As any entrepreneur knows there’s always the initial big push to find the right product and service for your customers. Most of the time it’s not the first try of your product, but the results of multiple testing and experiments of getting it right in solving a problem and then improving it over time.
As with anything, nothing ever sits still. Or does it?
But there is one thing which can stifle the growth of your business: Your bureaucracy.
No different from a big, bloated government.
I was reading an article today, and you’ll see it below. Here’s what I see as the three stages of branding.
1. Brand Search – creative dissonance
Branding your business is searching for a product or service that follows your business mantra. As Steve Blank states, you search for a business model that you’re able to translate your idea into a viable business, and catches people’s eyes and ears to solving their problem(s). Both your product/service and branding are the “hand in glove” of your business, working in tandem to move one’s search to positively contribution to the betterment of society with a message that you sell to make a profit.
2 Branded – Firing on all cylinders
You’ve found your product and service and your brand message is resonating and your customers get your message. You’re on the top of your game.
3. Brand Bureaucracy – over analysis and emphasis on profits
What started this blog post was this article, Microsoft’s Downfall: Inside the Executive E-mails and Cannibalistic Culture That Felled a Tech Giant by Vanity Fair. It describes what is going on within Microsoft’s walls and is now coming out. Here’s the issue that seems to be killing Microsoft’s branding:
“The group working on the initiative was removed from a reporting line to Gates and folded into the major-product group dedicated to software for Office,” Eichenwald reports. “Immediately, the technology unit was reclassified from one charged with dreaming up and producing new ideas to one required to report profits and losses right away.”
In essence, it would seem that Microsoft killed, and continues to kill, creativity of new and exciting technologies, products and services. That translates into boring, bloated, and bureaucratic solutions that customers do not find appealing. So is Microsoft becoming:
A business has been? Going the way of the dodo bird? Buggy whip? Metal roller skates? A cash cow losing its cash?
Don’t know, only time will tell.
But, being “branding bloated” is like going out to a fast food or chain restaurant for a meal. When you’re bloated you completely miss the opportunities to improve, or in the case of restaurants, the individual or local restaurants that offer upbeat, individualized, and better tasting meals for around the same price. These local restaurant entrepreneurs put more thought and care into what they sell you, and it’s a win/win situation for both of you, rather than a win/lose (I make more profit/you get less than a stellar product), and comes down to this one question:
Do they buy/use their own product, i.e “eat their own dog food”?
If they can’t say yes, it makes you wonder, why not? Do they have my best interest in mind? If not, why buy from them?
So, what’s in this for me as an entrepreneur?
So how does one start their branding? Let Derek Sivers show you how:
Water that sits become stagnant and attracts bugs and scum, water that flows, gets clean and fresh.
Keep it flowing.