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Can Colorado’s Brand have a CAUSE?

This is a big question.  

It came to me after my interview with Johnny Le Coq, founder and CEO of Fishpond.  Patagonia is a products company that supports the environment.  Athleta is a products company that supports the advancement of women.  Both companies are examples of authentic and effective support for a cause that aligns with customers.  Fishpond seems to go further – Fishpond seems to be coming very close to using sales of its products as a mechanism to support river conservation.   

 Image courtesy of the Fishpond website 

Johnny: “Our brand has become a voice for the environment… It’s not what we sell that I’m most proud of – it’s what we stand for.”  He means it. 

 That made me think about Colorado.  Can Colorado have a CAUSE that ultimately becomes interwoven with our brand?  That’s tough, but I think Colorado’s entrepreneurial community DOES – it STANDS FOR supporting opportunity for those who strive, collaborate, innovate, and mutually appreciate the rich lives that people wish to have in our great state.  

I’m Still Getting Better – Part 2

In Part 1 of this post, I shared my son’s thoughts about my continuing to make mistakes.  The focus of Part 2 is recent work at improving my skills.

Last April, as it became clear that COVID was going to be here for a while and I’d have time for deep work, I decided to invest in some training on sales messaging.  I’ve mentioned books by Oren Klaff called Pitch Anything and Flip the Script many times in my What’s Dave Listening To column.  I hadn’t done substantial, deeply focused training in a while, probably because I felt “capable.”  Oren Klaff’s new thinking felt enlightening to me, so I decided that perhaps it was time to dive into it.  I signed up for coaching by Oren’s team, and with their help and I’d estimate about 100 hours of work, I’ve become WAY BETTER and more effective at something I thought I was already pretty good at.

Even with all that work, I still make mistakes, still wish I’d made another edit to a released document (mostly to make it shorter) or had or hadn’t said something.  Overall, I’m encouraged to know that a) I HAVE gotten a LOT better, and b) if I’ve worked this hard to improve, even though I continue to fall short, I’ve gained on “the field.”

 

Sell Something and You’re in Business

In my interview with Randy White, co-Founder and CEO of Wheel Pros, I was surprised to learn that when he started Wheel Pros, which in 2020 sold over 3.5 MILLION aftermarket vehicle wheels representing 30 brands, he didn’t have a real vision or much of a plan.  Isn’t a business plan the first thing one is supposed to do??  When I started my multimedia production company, I didn’t have a plan either – I had a hopeful spreadsheet that I used to rationalize getting into business.  I always felt foolish about that – and yet, many entrepreneurs much more successful than I, also started without much of a plan. Michael Dell had no plan to create a public company worth billions – he just started building superior PCs in his dorm for people who wanted to buy them.   

Randy White’s Wheel Pros has been a HUGE success, admittedly without a plan or even a vision.   What do Randy, Michael Dell, and countless successful entrepreneurs who started without a plan have in common?  They knew exactly how to get a product they were passionate about to the customers who would buy them.   

Move On To the Next Play

Jason Gay is a sportswriter for the Wall Street Journal.  After the Super Bowl, he wrote, “Brady plays within his limits – he doesn’t try to exert his will on the game; he will take the incomplete pass and simply move on to the next play – and maybe that’s really his secret, not the protein shakes or deep-tissue massages.”   

Simply move on to the next play – what a statement.  It reminds me of my conversation with PROCO360 guest Avrum Emakis of CLMBR.  He said, 

What I think is great about the TRUTH is that it always wins… It’s not about selling – it’s about sharing knowledge with people and letting them make a decision.” 

American football player Tom Brady for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL) takes part in a football training camp in Shanghai, China, 20 June 2017.

I told him his views are sort of like “Zen selling.”  Tom Brady is quoted as saying, “I’m pretty calm all the time,” so maybe Brady’s approach to playing quarterback is “Zen football.”  Most entrepreneurs are going a mile a minute, scrambling like some great quarterbacks do.  In a to-be-released PROCO360 episode with John Street, CEO of Pax8, John says that one way he’s matured in his leadership is that he’s thinking more and listening more.  Sure, it’s fun to watch Patrick Mahomes scramble around and he’s awesome – people love him.  Many entrepreneurs think scrambling is what’s expected and needed to succeed – and for sure, startups often need to scramble – that’s just the reality.  This comparison reminds me that staying thoughtful and focused, at least when on can, is a more mature way to win.   

It’s Time to Take Video Calls Seriously

Friends, when we started to use video at the onset of COVID, I advised to be thoughtful about how we present ourselves.  We are now 8 months into COVID and video calls are no longer a novelty.  It’s time to take video calls seriously.  One company leader I spoke with said that it is now REQUIRED for pitch meetings that those participating have lights, a green screen, and decent microphone.  Over the top?  No, it’s not.  Here’s a screen capture from that drove me to write this post.  It time to CARE about what others see (laundry day!) and hear when we’re on video.

It’s time to step up to well lit, clear sounding calls that make a positive impression.

Is what I’m recommending complicated?  NO.  Extravagant?  Here’s the budget:

– Light ring for face lighting:  $35 to $200 (other lighting options, $100 to $200)

– Bluetooth headset with boom mic:  $35

– Green screen:  $100 to $200,  (with a thoughtful, uncluttered background, you can get by without that)

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TOTAL, to look and sound pretty good:  $70 to $425

Do it already.

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