A Business Development Collective For Digital Agencies & Indie Developers

 

OpportunityLabs is a bundle of services that helps developers and digital agencies professionalize their business development.

Professionals do the following:

Invest in and maintain their network

  • Use, manage, and take seriously a CRM

  • Know of, meet, and maintain collegial relationships with their peers/colleagues/competitors

  • Build relationships with those most likely and able to refer business

  • Handle referrals with structure & process, projecting interest in the opportunity and lack of desperation for the opportunity

  • Expand their network in thoughtful ways

  • Keep past clients in the loop without wasting their time or overburdening them (provide value before, during, and after the engagement)

Value their own work

  • Regularly collect evidence of results, as objective and measurable as possible

  • Seek to understand why they win and lose deals

  • Read their clients' trade journals or equivalent

Communicate with and treat their prospects/clients well

  • Follow up

    • With leads
    • With prospects
    • With open loops of any kind
  • Seek maximal value

    • Proactively look for and suggest ways to make things better within or adjacent to the current engagement scope
    • Suggest sources of value your client may not know about

The value of OpportunityLabs to you:

  • Increase bizdev effectiveness with better positioning, POV, and messaging
  • Overcome the tiny bits of friction that keep bizdev tasks confined to the backlog on your TODO list
  • Avoid bizdev overwhelm
  • Make steady progress (turtle, not hare)
  • Close an important gap (between the "channel" that generates the most business and your deficient efforts to show up in that channel)
  • Use introvert-friendly means of accomplishing the above

Price: $9,000 to $30,000 USD, total price based on company size

 


You don't need better digital marketing or more authority; you need a better professional network.

Our research shows that about 1/3rd of the time someone with a need and budget seeks a custom software developer, they'll use a web search or marketplace/directory like clutch.co. The other 2/3rds of the time they'll seek a referral or use another method to find the developer or shop they ultimately hire. This data informs the OpportunityLabs mindset, framework, and process.

Mindset

If you want a better business, build a better professional network.

Seek to understand and leverage existing buyer preferences and behavior rather than trying to change these preferences and behavior.

Use the returns from consistent success with simple methods to fuel growth via more risky business development methods.

Use the tools of authority marketing and content marketing only if:

  • If you have successfully built and managed a "lead generation index fund" and wants to invest the surplus (time, emotional energy, money, etc.) into authority/content marketing and
  • If you genuinely enjoys this kind of work (publishing, speaking/teaching, podcast guesting, original research, writing a book, etc.) and
  • If such activity will likely increase referability or visibility.
  • Or: If no other approach is yielding appropriate results within a reasonable timeframe.

The OpportunityLabs Framework

  • We use positioning/specialization to create business development focus and meaningful differentiation from our competition.
  • We use point of view (POV) to create attraction with the right kinds of prospects and repel the bad fit prospects.
  • We use offer design to increase our value to clients and our profitability.
  • To increase our discoverability:
    • We help past clients -- our highest-value referral source -- remember us, stay up to date with our evolving capabilities, match us with the right opportunity when they are asked, and easily connect us with the referral.
    • We help our entire social network understand how we create value, remember us, match us with the right opportunity when they are asked, and easily connect us with the referral.
    • We expand our social network to include more likely and high-potential referrers.
    • We formally introduce ourselves to our competitors and in-vertical or in-discipline colleagues.
    • We work to show up in focused web searches, and any directories where prospects are likely to search for us-shaped solutions.
    • Only when appropriate, we use cold outreach to the very narrow target market that regularly buys the normal version of what we offer.
  • We increase our ability to execute consistently, even when life gets crazy or client deadlines hit:
    • Via "good enough" templates and frameworks that are better than doing nothing or endless "gold-plating"
    • Via systemetization and process
    • Via reduction of unnecessary emotional labor
    • Via weekly 15-minute online standups to report on accomplishments, blockers, and next steps
    • Via ad-hoc coworking sessions/groups
  • We execute the above using nerd/introvert-friendly methods and content that are respectful of our audience's time and intelligence.

People

Philip Morgan, author of The Positioning Manual and The Point Of View Guide, runs the OpportunityLabs collective. He serves as your on-demand positioning, POV, and messaging strategy consultant.

Process

When you pay to join the OpportunityLabs collective, the following process begins:

(full size image: https://opportunitylabs.io/images/opplabs-process-and-framework.jpg)

