Can you recall the last time you bought a new car? I’ll bet that almost as soon as you paid for it an amazing thing began to happen. The exact same model of vehicle started to pass you on the road, a few more began to show up parked in your neighbourhood and you might even have had a spot of trouble telling your newly delivered car apart from a near identical one at the local shopping centre!
The recently-accepted scientific term for this phenomenon is “frequency illusion”. As the term suggests the explanation for this is no more “magical” than our brains’ natural prejudice towards patterns. Our brains are fantastic pattern recognition engines, a characteristic which is highly useful for learning, but it does cause the brain to lend excessive importance to unremarkable events (no disrespect intended in relation to your choice of motor vehicle!).
There is however a way of utilising this “pattern recognition” skill to advantage for your business. Let’s imagine your business feels like it’s in need of a lucky break. It might be some time since you picked up a significant new client or contract, or you might be in a situation where your current customer base is delivering increasingly marginal returns on your investment of time and money. In short, something needs to shift.
Most businesses at this point find themselves casting the net increasingly widely in the hope of picking up that game-changing deal.
Why not take a counter-intuitive approach and start to develop a clear understanding and a specific focus on exactly what that perfect opportunity looks like? Rest assured that the more clearly you figure out what you are looking for, the more quickly and reliably your pattern recognition engine will identify the opportunity when it presents itself.
The other trick is to realize that for attraction to work you need to consider both sides of the coin: to maximise the effect you need to look just like the type of business that would be most attractive to the opportunity that you are seeking. So what are your ideal clients looking for? They want their problems solved! This is where Positioning comes in!
Positioning is a marketing strategy that aims to make your business occupy a distinct space relative to competing businesses, in the mind of the customer. You might be surprised to discover that you already have a market Position. Want to know what your current Position is? Buck up the courage and ask your current clients and customers! If your current Position solves your ideal clients’ or customers’ problem(s) then great – you might just need a refresh. If not, it might be time to re-Position!
Once you know exactly what clients or customers you want and your business looks just like what your ideal clients or customers need, then it’s just a matter of time waiting for your “lucky break” to come along…..
Article By Peter Wilkinson
Director – Tipping Point Advisory
Peter Wilkinson founded SamWilko Advisory in 2012 to address capability challenges in the Engineering and Construction industry.
Over 30 years in the private and public sectors Peter has seen many good small and medium sized enterprises in the industry fail to transition through the “tipping point” to become great businesses.
He has also seen many successful tenders badly transitioned into the project phase and a host of major projects fail to get off the ground quickly enough.
The cost to business in terms of lost time and opportunity translates to hundreds of millions of dollars.
What’s the common thread? It’s all about Strategy. Knowing what needs to be done, but more importantly knowing the order in which each task or project needs to be done, is the essence of a successful and well-executed strategy.
There are more effective ways to grow great businesses, win bids and deliver successful projects.
Peter Wilkinson draws on over 30 years of experience as a consulting engineer, project advisor and business mentor in offering leadership, project advisory and coaching services.