Friday, January 11, 2013

W02.05 Case Studies: Mr J. P. Watkins in Mani, USA Part One

Mr J. P. Watkins’s is an Alexander Technique teacher of 25 years, but has practiced as a Registered Nurse (RN) during that time. I don’t know Mr J. P. Watkins’ first name. I checked his FaceBook page, website and emailed him for permission to use it, but I got no reply by the time I wrote this, so it will be Jp as he uses this on his facebook page. This would be my first advice to Jp and all Alexander Technique teachers: come out from behind the “professional” veneer and let people know who you are. Personalise your Self. You need to be your top page, not Alexander Technique. Lessons are very personal affairs, so start a relationship as soon as you can. First names are generally a way of signaling friendliness and trust.

Step 1 – Success Drivers
My daughters’ great-grand mother is 103 years old, living in a little rural village of Japan. She’s recently taken to relieving herself in the rice fields as she once did as a child, but other than that her mental state is lucid and present. If I lived to her age, I have almost my entire life to live over again - amazing! I admire Jp greatly as, here he is at 55, starting all over again. Bravo! And here I was thinking I am getting old. If you have the story - “it’s too late for me” - remember that you probably have at least a decade, most likely much more, of productive time to leverage the vast wisdom you have collected up to date. Your best years are still ahead. I think Jp has pretty good drivers going for him…

Step 2 – Your Niche
In May 2009, Marin County, where Jp lives, had the fifth highest income per capita in the United States at about $91,480. Excellent! And that’s after the GFC of 2008. One wonderful aspect of going for a niche market is that you become a monopoly - who else is there to compete? Who else can catch up? Once established, Alexander's discoveries are pretty much unassailable for the kind of problems the registered nurses face, and we now have the British Medical Journal to wave about for the doubters.

As Jp has already acknowledged on FaceBook before I could point it out: his niche market was so close he couldn’t focus on it, and almost walked away from a bagful of money. Registered Nurses of course! Jp should do my drill down exercise on this niche. Male and female nurses - are they distinct? Nurses working with old people, working in the intensive care, nurses in the private sector. Put each collection on card and start moving them around using the 12 Niche Qualifiers to see which comes out as the epicenter of this niche.

We know they have problems, we know they have money - do they have time? The bane of many teachers is: either they have time and no money, or money and no time. Therefore, for busy people, location will be critical…

Step 3 – Your Location
Where does he start? Where do most of them work? They may live all over town, but there must be a place where he can find a lot of them congregating. A public hospital? I don’t know, but he needs to make sure it is easy for them to include him in their busy day. The other aspect to this is community building. When niche building in one geographical location, success will soon breed offers from other locations.  Jp may not need to restrict his location to Marin County. In the longer term, some annual event where they can all come and meet each other could work - it will depend on the kind of service product he develops…

Step 4 – Service Product
Officially, 6 out of 10 nurses in Japan have some form of back pain, according to one of BodyChance’s prospective students who is passionate about helping her fellow nurses here. Then she told me - unofficially it is much worse! Nurses do not want to risk their employment by asking for time off.

What kind of pains and stress do American nurses have? What are they doing every day? What do they worry about most? I don’t know much, but I do know moving people around is one of the issues that keeps popping up a lot in Japanese workshops. This an example of how Jp could develop a “service product.” Our poor ignorants are always looking for a simple “solve” from a 10 step “do it yourself” exercise! Well, this is a format that magazines love to devour on a daily basis. There’s plenty of stuff on that out there, but almost none carries two simple messages from our work: 1. Head movements govern vertebral movements; 2. The whole trumps the parts. It’s a twist with a significant new angle that could sell people on wanting to know more…

Two years ago, I created four “exercises” for head and neck pain for a mainstream publication in Japan. From my 4 page article we got two kind of students eagerly bustling into our studio: one group that tried the exercises, found them terrific and wanted to know more; a second group who tried the exercises, found them totally confusing, and wanted to know what the heck this was about!

Don’t be an ideologue about this - The Customer Is Always Right… until it’s time to break the news to them that they aren't.

TOMORROW: Concluding J. P Watkins’ case study with Steps 5 ~ 12.
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