Have you ever compared business strategy to surfing? Mike Michalowicz has. As author of the new book SURGE: Time the Marketplace, Ride the Wave of Consumer Demand, and Become Your Industry's Big Kahuna, Mike uses surfing as an analogy for business.
So listen up and ride the waves with him on this episode of Bacon Wrapped Business.
– Be where people need you when they need you by identifying imminent trends.
– Surfers look at waves that are close, or imminent, and evaluate which one is the best.
– No one can surf the entire ocean all at once, so pick a cove (one segment of a trend) and decide which waves are best.
SURGE stands for Separate, Unify, Rally cry, Gather and Expansion.
– Separate: Pick a “cove” to surf in. Zero in on one area to market and decide who you’re going to market to.
– Unify: Paddle in front of the “wave” so that it can help push you along and gain momentum.
– Rally cry: There’s a point when you’re riding a wave that the board lifts out of the water causing a transfer of energy from you paddling to the wave pushing you. In business, this is when the community starts carrying the wave, or market force, for you.
– Gather: Collect knowledge to constantly perfect your product.
– Expansion: When you first start surfing, you don’t do fancy tricks right off the bat. You have to start with the basics and expand from there. In business, once you get your product out in the general market, you can then target it to more specific markets like professional athletes, celebrities, or whatever high profile group is appropriate for your business, who can then promote your product even further for you.
**Tip** Give your customers a short survey right after they buy your product. For example, ask where they heard about it and why they decided to purchase it at that moment.
More Great Highlights
– Brian Smith, the creator of UGG® boots, originally targeted his product at surfers (not teenage girls).
– When neoprene swimwear hit the market, it led to year-round surfing. That meant that surfers needed something to keep their feet warm when they got out of the water in colder weather.
– The interior material of the boots did not absorb bacteria or odor, and the above-ankle height kept beach sand from getting into the boots.
– The Rally Cry for UGG® was no more cold feet for surfers.
– The expansion began by targeting professional surfers who would increase popularity and demand for the product. Then other areas were targeted: hockey players, hunters, skiers, etc. which really expanded the market for these simple, cozy boots.
– Eventually, the trend reached teenage girls and now you can’t take two steps without seeing young women in UGG® boots.
– This change in demographic led to many people calling Brian Smith a sell-out, which begs an important, and mandatory, question: Are you willing to compromise the initial group/demographic that carried your product to success?
– The Cronut® is another widespread, high-demand product, but people often travel a long way to Dominique Ansel’s bakery in New York to get the true, original Cronut® and see its birthplace.
**Tip** If starting and manufacturing a new product is too intimidating for you, you can start by improving an existing product and licensing it to a bigger company.
– When you are the first to target a new market, consumers will be more tolerant of any inferior elements of your business because you are their only option.
– Your marketing needs will start to decrease as everyone learns about you, but that is when you really need to improve and perfect your product so that you stay on top when others try to corner your market. Don’t let them steal your wave.
If you know of any podcasts that need a guest, tell Mike Michalowicz. Get in touch with him and invite him on the show. Go to his [site] for information.
Check out other books discussed on the show
Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson
The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss
One Simple Idea by Stephen Key
Do you have questions or comments? Need advice? Want to suggest more books on business?