What's the pH level of this decision?

Philip Morgan

The pH level of any business decision is probably lower than you think.

(Listen to an audio version of this email: /the-consulting-pipeline-podcast-all-episodes/cpp-134-whats-the-ph-level-of-this-decision )

By the way, I'm making a hilarious dad/science joke here, even though I'm neither a dad nor a scientist.

The "pH level" of a business decision is the potential for harm inherent in the decision. The potential for loss or harm is one component of risk; the other is the uncertainty involved in the decision.

With most of the folks I work with, the potential for loss/harm inherent in the decisions they make is pretty low, at least if you step back and look at it from a global, your-entire-life perspective.

If a business doesn't make it, you can probably get a good job instead, or work for someone else for a stint before you get back into the self-employment game.

If a client works out badly, you can fire and replace them.

If the market rejects an attempt at specialization (which they do by ignoring you harder than that high school crush who helped you understand how deep the unrequited love rabbit hole can go), you can experiment with other specialization options.

The act of specializing begins with a decision about focus. Where do you want to focus? You could focus on a target market, focus on type of problem you want to solve, focus on a type of change you want to effect, or focus on a specific and possibly unique way of delivering your services. There really are only 5 fundamental ways you can specialize.

After you've made the decision about where to focus, you apply time and discipline to grow this seed of a decision into a desirable market position.

The decision about how exactly to specialize is the seed, time and discipline are the nourishment that seed needs, and the plant we see growing out of the ground after some time passes is the market position.

Seeds are small and inexpensive compared to what they can become.

When a seed takes root and turns into a sapling, you become willing to invest more resources -- water, fertilizers, weeding, pruning, that kind of thing -- into its care and future potential.

Because seeds are small and inexpensive, they give you freedom to experiment.

The upcoming workshop on specialization, starting May 15, is this kind of experiment. You'll spend 2 weeks figuring out what kind of specialization seed you want to experiment with planting, and then you'll spend the rest of the workshop getting and interpreting feedback from the market.

Depending no how you look at it, this workshop is both high and low risk.

It's possible the market will ignore your specialization experiment harder than Vickie Thompson ignored my awkward attempts at love in the 7th grade. This is the high-risk part, kind of. It's uncertain that the workshop will lead you directly to a specialization that the market wants. At the same time, the potential for harm (the "pH level" of the workshop) is quite low. After all, we're dealing with inexpensive seeds here.

Even if the market ignores your specialization experiment, you'll get hands-on experience with an validation method that you can use repeatedly on your own. This is the low-risk part. Low uncertainty and low potential for harm.

The workshop price is $700 per seat, and attendance is capped at 20 (4 seats are available on a reduced price scholarship basis). Sign up here: https://indieexperts.io/workshops/