The Basic Elevator Pitch

Going through and rereading books from college is so enjoyable to me. Rereading things a second time after learning was gained from those classes and college experiences is powerful. It’s more comprehensive and understandable. It’s rare someone is taught something once and then just gets it. It takes repetition to learn, and so this exercise of rereading is important to me.

A lot of my reading talk about understanding your why, knowing your audience well, and the basic pitch. Of all the pitch readings I’ve seen, the outline provided in the book Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore is the most memorable to me because it’s so straightforward. It’s a simple template outline:

For (target customers)
Who are dissatisfied with (the current market alternatives)
Our product is a (new product category)
That provides (key problem-solving capability)
Unlike (the product alternative)
We have assembled (key product features)

This outline tells a basic story about your audience, competition, and emphasis on why your product provides value. Nothing more or less than that. Revisiting this outline often to ensure you’re in check with your direction is important, and having your team members understand this is equally as important.

Pitch this, and then have a pitch for even shorter elevator trips. After all, a 10 floor elevator ride is shorter than 5 floors. Be ready for both.


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The Basic Elevator Pitch

Picture Yourself Already There

In a Tim Ferriss podcast, Arianna Huffington is being interviewed, and she describes an amazing exercise her mother did to help prepare her for college. Since she was a young girl, Arianna had a fascination and wanted to attend Cambridge University in the UK. It was out of the country, expensive, and a type of college that wasn’t necessarily seen as “possible” for Arianna’s upbringing. But for her mother, anything was possible, and she taught this in the most amazing ways.

While the majority of her family were brushing this dream to attend Cambridge aside, Arianna’s mother was telling her that it can happen. One day, her mom said she got some cheap tickets, and she took Arianna to Cambrige. One plane and train ride later, she was on campus—not to meet anyone there, but just to simply walk around. Arianna was 14 years old at the time. Her and her mom walked around the campus for hours exploring the colleges, eating at the cafe, and walking the paths to make it feel real. It was an early form of visualization, and Arianna could picture herself there, already there.

Fast forward in time, Arianna learned english, took the exams, and received a scholarship to attend Cambridge. She talks about how this visualization so early on helped her feel confident that it could happen.

I recently went to a business seminar and had a conversation with two women who looked to be doing amazing work with their growing business ventures. I asked them how they did it. How did they gain the courage to leap into their business full-time? They told me to start visualizing that I already have it. Start talking like I already have a team, an office, a huge following of customers. The behavior to make successful steps will stem from these affirmations being pushed out into the world.

These two women were doing what Arianna did when she was 14 years old. They were visualizing their goals and growing curiosity. They weren’t asking “can this goal happen?”. They were asking “how can we make this goal happen?” and setting an expectation that it was going to happen.

Visualization to reality.


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Picture Yourself Already There

Top 5 Posts from 2017

I started this blog last year and wrote quite a bit, but more importantly I learned a lot. There is nothing more joyful to me than learning something new that will apply value and enrichment to living a more fulfilled life. There are endless subject areas to learn about, and I love them all. From productivity and business to habits and self-improvement—someone who stops learning stops growing; and I make effort to be an ongoing learner.

Listed below are my personal top-five favorite posts from 2017 because of the valuable learnings I gained while studying and writing them. I do this blog for myself, my own learning, my own gaining of wisdom. For those of you that do follow along with me and read my posts, I am grateful, thank you. May we continue learning and growing in 2018. Happy New Year.

Give Thinking it’s Space
Effective decision-making comes with self-awareness and making time to reflect and think.

Win Goals with Heart
Win with curiosity, self-awareness, and heart.

Slow it Down
Have patience, and recognize that many small actions add up to larger successes.

What is the Most Valuable Land?
You only live once. Make it count.

Get Things Done
Have a clear system to be productive.

Top 5 Posts from 2017

It Already Exists

It’s been done before.—This is the classic argument our negative mind makes when trying to pursue something. Marie Forleo and Elizabeth Gilbert talk about this resistance. The perspective to remember is that [it] hasn’t yet been done by you.

Gilbert points out “Even Shakespeare repeated stories but told them a different way, and we’re still talking about it. You’re allowed to add to the pile of art. When art comes from the heart, it comes out differently than those who just borrow for the sake of that. Create because it brings you joy.”

Remember this the next time you’re told that the field you’re pursuing is oversaturated. There is room for one more designer, developer, consultant—whatever it is you’re trying to pursue. You’re adding value by creating. Just because a field is crowded does not mean everyone has been doing it at their best. Perhaps it’s about time you show the world how to do it right by bringing you to it.

What are you bringing to the table?


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It Already Exists

What If You Stop Learning?

For the past few weeks, I stopped blogging, stopped reading, stopped listening to podcasts, stopped learning. I wasn’t taking a vacation or break. I just stopped. I’m not too sure why I was in this funk, but in reflecting back, I can observe something very important. When I stopped learning, I stopped growing.

I got stuck in the monotony of every day routines…same repetitive day job work, the usual routine afterward, sleep, and repeat. This was a pretty awful space to be in. It was boring, a bit un-motivating, and irritating. My effort was standard but not above it.

Why is this an important observation?

