The 7 Powers: a Strategic Framework to Fight Off Increasing Competition

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It has by no means been simpler to construct a enterprise on-line. By that very same token, there has by no means been extra competitors. The finest approach to stay worthwhile long run is to spend money on moats utilizing the 7 Powers Framework.

It’s terrifying being a vendor on Amazon. What if Big Bezos decides he desires to make an AmazonFundamentals model of your finest vendor? Or what in case your provider decides they wish to begin competing in opposition to you?

Affiliate entrepreneurs should take care of individuals spying on and ripping off their campaigns. Facebook prices hold rising. Margins hold shrinking.

I discovered an idea over a decade in the past referred to as the moat. Centuries in the past, castles would defend themselves from enemies by constructing moats. These had been deep ditches surrounding the fortress, stuffed with water.

Photo by Francesco Ungaro from Pexels.

Warren Buffett refuses to spend money on an organization except he feels they've sufficient robust moats. Moats are the aggressive benefits that defend your revenue margins regardless of competitors.

This topic fascinates me as a result of a lot of the eCommerce world relies round personal labeling. Everyone’s re-selling personal labeled items at a big markup. What’s stopping another person from coming in and copying you?

Supplement firms akin to Bulletproof and Onnit are doing roughly $30 million a 12 months in income. Anyone can simply begin a complement firm by personal labeling. Yet these firms are thriving regardless of competitors due to the moats they’ve established.

As a lot as I understood the idea of moats, I’ve all the time puzzled if there was a framework that breaks down what varieties of moats there are.

My analysis led me to a guide referred to as 7 Powers: The Foundations of Business Strategy by Hamilton Helmer.

This guide is advisable by some tremendous good individuals akin to Daniel Ek (founding father of Spotify), Reed Hastings (founding father of Netflix), and Peter Thiel (the primary exterior investor of Facebook).

This is an easy and straight to the purpose framework that can assist you perceive enterprise technique. Successfully implementing these ideas will provide help to construct a long-lasting and worthwhile firm. Despite the rising quantity of competitors.

Some Helpful Terminology

Before we start, I need us all to be on the identical web page relating to definitions. We’ll be utilizing these phrases quite a bit.

Strategy: the research of the basic determinants of potential enterprise worth.
Power: the set of situations creating the potential for persistent differential returns.

Each energy must have a profit for you whereas serving as a barrier to your competitors.

Benefit: how the ability improves money flows, akin to by means of decrease prices or skill to cost increased costs. AKA the magnitude of energy.

Barrier: the way in which that rivals are prevented from arbitraging the advantage of the ability. AKA the length of energy.

I’m going to rapidly outline the 7 powers, after which we’ll go into them in additional element.

The 7 Powers

Scale Economies: A enterprise the place per unit prices decline as quantity will increase.Network Economies: A enterprise the place the shopper positive factors extra worth because the userbase will increase.Counter Positioning: A enterprise adopts a brand new, superior enterprise mannequin that incumbents can't copy as a result of it’ll cannibalize components of their present companies.Switching Costs: A enterprise the place prospects anticipate a better loss than the worth they achieve from switching to an alternate.Branding: A enterprise that enjoys the next perceived worth to an objectively an identical providing attributable to historic details about them.Cornered Resource: A enterprise that has preferential entry to a coveted useful resource that independently enhances worth.Process Power: A enterprise whose group and exercise set allows decrease prices and/or superior merchandise that may solely be matched by an prolonged dedication.

Power 1: Scale Economies

As the quantity will increase, the per-unit prices lower.

We all perceive this. The extra widgets that you simply’re in a position to buy from a provider, the larger the low cost you’ll obtain. Your native diner can’t get a reduction on potatoes like McDonald’s can.

The creator demonstrates scale economies by means of Netflix.

In the early days, Netflix negotiated offers with completely different content material suppliers. They had been in a position to get improbable offers as a result of the content material suppliers didn’t perceive the worth of streaming.

Eventually, the content material suppliers began to wisen up. Their streaming rights had been value greater than they realized. So they stored rising the price of the streaming rights to their content material. Some of the content material would completely change into unavailable as a result of Disney, Starz, and NBC would begin their very own companies.

Netflix realized early on that the differentiator within the streaming wars could be unique content material.

In 2011, they spent $100m for 2 seasons of House of Cards. This is the place Scale Economies are available in.

