This is a really good video! Unfortunately, it is about 16 minutes. So I will try to do a good job of summarizing it here. (Plus, some people aren’t in position to listen to videos. :)
Jeremy Miller of Sticky Branding (http://www.StickyBranding.com) gave a talk at the Café GTA in Toronto. Jeremy represents the second (next) generation of his family’s business.
As we know, many times, the kids who take over the business will not handle it as well as the parents did. Sometimes, the business situation is so different that the kids who take over try to do the same things as their parents and working through the “tough new economy” (persevering)—instead of adjusting (pivoting).
From this video, I each learned and was reminded about some key things that will help me going forward.
Below here, I point out some of my observations that I made to Jeremy after I watched his video talk.
First, Jeremy suggests that we read the book, The Lean Startup, a book by Eric Reis. Truthfully, I have not read this, yet, but the book provides the foundation of Jeremy’s point.
Persevering vs. Pivoting
When your business faces the tough part of the business cycle (where the “old” way no longer works as well, if it still works at all), you can do one of two things:
A. Persevere (Keep doing what you’re doing to “gut it out”), or
B. Pivot (Make the adjustments to your business).
Jeremy Miller tells us that he had to make that same decision within his own family’s business. His parent’s business was Miller and Associates, a technology recruiting company.
However, times changed, and the business was no longer as lucrative. So he had to figure whether to find a way to do the same thing but only better, or do something else (pivot).
After introspection, he realized that his business was in a really good position to make good money by recruiting sales and marketing people.
He renamed this company as Leap Job (http://www.LeapJob.com). This is his recruiting business, and it made sense, because this is where his passion was. Before this pivot, he always focused on sales and marketing, but the focus was internal—not toward using that effort to help other people and companies.
Since he has the background and the passion, he also decided to give talks and consult businesses. This is his Sticky Branding company.
Both Leap Job and Sticky Branding were his PIVOT from the old Miller and Associates technology worker recruiting firm.
Jeremy goes on to remind us that a company’s longevity is defined by its ability to continuously adjust.
Your Company’s Longevity = Your Company’s Ability to Continuously Adjust
Put in another way, he told us that it does not matter what business you BUILT; it’s about the business you’re BUILDING.
He asks us whether we are, “making evolutionary changes or revolutionary changes?”
Jeremy’s Parents Pushed Him to Think Critically
Jeremy made it clear that his parents encouraged him to be an entrepreneur—not just a caretaker.
A caretaker simply tends to the business that mom and dad created.
An entrepreneur forges the next direction (pivot) of the business. An entrepreneur adjusts—not just follows orders without understanding or questioning. An entrepreneur takes actions that respond to the business environment, not just simply takes actions, regardless of today’s climate. (You always wear a raincoat, even though it hasn’t rained here in 5 years.)
His parents were more concerned about the health of the future business than they were about the company’s legacy. They challenged him to address today’s problems, not simply follow yesterday’s recipe.
How often do you see just the opposite with family businesses?
Refreshing Your Brand
Jeremy suggested that we refresh our brand every few years.
He gave the example that even Coke and Pepsi refresh their brands every few years. (He showed the last few examples within his video.)
By refreshing your brand, you are showing that you are relevant and that you are able to reflect on what is happening today.
It’s more than your brand!
It is nice to tell everyone that you’re different.
However, are you really ACTING differently? What are you doing that is so different? Does it really matter? Are you really doing it, or are you just telling people?
You can change your brand, but you really need to ask yourself whether any of your important actions changed? Your actions are what matter.
Jeremy’s Final Question to Us
Jeremy Miller closed his presentation with a question that we should all ask ourselves—OFTEN!
What are YOU going to build?
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