For approximately the last ten years I have reviewed business plans from thousands of companies and met with hundreds located all over the world, from all stages of their lifecycle – startup to exit. These companies come to me for guidance, assistance with business development, and help in taking their companies to the next stage. This typically means expanding their offering to the global marketplace, and accessing my network of strategic partners – typically (but not exclusively) satisfying their strong desire to meet with executives from Fortune 500 companies, decision makers in the government, or celebrities to promote their products.
Over the years, having facilitated hundreds of these deals, I have learned a lot and gained multiple insights on these type of transactions – and this new perspective is fully infused into my latest venture, SociallyMined, an Advocacy firm with offices in DC, Israel, and San Francisco. It is also why we are able to say that SociallyMined is truly Advocacy 2.0. Here are 3 points that help show this approach in action:
1 – Partnerships:
There is no shame in working closely with great outside third party partners. Of course, there is great pride and value in creating the latest and the greatest organically. But by doing everything in house, you limit what you offer and how fast you can scale. Even worse, there is no way one offering is the right solution for all your clients. I rather access the best and most relevant solutions for our clients and make sure I’m not trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. In addition, what might be the hottest tech today, might be antiquated tomorrow. By not boxing ourselves into a corner, we are not boxing our clients into a corner. They come to me for effective solutions that generates results, and I refuse to compromise on that commitment.
Do we have our own technology? Of course – and it’s great. But it’s primarily tools that integrate the diverse solutions from our partners into a seamless relevant solution for our clients.
This also frees up our bandwidth and resources to make sure that we are exceeding our clients’ expectations as opposed to our time in our office in trendy hackathons that may or may not generate revenue or meaningful solutions.
2 – Global Reach:
As a former New Yorker (shout out to Brooklyn) I tend to be (a bit) myopic. A close-minded approach can be damaging, and possibly fatal in business growth. When we look for solutions to include in our portfolio, we go way beyond our local region. Currently our solutions come from all over the US (East, West and everything in between), and countries around the globe.
Here’s a quick example: A young bright entrepreneur and his team in Israel created a tech solution utilizing big data to red-flag possible terror threats and stop them before they happen. With minor tweaks, we now use their tech to help us track trends and public sentiment in traditional and social media, alerting us to concerns before they surface…allowing us to have our clients create a proactive approach rather than reactively facing a crisis. If the answer we are seeking is based in Canarsie, great. If it’s Silicon Valley, also fine. But our clients trust us – and I have a great global network. Our world is getting smaller – and we intend to leverage that for our clients.
A nice side benefit that is our client base isn’t limited to the US…once you open your eyes to the opportunities around the world, many wonderful doors open.
3 – Maintaining focus:
Every company faces some of the same questions when looking to grow. One major question is how to grow a company significantly while maintaining focus. In truth, the answer to that question is very simple – and it speaks to the foundation of the company. Obviously, the team makes a difference – and I’m blessed with great partners – but let’s save that point for a different blog and (for now) discuss a different but equally important point.
First, let me tell you a story about a mistake I made when I was younger. As a young married man (quite a few years ago) I had one tool in my closet – a screwdriver (Phillips head). When I needed a Phillips screwdriver it was perfect. When I needed a hammer, I used the handle of the screwdriver to bang in the nails. When I needed a regular screwdriver, I’d use it on an angle.
And it kind of worked – for a bit. Until I had to defrost my freezer in our nice little starter apartment and I used my faithful Phillips screwdriver to chip ice out of the freezer, hit some pipe in my freezer and ended up calling poison control because I sprayed a chemical in my face.
Fool me once, shame on you….fool me twice, shame on me.
You want to grow the business? Make sure you have the right tools. We aren’t going to use Twitter when a mobile solution is more relevant. We’re not going to hire Justin Bieber for a client’s campaign to reach out to young mothers, when we can use our tools to find a Mommy Blogger that has a high-level reach, engagement, amplification and SM score for the exact (targeted) audience that is appropriate for a client.
The right tools provide the greatest bang for the buck, and provide the kind of ROI that will guarantee a loyal and happy customer (and referral) base.
One more note – having multiple tools in our toolbox allow us to work with our clients whether they are earlier stage companies, Fortune 500 companies, or Government campaigns (using a Top Down/Bottom Up approach) – all without losing focus or getting distracted. And all this is possible is because we spent and continue to invest time making sure we invest in the right tools and learn how to use them properly.
We are off to a strong start with a strong pipeline – and we’ll keep you updated. In the interim, feel free to reach out for more details, or for any questions or comments you might have.