  • Step 1: Onboarding. Some elements of the OpportunityLabs framework are 1-time decisions (positioning, POV, and messaging), or ones you might update every 3 to 5 years. Other elements of the framework are ongoing activities (educating and expanding your social network, for example). You'll meet with Philip to assess your current situation and craft a plan to apply the OpportunityLabs framework to your business. You'll work through this plan at the fastest pace you can manage, enabled by on-demand consulting/working sessions with Philip and weekly 15-minute online standup meetings. Most weeks there will be a pool of 20 hours you can book one or more 1:1 consulting sessions with Philip from.
  • Step 2: Preparation. If your positioning, POV, or service design needs improvement, you'll work with Philip on these improvements. Philip will serve as your strategy consultant. He will also function as your writing coach and editor, but he's not going to do copywriting, website work, or tech work for you. After you have the business development assets of effective positioning, a clear point of view, and good service design in place, you'll move to the next step.
  • Step 3: Professionalize your foundational business development activities. You'll apply the discoverability and execution elements of the OpportunityLabs framework to your business. During this phase, there's a strong emphasis on consistent execution, enabled by:
    • Philip helping you choose and prioritize small, granular tasks that all fit together to support the end goal of professionalizing your business development.
    • Weekly 15-minute standups, where you report on accomplishments, blockers, and next steps. This creates some accountability, and if you have blockers, creates a weekly on-ramp to a 1:1 session with Philip to resolve those blockers.
  • Step 4: Add targeted activities to generate more leads. After you've started to operate like a professional in step 3, you may add a few more carefully-selected lead generation activities.
  • Step 5: If appropriate, add carefully-chosen digital marketing and authority marketing tools. Such tools might include content marketing, a book, or similar higher-risk, higher-effort business development.

Price

If you're a soloist -- or two partners who co-own the business -- with no employees, the price is $9,000 USD.

If you have 1 to 5 employees and do not want to increase your headcount, the price is $12,000.

If you have 1 to 24 full-time equivalents (FTEs) and do want to increase your headcount, the price is $18,000.

If you have 25 or more FTEs, the price is $30,000 and you have the option to have me run separate 1:1 standups for your business development team.

All fees are payable in 1 to 6 installments. You pay once to join the collective, up front, and that's it.

 

Results

Member Baseline For Year Prior To Joining OpportunityLabs After 6 Months In OL After 1 Year In OL
A fractional CTO for startups Revenue: $82,579
Leads: 20
Clients: 10
Projects: 13
Revenue: -
Leads: -
Clients: -
Projects: -
Revenue: -
Leads: -
Clients: -
Projects: -
An agility consultancy (2-person business) Revenue: -
Leads: -
Clients: -
Projects: -
Revenue: -
Leads: -
Clients: -
Projects: -
Revenue: -
Leads: -
Clients: -
Projects: -
A qualitative insights researcher Revenue: $66,596
Leads: 9
Clients: 4
Projects: 4
Revenue: -
Leads: -
Clients: -
Projects: -
Revenue: -
Leads: -
Clients: -
Projects: -
A web design agency Revenue: $215,000
Leads: 10
Clients: 3
Projects: 9
Revenue: -
Leads: -
Clients: -
Projects: -
Revenue: -
Leads: -
Clients: -
Projects: -

 

Interested?

If you'd like to learn more or apply to join, please drop your info in here to set up a chat with Philip Morgan:


FAQ, Clarifications, and 12-Point Fine Print

About the standups

OpportunityLabs is a new thing that hasn't existed before. So we can't tell you how the standups currently work, but we can tell you about how we'll design and execute them as businesses join the collective.

  • They are group standups, not 1:1 with Philip.
  • We're serious about the 15 minute (or less) length.
  • If any given standup becomes large enough that it can't run effectively in 15m or less, then we'll split it into 2 groups.
  • Because Philip runs the standups, work-hours time zone coverage from Pacific time zone to Central European Time is all we can guarantee.
  • Philip will be rigorous about asking that you move any problemsolving or discussion of blockers that surfaces during a standup to a 1:1 consulting session with him to keep the standups focused on reporting on execution and to maximize the quality of that problemsolving work.
  • To make sure all members can attend at least one weekly standup, there will be 2 or 3 standups/week you can choose from among (unless the scheduling gods smile on us in an unusual way in which case we will start with fewer standups).
  • We'll use Slack audio huddles to hold the standups.
  • Once the standup operations and culture are well-established, Philip may increase time zone coverage by delegating running one or more standups to someone else who works in a more eastern time zone and who is interested in doing this work.

Are there any guarantees?

  • Philip will run the OpportunityLabs collective as described above for at least 1 year from the date of your joining. Until this offering demonstrates growth potential, that's all the length of service we can guarantee.
  • If you're "on the fence" about the OpportunityLabs approach/framework, no guarantee is going to help. If you're "bought into" the approach but the price feels too risky for you, ask Philip about a 1-month no-risk trial period when you meet with him to discuss joining. Use the form above to set up a call and mention your interest in this trial period during the call.

What is "offer design"?

Offer design is working to maximize the value that your services offer the market and minimize waste or over-delivery. Some of this is an up-front design exercise, and some of it is an over-time optimization effort. The up-front design work is driven by questions like these:

  • Do clients understand what value your services deliver and how to buy them?
  • Do clients need a low-risk way to do a paid trial of working with you?
  • What risk-reducers could you bundle with your services in order to provide a more valuable and complete solution?
  • Is there a naturally-ocurring client lifecycle that your services should be designed around?

There are other relevant questions, but hopefully you can see the kind of thinking happening during the service design work that OpportunityLabs will help you with.