Jason Zagami, the founder of Seedling, uses Geoffry Moore’s Crossing the Chasm to assist business owners in growing their businesses and achieving their goals.
Geoffry Moore’s instructive novel, How to Cross the Chasm is based on the frustration that high-tech inventors were experiencing when their products were launching but weren’t selling because the majority of buyers were afraid to try a new product.
What is the Chasm?
Picture two cliffs and a deep crevice in between them. The cliff to the left is where the inventors and the early adopters are. The inventors create the product and the early adopters are quick to try it. On the cliff to the right of the crevice (the chasm) is the majority of the population, these are the people who are skeptical of change and unless they have seen someone else try the product and enjoy it, they most likely won’t buy it.
In Geoffry’s novel, the challenge of getting over the chasm (the crevice) was the ability to get your product from the early adopters’ hands into the majority of people’s hands. Convincing people to use a new product when they have been using a similar one for years is challenging. (If it 'aint broke, why fix it?) But Geoffry believes that if you do the work and present people with a product that is finished, easy to use, and solves a problem, people will be more inclined to try something new.
The chasm that Jason is trying to cross with businesses is similar, in that a lot of hard work goes into it.
Jason Zagami, the founder of Seedling, works with many businesses to coach them on how to make their businesses better by helping them to break bad habits, overcome fears, and adopt new practices.
For Jason, the cliff to the left of the chasm is where the business is when they seek his help and the cliff to the right of the chasm is the grass that’s greener - this is where the client wants his or her business to be, it is the goal that this business is working toward. The client has hired Jason to define the chasm and to show them how they can cross it.
Jason defines the chasm as the steps that a business needs to take to improve their business. It sounds simple, but these marketing tools will force business owners into making changes in areas that have kept them on the wrong side of the chasm. Things like, goal setting with OKR’s, customer research, and developing a marketing strategy.
These can all be scary steps for a business owner because they are comfortable doing the things that have gotten their business to where it is now, change is scary but the business can’t improve if the efforts stay the same.
Jason has to help them through their doubts, or else the business will fail to grow.
Be comfortable with being uncomfortable
Many businesses are resistant to change, and instead, try to do the same things over and over, but Jason explains how this could be detrimental to your business,
“It’s like being in a boat with a broken rudder. You can’t steer, and you just say, ‘You know we’re lost at sea and we want to get home, why don’t we just go full throttle?’ You’re just going to run out of fuel going in the wrong direction.”
In order to evolve and grow your business, you’ll need to change the things that you were doing before.
Change brings a lot of anxiety and stress because the outcome is not guaranteed. To Jason, the chasm is a process that you have to work through, the anxiety you feel is a necessary experience,
“Your business is not going to fall off of a cliff, but emotionally you’re going to fall off of an emotional cliff. Because I’m going to open your eyes to things you didn’t realize [...] you’ll see your business through a new lens.”
Crossing the chasm is hard for everyone, it’s an emotional journey, where you have to look at the things you’ve been doing and how they need to change in order to make progress.
Holding yourself and your team accountable is important to see improvement and so it’s important to develop and document solid OKR’s. This goal setting will be difficult because you’ll see where your business is falling short but it’s all good news because this is where improvements will begin!
Starting with goals and customer research is important because you want to know who you’re aiming to reach with your product. You can’t skip steps if you want to get to the other side of the chasm,
“You need a result. Everyone asks for the fun, energizing thing that I call creative execution. Creative execution is the website, advertising, TV commercials, it’s the tangible deliverable that they can see. But you need to do the work first.”
The creative execution step is exciting but you can’t approach it without completing OKRs and customer research, because no one will care what you’re saying. You need to appeal to your audience, which means you have to get to know them.
The emotional roller coaster you ride to get through the chasm is intimidating but Jason works with business owners every day to get through it and emerge on the other side, where you want to be,
“If you can find a way to be uncomfortable, then you’ll cross the chasm”.
Once you cross the chasm, you’ll feel more accomplished than ever before and your business will thrive. There will always be a chasm to cross, but Jason can get you through it.