Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Getting Toronto to Talk

I had a great time at Metro Hall yesterday doing my “TorontoTalks” presentation. More importantly, the audience seemed to have a great time, too.
My topic was “5 Secrets of Success for Toronto Entrepreneurs.” Normally in a gig like that I do seven or 10 “secrets,” but I have learned over time to go deeper on fewer, in order to really challenge people to see (and seize) the full potential of the opportunities before them.

It also leaves more time for discussion, because entrepreneurs love to talk about the issues they struggle with.

At any rate, last night I tried something different. I put the discussion and comments part first, reminding folks that the event was called “Toronto Talks” – not “Rick Talks” – and that I wanted to hear their secrets of success before I offered mine. We got some great comments – people wanted to talk about having passion for what you do, the need to hire more intelligently, the dangers of overselling. This sparked lively, interactive discussions we might not have had if I had waited till the end to draw people out.

After half an hour of that, a couple of people subtly suggested that they had come out in the dark and the cold to hear from me, so would I get on with it? So I presented my five secrets, which were:

1. Engage with your Customers
2. Create So Much Value, Customers Can't Not Do Business with You!
3. Make More Money from Every Sale

4. Measure Everything You Do

5. Define More Clearly How You Help Your Customers

For point 5, we went back into interactive mode. I asked people to develop one-sentence mission statements to describe themselves and their business, and how they create value for others in just a few words. The template I like to use is this:
I do this (or these things) for this market so they can do this (name a clear, tangible benefit the client/user will derive).
I like this format because the focus is only one-third on what you do, and two thirds on your customers and how they benefit from what your products or services.

My experience is that most people aren’t very good at describing what they do in a way that’s clear, concise, and, most important, interests other people. This template is designed to intrigue people and spur follow-up questions that lead to a profitable conversation.

Whenever I do this exercise I always find someone who's come up with a great mission statement on their own. Last night, William Stratus of Planetcast had the winner, saying: “At Planetcast we create websites and web applications solutions that click, not clunk.”

Click, not clunk. Short, clear and memorable. And now, no longer a secret.
If you need a speaker for your business, startup or entrepreneurial event, let’s talk. rick (at)  I guarantee click, not clunk.

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