If your vision is authentic, it resonates

In this Guest Post, Emily Haydon founder of The Talent Connective shares some honest insights gained since launching her recruitment business.

I never believed I had an entrepreneurial gene. But life can change a person’s drivers. And at some point, my desire to create something outweighed my fear 1000 to 1.

I now believe, if your vision comes from a place of authenticity & you’re truly adding value, it resonates.  You seem to find yourself in alignment with your ideal customer, and people will rise to support you.

Starting a business has been the most humbling experience of my career.

It’s meant stripping away some of the facades we can often tell ourselves are important, like portfolio size, title, company perks, and really stripping back to what’s important at the core.  For me this is:

 

Creation and an unyielding need to build something from a place of authenticity

Contribution, legacy, meaning. It took me years to work out how to combine my career with social contribution. Now that I’ve done it I genuinely believe any product or service model could be structured as social enterprise.

Time – only through this exercise have I truly learned the meaning of work life integration.  Mumpreneuring through school holidays just turned all of my corporate conditioning on time management on it’s head. But I wouldn’t change it.

Challenge. Big goals move mountains. And the road ahead is very, very exciting.

 

Brisbane is undoubtedly a city with a big heart for supporting start-ups.  I also think this overwhelmingly positive response so early on comes from there being a driver within us all to contribute to something bigger than ourselves. Social entrepreneurialism gives people an option to do that through their business purchasing decisions and change the lives of communities everywhere.

 

Emily Haydon is the Founder of The Talent Connective, Digital Talent Acquisition in Brisbane that supports micro-finance loans and financial literacy courses in India, Africa and Bangladesh.

 

What question would you ask Richard Branson?

What would you do if Richard Branson was willing to help your business, and you had one hour with him?
I’d argue that you’d struggle the get the value that you assume would come.

There’s no doubt Mr Branson is a marketing/brand/business legend with a track record, knowledge base and life experience that’d be hard to beat. But how could you benefit from that?
The chances are that Branson has minimal domain experience that is relevant to your business.

I’m guessing your most pressing needs are quite specific; you have server load issue, you can’t get facebook engagement or your failing to find a product price point.

The reason I use this example is that as a founder you will do better to create an army of specific mentors to help you, rather than seeking out the one almighty mentor who you might think has all the answers you need – or a silver bullet solution.

In reality, every person in the world is more experienced at something than you, and as such could help you out in some way. Why would you seek one mentor when you already have hundreds ready to help you?

Try it now, take a look around where you’re sitting. The first person you see, what are they better than you at?
Maybe they have a long-term loving marriage, maybe they used to work triage in a hospital emergency ward, or maybe they race motorbikes on the weekends.

The point is that each and every person in your life is a potential mentor with experiences that you could adapt to help your business. Sure, they might not think of themselves as a business mentor, but most people like talking about themselves. I know I’ve personally been too quick to dismiss people.

As a digital marketer my ability to get attention quickly and then convert that attention into a mental/emotional response is critical.
Yet, the people who could teach me so much might be the very people I walk past each day …

So start asking more questions of those around you. See everyone as your mentor and harvest up all that advice.

A word of caution. Make sure you keep your army of mentors focused. People will quickly take a soapbox and start to bestow advice on you in areas that they have no experience.

Anyway, back to Richy B, if I had an hour, I’d focus on the founder/entrepreneurial mental stuff. I’d make sure he did most of the talking, and I’d ask him to share this post 🙂

For everything else, I’ll go back to my army of relatively unknown mentors and ask for help.

4 Reasons why Founding a Startup is like ‘The Lego Movie’

(I have this face 50% of the time running my startup…)

I found myself watching ‘The Lego Movie’ with my kids on the holidays and couldn’t help but notice some key similarities in the storyline with my experience founding my startup, BenchOn. Here are my 4 reasons why:

 

  1. Everything is Awesome! You know the song. The song your kids sing until you lose your sanity… To me, that is the anthem promoted by corporations to remind all of the workers how happy they are following the status quo. I can just see an HR Manager getting staff to sing that in the annual employee engagement seminar before they tick off the box saying that all employees love their job.

    To get back to the story though, our hero, Emmett, tries everything he can to be happy in this status quo world yet no matter how hard he tries, he just doesn’t fit in. He does everything by the book but he just can’t make it work. He intuitively knows something is off about his world yet can’t quite put his finger on it. Until one day he stumbles onto something that breaks all of the rules and he can’t help but go down the rabbit hole to find out where it leads.

    All entrepreneurs will be familiar with this in their lives. We do the right things, go to university, get a job yet we intuitively know there is something else out there for us. Then it hits us, the idea, the holy grail of ideas, the one thing that we have to have a go at otherwise we would never forgive ourselves – and so it begins.

 

  1. Building by instructions VS the Master Builders. In the Lego world that Emmett belongs to, everything is built using instructions (think Processes and Procedures). No deviations from the plan – it must be perfect (Bureaucracy doesn’t support agility or out of the box thinking. Even when they do set up another ‘Innovation Department’). This perfect world is constructed by our villain – the evil Lord Business (they are making this really easy for me!). But Emmett soon learns there is another way – The Master Builder way where you make it up as you go along and build something with nothing else but your imagination and hard work (Let’s call this the ‘Innovation Boom’).

    It sounds easy enough – if you can think it, you can build it. And that is what many of us as entrepreneurs are trying to do. We have lived for so long in the comfort of our employer’s set processes and procedures where all we had to do was follow the bouncing ball, but with a startup, none of that exists! You make it up as you go along and with unlimited configurations and options, it can become extremely overwhelming to deal with (which Emmett found out very quickly). This can lead to conflict, anxiety, feeling lost or not feeling like you are good enough and it was as scary a realisation for me as it was for Emmett.

 

  1. Under constant attack by Big Business. Throughout the movie, Emmett is continually chased, harassed and attacked by Lord Business and his evil Business Bots (Side note: I thought the ‘Good Cop/Bad Cop’ character was the perfect example of an Executive Assistant – the gatekeeper to Lord Business who can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. Ha!). Surely this point doesn’t need much explanation. As a startup, you are constantly looking for competitors and you are continually asked by investors what your plan is to stop other businesses doing what you do. It is a constant battle that plagues you most days and is one of the big reasons why you find yourself awake at 3 am. Unless Batman works for you…

 

  1. Surround yourself with a team who have done this before. Emmett survives the ordeal and achieves ultimate success because he found people along the journey with a variety of skills that helped him through his trials (Batman, Wyldfire, the Wizard etc). Without them, he would have failed or if he chose the wrong companions, he would have failed. He survived because he was mentored, trained, guided and supported by those that know the Master Builder life.

    This too is an obvious comparison to the advisors, mentors and employees that you collect along the way. Choose wisely and use their experience at every opportunity. Choose superstars that believe what you believe and can open your eyes to things you may not have thought of. And trust them! Just because you didn’t think of it yourself, take the time to understand their advice and make your decisions based on all the facts.

 

Never fear though – if Emmett can do it, then there is hope for all of us! Trust your idea, trust your team, work hard and watch the credits roll after you have changed the world.

 

Written by: Tim Walmsley, CEO and Founder of BenchOn

Slowing Growth? Lies, damned lies, and statistics

During a conversation yesterday an Investor/Director questioned a founder about their “slowing growth”.

This didn’t sit well with me but I couldn’t put my finger on why.

Then I realised that the idea of ‘slowing growth’ is damn close to an oxymoron when taken in the wrong context. Take a look at the chart below …..

The chart above represents a company who obviously had fantastic YoY growth early from 2009-2011, and since then has seen that YoY growth slow rapidly heading towards zero. Taken in the context of ‘slowing growth’ this looks pretty damning.

However, I built the above chart using data from this tweet

To quote Mark Twain who incorrectly attributed this quote to the British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli: “There are three kinds of liesliesdamned lies, and statistics.”

I don’t think the same Investor would be upset if they’d invested in AirBnB in 2011, yet out of this context, they are willing to question a founder with the same line.

 

Facebook video remarketing – turning passive viewers into customers

After slaving away on a great piece of new video marketing content, you upload and boost it on Facebook, then watch the views climb –  while the likes and comment trickle in slowly. Sometimes you’ll meet with colleagues and friends who’ll tell you they loved your video, yet they didn’t like, comment or share it. We’ve all been there, right?

You’re not alone. Unfortunately, while some content is ‘like bait’, other content will always struggle to attract the positive social signal we need for increased distribution. Often it’s the more instructional and educational material that people forget to like.

Facebook now offers you an amazingly powerful way to reach out to these people, video retargeting. Now you can re-market to all those people who are passively viewing your videos while taking no action. The best part for startup founders/marketers is that this strategy is incredibly cost-effective as people willing to invest their time to consume your content are self-identifying and creating an affinity with your brand.

I’m going to make a few assumptions here. Firstly that you promote your videos on Facebook, and secondly that you’ve used Facebook ad manager.

You can navigate directly to the ‘Audience’ section in ad manager here https://www.facebook.com/ads/manager/audiences/manage/

Next, you want to click on the blue button labelled ‘Create Audience.’

From the options listed you want to select ‘custom audience’.

On the next screen, you’ll want to select the ‘Engagement’ option

Finally, on the next screen you can select ‘Video’.

This feature might be buried deep in the Facebook ecosystem but you’re now using one of the best marketing tools that turn ‘window shoppers’ into real shoppers.

On the next screen, you can select the video you’d like to target viewers of as well as the time they have viewed the video for.

What you select here really depends on the length of the video you uploaded and also how perfect you want your audience to be.

If you uploaded a three-minute instructional video then anyone who watched more than 50 percent is probably engaged.

You could limit this to people who have watched more (say 95 percent of your video), but in my experience, this will produce a target group that is too small.

If your video is shorter, say 15-30 seconds then you will want to push the targeting closer to the 95 percent side as it requires much less commitment to your content to watch 8-15 seconds before skipping on.

After you name your audience, Facebook will take a couple of hours to generate this new audience group for you.

Once ready you can retarget any future posts or ads to this audience.

The best part is that once you’ve generated this audience facebook will automatically keep the audience updated.

What you’ve achieved here is a classic marketing funnel.
Your carefully crafted video content is now gaining the attention of potential customers, and as people watch more than 50 percent of your video, you can retarget them with slightly more aggressive posts with a stronger call to action.

There is a vast variety of ways to retarget on the web. However, most of these options require the target users to perform some kind of positive action, typically a click.

Facebook video remarketing empowers you to retarget users who self-identify with your content not through their clicks but through their time, which I would argue is far more valuable than the token like.

If you have any questions or thoughts on the above please do reach out, I’m always happy to help.