Note: This post is the second part of the series titled: ‘Market Your Business Out of Obscurity... Into Limelight’
On 19th November 1863, Abraham Lincoln mounted the platform at Gettysburg, to deliver the address that is today considered the most famous presidential speech in history. A speech considered more important than the Civil War itself. A speech that turned around the history of the United State as a nation.
That is the influence of platform.
Platform (according to Encarta Dictionary):
Stage for performers or speakers: a raised level area of flooring for speakers, performers, or participants in a ceremony, making them easily visible to the audience
Opportunity for doing something: a position of authority or prominence that provides a good opportunity for doing something
A platform empowers individuals and organisations with an outlet within their control to communicate with the rest of the world.
Platforms helps you connect with people, spread ideas and information, develop friendships, influence political opinion, inspire creativity, report news and promote business expertise.
In a highly competitive economy as it is today, if you are serious about taking yourself, your business, or your products to the next level, you cannot succeed without a platform.
Are you a Fox or a Hedgehog?
In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins told the story of the fox and the hedgehog.
The Fox knows a lot of things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. The fox is a cunning creature, able to device myriads of complex strategies for sneak attacks upon the hedgehog.
Day in day out, the fox circles around the hedgehog’s den, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Fast, crafty and beautiful, the fox looks like a sure winner.
The hedgehog, on the other hand, is a simple creature, going about his day, searching for launch and tending his garden.
The hedgehog minding his own business, wanders right into the path of the fox. “Aha, I’ve got you now” thinks the fox. He leaps out, lightning fast.
The little Hedgehog, sensing danger, looks up and thinks, “Here we go again. Will he ever learn?” Rolling up into a perfect little ball, the Hedgehog becomes a sphere of sharp spikes, pointing outward in all direction.
The fox sees the hedgehog’s defense and calls off the attack. Retreating back to the forest, the fox begins to calculate a new attack strategy.
Each day, some version of this battle between the hedgehog and the fox takes place. Despite the cunning of the fox, the hedgehog always wins.
In business, you either choose to be like the Hedgehog or the Fox.
You either focus on tending your garden (building a platform) or live like a desperate hunter. You are either growing our business or merely hustling.
If you are not building a platform that attracts prospects and support your business, you are a hustler not an entrepreneur in the 21st century.
Why do you need a Platform?
Get Attention and visibility. The only way to get attention in a room filled with people is to get on an elevated stage above the crowd. That is when everyone in the audience will notice you. A platform puts you in front of your audience and helps them see you.
Be Heard with clarity: It doesn’t end with getting attention and visibility. You get to raise your voice above the noise from the crowd. You can speak to tens of thousands of people without having to repeat yourself to each person. Extend your voice and let it overthrow the entire space.
Connect with your audience: Social media and blogging technology has made two-way communication possible. You can interact and engage with your audience from your different Platforms and get immediate feedback.
The Hunter Vs the Gardner – and What you can achieve with a Platform
There is a common conception that marketing is a blood sport. Like all the military metaphors we use – identify a target market, launch a marketing campaign and use strategy and tactics to crush the competitors and win the customer.
You may have even heard salespeople say (hopefully not while they’re selling to you) that “if they don’t kill, they don’t eat.”
Without questions, these metaphors have their uses. And to be honest, they can make the whole process feel a little more epic and adventurous, from a business standpoint.
But do we really want to think of our customers as “targets” — to be hunted down? And even if that appeal to us, do our customers want to feel like preys or military conquests?
Because that’s what we’re doing, subconsciously, every time we refer our businesses from the hunting approach.
No one wants to feel like they’ve been bagged and tagged.
Even if you are naturally uninterested with the whole idea of running a people-focused business; you are just interested in making your profit than the mantra of “helping customers”. Wouldn’t you stand a better chance of repeat business if you don’t conquer your customers and leave their butchered corpses lying on the battlefield?
Business isn’t hunting, it’s gardening.
It’s not about killing; it’s about growing
No, it doesn’t sound as glamorous as landing a big fish or crushing your enemy underfoot. But most of the time, business isn’t like that. It’s not about quick wins and onetime victories; it’s about steady growth.
The advantage of gardening around a platform, instead of hunting, is that you are positioning yourself and your business as the knowledgeable solution to your prospects problem.
Whether you are a Public Speakers, writer, author, Politician, Activist, Business Owner, Entrepreneur, Sales Person or Pastor, building an online platform, and cultivating a garden of audience will help you achieve your goals faster and easier.
Think of what it will mean to stand in front of national stadium full to its capacity to tell the audience about who you are, what you do and why they should listen to you. What can you achieve from the privilege?
An online platform will offer you even more opportunities. Get business contacts and partnerships, network, convince, educate, entertain, sell, promote, demonstrate authenticity, and all of it.
- Identify what your audience wants and gain market insight
- Attract and retain [potential] customers or clients
- Engage and connect with your prospects
- Demonstrate expertise and build authority
- Communicate your core values and purpose
The Internet has empowered individuals and businesses to build independent media platforms, reach a wide audience and achieve amazing results.
You don’t wait to be given attention; you mount a platform and grab attention.
You deserve to be heard; your voice, your message, your ideas. They deserve to be heard.
You now have the choice to either leap forward or be left behind.
In the next part of this series, you'll discover the powerful platform building strategy an ordinary guy used to restore a dying business to become an industry leader. The same strategy global brands are embracing to take their business to a whole new level.