From the Head of Human Resources:
I regret to inform you that today’s email has been canceled.
Your regular correspondent apologizes, but says that he sat at his desk for four hours today and nothing “came out”.
He was, it seems, overtaken by a peculiar and uncommon lethargy.
I suspect it may have been a result of one too many drinks yesterday. A late night and fully-charged week left him tired and emotional until around two o’clock this morning.
Not sure if I came up with this, but I like to think I did. Happy to hear if I’m wrong – just hit reply and issue a digital reprimand.
(Incidentally, I got reprimanded by email the other day. Somebody I’d never met told me I looked like a Hitler Youth in my headshot. Nice.)
So here’s the situation:
You’ve got to fill a room.
The continued success of your business depends on you giving an educational seminar to a group of prospects. You then get the opportunity to upsell them.
Or you’ve got to fill a webinar.
Or you’ve got to make a couple of sales.
The point is you have to do something that means your business – and your bank account – will survive another day.
But you don’t manage.
You don’t fill the room. You don’t book out the webinar. You don’t make the sales.
Despite what you call your “best efforts”.
And you say “I don’t know what I could have done differently. I did literally everything I could.”
Because a couple of weeks later, you hear that your kid needs a new kidney.
Late at night, after a couple of slugs of Lagavulin and a medium rare ribeye, a helicopter lands noisily in your back yard.
Three men in balaclavas jump out, stick a black hood over your head and bundle you in the back of the chopper.
You ascend quickly, accelerating northeasterly at a rapid click.
After forty-five minutes a rope is tied around your midriff and you’re thrown unceremoniously from the cabin. It’s only six feet to the ground, but you land with a thud, bruising your coccyx.
There are two ways to dominate a niche, or conquer a category.
One is difficult, and one is easy.
The difficult way is to identify a broad swathe of services you want to become known for and take baby steps (or even giant leaps) to dominate it with your expertise, charm and application.
The easy way is to create your own category and own it from day one.
And that’s pretty straightforward to do. You just need to give it a name.
It’s THAT simple.
WARNING: This email contains references to the Soviet gulags, digestive tracts and networking events. If you find any three of these topics distasteful, you might like to skip over this one.
A friend of mine took me to a networking event this morning.
I’ve always felt a little “meh” about networking events, but he said I’d make him look good, so I agreed to go.
It started at 7am.
Early mornings always get me thinking about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
Solzhenitsyn, in “One Day in the Life of Ivan Ivanisovich” writes about the morning routine in a Soviet-era labor camp.
It’s a vivid and harrowing story. You should read it.
He also makes the physiologically correct assertion that trying to take a crap too soon upon waking is very, very difficult.