Highly chilled habit #2: Be Specific

business-life coaching relaxed business woman

The 7 Habits of Highly Chilled Small Business owners

This is the second article in a monthly series on small business owners I have met or worked with over the years who developed beautiful successful businesses.

Stories of successful real business owners

In 35 years of doing business and working with some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met, I’ve learned a very important lesson: Success in small business starts by building great habits. I call these practices the “7 Highly Chilled Habits” and I find they’re best illustrated with the stories of real business owners who I happen to have had the pleasure of coaching.

The articles are based on my E-book, The 7 Habits of Highly Chilled Small Business Owners. All of my books and other resources are available for free here

Highly Chilled Habit #2:

Develop a Deep Niche

In order to build a Highly Chilled business, you must develop a niche that’s an inch wide and a mile deep.

P.S. You can read up on #1 here. Be Realistic, Like Andrew In 2004, I was working with Andrew. At some stage, we were discussing the challenges he was having with selling one of his IT services. I asked him to consider if there was enough of a market for this specific offering. Andrew said, “Good question. I might sell the world’s best buggy whips, but the market for buggy whips just isn’t that buoyant anymore.” Andrew had a great insight. He ended up ditching this particular service and focusing his energy on two other core services. His business never looked back. However, in today’s world, with the ever-increasing globalisation of commerce and traffic, it may actually be possible to build a Highly Chilled small business selling the best buggy whips in the world. Better Yet: Be Specific, Like Sebastiaan I have a brother named Sebastiaan who is doing just that. He is building a Highly Chilled small business selling services that are so niche, so narrowly defined, that there are probably less than 10 businesses in the entire world that offer what he offers – and even fewer that are as good as he is. This is his website. What’s more, there is only a tiny number of customers for his product in most countries of the world. Mining Deep Narrow Holes Sebastiaan has developed a niche that’s only a tenth of an inch wide, but its depth goes right through to the core of the earth. He has even built special little shovels, a tenth of an inch wide, to ensure his business doesn’t stray outside that niche. Sebastiaan’s team have arguably become the best “buggy whip makers” on the planet, and because of that, their customers come to him from all corners of the world to have their super-specialised projects completed. These people know they have only one shot at getting it 100% right and Sebastiaan’s business simply offers the best chance at that shot. Highly Chilled business owners know they have to stand out from the crowd, so they develop a clearly defined niche, mine it as deep as it goes and intentionally develop an iron habit, never to stray outside it. Your Homework (The Chilled Kind) Here’s a short exercise you could carry out to start the process of making this habit your own. Ask yourself: What am I really, really good at? What am I SO good at that I can be the best in my world at doing that one specific thing? Practice Highly Chilled habit #2: Consider focusing your offer to your customers on “that thing”. Are you a small business owner in need of a chill pill? Explore Highly Chilled habit #3: Be on top of the numbers. Coming soon on this blog.

More on this topic:

Marketing and the Golden Rule of Business

Throwing the switch to vaudeville

A lesson from getting personal

My last newsletter was rather personal. I was a bit nervous sending it out as one of my newsletters… after all, I’m a business coach, not a life coach, and besides, when I sat down to write the article I had an entirely different article in mind, something about small business support programs in Holland. But when I sat down to write it, an article about death and change and fear and sadness and frustration came out instead.

Well I sent it and it has been an amazing experience. Where normally I might get one or two comments from people, this time I had a flood of comments, emails and phone calls. Two weeks after publishing it I’m still getting the occasional comment. People coming up to me across a crowded room, just to give me some feedback, and often to thank me for writing it.

hugging It’s been simply heart-warming.

Initially I decided not to put it on my blog because it felt strange to do so, but I’ve put it up there now, so if you haven’t seen it or you’d like to forward it to someone, you can do so from here: https://www.newperspectives.com.au/archives/death/

To everyone who went to the trouble of thanking me and letting me know how much they appreciated the article, thank you. I can’t tell you what a lovely feeling it has been to get such a flood encouragement.

Lessons for a business coach

But I’m still a business coach, so although there are some very clear lessons for my future writing (more about that later), I think it is worth reflecting on some business lessons from the experience.