This stopping of learning also stopped the growing, the creativity. It stopped the going-the-extra-mile work ethic. It stopped the curiosity. Imagine what this does to your organization? If everyone stopped learning, you would eventually go out of business because the innovative thinking to stay above competition would be lost.

Perhaps this is an extreme way of thinking. —Or perhaps you’re stuck in simply meeting standards day-by-day.  Perhaps you never experienced the seemingly magic that comes from learning new things. The boost of creative energy, passion, and desire to get things done and done efficiently and right knowing it makes an impact.

Everyone grows when learning continues. Life becomes stale, in addition to your organization, when consistent learning of new things is not incorporated regularly and often. “Learning” is not some student-at-a-school thing or a attend-a-professional-development-workshop thing. It can simply be taking 20 minutes a day to read a book, listen to a podcast, talk to someone better than you in your field, or watch a video talk online. It’s not much, but losing those 20 minutes can make quite the negative impact.

Have you stopped?

 

 

What If You Stop Learning?

Grieving a Coffeeshop

A coffeeshop I have been going to for years closed its doors today. This coffeeshop felt like a second home, and I’m sad to see it go for the employees and the community. As for myself, I did work here, had meetings here, and studied-studied-studied here throughout my five years of grad school with the best cold-blended coffee around to keep me fueled.

This coffeeshop is a chain, and there are other ones in the area; but it isn’t the same. There are a few things that made this place stand out. It wasn’t necessarily the coffee that kept me coming back, though I loved it; and I think these observations are worth noting for any business venture:

Location:

This coffeeshop was in a prime downtown area, that for me at least, was conveniently in my area of concentration when I was in town. It was in my walking path, so it didn’t require a great effort to visit.

Customer Service:

The baristas here learned about their customers and seemed to genuinely care about how their days were going. They were conversational, and I too learned about them as well. In a short period of time, they all knew my regular coffee order before I even said it. One barista, who was a math major cheered me on during the nights I studied statistics endlessly with tutoring and often inquired about my progress. That little bit of encouragement helped me in that dreaded class of mine, and that was the kind of service all the employees had—this make-your-days-better type of service. Coffee fuels people, but a smile and friendly interaction does more.

It really is common sense to have good customer service for your business, but it is quite amazing how many businesses miss this mark. This plays a great role in customer retention regardless the quality of your product.

Atmosphere:

The welcoming and friendly employees helped set the atmosphere for the coffeeshop. They spread this positiveness to customers that I felt stayed in the environment of the shop itself making it calm, comfortable, and respectful. The place brought in students studying, families taking a break with their kids, people waiting for the college football game to start, meetups practicing their international language study, businesses discussing problems to be solved…It’s been an interesting place to see this very diverse and open environment, and I loved this vibe.

The tables alone invite this sharing atmosphere. With various sized tables, there was a place for any group count. Some tables looked to be round and extended kitchen tables, almost symbolizing this coming-together type of feel. Tall lamps instead of ceiling lighting, local artwork on the walls—the decor was more home-like. Lastly, they had electrical outlets everywhere…the most I’ve ever seen at a coffeeshop. It’s as though they encouraged customers to stay, get comfortable, and get your work done without the worry of losing battery life on your laptop or other devices. A clear need for customers and another basic feature most coffeeshops don’t tend to.

In summary, I don’t know the reason why this shop closed. However, in reflecting, I think they did a lot of things right. For being a long-time customer and seeing other long-time customers alongside me, I can observe that the things they did get right was having a convenient location, putting great and personable care into their customer service, and creating a comfortable and creative atmosphere. The awesome coffee just happened to be a good by-product of this experience.

Who knows, maybe they’ll get an “extra shot” and try again some time in the future. I will certainly miss the character of this small coffeeshop, its employees, and its community; but I’ll remember the growth gained from my experiences there. It’s a business that made an impact through experiences, not necessarily products.

Grieving a Coffeeshop

Give Thinking Its Space

In an interview I watched a while back, Bill Gates talked about what he learned from Warren Buffett in regards to time management. When Gates was still learning the ropes of leading, he took pride in scheduling every single minute of his calendar. It was packed, and he carried his busy-ness like a badge of honor. Buffett, on the other hand, gave Gates a hard time about this because he was slow to learn the problems with this style. To prove their polar opposite habits, they opened up Buffett’s paper calendar during the interview. For that particular week, Buffett had only one appointment, and there were days and days left in the month with absolutely nothing scheduled in it, and it wasn’t vacation.

Buffet shared that when a CEO packs every minute of their calendar, they leave no room for the very thing they need to be doing: thinking. How is a leader suppose to strategize and solve problems successfully if they don’t give themselves space to think, to reflect, to plan? People wanting your time comes in endless supply, but you are in control of your time. Buffett emphasizes that while he has lots of money, he still cannot buy himself more time.

The next time your day is booked with meetings, calls, and emails, ask yourself if they were really worth attending to? Did you even talk to your team today to see how their work is doing, what problems need to be solved in the trenches? Were you able to discover differences between important and urgent tasks?

Or, perhaps, would it have been of better value to utilize that time strategizing, planning, and leading with 100% focus and commitment? There are no excuses, just choices.


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Give Thinking Its Space