Pleiades Publishing Services is in the business of producing marketing material for our clients. We design business cards, product line cards, full-blown marketing kits and websites. I can’t tell you how many times, we have delivered printed materials to a client’s office and wished them well for whatever “first-ever” business-networking event they were attending.
We are very vested in our client’s success. When Pleiades customers go forth and flourish, they and their thriving peer group, become repeat customers. Steady repeat business is a very good thing, indeed. We are grateful that some of our customers, we call our serial entrepreneurs, have been with us for over 20-years.
Lately, a lot of our business has been start-ups. So I thought I’d share some great advise I got many years ago, when we were just start up.
You are attending a business mixer…
Having secured a glass of wine and a dish of nibbles, you paste your smile on and sail forth to network.
Are you psyched? Are you ready?
You may have your game face on, your business cards ready, but are you really ready to answer the charming fellow who just looked you in the eye and asked, “Whatcha Do?”
As a business owner this can be a great opening to tell a potential client why they need you product or service
The most dreaded gambit since Gallipoli…
When my partner Nick and I were just starting out, we were lucky enough to have our business, Serendal Research Institute, the parent company of Pleiades Publishing Services, included in the inaugural Fast Track — a fourteen-week business development program sponsored by the Greater Denver Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Development Group. Seventy-five business (less than fifty of us actually made it to graduation) were chosen from the over five hundred applicants. The Fast Trackers received intensive general business training, individual business mentorship and a crack at low-interest loans for seed money to expand our products and services.
It was a big deal.
The exercise that really made a big impression on all of us was the “elevator pitch”.
In front of the class, we introduced ourselves to a facilitator, handed him our card, described our business and pitched our product or service in under two-minutes.
If the review team could not accurately understand what we did and how they would use our product or service, we failed that assignment, but got to try again the following week. In the real world of one-on-one marketing, there is rarely on opportunity to “do-over.”
Believe it or not, it took Nick and I days to wordsmith the “back of the business card” description of our business.
“Serendal Research Institute specializes in the practical application of science and technology to assist business owners, managers and corporate executives with decision-making, policy formulation, or other managerial functions. Our professional researchers and technologists conduct client-sponsored research, product development feasibility studies, competition and market analysis; and provide reports, white papers, press releases as well as copy for optimized websites.”
All of our hopes, dreams and personal savings, summarized in 58-words. I felt more trepidation making our “elevator pitch” in front of that class than I felt delivering a training session in front of 1500-people at a Publishing Conference.
Whatcha Do? — How Do You Define Your Business?
Developing a written mission statement is often a first step in defining your business enterprise. A primary concern in developing a mission statement is addressing the question, “What business are you in?”
Although answering this question may seem deceptively easy — it can be a complex task. Determining the nature of your business ought not be rigorously tied to the specific product or service you currently produce. It should also include the result of your output and the competencies you have developed in producing that output.
A mission statement is a brief statement of the purpose of a company or organization; it summarizes the goals and objectives of the enterprise. An organization’s mission statement defines the company as it is presently; it defines the clientele, critical processes and it describes the desired level of performance. The primary intention of a mission statement is to keep all the stakeholders in alignment with the organization’s purpose. Organizations find that a shared, written mission statement is a reliable tool for maintaining focus on core competencies and enables execution of new initiatives that are consistent with the company’s purpose and values.
And, a well-written mission statement can be used as an effective marketing tool — the elevator pitch.
Take a few minutes, a few days, or maybe a week, carefully craft your “elevator pitch”, then go out and share it with someone in your personal or business network. An acquaintance used the fellowship time after church to fine-tune her presentation. By nature she was shy and was not as intimidated in the supportive environment of her church-family as she would have been during a professional networking meeting. She got comfortable with her two-minute marketing pitch, and by introducing herself and her business is such a friendly and BRIEF fashion, she found some new clients who were happy to hear about her services. Now she works professional, network mixers like a pro and is happily expanding her ability to serve more people.
One last thought about personal and professional networks…
Interestingly, the most lasting benefit of the Fast Track program was the life-long friendships amongst the Tracker grads. Decades later, we still support each other personally and professionally. Over the years we have celebrated business successes, attended weddings, christenings, and unfortunately a few funerals. Your business and personal network is a critical factor in not only in your long-term success, but is a key to your personal health and happiness.
A wise women, and highly successful business woman once told me, “Your NETWORK is the basis of YOUR NET WORTH.” She was right.