Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.
“Leverage is like Star Wars’ ‘The Force’: It’s what entrepreneurs do to become successful, it’s all around us, but we don’t recognize it as such. But if you understand it and learn its power, then you are able to make much more consistent, strategic and proactive use of it.”
Rick Spence, former editor of Profit Magazine and now a consultant to business owners wrote those words in an e-mail to me after receiving the last issue of Business Pros Marketing.
Rick is right, we don’t recognize it, but it is what successful entrepreneurs do. Almost every time they do something, they find ways to turn a small amount of input into a large output. They find opportunities where most people don’t think to look.
So where do we begin to look for leverage opportunities?
Every asset we have is leverageable. In the last issue of Business Pros Marketing, I mentioned time as being the scarcest and most important for entrepreneurs to master (# 43, Leveraging Time; How To Avoid Being Busy And Broke).
But what else can we leverage?
Under-utilized assets like intellectual property. What are all the ways you can re-use or re-purpose your intellectual property? Re-purposing your intellectual property so that you can offer it as educational material for prospects or products for sales are examples.
Richard Branson has leveraged the Virgin brand to the point where he literally has hundreds of businesses using the Virgin name and every one of them generates cash for him, whenever a Virgin branded product is sold.
How about trade secrets? If you own some unique know how, can you license it to people who don’t compete with you?
What about your client base? Are you only selling customers one thing, or only selling them what you can make? What else can you sell them that is complimentary to what you do? Are there people who would like to sell products to your customer base?
Referrals are also a way of leveraging your client base and the good will of your customers.
If you have unconverted leads that you know you will not buy what you sell, why not sell them to someone else who might be able to close them? Or you might consider a joint venture and do it on a profit sharing basis.
Your marketing is highly leverageable. It often costs nothing to take a modestly performing marketing activity and turn it into a winner. Most of us accept whatever result we get, but the key to success is to constantly ratchet up performance with continuous testing of small incremental improvements.
What about other people’s assets, how can you leverage those? One of the easiest is the investment they have in their customer base. How many thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars have they spent in building their client base? If you can do a joint venture with people who are successful in your target market, you can tap into that investment immediately without anything like the expense it would take to build it on your own. What’s more you are tapping into a customer base that is pre-disposed to buying, as they are already buying from your joint venture partner.
Many businesses have intellectual property they don’t sell, but would be happy to give away in order to promote themselves. How can you access this information to provide something of value to your own customers?
As you see the list is endless.
Begin to look around for opportunities to multiply the effect of what you do. Don’t settle for anything just because most of the people in your industry do it that way. Find a new way to do it that provides you with leverage.
The Search for a Silver Bullet for Business Growth
“I don’t think there are any silver bullets when it comes to business advice. The main thing I advocate is to be contemplative about your business. Wake up early every day and go to bed late. Spend the time in between thinking about what’s going on in your business and what you can do to improve it. Create an organization that’s contemplative as well, that thinks about how to do things better and takes the initiative to implement the improvement.”
Ben Bradley, Growingco.com