Friday, June 26, 2009

Clarity

Finished two days of Brendan Nichols at the Vasace Hotel in Surfer's Paradise. It was his "Marketing Boot Camp" where he takes us through the ABC of marketing your business to make money. "Marketing is getting them to the door, sales is getting them to walk through it." Greg and Michael were there the first day, but both of them could not stop themselves tracking all his NLP gymnastics, probably seeing him do stuff that was subconscious for him. They spent the breaks swapping stories about how he was constantly embedding messages for people to come back, but they said in the afternoon he relaxed and did more of the authentic work, without the subconscious leading. I saw it more clearly myself the second day - he's got amazing technique.

I realize that an amazing array of strategies are available to create and utilise a list of BodyChance interested folks - the sky's the limit. The limit, as I still suspect, will be the availability of teachers, not the availability of work as the situation stands today. Eventually they will be clamouring for what we have to offer, and there will be many mimicking our model, but without approaching the excellence of our own teachers. For the next five years the goal is to develop teacher training methodology across a number of schools in different locations and cultures (for now Japan and Australia from 2010) and develop a system of training that is followed at every BodyChance Studio. This gives students flexibility, and it gives us a huge experimental resource where we can being testing and measuring the efficacy of our teacher training.

Starting in 2008, we began asking our trainees to accept an experimental program of 7 different measurements at 6 monthly interviews over a two year period. We decided to use the 2 year certificate course - BodyThinking - as the domain for this first venture into finding a set of variables that can be interrelated in a way that offers some compelling evidence of change in their overall, functional unity. Beyond that, we have no idea. Some of the experiments were suggested to me by Neuroscientist and Alexander Technique student Lucy Brown, who spoke at the first Lugano Conference in 2008. We also received suggestions from Yosuke Yamada, a research scientist at Kyoto University's Human Posture Lab. The idea is taking a different approach to developing criteria for qualifying a teacher of this work - find concrete measures that can be calibrated against the head's movement relation to the spine, arms and legs. We also hope to develop a compelling, consumer product that will give people another health measure that is unique, and unseen by medical science. So we are developing this product through Greg, and his contacts at Sydney University's Laboratory of Movement - who could be advising Greg on database construction and ways to manipulate data based on Greg's information. Greg is heading this project, and the prospects for it in the long term are extraordinary. It will be fun developing that business, while also collecting valuable data available for an almost infinite number of mathematical variations.

Selling all these things is Bredan's forte, and I am overflowing with ideas so the question is when, not what. Priorities need to be based on the most effective way to generate a healthy cash flow that can fund continuing development of product streams. Another face that has entered the BodyChance mandala is Paul Cook, Publisher and Editor of DIRECTION (yes, it still lives and very well under Paul's stewardship). Greg & Michael took an early plane home this morning rather than return to Brendan, so I brought Paul along to enjoy the show.

Brendan was great - the idea of marketing Alexander Technique obviously penetrated his thinking, because he kept mentioning about it all day, and was indirectly coaching me on ways to build BodyChance. One suggestion was a whole multi-faceted selling program around themes of Knee Pain, Neck Pain, Arm Pain - you get the idea. Each one I mount a separate campaign, building a story of redemption through AT by addressing more specifically the specific needs and issues that rise for each kind of pain sufferer. AT is horizontal - EVERYONE is interested it alleviating pain at some point of their lives, or helping others around them to do it - but I learnt at Brendan's that horizontal markets are harder, bigger, more diverse. A vertical audience is better: they are easier to target with specific emotional benefits, a campaign that is designed with them in mind. Niche, niche, niche - that was one of Brendan's advice. Like people who suffer from knee pain. AT teachers often try to be all things to all people - they advertise to a horizontal market without the economic muscle to be particularly effective. The result is 125 years of relative obscurity of AT from ordinary consumers.

So from tomorrow we have a series of meetings with Tom, Greg, Michael, Paul and myself about marketing these 9 weekends in 2010, and looking at the general strategy we will follow towards the launch of the Studio in January, 2012. I want to put Paul in charge of marketing and the website, and use Brendan's ideas to achieve a profit off the workshops in 2010. All this is up for discussion, together with a plan for the legal structure of BodyChance, it's relationship to Japan and the way equity can be handled. It promises to be an important week.

Oh - and I bought myself a new home in Mullumbimby, that has the fabulous quality of being cash neutral/positive, though it will cost me $765,000 to buy. It will be a great resource for BodyChance - I can let it out to the company to hold small workshops here for Japanese with all accommodation and teaching fees in one package. This can also serve as a pilot program for the eventual Japanese attendance at the Sydney Studio. Tomorrow, in the midst of everything else, I have to complete the Loan Application, fax everything to Jay and...

Sigh.

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