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EJ3 – Prologue Excerpt

Posted on Tuesday, Sep 8th

Positioning: How To Test, Validate, And Bring Your Idea To Market Now Available From Amazon

Prologue Excerpt:

Whatever you do, do not spray and pray.

While I devoted Volume Two to bootstrapping and capital efficient entrepreneurship, this volume is specifically focused on the topic of positioning, a discipline entrepreneurs need to master if they have any aspirations of raising money. Even in building a company with limited resources, a crisp positioning is essential to avoid the spray and pray that sucks up resources, while delivering little more than the kiss of death.

Professional investors – especially venture capitalists – demand three things to validate an investment: market, team, and technology. The priority of the three varies. Some prefer a strong team over a well-defined market opportunity. Others put market first. I belong to the latter camp. Too many times have I seen great entrepreneurs beating their heads against markets that simply do not exist; too many times have I seen solutions from great technologists searching for problems to solve.

The greatest tool I have found in defining a cost-efficient Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy is segmentation. Tightly segment your market, finding niches where your product or service has immediate applicability and minimum competition, and your chance of success goes up exponentially.

Furthermore, positioning needs to be looked at as a holistic effort, spanning not only value proposition, messaging, and competitive strategy, but also pricing and channel implications. If you have a $5,000 product, direct sales are off the table. Imagine having to visit every customer five times to close a $5,000 deal? Not cost-effective. Doesn’t make business sense.

In this volume everything is about accuracy, about knowing your customer rather than guessing at who they might be. You will hear Matthias Mischke narrow Stardoll’s focus to girls age 8-18. Siva Kumar focuses TheFind on Internet-savvy women in the 25-45 age group with a household income over $80,000. Later, Jim Heeger explains how PayCycle acquires its small business customers. With similarly crisp segmentation, targeting only those businesses with fewer than 20 employees, PayCycle needed a way to reach clients without high-touch direct selling, or even telesales. Jim offers the how.

As you follow the roadmap these case studies offer, notice the commonality of sharp positioning and undeniable success. By analyzing their markets and ecosystems with laser-like accuracy, clearly articulating the exact problem they solve and how their solution differs from the competition, they have gained unfettered access to hungry customers and even hungrier VCs. All by making clear that their market opportunity is no gray area; it is precise, and not so patiently waiting.

As for the format of this volume, as before, I have provided case studies and in-depth strategy discussions with experienced entrepreneurs in four broad segments. My choice of segments is based on three key criteria: (a) current and substantial entrepreneurial activity (b) remaining entrepreneurial opportunity, and (c) viability of bootstrapped entrepreneurship. My goal in choosing these segments is to give you somewhat concrete pointers to where, if you dig, you may find gold.

Press Contact:
Maureen Kelly

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