I'll start with this: 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 industry or growth stage, the work itself can be timeless.
When a client sits down 1:1 is when I’ve learned I can have the greatest impact. Over the past year I've been developing programs to reach deeper into customer engagement (both internal and external); training organizational leaders to be teachers, or shaping businesspeople into TEDx Talkers. It takes a certain skill to squeeze real connection out of most corporate folks 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 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 people want to do something 20 years ago, they succeeded in holding fast to their vital cause. And guess what? It's the most compelling reason to re-apply for funding now -- several decades later.
TIP: To be able to communicate your value is both an art and a science.
This group of upstarts was 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. It's 2019, and they still feel strongly about working towards their old goals in mobilizing their customers. The only difference: Now they have a side list of achievements (and flops), 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 team applied effort with abandon, a whole lot of trial and error, and eventually got it right! Their product still has viability, profitability and universality. And it is the digital world that's made getting the real 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 in 1999, it may have benefitted from some rethinking born of a different story arc.
TIP: Expect to make adjustments. Whether it’s been 4, 14 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 job? 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. Yours are 21st Century typical voices-- and you’re definitely not alone."