The last few years have been an interesting experiment. My old business card has the bruises and scars to prove it.
In 2009, I named the latest iteration of my entrepreneurial pursuit “Intrinsic Choice,” then set out into the marketplace. I knew the name was unusual but I didn’t know it was tough to spell. A name like that begs for a story and, in fact, the story was the experiment. Ultimately though, there were holes in the concept. It wasn’t easy facing the changes I needed to make, but that’s the cost of staying relevant, besides, it keeps [your] story interesting.
The Intrinsic Choice story
If you walk down the middle of the road, eventually you get run over. Therefore, leaders must choose between two fundamental, mutually exclusive, operating models, Value and Price. Both lanes are equally valid (think, Wal-Mart vs. Target) but they move you in opposing directions. Therefore, organizations, particularly smaller ones that cannot afford to blur the line (as my examples often do), must be explicit with their commitment to one road. Marketers, the choice is yours.
With Intrinsic Choice, I intentionally narrowed my target to small business and organizations that were heading north in the value lane and needed extra traction. The price model has its own set of challenges. My wheelhouse is in helping clients identify, create, or improve Value—both real and perceived. My Vision for Intrinsic Choice was a “total solution” offer. I hate that description, but that was the intent. Give me a point for the idea and the name—it was a little different.
The lesson: Creating value will always be less important than weathering a dangerous storm. Distinction is irrelevant when it is also perceived, unimportant.
Love your experiments like you would an ugly child; shorten your surfboard to navigate a world where change is constant and, occasionally, poke holes in whatever you’re doing.