The lesson I took is this:

We are all hungry for personal connection. As I’ve said before and many before me, the Golden Rule of Business is this: People want to do business with people they know like and trust.

That means that even though I am a business coach and can write all kinds of really clever things about business, people want to get to Know me, Like me and Trust me first and foremost.

Plenty of information available already

And it makes sense. If you want to know something about business, it’s not hard to look it up. The bookshops are full of books about business. Search for the word business in Amazon and just see how many titles come back; Also, there are millions and, millions of videos about business on Youtube and more business blogs than you could ever read in a life time. Nobody’s actually waiting for my cleverness about business.

ten truths for fun And what’s more, I’ve already written some very clever books (!) about business (and if you’d like them in E-book or Audio book form, you can download them for free via my download page here: http://thetentruths.com). There is actually less and less of a point to keep adding to the mountains of business information that all of us are bombarded with and have at our finger tips.

The same can be said for many fields of interest I think. Unless we truly have something new and different to say, we should ask ourselves if we are actually doing the world a favour by pouring out our words of wisdom that mostly repeat what many others (think Micheal Gerber, Seth Godin, Peter Drucker, Jim Collins) have said before us, in slightly different form.

Personal stories are different

But personal stuff… now that’s different. I think the people who enjoyed my article about Death and tough questions had generally two reactions:

  • They might have said something like: “I’m so glad to hear that others have these experiences and these fears and these frustrations… I’m not alone.”
  • Or they might have said to themselves: “That’s nice, that shows me a side of Roland I hadn’t seen before, and I feel I can relate to him a bit better now.”

Both reactions are lovely of course. (By the way, there were obviously also some people who didn’t enjoy the article, I had a few ‘unsubscribes’, but that’s fine, people who didn’t enjoy what I wrote are probably people I shouldn’t be talking to anyway.) And if the purpose of my newsletter (and most business newsletters) is to engage with people over a time frame so that those people get to “Know, Like and Trust” me, I couldn’t ask for a more positive outcome.

paul_keatingPaul Keating

I’m reminded of former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating’s remark when asked how he might make himself electable after his years as Bob Hawke’s very serious treasurer: “Oh don’t worry, I can flick the switch to Vaudeville when I have to” was his quip (I do miss Paul Keating, love him or hate him, there was a lot more fun in politics in those days it seems to me).

And so will I, well maybe not quite Vaudeville, but it’s clearly time to share more of my personal journeys with my readership.

It means allowing more of my vulnerabilities and foibles to be on display a bit more and that’s not a bad thing I think. Please do give me your feedback from time to time, positive and negative, I promise I won’t crumple.

What about you?

So let me ask you: Are you at risk of trying to convince your audience how brilliant you are before you’ve allowed them to get to Know, Like and Trust you?

How can you share more of your personal story with your audience?

roland Thanks for listening,

Speak soon

Roland Hanekroot

PS: My mother seems to have perked up a bit again in the last two weeks, maybe Death wasn’t actually in the room after all and it was just my fears coming through.

PPS: I didn’t get a business class upgrade from Singapore Airlines and worse than that they made me miss my connection in Singapore, so I’m not sure what the message in that is.

SBMM market

How to find more of the clients we want

(and less of the ones we don't)

Small Business Masterminds webinar and Launceston Business Masterminds workshops


Finding your “True Love(s)” and making Sweet Music with them

Marketing is Everything and Everything is Marketing

Have you thought about the marketing impact of how you answer the phones, or the way you send out your invoices? Have you made it easy for your customers to refer you new custmers? Do you know what your pricing policy says about your business? What about the old rule 101 of marketing, that your best source of new business comes from your old clients? Do you know how to differentiate yourself from everyone else out there? Do you know what it means to establish a really tight niche and make it your own? Would you like to have your customers all to yourself, and Make Sweet Music with them without any of the other buggers getting in your way?

We’re going to answer those questions at the next Masterminds Webinar

Webinar recording below

Resources from the Masterminds about your market niche

The last recording of this webinar:

The recording in podcast (also on Itunes, click here):