strategy

3 big barriers that hold revolutionaries back

Sandra Stewart | May 24, 2016

What you’re doing is great: needed, smart, creative—revolutionary, even. Your team is top-notch. You know your market, and they should have what you’re offering. But they’re not buying, and you’re not growing. What’s wrong?

You’re probably hitting one or more of three barriers that form the Wall of Frustration.

1. Status quo bias
Think about all the things you should be doing, but aren’t. For example, do you like the way giant banks operate? There’s a good chance you don’t—and an even better chance you haven’t moved your money to a sustainable bank or community financial institution. Your prospects may be similarly stalled. The reasons boil down to this:

  • Change takes effort
  • New = unknown = scary
  • Behemoth incumbents have all the advantages of behemothness

2. Market noise
Imagine a bazaar. It’s loud, crowded, colorful and possibly overwhelming. Vendors extoll the unique qualities of seemingly identical wares. Distracting shiny objects are everywhere. Purchasing styles veer from paralyzing analysis to snap decisions. Your market is probably much like that bazaar:

  • It’s harder than ever to grab attention
  • You’re talking, but wonder if anyone can hear you
  • Competing claims confuse your customers

3. First-mover disadvantage
Revolutionaries don’t hang back, waiting for someone else to try to solve a problem. We love them for that. But while novelty can get you publicity, it won’t last long. And being first has other disadvantages, in addition to basic startup challenges:

  • Visionaries attract skeptics
  • You have to prove yourself—constantly
  • The market needs education

One key to climbing over these barriers is a well-crafted communications platform. Telling a compelling story—not just about your enterprise, but about who people will be when they work with you—helps motivate people inside and outside your organization. Sharp messaging defines your difference and connects with your market. Substantive content fills in knowledge gaps and demonstrates how your customers benefit. And a PR program tailored to your assets raises your voice above the din. After all, if nobody knows you’re leading, how can anyone follow?

Get started on raising your profile with Break Through the Noise: Secrets of Successful PR & Thought Leadership, our collection of posts designed to help revolutionary organizations get the attention they deserve.

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