13: The layers of business


If you want to be great at business and marketing, you need to think in layers.

You need to consider: 

  • The market: who’s in it? How big is it? What is the competition? What is the purchasing power? 
  • The economics: estimated CAC, pricing based on market purchasing power, psychological pricing barriers, etc. 
  • Ease of penetration: is the offer unique? What’s the level of sophistication/awareness in the market? How will I get traffic
  • Longevity: Am I capitalizing on a short-term trend, or is this an offer that can sell for years? 
  • Delivery & fulfillment: can it scale? How?

Most amateur marketers and entrepreneurs do not spend enough time on these layers.

They fall for something stupid like “high ticket is the only way to make online business work.”

And then they’re surprised when their offer doesn’t sell or their business doesn’t work out.

If you can exercise patience and restraint, and work through these layers, then you put yourself in a position where you’re far more likely to succeed.

Ignore one or more of the layers and you’ll have blind spots.

For example, let’s say you build an offer for college students.

You help them study faster and better, improving their results and reducing stress.

Painful problem, solid solution.

You launch the offer at $5,800 because some high ticket guru told you to do so. And you make a few sales.

But a few months in, sales slow down. A lot.

Your ads are costing too much.

People aren’t bookings calls anymore.

Turns out that you didn’t consider the economics of your market at all. A very small amount of college students are prepared or even able to drop $5,800 on a program.

A competitor comes in with a lower priced product, eats up all your market share, and makes 10x as much as you have.

You can run through scenarios like this and remove different layers. It’s easy to see how things fall apart.

  • Ignore market and run the risk of building something no one wants. 
  • Ignore economics and run the risk of building your business on flawed premises. 
  • Ignore ease of penetration and run the risk of never being able to gain traction. 
  • Ignore longevity and run the risk of market contraction causing cashflow decline forcing you to let go of team members. 
  • Ignore delivery and run the risk of burning yourself out and/or causing immense customer/client dissatisfaction that affects your reputation.

If thinking through these layers sounds like a lot of work, it’s because it is.

And that’s why so few people do it.

The reframe here is this:

It takes more work and effort to ignore these layers than it does to think through them.

If you ignore them, you end up having to fix mistakes or start again.

I’ve wasted literal years of my life building offers and products without considering these layers. Largely out of impatience and hubris (thinking I had the golden touch).

If I’d slowed down and done the deep thinking work beforehand, who knows how much further ahead I’d be now.

The good news is that the majority of marketers and entrepreneurs are trying to get rich quick. They are not prepared to do this work. They are attracted to schemes and “methods” that promise easy success.

So if you can zig while they zag, and think deeply through the layers, you can beat them.

That’s it for this week. Talk soon.


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