Netflix had a primary mover’s benefit which led them to buying a large userbase. Their scale economies meant they might purchase unique content material at a less expensive relative value in comparison with a newcomer like Hulu.

D&D (D.B. Weiss & David Benioff) had been the showrunners for the massively profitable present Game of Thrones. After the collection was over, they had been in search of a brand new streaming service to develop motion pictures and exhibits for.

This brought about a bidding battle amongst Disney, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and others. In the top, Netflix gained by paying $200 million for the rights. Even although the opposite firms had a bigger battle chest, it made extra monetary sense for Netflix to pay that a lot.

Scale economies are why some firms are prepared to run at break-even or unprofitably for just a few years. They know that after they obtain scale economies, they'll decrease their prices. To the purpose the place they’re worthwhile, and their competitors can’t sustain.

Power 2: Network Economies

Your buyer’s expertise improves as extra individuals be part of.

Technology will be an preliminary benefit. However, it could actually over time change into a commodity and simply replicated.

You can construct an app like Tinder for round $50,000 USD. What you'll be able to’t copy are the customers and the neighborhood.

How helpful would a relationship app be if there have been no extra new matches after the primary day? How helpful is a job board if nobody’s actively posting jobs there?

The service turns into extra helpful the extra folks that be part of. Sometimes it may be a winner takes all scenario. Because of that, these firms will elevate huge quantities of cash and give attention to progress.

Some examples embody Facebook, Linkedin, eBay, and Tinder.

Power three: Counter Positioning

A enterprise adopts a brand new, superior enterprise mannequin that incumbents can't copy as a result of it’ll cannibalize components of their present companies.

A concern that small companies have is that if they obtain product / market match, an even bigger and extra well-funded competitor can are available in and duplicate their concept.

Counter positioning is when you may have a enterprise mannequin that may hurt them in the event that they attempt to copy it.

Think about Kodak movie cameras vs. digital cameras. It’s straightforward to say in hindsight, “Wow, how did Kodak not see that digital cameras had been coming to destroy them?”

They did see it, however they couldn’t do something about it. Their greatest money cow was promoting movie rolls. Betting on and investing in digital cameras could be killing their present enterprise.

Next, digital cameras had been a distinct trade. Developing expertise wasn’t their power.

It’s straightforward to see what the correct transfer was in hindsight. If you had been the CEO Kodak throughout that point, it’s simpler to maintain your job by doing what works.

Counter place isn’t the identical as disruptive expertise. McDonald’s is the largest hamburger vendor on the planet. Shake Shack has taken a counter-position by promoting connoisseur hamburgers that value twice as a lot.

McDonald’s can’t copy the identical technique with out hurting their model.

Whenever there's a chief in a market, understand that their power can also be a weak point. There’s all the time room for the “reverse.”

High priced hedge funds: Vanguard index fundsCheap McDonald’s burgers: ShakeShackInstagram exhibiting off how good your life is: TikTok the place individuals will be goofy

Power four: Switching Costs

The worth loss anticipated by a buyer that may be incurred from switching to another provider for extra purchases.

I’ve used for years to provide pictures for my weblog posts. I made a decision to modify over as an alternative to for my pictures. I save $300 a month that approach. There had been no “penalties” for me switching.

Let’s take a look at a scenario the place I've excessive switching prices. I exploit (the CRM previously referred to as Infusionsoft) as my CRM for this weblog – it’s how I electronic mail everybody on a weekly foundation.

Don’t get the weekly electronic mail but? Sign up right here.

I selected to work with Keap as a result of it was the perfect CRM supplier after I signed up round 2015. Now, there are numerous extra viable CRM options on the market I might strive akin to ConvertKit or Drip.

I’d love to check them out, however I can’t. The switching prices could be too excessive.

I’ve invested so a few years in studying the way to use Keap.My automation contractor specializes solely in Keap. I’d have to seek out another person to exchange them.I'd run into some electronic mail deliverability points.All the funnels that I’ve constructed are in Keap. It’ll take vital labor to re-build them on a distinct platform.

While I’m not thrilled with utilizing Keap, the switching prices of it's too excessive for me to make use of a distinct product. I’m sticking with them for the foreseeable future.

Another instance for affiliate entrepreneurs is the tracker. They had been one of many first giant trackers within the trade. There have since been numerous rivals akin to RedTrack, and Adsbridge.

However, many affiliate entrepreneurs selected to stick with Voluum due to Switching Costs.

They invested the time to discover ways to use the software program.They don’t wish to lose their historic knowledge.And it is perhaps a ache to modify the hyperlinks of their lively campaigns.

