Are you suffering from Impact Abstractitis?

Tell me…

Do you find yourself constantly dreaming up new creative solutions to serve your audience, customers and/or beneficiaries?

Do you get blank or confused stares when you describe what you do to people who don’t already know?

Do you find yourself continuously torn between various projects in your social enterprise, not sure which ones to give attention to in order to get better impact or financial results?

Do you have trouble explaining exactly WHY your best clients are so pumped to work with you, or HOW they benefit from engaging with your solution?

If you said YES to any of the above, my guess is you are suffering from a not-so-rare condition called impact abstractitis. Nearly every changemaker has experienced this ailment at one point or another in their entrepreneurial journey!

I’ve been there too, and through trial and error found these steps can help relieve the symptoms and get that pep back in your step.. So you can go take on the world in a much more efficient and impactful way and deliver solutions that offer unmatched positive benefits for your people.

Here’s my 7 step fail-proof home remedy to distill your vague offer into the perfect transformational solution for your people:

Step 1 – The ‘Before’ Scenario

Where is the experience of your people before they find you? What are their frustrations, questions, obstacles, fears and desires as it relates to the problem you help solve?

Summarize this into a few sentences.

Step 2 – The ‘After’ Scenario

What is the experience of your people AFTER they engage with you?

What kind of relief or satisfaction do they feel? How are their lives easier, more joyful, or better in some way?

Summarize this into a few sentences.

Step 3 – Braindump

Time to get all your wonderful abstract ideas down on paper! You’ll want to sort into two lists here:

#1 – On the first, list everything included in what you offer right now. From start to finish what are each of the deliverables, processes, or elements that make up what you do, sell or provide? Break them down into the smallest chunks possible.

#2 – And on the second list, include all the deliverables, processes or elements you WISH you could include as part of your solution. You might not have some of these quite in place yet, but I bet they are still slipping into your communication (because I know you, and you want to do all. the. things.) When you’re done, tuck this list somewhere safe for future reference. But for now, it’s not needed.

Step 4 – Take stock

Grab a comfy spot and sit down for a 30 minute heart-to-heart with yourself or your team.

From list #1 only – which of these pieces of the puzzle have resonated most deeply with your people? Which elements are the ones people can’t stop talking about? Which ones do your customers come back to you with soaring feedback on over and over again?

Highlight these items.

Then, go through the list and notice which of the items you could potentially remove without your customers even noticing??…

…Now, cross those items out! Go on, get real and ruthless here!

When you’re done, you should be left with a short(er) list of all the building blocks of your offer*, a.k.a. value proposition* a.k.a. the solution* that you are presenting to your current and potential customers.

*Side note: don’t get too hung up on these terms – they are simply describing the ‘secret sauce’ that delivers a positive transformation for the person on the receiving end.

Step 5 – Get Concrete

Now take your handy shortlist created in Step 4 and go through each item one by one.

Ask yourself this for each:

Can I see, hear, touch, smell or taste this element of my solution?

If possible, can I add some extra description to connect it to one or more of these senses?

If that’s super weird (I get it) try this instead: Does it pass the ‘neighbour test’? In other words, if you said it to your neighbour in a couple sentences would they know what the heck you’re talking about?

Re-work your wording for each element until it can be seen, heard, touched, smelled, tasted OR pass the neighbour test!

If you hadn’t guessed, this step is to force you to get ULTRA CONCRETE in the way you describe each of the elements of your solution.

Last task here is to add the words “so that…” to the end of each item and fill in the rest of the sentence.

This helps you flip these concrete features of your solution into benefits. It answers the ‘why should I care?’ question your potential customers are subconsciously asking themselves everytime they listen to you.

Step 6 – Map Out the Customer Journey

Time to connect the dots and map out your customer journey in a very descriptive, concrete, and simple way.

Here’s how:

Combine Step 1 = the ‘Before’, Step 5 = concrete elements, and Step 2 = the ‘After’ (in that order) to get a clear picture of the ideal transformation you hope all your current and future customers will experience as a result of working with you.

Does it make sense? Are there gaps or unreasonable jumps in the experience? You should see them clearly here!

Step 7 – SIMPLIFY!!

The final step to cure your impact absractitis (hopefully once and for all!) is to SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY.

Run your customer journey summary past three new people and see what they say.

Do they have questions? Is it crystal clear?

How can you further simplify your message and still get all those juicy benefits across?

Great work on this 7 Step home remedy to focus your vague idea into the perfect solution for your people!

Now that you’ve dove deep to make progress, you can integrate a lite version of this process into your everyday routine.

Adding a new element to your offer? See how it stacks up in your customer journey.

Getting a few more blank stares than you’d like again? Go through your offer and make sure you’re communicating it in very concrete and simple terms.

Not enough customers knocking on your door? Go back to your “so that…” statements so they know exactly why they should care about the solution you offer!

You know you’ve finally cured your impact absractitis when:

People nod excitedly when you describe your offer and say “I’ve been waiting for you!”

You feel overwhelming confidence in the ability of your solution to deliver transformational results for your people!

You’re flooded with strong feelings of purposeful focus and direction every morning!

Enjoy the feeling, and stay healthy changemakers!