Over the past few decades I’ve been introduced to so many different educational concepts, business start-ups, ideas to change the world and so much more. Once I heard the idea I would make a quick judgement about whether or not they had a chance to succeed. Now, I can’t say that I’ve been right 100% of the time, but my judgement has been pretty good based on a number of factors, including the skills of the founders. There is one other criteria that I’ve noticed recently as well, which is the concept of ideas that are simple, but not easy.
Many of the educational concepts, business start-ups and ideas to change the world we complicated, and very few of them were simple. The ones that I’ve liked tend to be simple. Please don’t confuse simple with easy, they’re not the same thing. Over the past 6 months I’ve been talking to hundreds of people about 5 Dots and the concept of business development as a service. How do I just be myself every day and get paid for that. So, I’ve created a simple image that talks about business development as a process. The more I talk with people about it the more I focus on this phrase; It’s simple, but it’s not easy!
It starts with the simple concept of relationship development. How hard can it be to develop a relationship? I’ve realized that most people I meet can’t develop deep relationships because they don’t have a relationship with themselves! In order to develop relationships you need to understand who you are, how you relate to others and that not everyone is like you. We need to adapt and be focused on being interested and not interesting, and we need to genuinely care about the other person. It took me a very long time to learn about these things. Today, I focus a tremendous amount of energy on establishing deep relationships for the right reasons. I happen to focus on those people that have shared common purpose, those people who want to change the world, and I’m meeting some of the most amazing people of my life.
The next two steps go hand in hand. Once you know who your ideal client is, or your target market, you can begin to craft a story that is concise, compelling and consistent. Someone recommended a book to me a few months ago called Selling to Zebras. If you don’t have a very clear idea of who your ideal client is then selling becomes so much harder. This sounds simple, but companies can spend years not knowing who their ideal client is, and once they do the wheels start spinning so much faster. The art of storytelling is a journey on it’s own. Some of us love telling stories, yet crafting compelling ones is not easy.
The fourth dot in the 5 Dots methodology is strategic alliances. In my opinion, this is the single, most powerful business building concept that exists on this planet. If you can identify those companies or people that have your ideal client as their client, and they don’t compete with your offering, you have found gold! Again, this sounds simple, but finding those key strategic alliance partners that share a common client and are willing to open their doors for you can be critical to long-term sustainable success. Our last business, 4-Profit, was totally dependent on our relationships with major manufacturers like Cisco, IBM, Tech Data and others to make introductions to their clients. They wanted us to help their clients run better businesses because they didn’t know how to do that themselves. It was a total win/win/win relationship between the manufacturer, 4-Profit and the IT reseller.
The final dot is really simple, relationship management. There are entire books written about this subject and so many CRM systems on the market it can make your head spin. Again, this is a simple process but not easy. In addition to the dots, the 5 Dots methodology has 3 desired outcomes; helps our clients gain new business, deepen relationships with existing clients and help people recruit better talent. To me, the 5 Dots process is dedicated to those desired outcomes. When I show this image to people they smile and say “that makes a ton of sense” and we have a great conversation. The concept seems very simple, but you can spend a life-time trying to master any one of the pieces.
So, are you working on ideas that are simple or complicated? I believe most worthwhile projects are not easy, so I would focus on the simple ones.
To connecting the dots ….. one dot at a time!