Right now I’m utilizing WPEngine to host this weblog. Several years in the past, I used to be with one other supplier. It’d be a ache within the ass for me to modify server hosts. WPEngine provided to painlessly swap my service over as a free service.

Some firms add to the switching prices as a part of their technique.

I can’t ever do away with my Gmail account. It’s as a result of I've not less than 50+ websites the place I signed up utilizing the “Sign in with Google” function.

Me eliminating my Gmail account means I've to undergo the method of signing as much as all these web sites.

I’ve been utilizing Apple Macbooks for the previous decade. I've to confess, these Microsoft Surface laptops look rattling attractive. But I’ve invested so many sources into the Apple ecosystem.

If you’re attempting to get prospects to check out your product, take into consideration how one can make it simpler to your prospects to modify.

Power 5: Branding

The sturdy attribution of upper worth to an objectively an identical providing that arises from historic details about the vendor.

Branding is such an overused phrase. Just as a result of you may have a cute brand and packaging doesn’t imply you’ve constructed a model.

What defines a model?

There are two components to branding.

1. Affective Valence: Associating with the model provides the shopper good emotions. It might have been constructed from nostalgia or associations with optimistic moments of their lives.

I've optimistic feelings with manufacturers akin to Disney, Apple, Ben & Jerry’s, and Adidas. I’m prepared to pay extra money as a result of these manufacturers make me blissful.

2. Reducing Uncertainty: You take a danger each time you purchase a product. Brands provide peace of thoughts that the product works as supposed.

I don’t thoughts shopping for generic variations of meals. I can’t inform the distinction more often than not between generic and name-brand meals.

There are some classes the place individuals don’t wish to take dangers.

Diamond Ring. A diamond at Tiffany’s can value three instances greater than an equal diamond. People are prepared to spend that as a result of they know Tiffany’s has a sure customary of high quality. They don’t wish to take the danger with their native jewellery retailer.

Baby Products. Most dad and mom don’t wish to take any dangers with their youngsters. I’m prepared to pay extra money for merchandise by Graco or Fisher-Price as a result of these are the manufacturers I grew up with. I've little interest in getting a stroller seat from AliExpress.

The guide, 7 Powers, restricted branding to affective valence, and decreased uncertainty. I’m going so as to add a 3rd facet of branding primarily based on my expertise.

three. Signaling.

Signaling means you’re attempting to broadcast to individuals a attribute of you.

If I need individuals to assume that I’m a selfless, caring individual, I can document and add a video of myself volunteering at a homeless shelter. If I need individuals to assume I’m staying match, I’ll submit a photograph of me exercising on the health club.

Social media has elevated the quantity of signaling by everybody. There’s this strain to seem particular. There’s a strain to sign to everybody how nicely that we’re doing in life.

This is the place sure manufacturers are available in. By shopping for sure manufacturers, we’re signaling what the model represents.

This is why some ladies do an ungainly pose to point out off that they've “purple bottoms.” (Christian Louboutin is understood for having their sneakers be the colour purple on the underside. The common pair prices round $600.)

This is why some males do an ungainly pose in entrance of a supercar of their Facebook profile image. They’re attempting to sign to others that they've cash.

That’s the ability of the model. Some manufacturers have developed such a optimistic fame that individuals will purchase them merely to “sign” the traits.

However, the ability of branding has decreased up to now decade. It’s as a result of a part of branding is to cut back the uncertainty for the shopper.

An enormous mistake individuals make is that they assume manufacturers take a very long time to develop. A couple of years in the past I wanted to purchase rechargeable batteries.

Who are the highest names in batteries? Duracell and Energizer. They’ve constructed their manufacturers over many years.

Yet I went with Anker who was solely 5 years previous on the time. Why did I am going with them?

The first is influencers. I noticed just a few critiques on YouTube, and a lot of the tech reviewers most popular Anker’s battery.

And second, critiques. I in contrast the critiques on Amazon. Anker’s critiques had been far superior to that of Duracell and Energizers.

Brands are nonetheless vital, however shoppers have other ways to assist them choose high quality.

Power 6: Cornered Resource

A enterprise that has preferential entry to a coveted useful resource that independently enhances worth.

In each trade, there are specific sources that give benefits in case you can acquire them.

DeBeers has unique rights to so many diamond mines on the planet.Nintendo has developed so many iconic online game characters akin to Mario, Pokemon, and Link.You’re a meth supplier within the Southwest, and also you’re the unique vendor of Heisenberg’s blue sky.

