It’s strange how our brains all work differently. Sue and I have been to the cinema quite a lot recently and our views on some of the films we’ve seen have varied hugely. I saw my beloved Leeds United play last month and in the post-match analysis after the game my friend and I had wildly different views on the performance and the contribution of one particular player. In all these cases, we’d all seen the same things yet interpreted them in different ways and there were different key points or elements that had resonated with us.
So I’ve discovered it is with EC.
I’ve lost count of the number of times members have told me that a particular line I have said or written has had an especially big impact. Most of the time, I find that it isn’t the line that I thought was the most important or profound in that particular presentation or article – but it was the one that resonated with them and that’s what counts.
And so it was with one of my conversations with Sir Richard Branson at the back end of last year (apologies for name dropping but there’s an important message here and it did all begin with my chat with him!).
You’ll recall that I spent two whole days with the great man in Jamaica and although I didn’t realise it at the time, it turns out my subconscious brain has been feasting on one particular sentence from our cosy lunchtime chat. We’d been talking about the large number of different Virgin businesses and in particular some of the ones that hadn’t made it big when he said to me ‘once you’ve got a model that works it’s all about amplification’.
I’m sure at the time I just nodded and agreed and the conversation moved on but this sentence has been bouncing round my head every day since and it’s starting to manifest itself now in the changes that we’re making to the Entrepreneur’s Circle. After all, we have a model that works…
Now, you don’t have to be talking about global domination here. Amplification applies just as much at a local level. What would have to happen for you to be the obvious, preferred choice for whatever it is that you do in your area, for instance?
Well, for starters, all the relevant people in your area are going to have to know about what you do and why you’d be perfect for them. Amplification of your message.
Now, to serve significantly more customers you’ll need bigger capacity, which will require more people and, without doubt, robust processes but that’s rarely the bit that stops entrepreneurs becoming big. What gets in the way and acts like a Berlin Wall in many businesses is the lack of any meaningful attempt at amplification.
That metaphorical barbed wire topped, twelve-foot-high concrete corral keeps your dreams and goals blocked out and your existing day-to-day life locked in.
In many cases, escape from this self-made incarceration is all about amplification.
Of course, you have to amplify the right message and, I guess, do it in the right way but the truth is your business, just like mine, is still a pretty well kept secret for most of the people in your market yet you offer a great service, at really good prices… if only every buyer had you in their mind at the point at which they’re making decisions about their purchase, eh?
Now, I’m not suggesting it’s an easy fix. My solution to amplifi cation has required considerable strategic thought and non-trivial investment in time, money and people. But, you see, success leaves clues. Sir Richard wasn’t gifted some miracle gene that decreed his global success in business. The truth is, he’s just an ordinary guy who’s done some extraordinary things and, looking back when he had a model that worked he amplified it – in spades.
We’re all capable of that in our own markets and in our own worlds.