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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  September 08, 2015

Why Baby Steps Don’t Work

A lot of folks have a hard time investing in stuff like strategy. The biggest reason: it’s difficult to determine the value of the intangible. When deciding how to allocate precious resources, the activity-based offers (like websites and sending out tweets) feel safe and worth the investment.

Well, Chris Valletta knows better. This former NFL player left the field and built a business with $100M in sales within five years. He hired me to do the deep-dive turbo charge me now project before he launched his next big adventure. My favorite insights from our conversation:

  • Chris knew what he wanted. He just didn’t know the best path to get there. Because of his story and past success, he could’ve jumped in and “experimented”. Because he invested in strategy before implementing, he saved much ┬ámore money avoiding the mistakes along the way. That’s the real ROI for strategy — the money you save while getting attention.
  • Chris can sell ice to Eskimos. What he needed is something to sell that would stand out in the crowded marketplace he was getting into. Our work put him three steps ahead of the competition, so he got momentum quickly. One visceral reaction: “This is exactly what I’m hearing in boardrooms everywhere!” Responses like that open up opportunities no one knew were there.
  • Could Chris figure this out on his own? Sure…in five years according to his estimation. But he didn’t fall for that trap, as his partnerships in the previous business contributed mightily to the results. Yet another reason to get outside help. To paraphrase an old saying, there is safety (and speed to market) in large numbers.

 

Risk up close looks much bigger than it really is. It might seem prudent to invest in activity so you can “see” what you are getting. But the invisible assets are more important before you implement. Intangibles like strategy are the engines that launch the rocket. If you don’t have enough power there, you won’t get past the noisy atmosphere. Click here to hear Chris’ story.

 

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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.