I write about how Local Service Business owners can build an engaging Utopian World for their customers to inhabit using Endless-Value-Journeys, a strategy that emphasizes delighting dream customers, fostering deep connections and cultivating lifelong relationships. This paradigm shift moves us from reacting to one-off transactional customers to inviting them into our world where our focus is on Lifetime Customer Value. Welcome to the art of building a Purpose Driven Expert business.

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Part 1: The New Sandpit

Okay, so we know there are gaps in our knowledge and we have to see the full picture in order to plug those gaps...

If you're going to play this game, it's important to know the sandpit you are playing in.

Kwame Anthony Appiah, philosopher

"In life the challenge is not so much to figure out how best to play the game; the challenge is to figure out what game you’re playing."

If you remember from the last page I suggested that the landscape has shifted below our feet.

I feel it's important for you to know Why something is important rather than just give you some tactical 'how-to's like others want to do, in this way it solidifies understanding.

You see I believe that any business should be built for longevity, that we should be making decisions and taking actions that will benefit us in the long term, not just today or tomorrow.

Would you agree?

So let's get into the meat of this manifesto, starting from a 30,000 foot view and then zooming in to allow you to get the full picture.

If I do it this way, you will be less susceptible to shiny objects and shortcuts that can derail you, is that okay?

But before I start... let me ask you a question, nod if this is true for you...

When you first started out, did you look around at all of the competition to see how they were doing it, how and where they advertised, how they attracted customers, the services they offered?

And did you pretty much copy them and do the same, thinking 'this is how we do it?

Am I right?

Did you even think, 'I'll work harder and longer to get ahead and beat them'.

That's pretty much how we all start, we all think working harder and longer is the answer...

A quick story about how I fell into this trap. In the bin cleaning industry, door to door cold calling is the 'go-to' for marketing. It was a sub $5 service (about £3) back then, so traditional advertising was too expensive and cost prohibitive.

My idea was to knock on more doors than anyone else, about 400 a night, the trick was that you knew not everyone would answer the door.

So I would knock or ring the bell and after 5 seconds, start walking to the next house rather than wait for 45 seconds to see if there was any movement inside (huge time saver).

If the prospect came to the door I would immediately run back to give them my killer sales pitch, "Would you like your bin cleaned on a regular basis?", that was it...

No problem identification or agitating the pain, nope... straight to it.

And I'd get about a 2-3% of the 400 houses knocked to say yes, about 10 new customers a day. I thought, "result!"

Not quite, out of the 10 new customers I got, nine had already screwed over my competition who'd knocked within the previous year and I was next in line. It really was scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Payment arrears spiralled, the attrition rate was horrendous, which meant I was going further and further afield to make the round viable.

I'm sure you have a similar story of how things didn't work for you using the same methods as everyone else in your market.

Am I right again?

Again we just suck it up thinking 'this is the way it must be'...

That just leads to burnout, and there is a better way...

So, as the title of this page states, we need to understand The New Sandpit we are playing in and how best to play in it meet our goals.

But you may be asking "What makes you different?, and why is your way better?"

Do you remember on the previous page I mentioned how companies call you with their tool or tactic?

You'll recall I used the jigsaw analogy.

Would you like to understand why these companies rarely succeed and get you the results you're looking for?

It's because there are 4 stages of teaching how to do anything, and all 4 are essential to solidify the learning experience or have a successful implementation...

Here they are:-

  1. Tactics - The 'What' to do
  2. Strategy - The 'Why' and the 'When' to do
  3. Principles - The Laws that govern the What, When & Why
  4. Essence - The Character & Values you bring to the table

These merchants are trying to sell you 'the What' Tactics without knowing the strategy you are following, and they certainly don't know the principles that govern how it will work for your situation.

One of the best examples of how strategies trump tactics was given by legendary marketer Jay Abraham, you can listen to this 3 minute audio clip below.


Was that helpful?

My goal as you go through this manifesto is to not only give you the 'what to do' tactics, but the 'when and why to do' strategy and the principles behind the strategy.

My hope is that my character and values are felt throughout.

So, as you journey through the pages of this manifesto, I'll introduce you to some concepts that may feel new, possibly even challenging your beliefs on how your local business should look as you go forward.

Some of these will feel counter-intuitive, some will have you questioning their validity, that's okay. I'll guide you down paths that are less trodden, that seem unfamiliar, explaining a little more as you go.

All of this is necessary to create the framework to a transformative journey designed for local service business owners who are navigating the challenges of digital transformation and are finding it more and more difficult to compete with each passing year. 

So let's zoom out to 30,000 feet.

The image below shows the trend of internet usage since it's inception to the masses in the early 90's. 

When you look at the image, the trends suggest the internet is here to stay... but why?

This growth can be attributed to 2 principles, firstly Metcalfes's Law of Network Effects that states "The value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system (n^2)".

Therefore, as more people gain internet access, the more valuable the internet becomes to each user, accelerating adoption rates".

The second principle is Newton's second law of Motion: Momentum which states that "an object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an external force", and can be applied to the momentum observed in technology adoption, including the internet.

Once internet adoption starts in a region, it tends to continue growing, propelled by its initial momentum, until significant barriers (like regulatory issues, infrastructure challenges, or economic constraints) slow it down.

So now we can begin to further understand why the internet is going to play a role in us being a viable option to our customers...

Let's continue painting this full picture for you...

Take a look at the image below that shows how many people in the world are on the internet...


