Stealing from Seth Godin

I’ve been wrestling with a problem for a while:

“Who is this for?”

We all know that trying to be everything to everyone is a bad plan. You can’t please all the people, all the time (I’d be happy to please my wife at least some of the time).

Trouble is, when you set up a business, you DO need to pick someone and something – and that’s scary as hell.

When your business could be for anyone – how are you meant to focus in on what matters?

I’ve been struggling with this recently. I’ve managed to avoid dealing with it by distracting myself with email writing, social media posts and blitzing episodes of “Brooklyn 99” (in case you think I have my shit together).

But I’ve been giving it a bit more thought this week, and I had a bit of a breakthrough…

“People like us do things like this”

(Seth Godin, in case you think I came up with that)

Those 7 words are on the back cover of his latest book, “This is Marketing” (Ordered a few weeks ago, still not started it yet…damn, why am I so honest in emails?). They got me thinking – what would my version of this be?

How would I do this?

Wait…

“How WOULD I do this?”

“How would I do this?”

That’s it. The entire * INSERT GAG HERE * philosophy summed up in a question…

HOW WOULD I DO THIS?

It’s not just about being funny or using comedy techniques. It’s about stripping away the formality and putting more “you” into your business, so your customers have a sense of who you are and what you’re about.

They need a reason to choose you. No one wants to win by default. As a business plan, “winning by default” ranks somewhere between putting your business card on the noticeboard of your local W.I. and asking your Uncle Frank to set you up a MySpace page.

But wait, there’s more…

When you start asking “How would I do this?”, you no longer have to start from scratch. No more staring awkwardly at the blank page and mocking cursor, desperately waiting for inspiration to strike.

You can look at what everyone else is putting out and use it for inspiration for your own ideas.

“Wait a second… isn’t this cheating?”

It’s not stealing, lazy, or dishonourable. Of course, it can be, but if you study other people, respect their ideas and genuinely transform them to make your customers lives better…

That’s how you borrow from others, and it all starts with a simple question:

How would I do this?