Most entrepreneurs and business executives are essentially following the knowledge and ‘best practices’ of the day and repeating the things that worked in the past. The problem is that what happened in the past has absolutely zero bearing on what will happen in the future.
We need a new paradigm that fits with today’s business climate!
So I offer my approach. It was developed from years of practical applications, observations of others, as well as some of my own mistakes learning opportunities. In many ways, it is a reversal of the previous paradigm.
1. Start with A COMPELLING STORY.
Your fundamental purpose is the few things that you excitedly dedicate 3-4 decades of your life to exploring. Your story is simply how you discover this purpose and how you live it on a daily basis.
There is no need to be flashy, overly clever, or perfectly wordsmithed. The point is to connect with other humans and fuelling their passions. Over time, it will naturally refine itself and continue to bring new insights. As we connect more to our purpose and story, we become increasingly more proficient at communicating and relating it to others.
2. Your purpose and story serve as your point of connection to building A COHESIVE TEAM.
The thing about great teams is that they continue to find ways to improve and work together more effectively. Guided by and connected to a central purpose (rather than personal desires or profit), decisions have a clear structure – even the decision to attract/select the best talent or replace existing systems.
Skills are all learned – by attending a workshop, reading a book, watching a couple videos, etc. If one person can learn them, almost anyone else (who is interested) can as well. Experience is merely the expression of skills we learn practiced over time. Passions and beliefs, on the other hand, are much more personal and powerful as they determine the way we learn new skills and build experience.
Let go of the checklist of minimum requirements. Replace it with a human approach to building your teams around people who are passionate about your purpose. In talking with qualified investors; I am learning that they often make decisions to support cohesive teams more than they do great products/ideas.
But we are not ready for that just yet.
3. We still need to build AN AUDIENCE.
Which is fairly easy because all of your audiences will already care about your purpose, they will connect with your story, and relate with your team. How does this happen?
They are looking for you much in the same way you found this article.
Your purpose, story, and team give people something to follow. Do it well enough and they will not only grant you permission to communicate with them; they will also help you communicate with others.
Provide them with tools to share among friends and let them have a voice in some of the decisions to be made. Use the initial audience to build a powerful community where people freely discuss good and bad aspects of your company.
Aside from vendors, employees, contractors, and the like; it would ruin the authenticity if your audience (customers, raving fans, loyalists, and so forth) were compensated for their efforts.
It is only after we get through some fundamental work on our purpose, team, and audience that we get to move into the next phase.
4. Develop AN IDEA OR PRODUCT.
This is the thing that we actually get to ‘sell’ to people. The product or idea is the thing (could be something tactile as well as SAAS, platform, language, or even a free subscription) that people use to describe the experience of associating with your business.
While it is important to serve needs of your audience(s); remember the previous work you invested time to produce. Stay true to your purpose and passions. It will actually form stronger connections than merely serving their wants and desires. Here are two of my favorite lines from Henry Ford about how much to listen to customers’ initial wants.
When asked; people said they wanted faster horses.
They can have it any color they’d like, as long as it is black.
When you focus on clearly communicating your story, building your team and attracting an engaged audience, you will be more likely to see the transformational growth moment sooner, and with less headache.
If you connect what you read, please feel free to like, comment, and share with others who might also benefit or enjoy.
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david r frick is a business artist and the founder of SuccessVentures; a consulting firm focused on helping owners and entrepreneurs create opportunities for transformational growth. More info is available at www.successventures.co or by following social feeds here and twitter (@drfrick)