Dear Entrepreneur: Don’t Forget Your “Soft” Skills

Let me ask you, what do you do? Oh really? Tell me about your company? Never heard of you guys. I use/buy/have heard of X,Y,Z that does the same thing. How are you different?

As an entrepreneur you are often asked about your latest endeavor. It could be at a dinner party or out with friends. It could be at a networking event or at the local Starbucks (aka your office). Do you find yourself struggling to encapsulate the full concept of your pursuit into a few sentences to keep the conversation going? Here’s a hint: If the person responds to your description with questions not related to anything you just said and then says the inevitable, “I had this idea for a business once…”, you lost them. Probably forever. You think to yourself, they wouldn’t understand anyway. Now imagine if that person was a member of the media or a potential investor or someone in the position to make decisions about purchases for their company or organization. What a great opportunity that got away and you didn’t ever know it.

 

So let’s say you are a firmly entrenched tech world apostle, secure in the absolute certainty of data and research backed by numbers and not necessarily a “people person” who has to deal with the inherent uniqueness of individuals to say it politely. How are the two dynamics reconciled? In my opinion it all comes down to communication and relationships. You know, the “soft” stuff. Yes, your products or ideas have to be solid and the market research and product development you put in has to make sense but if you can’t tell people what you have and why they need it, what difference does it make? Fairly or unfairly your next great offering can be significantly undermined by a poor public appearance. It could be a an interview, a keynote speech, a pitch to investors or a chance encounter at a dinner party. Let’s take your revolutionary ideas to the people. As a fully formed team, you supply the idea/concept/product and tell the story too. But not just any story. Your story will be easy follow even if the road was winding and had several detours along the way. Your story will brief because other people’s time is important to you. Your story will resonate and inspire because you are living it. In other words your story will be Clear, Concise and Compelling! The 3 Cs!

 

If you do not become adept at articulating your company, your product/ideas or yourself, you’re doing you and your team a great disservice. You have a story to tell and you need to get serious about delivering it. Don’t leave anything to chance because the market is watching. Existing and future customers or clients are paying attention. Potential investors are waiting and looking for a reason to say either yes or no. The stakes are high people. Get yourself and your team trained. Enlist an experienced media coach to help you not only tell your story and maximize your media opportunities but also avoid pitfalls which can tank your reputation, a product or even a company.

As an entrepreneur, you signed up for all of the trials and errors, prototypes and beta versions and the rest of the necessary but mundane steps to get your company up running. Investing in your ability to tell a clear, concise and compelling story is doubling down on the hard work you and your team have done in the background.  Converting the innocuous into interest and interest into investment starts with storytelling. Yes, you have to have the goods on the back end. That part will never change but bringing your audience in for a closer look and holding their attention is how it all begins.

-Eric Cox

By | 2017-11-28T21:33:41+00:00 November 15th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments