What No One Tells You About Taking Your Business to the Next Level
Last Thursday 6 March, ESV was delighted to co-host an event with the Commonwealth Private Bank to discuss “what no one tells you about taking your business to the next level”.
The “Entrepreneurs Lunch” assembled 14 valued clients across both firms to hear the wit and business acumen of Dan Gregory - author, educator, social commentator, CEO of The Impossible Institute™ and regular contributor on ABC TV’s The Gruen Transfer.
Dan specialises in human behaviour – our motives, drives and belief systems. He shared key insights on how to build connections and achieve cut-through in a society where we are saturated with almost 3000 commercial impressions every day. More significantly, Dan exposed the omnipresent truth for today’s business owners – “good is no longer good enough”. It is now the intangible benefits that make your business more valuable to customers, clients and to your most valuable assets – your employees.
In order to build connections with employees and customers in today’s changing conditions, a business must recognise and respond to three key needs:
It’s vitally important that a business invests in brand ‘identity’. Simon Sinek’s TED Talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” (the third most watched TED talk of all time) reinforces this by articulating the power of brand purpose, which should drive all of your brand activities. As Dan pointed out, people buy from and do business with companies that marry to their ideals. If their identity conflicts with a brand, they will struggle to engage with that brand. Therefore the identity of your business must align with the people you want to attract. Dan cited Apple as an example. “Apple sold us an identity – to make technology and digital interface more humanly intuitive. They imitated much of the innovation but they knew their customers and delivered a ‘nowhere else’ experience.” This nowhere else experience far exceeds the value of innovation – particularly when 98% of the value of innovation goes to its imitators!
There is ample scientific evidence that our collective IQ increases when we collaborate with others. However, many businesses are not reaping the benefits of collaborating outside of leadership teams, with all employees, customers, influencers, detractors and anyone interacting with your brand. Social networking means this is an accessible and cost-effective information source. Why run a focus group of 10 people when you can canvass the ideas of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of customers? My Starbucks Ideas is an excellent example of an initiative allowing customers to share ideas and drive new products offerings from the company. In 2013 it celebrated five years, more than 150,000 ideas and 2 million votes by engaged customers. When you collaborate with your customers you strengthen your aligned values and their connection with your brand.
It is no longer enough to sell a product, you have to sell a vision as well. This is what many of the world’s most successful companies have done. It is imperative you determine “What business am I really in?” This circles back to the brand purpose referenced previously in the Simon Sinek TED talk. Dan inspired the room of entrepreneurs by citing a three minute Nike advertising prose, not once selling shoes but focussing on what Nike stands for – the “heroism of participation”. Yes, just do it. Brand identity is incredibly powerful.
Other than the invaluable information and insights from Dan, the calibre of business leaders at the event provided a great networking opportunity for all. There is such great value in learning from others – whether they are peers, colleagues or competitors, we can gain so much from the important teams we build around ourselves. Following this wise advice, ESV hopes to hold more of these events in the future in order to build and foster a strong network of likeminded, successful businessmen and women. We look forward to welcoming you to future events.