Friday, March 15, 2013

W11.05 Case Studies: Victoria Stanham in Uruguay, South America. Part One


Are you a young trainee or teacher – then today’s blog is for you. Because it is all about Victoria, and Victoria Stanham is one of you. She is a recently graduated teacher working in Uruguay of all places (I had to check the map to remind me: it’s under Brazil.) She didn’t say who trained her, but she did say she thinks differently from everyone else. Well, I was delighted to read that. I think differently too. And I have a little surprise for Victoria which I hope will interest you too! Anyway, read on, to further explore this mystery…

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Step 1 – Recognize Success Drivers
Another teacher that doesn’t mention money, at all.

Time for a polite tirade.

Bi-directional value for value exchanges are healthy: they mean both sides benefit from the exchange. It does not matter if it is 50:50 exchange or 10:1 exchange, it only matters that both sides have exchanged value and gained benefit. This is healthy living, this keeps us all sane. As soon as we succumb to unconscious drives by compromising our values to feel protected by the tribe, imbalance in our relationships slowly develop, life gets chaotic. Translation: when you give away your time without a clear plan of how you will reap a return on this giving, or underprice your Self to appease another person - it is not good business. Generosity is great - donate 20% of your income if you want - but don’t do it in the business sphere. It is confusing.

So teachers – what do you want from being a teacher, a successful one, what do you want in monetary values (the numbers lie less) ? To answer this, you have to know what is the money for? what do you want to do with it? Nothing?

When you make notes about recognizing your success drivers, tell your Self the dream that will be ploughing money into your practise…

Step 3 – Location of Community
I don’t know much about Uruguay, even less about it’s capital Montevideo. Wikipedia says “vibrant, eclectic place with a rich cultural life.” All my girls would ask “Is it good for shopping?” The city hosts about half of 3.5 million people who live in Uruguay.

What kind of a business could you create there?  I don’t know, but Victoria could find out.

The next three month course I will give is about “Building a Real Business” and I will be commenting on Plans submitted to me. What I propose is that Victoria take her dream of having her own studio, decide it’s best location, calculate the rent and costs, then use the 12 Points to build a niche-focused business in Montevideo.

If Victoria will create a plan, I will review it as part of my “Build A Business” free program. Step one is to articulate the plan using the structure of my 12 Points, then add demographic, financial and social data about market and location. How you do all this is part of the next course, starting May 1st. I will be talking about this more next week.

Step 4 – Develop Service Product
I like Victoria’s answer to this one: “I did your niche-finding exercises and discovered that psychologists would be a nice target-audience: they are interested in things I'm interested in, there are plenty of them in the city, they tend to invest in their education and learning about themselves, they have back pain from long hours of sitting during consultations, among other things” There may be something there for you too. To build a marketing plan you need numbers - so how many are there specifically? How do they spend their money now? How many journals do they have locally? Who is selling to them, and how? Before you head down the road of building a Service Product, there is a lot of research needs doing - it may take more time, but it will save you in even more time in the long run. Research first.

My other question: is Victoria only trained to do chair and table lessons? As I have often commented - it doesn’t matter how wonderful you think it is, how useful, important, essential - most ordinary customers won’t think so. They will think it is, well, kinda “weird.” One or two lessons, it’s OK, but after 10 or more… A lot drop out, because their interest is lost. But if you are doing lessons on how to swing their golf club, or get more air for horn playing or deal with depression -that keeps them engaged in lessons.

So what kind of Genius Alexander offerings will Victoria create as part of the attractive front of her business? What kind of activities? The chair sitting thing is good - but after that…?

Step 5 – Put Together Your Team
I might invest in Montevideo - why not? It is one of those ripe markets that I love: no real AT presence yet, so you can actually make Alexander Technique your niche - you’ll stumble upon lots of people gushing to find out AT has finally arrived in Montevideo!

Magazines of all kinds love articles on our work. I encourage Victoria to make a list of all the magazines that psychologists might read when they are not working (and computer engineers and architects) and research their content at the library by reading many back issues.

She must then systematically 1. Find out if anyone in her network is connected and can introduce her; 2. Cold visit the ones that she has no contact with. She will need a press packet with “angles” for articles based on her library research. 3. Keep visiting and offering fresh ideas until the Editor knows you by name and eventually says yet.

Remember - you are solving their problem: finding good content. So sell knowing they are a buyer, albeit a skeptical one at first.

Step 6 – Build Your List
Psychologists are usually publically listed somewhere. So it is legal to write each one a letter (not an email!!!) to introduce your Self, the Alexander Technique work and an offer so compelling, so extraordinary, that 20% of them respond and you get them on your list. The letter should be addressed by hand, have a real stamp, and no return sender to pique curiosity.

In my days as a mail boy for the monstrous Australian Broadcasting Network, hundreds of letters came addressed directly by name to the Manager Director. We were taught to send them all to the Administrative division, unless they were marked Private and Confidential. Those letters we sent to his Personal Assistant, and they were all opened. So if you are writing to a busy person, with a lot of influence, and you want your letter to get as close as possible - that is how you do it. Make sure, if you do, that the contents are not a let down.

TOMORROW: More detail on the work Victoria needs to do build a business in Montevideo…

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CAVEAT: Remember what Alexander said: “They will see it as getting in and out of a chair the right way. It is nothing of the kind.” Is this case-study about the “right way” for Victoria Stanham to go ahead? It is nothing of the kind. It’s intended to demonstrate a way of thinking, not a set of proscriptions, even when they read as proscriptions! My true intention with these case studies is to provoke you into finding another way to understand the same ideas.

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