Like many entrepreneurs, gravitating to other entrepreneurs or business people is natural. Talking to a Neurosurgeon is not.
"It's not brain surgery" is one of my favorite sayings. The other, "it's not rocket science". It seems quite apt that I find myself in conversation with a neurosurgeon, whose gene pool is only bolstered by the fact his father is a rocket scientist. Was I intimidated. Hell yes! But how impressed I was to be having such an intriguing and relevant conversation with a neurosurgeon, was only interrupted by moments of wanting to be opportunistic. I had to literally stop myself asking if a sperm donation was a point I could include in the discussion. Now, what single woman wouldn't want to have a child with this gene pool?
Nevertheless, when I pulled myself together, I realized the synergies between business and neurosurgery isn't actually poles apart and much closer than one would think. As a marketer, we have certainly learnt a lot from neuroscience and consumer behaviour, but the outlook of how a surgeon views what they do, was what struck me as being something every entrepreneur can learn from.
Another gross generalization, but the reality is that too many of the Gen-Xers who have started businesses 5+ years ago, are working their butts off and are not spending the time needed to lessen their load by giving the young, up-and-coming executives the chance to really make a difference.
Here's my experience. I was sharing a glass of wine with Maikayla Desjardins, a Marketing Executive at Marketing Eye Atlanta yesterday and I asked the question, "why did you leave your job in New York and come and work for me in Atlanta?"
Her first response was: "You sold me on Atlanta as this awesome place to live - but let's face it, it's not quite New York!"
Inc Magazine is an entrepreneurial stable. It is one of the most popular magazines in the world for entrepreneurs and people who run businesses. One of my good friends Kevin Daum, a guy that I met way back in 2002 in Sydney, Australia, is a New Yorker who submits regular articles to Inc Magazine that are read by thousands of people.
As I read the article, "I thought I knew you - Entrepreneurship changes people - and not always for the better", I reflected on my own experiences.
Has entrepreneurship changed me? Is it for the better?
I met Caryn Kopp in unusual circumstances - for me at least! In the restroom of the Nascar Center in Charlotte, North Carolina at around 10pm at night.
Apparently, as she later explained, she saw me earlier in the evening and thought I was beautifully dressed (thanks to the great designs of Sass and Bide in Australia). Her immediate reaction was to think that perhaps she didn't wear something that was dressy enough. She noticed the long, blonde hair on the black dress and the risque spikes that turned what is otherwise a pretty dress into one that is there to be noticed. She then looked at the name badge and although, like most of us, she had trouble focusing on the small print, she noticed the spelling of my name on the badge. It's unusual.
It may be a buzz word to many, but let me assure you, being green is more than meets the eye. Brian is a much sought after entrepreneur who has landed himself in the spotlight with his inaugural Ted Talk on June 23 on "The importance of reconnecting our cities to nature".
His business, Solterra Systems, is a fully licensed electrical, landscaping and waterproofing company that focuses on integrating environmental technology into buildings.
This can range from green roofs producing food through to rain screen siding systems that protect the building from the elements with plants.
But enough about that, how can we connect our cities to nature. Here's what he had to say:
What can communities be doing more of to connect their cities to nature?
The first step is attaching an ROI to the benefits associated with being in nature for all humans. For example, they estimate that the average American spends 26% of the day being distracted; think text messages and advertisements - but right now technology is very much a part of what we do - and so, if we just look at what we are doing in our business, there is a loss of productivity in the workplace because of this and people have, in general, very un-balanced lives.
He's been with Marketing Eye for 4 months.
I work in Marketing Eye's Sydney office - every day, as does he. In fact, he and I sit no more than one meter apart but this close proximity evidently has no bearing on our track record of communication. Sure, we talk all the time about visual communication and client work and then there’s the phone that rings 50 times a day and it's a really busy time for Marketing Eye at the moment as we all step up to bring everything we can - but 3 actual conversations in 4 months?! That's appalling. In fact, I'd go one step further than that and say it's *beep* disgusting.
Business expansion has been exhilarating, hard work, fulfilling, adventurous, rewarding and above all, something that I am proud to say that I have made the steps to do. There is still a long way to go and the road looks very long, windy with ups and downs going far into the distance. Hopefully, I will pick up some hitchhikers along the way to keep me company and that the car will be full of people all wanting to head in the same direction. No doubt, there will be people who will want to get out along the way and those who will feel car sick but then miraculously they will get over it and start enjoying the drive and the scenery.
I personally will never wear the shoes of an entrepreneur though because I can't have that cauldron-of-ideas bubbling without strategy and planning the detail. That's me. There are entrepreneurs and then there's me.
The past few years has seen us as marketeers witness the tip of a technological iceberg.
In a world where the word ‘Facebook’ is now as internationally recognised as the ‘Coca-Cola’ and ‘OK’ of yesteryear, we can conclude that social media and with it, social media campaigns, are the order of the day. Businesses won’t maximise business without an effective social media presence - it is essential to play in today’s extremely competitive business environment and create long-lasting communications to build brand image and trust.
While luck may play a role, and serendipity certainly cannot be ignored, very few business people have succeeded without having a good product or service, knowing how to market it and working incredibly hard with the right team in place.
Listening to veteran public speaker Shep Hyken at the recent EO Miami University, reminded me that more than ever, hard work, understanding the customer and their needs is part of the parcel of building and sustaining a company that is profitable, industry leading and competitive.
"Be better than average," Shep spruiks.