You see the world has gone digital, there are over 8 billion people on this planet of ours, and two thirds of them are online... (this percentage will be higher in western cultures)

You see, as our customers are using the internet more and more to seek out the people they need, it's important that you can see the full picture, through the lens of 'where can you fit' in this digital world to be successful with your service.

Let's continue...

You'll see in the image above that out of everyone using the internet from ages 16-64, 95% of them are using their phones to do it.

Now that doesn't mean that it is the only place they go online, but it proves that the analogue world is pretty much dead...

And as we continue at this high level, here's another scary point...

Have you noticed how each year that passes the age of children with smart phones seems to be getting younger and younger?

If you have children or relatives old enough to have a smartphone, you'll know how difficult it is to get them to raise their eyes in your direction when they're on it, right?


Let's take a look at the principles and laws behind why this is, to better be able to use it for our advantage.

The increasing use of smartphones by progressively younger demographics each year can be understood through a mix of sociological observations and principles that, while not directly physics laws, can be metaphorically related to concepts in physics and other sciences to provide insight.

  1. Diffusion of Innovations Theory: This sociological theory explains how, over time, an innovation (in this case, smartphones) spreads through certain communication channels among members of a social system. Younger demographics are more exposed to technology from an early age due to the saturation of these devices in their environment, leading to earlier adoption.
  2. Law of Accelerating Returns (Technological Growth): Proposed by futurist Ray Kurzweil, this law suggests that technological change is exponential. As technology, including smartphones, becomes more advanced and accessible, it penetrates society faster, reaching younger users more quickly than previous technologies did.
  3. Social Proof (Psychological Phenomenon): This concept, akin to the "herd behavior" observed in physics and biology, where particles or entities tend to follow the collective behavior of a group, explains how young individuals are influenced by their peers and social circles to adopt smartphones.
  4. Moore's Law: Though specifically about the doubling of transistors in integrated circuits approximately every two years, it reflects the rapid improvement and increasing affordability of technology, including smartphones. As devices become more affordable, they become more accessible to younger demographics.
  5. Technology Adoption Life Cycle: Similar to the concept of wave propagation in physics, where waves spread from a source, technology adoption can be seen as a wave that starts with "innovators" and moves through to "early adopters" and "early majority," reaching younger demographics as it becomes a standard part of society.
  6. Lowering Barriers to Entry: Drawing a parallel to potential energy barriers in physics, the initial "energy" (cost, usability, availability) required to obtain and use smartphones has decreased over time. As these barriers lower, it's easier for younger demographics to access and use smartphones.

So we are gaining an understanding of how the landscape has shifted beneath our feet, and trying to compete with analogue in a digital world is a recipe for failure.

You see, it's not only the 16-64 year olds that we need to be concerned about, it's the younger demographic too we need to consider in any long term strategy...

Here is one thing I know for sure, in the next 20 years or so, these children are your potential customers...

They will have homes, that require services, and the only thing that they have grown up with is a smartphone and access to the internet for all their needs...

Their thought processes are something like this...

  • Need to know something... Google it
  • Need food quick... there's an app
  • Have to buy something... go online
  • Buying something offline... smart pay with my phone

They don't know any other way, and to think that the way you've always done it pre-internet is a plan that can keep working is naïve at best...

But is it just the millennial generation?

When was the last time you used the Yellow pages or similar?

Do you Google everything too?...

Yeah, me too.

But that doesn't mean just being on the internet and having a digital presence is sufficient, we do have to be strategic about how we build our online presence.

And so with the right strategy this is an exciting time, because in my experience hardly anyone thinks long term...

You have the opportunity to create 'your world', rather than trying to compete in a world that others are constructing.

This manifesto is more than just a guide; it's a 'call to arms' for the local service business owner who knows deep inside that they can 'be' more.

My hope is it's a beacon for those who were dedicated to making a significant impact in their local communities, but now feel a little lost—be it from plumbing to floral arrangements, car mechanics to bakeries, or any service that touches the heart of your neighborhood.

In today’s digital age, standing out requires more than just offering the same vanilla service as everyone else.

The big gargantuan corporations like Amazon want to commoditize every product and service down to it's lowest value.

I say No, standing out demands becoming a beacon of value, trust, and expertise in your community. 

The entire fabric of community is being picked apart by national and global mammoths, the sense of community is being eroded.

But as human beings, we crave relationships, we crave community, and local customers prefer to support local businesses who care when given the opportunity (all things being equal).

As we embark on this journey together, we will explore the nuances of attracting 'only' your dream customers, those who resonate not just with what you do, but with why you do it.

My mission is to guide you in weaving your own web of wonder that pulls in those seeking your expertise, to greet them with value before a transaction ever takes place, and to nurture them into loyal advocates of your brand.

This manifesto is structured to transform your perspective on what it means to serve your community at your highest level. We'll delve into how you can create a seamless blend of value and values, where every interaction deepens trust and every offering is a step toward building your legacy.

Join me as I continue laying the foundation for a business that thrives on purpose, passion, and profound service—transforming your local service into a legacy that supports you, your family, and your community for generations to come.

So how do we achieve this...

We create 'our world', and in our world 'we get to make the rules'.

First things first, we have to be crystal clear on who we want to invite into our world. If we are to design the business of our dreams, then it is important to repel the nightmare customers we've all had the misfortune of having to deal with.

Yes that's right... working only with dream customers...

Continue to Part 2: The Velvet Rope

- Mark


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