A Conversation with Joseph Warren and Dr. Erika Gray
Dr. Erika Gray began her entrepreneur journey by creating a protein bar for her father. She knew he was a carrier of a specific Alzheimer’s gene called APOE, and so she wanted to see what she could do about it. As a genetic scientist, she knew certain proteins could help his condition.
But as we all know, Startup Nation, an idea isn’t a business. After developing the protein bar, Erika started doing consumer surveys to find out how much people would pay.
One day, one of her colleagues who was an ER nurse came in to her little satellite office for a survey. Erika handed her a bar and asked, “How much would you pay for this bar?”
Her friend said, “I don’t know, it tasted really good, but what’s it for?”
Erika explained, “It can help support your DNA and can it might be able to make some impact as to how your DNA expresses itself.”
“Hold on! So you’re saying that what I’m eating could change the outcome of how my DNA expresses itself?”
Erika’s friend braced herself on the desk, saying, “Wow! Mind blown! I’d pay $4 for this protein bar.”
Erika never expected someone would pay $4 for her protein bar!
Get clear on your motivation, product, and marketing
Startup Nation, I love Erika’s story. It shows how Erika got clear on her business and her message. If you’ve seen my free clarity call offers, you know that I believe clarity is essential for a healthy business.
The thing about clarity is that it isn’t tunnel vision. To be successful, you have have clarity on multiple areas of your life: business, family, mindset, etc. Erika’s story is a great example of being clear on motivation, product, and marketing.
Motivation is the “why” behind your business.
For Erika, she wanted to create a snack that would help her dad battle Alzheimer’s. She wasn't doing it for the money. She wasn't doing it for the fame. She was doing it for a deeply personal reason.
I want to encourage you to find your own deeper motivation because business owners without motivation BURNOUT.
A clear motive will also help attract customers and investors to your brand.
“People love connecting and the story,” Erika says, “and they like the idea of being part of something bigger than themselves – feel like they are helping a greater good. They want to connect, resonate, and understand so that they buy into your mission and vision.”
Want proof? Erika just SECURED A $1 MILLION INVESTMENT to help grow her new DNA Test Kit business.
Do you know what you sell?
It sounds like a stupid question, but most people trying to start their own businesses CAN’T ANSWER!
Look at Erika. She didn’t tell her friend, “I’m selling a new way to impact DNA expression.” What the heck is a DNA expression? Can I get that shipped to my home? Can I touch it? See it?
No, Erika created a protein bar. A protein bar is a product. A “new way to impact DNA expressionion” is not a product.
Let’s say you’re passionate about driver safety. You want to start a business that promotes distraction-free driving. Ok, but first you need a product. Are you creating an app? Are you creating an eye-tracker you install on your dashboard? How does it work?
It comes down to his, Startup Nation, you can’t sell a business idea to customers. You have to sell a clear product.
Now we can talk about DNA expression!
Erika landed on her marketing message (a protein bar that impacts DNA expression) when her friend asked her to explain her protein bar. Erika had to shift from what the product was (a protein bar) to what the product can do for the customer. She had to explain why her product was unique.
Can you explain why your customer should buy from you instead of your competition?
The best advice I can give is to test your message with your customer. Erika got an immediate reaction from her friend. But many business owners create their marketing behind closed doors. They think they know what the public wants, but then they launch a new campaign and no one buys.
DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU.
If you learn anything from this post, remember that THE KEY TO CLEAR MARKETING IS NOT SPEAKING TO YOUR CUSTOMER, IT’S LISTENING.
How do I know I’m being clear enough?
As it turns out, you won’t always have friends around to give immediate feedback on your business. Your messaging might make sense to you, but you’ve spent the last six months drowning in details. Your customer is not going to spend six months learning about your product. Most of the time you're lucky to get six seconds.
Erika’s rule: If your 7-year-old kid can’t understand your marketing, no one else will.
One of the most successful ad campaigns ever was “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.” An unknown Japanese motorcycle company was trying to break into the US market. They had to compete with the established, tough biker brands like Harley Davidson.
What’s so genius about Honda’s slogan is that it’s both different and clear. Honda found their niche (“nice,” middle class people) and went for it.
Even a 7-year-old can feel good about meeting a nice person!
KEY TAKEAWAY: Great businesses are built on CLARITY. Get clear on your motivation, product, and marketing and watch your business grow exponentially.
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