I'll start by saying that I think my consulting practice has 4-year cycles. At times, I could probably submit old proposals or do presentations that have been done before and they'd be effective. However, usually because of a sponsor’s timely input, we’ll make it fresh, and then hit all the important points.
TIP: No matter a business’s growth stage or industry, the work itself can be timeless.
It’s when a client sits down 1:1 that I’ve learned I can have the greatest impact. I’ve spent the last six months developing programs to reach deeper into customer engagement (both internal and external); training leaders to be teachers, or changing them into TED Talkers. It takes a certain skill to squeeze real connection out of most businesspeople, and a patient belief to make them more impactful. My clients may feel they are my greatest teachers. Somedays I don't know who's coaching who?
TIP: Prospective buyers see that you’re passionate about their organization – or you wouldn’t be in front of them in the first place.
Witness the recent case of a top secret start-up and their pitch. When I read through their draft mission statement, the sentence that jumped out was "Our business idea was born in 1999, but it soon became a shuttled dream." I thought, ‘If this were my initiative, I'd start with that very point and build the whole story around it’. Not only did these folks want to do something vital 20 years ago, they succeeded in holding fast to that cause. And guess what? It's a most compelling reason to re-apply for funding several decades later.
TIP: To be able to communicate your value is both an art and a science.
They were all set to go, but then –as it often does– a world shift happened. The technological explosion made their route more formidable but not impossible. Now it's 2019, they still feel strongly about working towards their old goals in mobilizing their customers. The only difference is they now have a side list of achievements, a legacy of perseverance and dedication they can use to back up those claims.
TIP: Your pitch is more than an advertisement. It’s a testament to the likelihood of profitability.
The venturesome group applied effort with abandon – trial and error - and eventually got it right! Their product still has viability, profitability and universality. And, it is the digital world that has made getting the message out possible. The only update required: Showing how the product fits into today’s disrupted market. While they had many right pieces to make an effective enterprise, it may have benefitted from some rethinking or a different story arc.
TIP: Expect to make adjustments. Whether it’s been 4, 20 or even 24 years, your business evolves.
Just like a business venture, you’re always emerging too. Millennials and Gen Z’s, does this sound like your career, role or current challenge? You feel caught in a “cycle” and in search of a fresh pursuit. Or you know you have creative drive, but not a real means to make money. I’d say, stay the course; your voices are 21st Century typical -- and you’re definitely not alone.