How do you stand out from your competition?
Can a contrarian mindset help you reframe your thinking and get the attention of your client? What is business reframing, and how do you use it for your business and life?
It's one thing to “be contrarian” but you can stick out too much.
Yet, being contrarian gives you a uniqueness factor that gets the attention of the client. What steps do we need to take to get to this attention? And how do we go about it systematically? Let's find out how to stand out from the competition.
How to use structure or concepts to become slightly contrarian
Which of these word sounds better to your ears? “Contrarian” or “reframe?”
Contrarian almost always a bit combative, doesn't it? It sounds like everyone is going one way, and you are the fusspot trying to go the other. On the other hand, the term “reframe” sounds so very polished. Hence if you don't particularly care for the term “contrarian”, let's call it “reframe” and use it for your business and life.
Roughly speaking, a “reframe” would fall into two categories.
Category 1: Structure
Category 2: Concept
Let's start with category 1, namely structure
Almost any product, service or training has a form of structure. A book with 200 pages is a form of structure as is a workshop that starts at 9 am and ends at four in the evening. A desk is a desk with a chair to go with it. Until, of course, things get reframed.
At that point, we are likely to find ourselves a standing desk, without any chair in sight. Or a workshop that ends early, if everyone finishes their assignments. And we've already worked out that a book needn't be 200 pages long, or even have chapters.
“The War of the Art” by Steven Pressfield is a little over 150 pages long, but most filled with very long paragraphs, instead of traditional chapters.
When you reframe the structure, you are likely to get a slightly different method of going about things. Almost all innovation around you is merely a method of breaking apart the structure. The way of breaking that structure, and getting a little contrarian, is to make a list of what you do, and then re-jigging the method.
Here's an example of what we do at Psychotactics
When we started our earliest workshops, the structure was as rigid as everyone else's system. We'd start at 8:32 am (well, not quite like everyone) and go until about 4:30 pm. We'd have small breaks, big lunch breaks and I'd talk almost endlessly.
Very early in the process, I noticed people looking towards the door—and the EXIT sign. If clients were so intent on leaving the room, how about breaking the structure and conducting most of the workshop outside the room?
Today, if you get to a Psychotactics workshop, the slide material and explanation is only enough to cover a single day, yet the workshop goes on for three days. The clients are given most of the time to work through their work in progressive phases.
Instead of the work mostly being done indoors, they are free to go for a walk, head next to the pool or do whatever they please, as long as they return back at a prearranged time. Even the timings are not exactly fixed.
On the first day, the breaks are generous, but as clients tire on day three, their breaks are extended even further. Oh, and we also send all the notes and audio a month in advance so that clients are prepared well before they arrive.
The result? If you were a client, what would you prefer?
To sit in a room from morning to evening as someone drones on? Would you prefer endless information, or the chance to work on the learning, make mistakes and fix them before you go home?
It's not like we got all of these contrarian systems in place right from the very start
We fully intended to have 150 people at our first US “workshop” in Los Angeles. We managed to get only 35 people, and that seemed so much more manageable. We stayed at 35, content that was our magic number until we hosted two back to back workshops in Nashville and then Amsterdam in Europe.
The events were held close to Christmas and only 15 people each, showed up at both venues. That was such an amazing experience that our numbers are now just 15—well, 16, just to keep things a bit even.
In your business too, you'll get a chance to break the structure a bit and sometimes things will seem chaotic, but they're probably helping you to see a different way of doing things.
Even so, that contrarian behaviour can be taken across to another realm as well, namely, the concept. Let's find out how to roll out a reframe when it comes to “concepts”.