Listen to the very best of Alan's podcasts:
Psychographics and selling more effectively
Alan focuses in on owner managed businesses that want to scale up. While many early stage entrepreneurs think of scaling up from the beginning the MVA approach is about first niching down and getting really focused on who you want to serve. One aspect of this is to think about demographics and targeting your audience based on traits like age, geography, education, gender and income. This helps you define who you want to appeal to. However, to understand what motivates and moves these people, you also need to think about psychographics and explore their needs, wants and behaviours. Understanding why people really want what you offer will help you communicate what you do in a much more effective and engaging way. By putting out the right messages you won’t want to have to go hunt for your customers they’ll be looking for you.
Developing a culture of self responsibility - how the heck should organisations do that?!
In this 45-minute conversation with Alan explores the legacy of command and control, KPIs and the rigidity of 20th century management thinking. He moves on to what is a realistic goal for uber large or highly regulated organisations, in terms of self responsibility, and how to handle organisations driven by big personalities where leaders are ‘leading hard’ and the transition to distributed power feels large. Other questions he raises concern whether it is literally a case that the more the self responsibility the better (short answer = no) and why (despite the rush for experimentation) developing self responsibility requires a more gradual change and the case for ‘pre-paving’ for the change. Hear Alan troubleshoot and take the listener through a range of real world examples of where self responsibility has got stuck.
What I've learnt from working with 1000 start ups
Alan talks about the relationship to money of the leaders of the organisation - how that transcends both start ups and large organisations, as well as what big companies can learn from start ups about team size. He moves on to exploring the power and curse of a start up style ‘force of nature’ personality in your leadership team - how to handle it, how to use it, plus the concept of “Partneritis” and how that can handcuff large companies too. At the end, he covers wow to develop self-responsibility when people feel far away from the results of their actions in a large company.
The minimum viable audience
When you're launching a new product or business you're going to want to focus down on who you really want to help because if you talk to everyone you talk to no one. In this episode, Alan discusses the idea of the minimum viable audience. Rather than trying to go broad and sell to everyone you should pick the people who'll love what you do and find out what their dreams, wishes, hopes and fears are. All too often entrepreneurs start with an idea and then try to push it onto anyone in earshot. Instead be clear about who you want to help and what you want to help them with. You can then develop the right product and position it in the right way so your audience understands what you offer and the value it provides. This will make selling more effortless. You may only need 1,000 or even 100 customers to make a successful business. But unless you can define your MVA, you'll never know.
How much should people pay me for what I do?
Pricing and charging are often seen as the same thing. They're not. Pricing a product or service is a strategic decision, whereas charging is tactical. Pricing products and services needs research, planning and thought. For example, the Recommended or Suggested Retail Price of a product, the “Rack Rate” of a hotel, or the headline hourly or daily rates of a service. Setting the price for that product or service sets its perceived value, i.e. how it’s positioned in the marketplace. What a business charges for that product or service can be varied or altered according to circumstances. For example Uber uses "surge pricing" during busy periods, while many retailers have sales from time-to-time. If discounting, it's crucial always to show the full price, as well as any discount, so that the original perceived value is not lost. So it’s really important that pricing of products and services is carefully thought through - i.e. a strategic decision - it says what you, as a business owner, value your products or services at.
Stay hungry, stay learning
Alan interviews Chad Pytel (CEO of thougthbot) on the lessons learned from starting the organization, company methodology, and looking towards the challenges & opportunities of the future.