My good news / bad news for last week:
Not So Bad News : We were beat out by a company called Advanced Health Media, a company that is growing like crazy and focuses on the health care space. Great growth story and tough for me to objectively say that we should have beat them.
Somewhat Bad News : I had to rent a tux for the formal dinner.
Really Bad News : I was under the impression that I had to make a few remarks to an audience of 550 so I had some notes prepared. Since we didn't win, no soup for Flint.
I'd hate for my prepared remarks to go to waste, so here's roughly what I was going to say.
Thanks for the great honor blah blah blah. Thanks to the NJTC, blah blah blah.
The key to any great idea is not so much the idea, but the execution of the idea. Not just the building of the product, but the marketing, support, and most importantly the selling.
There are three main aphorisms that I try to live by in business.
1. Know What You Don't Know - When I started my first business Paytrust 10 years ago, I didn't know much about running a business but that didn't seem to be a prerequisite at the time. That was OK because I knew I didn't know much about running a business and was able to surround myself with people who did. What hurt that business most was a complete lack of understanding of how important Customer Acquisition Cost is and the cost to build a brand, two things I hand't even considered at the outset. Sounds simple in hindsight. It's fine to admit you don't know something as long as you do something about it. It's a killer if you think you know what you don't know.
2. Be Confident, But Not Certain - There are hundreds of decisions that you have to make that can make or break your company. No matter how long you slave over your decisions, you're still going to make some bad decisions. There are a variety of ways to make decisions and I won't get into that here. However the most important thing I find is that once you make the decision, you have to be confident that it's the right decision and execute like crazy based on that decision. However, don't be certain. This could be one of the decisions that you messed up. If you're certain, you'll never question the assumptions you made that lead to the decision and that could lead to disaster.
3. Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood - This is a simple and can be applied to just about everything in life. However, it's really crucial in sales. Basically it means shut up and listen, you might just learn something. We interview a lot of sales people and it always amazes me how many just go on and on. Prospects don't want to hear about you, they want to hear about themselves and how you're going to help them. How can you help them if you don't know where they're having pain? Best to ask a few open ended questions and shut up and listen.
Ahhh, I feel better. At least my speech wasn't completely wasted.