If you’ve developed sure expertise, you will get a patent in order that different individuals can’t get entry to it.

I discussed earlier that Netflix signed D&D to develop a present. They signed them to a ten-year deal.

Power 7: Process Powers

Sometimes an organization’s processes are so beneficial, that it lowers the prices of the product or enhances the expertise. And it’s not simply replicated.

The creator makes use of the instance of Toyota who're identified for his or her Toyota Production System. What’s attention-grabbing is Toyota had a partnership with General Motors at one level.

Toyota gave General Motors 100% entry to studying their techniques. But General Motors couldn't replicate it beneath any circumstances.

Another instance is Pixar.

Reading the guide Creativity, Inc. gave me perception into a number of the secret sauce of how Pixar constructed their motion pictures. In reality, it was one of many causes that Disney purchased Pixar. The expertise and their course of powers would go on to steer a revival of Disney Animation.

And lastly, a contemporary instance is the social app Tik Tok. Everyone assumes that TikTok is an app for Gen Z to bounce and be goofy. What most individuals don’t understand is how superior Tik Tok’s algorithm is. So a lot of conventional social media feeds are primarily based who you observe.

TikTok’s algorithm is ready to predict what you’re occupied with primarily based on just a few behaviors. Right now Instagram’s attempting to lure audiences away with their function referred to as “Reels.” But TikTok has created a Process Power with their “For You” algorithm that retains their viewers coming again.

Affiliate Marketing and the 7 Powers

Let’s do an train.

I launched you to the 7 Powers. Which of those powers would apply to operating internet online affiliate marketing campaigns?

Take a couple of minutes and do that train, quite than scrolling down for the solutions.


First, let’s remove a number of the powers that don’t apply. There’s no community impact, or counter place, branding, or switching prices in internet online affiliate marketing.

What’s left?

1. Scaling Economy:

What benefits does a brilliant affiliate have by sending extra quantity?

On smaller site visitors sources, extra quantity means you'll be able to negotiate reductions and flat charges for site visitors. I’ve had conditions the place I purchased out a writer’s complete month of impressions. On larger site visitors sources like Facebook, quantity means you’re feeding knowledge to the pixel.

Furthermore, scaling will get you entry to data. Every affiliate asks their affiliate supervisor at a community, “What’s sizzling?” Trust me, there’s going to be a world of distinction between a man producing $10ok income a day vs. a man that’s producing $100 a day.

After that, Scaling Economies can result in Cornered Resources. If you'll be able to generate a large quantity of site visitors, then you will get a proposal unique.

2. Cornered Resource:

When I mirror on internet online affiliate marketing, cornering sources is a lot of the benefit tremendous associates have.

Signing an unique media shopping for deal on a sizzling property.Getting the unique provide.Working with the advertiser on getting a singular provide web page designed, that converts increased.

Designing an amazing touchdown web page isn’t a moat.
Writing nice headlines and angles aren’t moat.

Why? Because they'll simply be replicated by your competitors.

three. Process Power:

Finally, we land at course of energy.

How does one affiliate get a marketing campaign to profitability versus another person?
How do they optimize the marketing campaign?
What’s their formulation to creating profitable video advertisements?

All of those contribute to course of energy.

Process energy goes to matter much less over time with media shopping for. We’re seeing it proper now with Facebook. You can arrange the correct pixel, feed it sufficient knowledge, and Facebook will optimize the marketing campaign for you.

In just a few years, there might be A.I. Copywriting instruments that may outperform your common marketer.

I problem you to consider what can’t get replaced.

Staying Competitive

I’m grateful to be residing on this period.

We’d all be pressured to climb the company ladder if we had been born a number of many years earlier.

Instead, we’re in one of many biggest entrepreneurial eras of all time. You don’t want permission from anybody to earn money off your music. You don’t to grasp coding to arrange your individual eCommerce shops.

However, decrease friction means extra competitors.

It has by no means been simpler for us to repeat one another.

When you discover a enterprise mannequin that works, begin pondering when it comes to technique and energy. Capital allocation is among the most vital choices you make.

You don’t have to pay your self $200ok a a 12 months to improve your life-style. Live on much less. Invest the distinction into creating moats for your corporation.

If you’re being profitable, then anticipate the wolves to return. Invest in your protection.

Please fee this text – it helps me know what to jot down!

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