I love this quote from Simon Sinek! There’s so much truth in it.
Most business software companies I see get into unnecessary trouble just because of this.
Let’s pull it apart:
👉 To stand out is to attract attention, either for the way you look or behave or because you perform better at something than other people do.
👉 To stand for something: if someone stands for a particular principle, they believe that principle is important.
As Simon says: it’s in the ‘stand for’ part where the problem resides.
To stand for something means making tough decisions.
It means you this – and not that.
It means that you acknowledge that because of that, you can’t please everyone.
That you’ll be attractive to certain people and lose attraction to others.
It means we’ll have to give up a part of the market in which we might win business.
It means our Total Addressable Market shrinks.
And that frightens us. Hence we stand for what the rest of the market stands for as well: nothing in particular.
The problem with that: Unnecessary high cost of marketing. Long sales cycles, slow momentum, poor win rates. But also a blurred product strategy, high cost of R&D, resourcing issues. And the list goes on.
We get sucked into a battle we can’t win. It’s the race to the bottom.
Let me illustrate this with an example about my own business.
Making some tough choices has served me well. So let me give you some of my black & white choices. I’ve decided to work only with those business software companies that value what I value:
…That prioritize customer value over company profit
…That are on a mission to create meaningful change
…That strive for remarkable and ditch the mediocre
Could my services work for ‘the others’ that don’t stand for this? Sure.
It’s just that I believe I can’t deliver my best work – and it drains my energy in the wrong way.
Does it limit my total addressable market? Absolutely! Possibly by 90%. But that’s OK. I’ve realized I can’t please everyone.
The energy and rewards this brings is worth every bit of it.
So question to you – What does your business stand for? And how do you use it to make it stand out in a way that serves your customers well?