Literally everything I know about business in 3 bullet points

OK, I have a confession to make:

I don’t really know what the word “marketing” means.

I don’t know what the word “proposition” means. I don’t know what the word “positioning” means. I don’t really know precisely what any technical business word means, even “strategy” (or at least what other people mean when they say the term).

Now obviously I get the gist of all this stuff, but I wouldn’t like to be pinned down on it. I’ve not swallowed the textbooks or done the tests. My understanding of these “official” terms really stems from listening to the way people talk about them, and inferring some vague meaning from the context.

Considering this confession, you might well ask why the hell you should listen to me? After all, the stuff of business is built from ideas like these. You understand them, you knit them together, and hey presto, there’s your business!

How could you possibly do it any other way?

Well, I’m here to tell you that there is another way – a way that I think is far more simple, intuitive, and direct, and which enables you to master business without “properly” understanding any of those things.

It’s the way I taught myself, the way that informs all my content, and the way that I apply to all my clients. Maybe it’s bollocks, but heck, it’s got me this far, so it must be good for something. Especially if it can be boiled down to three simple bullet points.

Long time readers will have heard me lay this out before, but I’m going to repeat it again here simply in order to illustrate how all other bits of business are downstream from these ideas. And how if you truly internalise them, you don’t really need anything else.

Here we go.

  1. All business is nothing more than an attempt to create something people want, and are prepared to exchange money for.
  2. Your ability to receive money for that thing is directly correlated with how hard it is for people to get it from somewhere else.
  3. The more you increase these two metrics (desire for the thing + scarcity), the more money you will make.

That’s it. Honestly I really cannot see how there is anything more to say or know than that.

Of course lots of the “sub disciplines” like marketing or whatever contain techniques and tools which will assist in that endeavour. However I would suggest that many experts in those sub disciplines lose sight of this fundamental equation above, rendering their expertise kinda meaningless.

If you manage to create a business that nails the demands of those three points, but has done nothing else in terms of technical rigour, then it really won’t matter, because the thing’s probably gonna be flying regardless.

As for strategy, well, in my opinion it is simply the exercise of nailing this equation, and driving up the desire + scarcity. Because it’s quite a broad a flabby term (literally anything that will get you from point A to point B can be called a “strategy”), I think this is accurate enough – and any tighter definition is more of a refinement of this idea than it is a contradiction of it.

Another thing that’s really cool here is that when you base your thinking on first principles like this, you can actually create your own methodologies for getting the job done.

No longer are you limited to the textbook!

Anything you can think of that will deliver this end goal is fair game, and that has the potential to yield some pretty original thinking, and new ways to get an advantage.

I don’t think of myself as a particularly original thinker, in that most of my ideas have probably been said before in different ways, but sometimes the ideas feel original, which is the next best thing – and this all comes from reverting back to first principles, rather than reverting back to “technique”.

So there you go. You can unsubscribe now. Burn the book. Unfollow the accounts. Because really I have nothing more to say to you – just endless remixes and diversions on the same simple theme, which hopefully, bit by bit, embed it into your brain.

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