stress of it all even caused my hair to fall out. I was not walking in my purpose. And, worst of all – if being out of purpose wasn’t bad enough – I was broke. Dead broke. I had to rely on my dear, sweet father to help me through my rough spots. I am still trying to find ways to repay him for the kindness and generosity he has extended to me over the years.
And get this: I am not too far removed from these dark days.
One day I took a hard look at my life and my business. I realized I had less than one dollar in my bank account. By many measures, I was a success. I had gotten my clients several national media placements, helped build dynamic brands, and executed some super effective and engaging communications campaigns. But, I did not have it all together. I tried to get a business loan and the banker told me she was surprised that I was not farther along financially. Needless to say, I did not get the loan.
I had to make a quick decision: keep doing what I had been doing, which garnered me a lot of exposure and access to great people, but provided little profit and no time nor freedom. Or I could change and become a happier, more fulfilled and better paid tribe member.
I chose the latter.
You can, too.
Sound off. Tell me how you will choose to become a happier, more fulfilled Business Owner Tribe member in my Facebook group, #LiveYourBrand?