What WWII Can Teach You About Business: The Beachhead Offer

Many a novice entrepreneur or changemaker finds it hard to get going in the early stages of their venture because they’re trying too many things all at once. This is natural because Stage 1 is a huge learning lab where you’re saying YES to a lot of different things you might do, so you generate a lot of ways for your prospects to work with you. Essentially, you’re throwing stuff against the wall hoping it’ll stick. Now, the key to getting out of Stage 1 is actually getting something to stick, even if it’s something small. You want to have that one thing you are known for in your market  – and that’s where your Beachhead Offer comes in.

I call it a Beachhead Offer is because it’s much like what one would need to do to assault a contested landscape or capture enemy territory. The challenge is if you go and try to take everything all at once, it doesn’t work. It’s too well-defended and there’s too much going on in the space. But if you’re able to get a foothold in the market, then you can have some success. You can’t come in and be the best and everything all at once.

The Beachhead Offer is designed for you to do two things:

  1. To give you some concrete, specific, and actionable place to start.
  2. Be able to push further and further in, so you get market share around your business and idea.

Once you get that, you can start moving into everything else you might be able to do. The hardest thing is to reach critical mass as a business. The whole point of Stage 1 is to reach critical mass of sales or market visibility, so that you have different opportunites set up from that. Far too many people come in and focus on short-term potential sales, BSOs (bright, shiny objects), and Easy Zen Secrets To {Insert Whatever Aspirational Goal Here}, and not nearly enough on “What am I going to do to get my name out there and to be in the right space so I can get these follow-on opportunities and cashflow?”

This is where simple things like being seen with experts and being seen as an expert are proven to be far better techniques for building a business than selling a product too early and not making a whole lot off it. When people see you in the right network of experts, your beachhead expands and your room to maneuver expands. The hat-trick of gaining expertise, putting yourself out there, and being entrenched as someone who delivers value and knows what they’re doing all expand your beachhead.

Turf Doesn’t Always Mean Cashflow

Counter-intuitive truth: Your Beachhead Offer doesn’t have to be something you get cashflow from. (Click to tweet – thanks!) For instance, it can be a speaking gig you do for free or a webinar or anything really, but it needs to do at least two things:

  1. It needs to get you in front of people who have a need for whatever it is you do.
  2. It needs to show you have the capability to solve someone’s problem.

If you don’t meet the first criterion, you get seen in front of the wrong people who never actually had that problem and just wasted time. (Well, you practiced public speaking, but Toastmasters is better for that anyway.) If you get eyeballs and you don’t show you can solve someone’s problem, that doesn’t show what you can do, either. The main goal of your beachhead is to get people to know, like, and trust you that you can deliver on your promises.

Focus Or Flounder

What separates a Beachhead Offer from something else you might do is the amount of focus you put in it. Like Normandy, if the Allied Forces didn’t muster everything they had to get on the shore, the Germans would have easily pushed them back into the water. That unwavering focus and commitment to getting market share and getting in there is what separates the people who do this well and the people who don’t.

Derek Halpern did a great job with this with Social Triggers. The focus of that was just conversion and websites and how people do that, and it was brilliant.

If you’re really ready to move out of the fuzziness of Stage 1, start refining your core offer, and claim your beachhead. It’s far easier to change directions when you’ve got some ground under you, but you’ve got to get the ground first.

Of Course You Need To Make Money!

Someone just interpreted what I’ve said above as get-out-of-making-money-now card. (Not you, obviously, because you’re smart.)

Focusing on your Beachhead Offer is actually the fastest way to start making money because it focuses your efforts. You learn what your market really wants; it’s usually different than what you first think. You learn how your market understands your language and marketing. You learn whether your offer is viable and profitable because you actually sell it and can see how cashflow works in your business. Or you don’t sell it and scrap it rather than having it hanging out there in Maybe-It’ll-Sell land.

With the exception of rare birds like Gary Vaynerchuck, most of us aren’t naturally effective salesmen – we’re bootstrapping our business and learning how to market our wares on the fly. Focusing on your Beachhead Offers gives you the type of effective feedback that enables effective learning since you’re not tracking scores of variables across different offers and market segments.

And, all the while, you’re showing up and consistently engaging with prospects and customers and becoming a character in their stories. Being an anchored character in their mindspace is the winning ticket.

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  1. Lori Serpa Bonaparte says

    Good timing. This is just more encouragement for me to keep on the track I’m on. Thank you for posting this.

  2. says

    I think you’re definitely right that people need to focus.  And have something that is their “signature” offering that sets them apart from the crowd.  Mine actually evolved naturally and surprised me, it’s a 15-week coaching program I created that for whatever reason has just intrigued the heck out of a large number of people.  But I honestly don’t know how I would have arrived at it through any “logical” process, it was purely following intuition.  I guess that makes sense, because that’s what I teach other people how to do – get on their true life path and follow intuition to the life of their dreams.  Anyway, thank you for the article, a friend of mine told me about your website, and I wanted to come see what you are all about.  I’m making a note of the URL and will stop by from time to time to see what your latest fun post is :)  Cheers.  

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