Start Up Firm Quick on the Uptake
True-to-life stories on how companies act and react.
Finally he said, “Look David, we’ve worked together for a long time and I know you know what you’re doing. And, you really are good at it. But I gotta tell you, I don’t understand what you do. Now, what is it that you do again? And talk slower this time.”
This happens a lot, with companies large and small and across all business categories.
The singular point here is that David was smart enough and gutsy enough to stop, regroup and step away from the way he approached his new business—even though he already had invested a lot of time, energy and money.
Like many entrepreneurs the assumption is that if you build it and tell people about it, they will come. That, along with the conviction and experience that you know you have something people need...how could you possibly lose? Right?
Like other people, David had decided on a company name, hired someone to help develop a “brand,” built a website, and printed a batch of marketing brochures.
Considering his experience, which included C-level, decision-making positions, along with the advantage of knowing a lot of people, everything looked good. All David had to do, he thought, was get out and talk to people and some of them would sign up.
Surprise. It didn’t work.
He knew how his offering compared with competitors, yet potential clients just didn’t get it. In spite of his broad experience, a master’s degree in physics and certifications that few people earn, prospects could not see the benefit to his business.
David banked on his unique know-how, experience and an uncanny “sixth sense” to unravel complex situations. He knew exactly what he was trying to say, but his prospects didn’t.
Without question, he thought his approach would explain what he offered and why people would want it. After all, it seemed so logical to him. Surely potential clients would see his passion for solving problems with the systems and processes he developed.
Thinking out loud, he mused, “My message should have been clarified first! It should have been about the people we serve; not about us. That is what people were trying to tell me; and why they kept asking me, what do you do?”
With that realization, David knew his materials were too wordy, too long, covered too many points and were far too complicated.
As a result, he changed the name of the company to be more descriptive of what he offered. And, he developed a brief position statement that was reassuring to potential clients and that summed up the benefits of what the firm does in simple terms. The company name was: Forrm threesixty; followed by Information Security and Compliance; Business Continuity Management; Technology Governance & Management.
After identifying the DNA of the company, he worked to clarify his systems and processes to match his new identity and message. Then he officially changed the company name to: Securit360 — We make IT systems safe and secure.
As a result, the company (check it out at securit360.com) almost has doubled its client base, revenues and scope of services in a little over half the time since the changes were made in the business.
Furthermore, the client roster now includes one of the largest public electric utilities in the U.S., several multi-state legal and accounting firms, along with specialized for-profit and non-profit operations that are regional in scope.
“Oh, one other benefit of the changes,” David says, “my kids have plenty of old and very expensive letterhead to color on.”
Jim Riley is CEO of Hindsight Management, a business growth firm that links your messages with the DNA of your business. © 2011 Hindsight Management; 205-324-9960 www.HindsightManagement.com