Surrounding Yourself With the Right People
By Stephen Nicholson
When it comes to deciding the company you keep, I always think of the quote “you are the 5 people you surround yourself with”. It’s not completely accurate, but the takeaway is very important. The people you spend the most time with are, to some extent, the ones that determine your reality because they are the group you have the most interactions with. If your values don’t often align, prepare yourself for a lot of difficult conversations. This is not necessarily a bad thing, conversations pave opportunities for learning and growth. The difficulty comes in the lack of support needed to push forward. If we don’t have the right people around us as entrepreneurs, it becomes a continuous struggle to take action on our ideas and believe in ourselves.
I was having a conversation with a board member the other day and he had this idea he wanted to share. I could see exactly where he was going with it and I expressed my excitement. We started bouncing ideas back and forth off of each other and by the end it was a plan with a meeting set in the calendar. If he had been talking with someone that couldn’t see his vision or didn’t care about it, nothing would have come out of their conversation. There is no substitute for the impact of having like-minded people around you that can help your ideas transform into tangible goals that become your reality. Pay attention to the company you keep and make sure you are creating opportunities to interact with people that inspire you. It could be the difference between creating change and missing out on something amazing.
Member Spotlight: April Denmon w/ Denmon Realty
April’s reputation precedes her. Earning the Wellington and Wilma Webb Leadership and Legacy award in 2017, the Denver Metro Realtors Excellence award and the National Honor award from Community Investment Network in 2019 all show that April is committed to excellence. Her involvement on the board of Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK), C.H.I.C., Girls Inc., Make A Chess Move (MACM), along with many other organizations demonstrates her passion for making an impact on her community. The thing that can’t be seen by looking at her accomplishments is her authenticity and her integrity. She genuinely cares about the people she interacts with. Catch a rewind of her live event, A Chat With April Denmon.
“You have to surround yourself with really good, positive people.”— April Denmon
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In recognition of Black History Month, the topic of discussion for our February book club is The Wealth Choice: Success Secrets of Black Millionaires. Author Dennis Kimbro describes the lessons he has learned through interviewing black millionaires, including Les Brown, Spike Lee, and Tyler Perry. Kimbro received his doctorate from Northwestern University where he studied wealth and poverty among underdeveloped countries and he is well known among black authors for the insightfulness in his writings. Join live or view our Zoom meeting to see how all of our different perspectives contribute to a wonderful discussion.
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The internationally bestselling duo Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschäppeler have tested the 44 most important communication theories – from Aristotle’s thoughts on presenting through Proust on asking questions to the Harvard Negotiation Project – for their practicality in daily business life. In The Communication Book they distil them into a single volume that in their winning way turns seemingly difficult ideas into clear and entertaining diagrams.
From running better meetings and improving the conversations in your head to brushing up on your listening skills and small talk, the pair masterfully fuses theoretical knowledge and business advice with humour and practicality. They show that we can improve not only what we communicate, but how we do so.
Whether you’re a CEO or starting out – or want to improve your relationships at home – this smartly-illustrated and compact guide will improve your communication skills and help you form more meaningful connections at work, while smiling too.
Creating an effective company logo is far more difficult than one would think. It is not as simple as making a good drawing of a symbol then calling it a logo. There is a lot of things that comes into play before you come up with a memorable logo like McDonalds “M” or Nike’s “Check” logo.
The problem is that creating a logo can be very subjective. What looks good to one person might not be to another. The key is to know that you can’t please everybody and you just have to come up with the most effective logo and that no logo you will come up with will ever be perfect.
To arrive at that effective company logo your company needs, here are some tips that you can follow:
Use a professional
Attempting to create a logo on your own may lead to more harm than good. And for what? To save a few dollars? Getting a professional designer may require some spending but what you are paying for is the training and expertise of that person. A professional can explain to you things like design flaws, effective color schemes, the right font, and other stuff that an untrained person may not be looking at. It is an investment but if it at least veers you away from a possibly offensive logo, then it has been worth it.
Know your Brand and your Demographics
Before you come up with a logo, you have to consider your own brand first. What are your company’s goals? What are the values you want associated with your brand? After that, you have to also consider your market. Who are the people you want buying your product or service? Your logo should represent who you are as a brand and should appeal to your current and potential customers.
Go for timeless instead of trendy
Following current trends may be the easy way but its effectiveness might be limited until the trend lasts. Go for a logo that you think is timeless and will never go out of style. If you achieve this, it will save you more money down the road because you would not have to go through a drastic rebranding campaign just to create another logo in the future.
Before taking your company logo live conduct a series of tests first to get some initial feedback and reviews. This will give you an idea if you need to make improvements or changes, create a completely new logo, or start launching your current logo.
Your logo is usually the first contact of customers to your brand. Make sure that your logo will make a good impression.
“If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles… if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.” Probably one of the most popular quotes of Sun Tzu from the Art of War, it is not only applicable in grand epic battles but in business completion as well. After all, the best way to beat an enemy is not only to know their weaknesses but also their strengths.
But how do you study your business competitors? Here are some tips:
Identify your competitor
This sounds simple enough but it is actually much more complicated than that. Take cable companies like Comcast and Verizon, they are essentially supposed to be competitors but if you look at it more closely it is more like each one have a monopoly of services on a specific territory that rarely infringe on one another. They are not really competing for the same market.
So when you consider it you have to identify the businesses that are competing with your for the same market for the same product or service. These will be your direct competitors. It does not end there, however. You also have to consider your indirect competitors. These are businesses who do not have the same product or service but can be considered as alternatives to your own, An example would be hosted PBX solutions vs. 4-line telephone systems. They are not really the same but the latter could be seen as a cheaper alternative to the former.
Identify their strategies
Once you have determined your competitors, you can now examine the strategies they employ to get an advantage over you and your common competitors. Do they advertise a lot? Do they have a strong branding campaign? Do they have a strong web and social media presence? Do they rank high in major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing? What other media do they use to market their product or service?
Know their strengths and weakness
Once you know their strategies, you can also study its effectiveness. Is their advertising yielding better brand recognition or is it bringing adverse effect to their brand? Do they rank high in major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing or are they languishing on the rankings for important keywords?
Look for opportunities
Once you know their weakness, you can also review your own performance on these categories. Are you doing so much better or are you just slightly ahead? Once you know their strengths, on the other hand, you can now formulate a plan to counter their strengths or even adapt those strengths into your own business.
Just think about it, you never know who you will meet in an elevator. It might be your next big client or your next big investor. You don’t want to be caught stammering in front of the person who can make or break your business. That is why you should have a solid elevator pitch prepared that you can present in a pinch.
The problem is that unless you get invited to join the person you are pitching to, your elevator pitch would be limited to the time that you are, well, in the elevator. Once the door opens and your target person steps out, you should have already been able to deliver the gist of your pitch by then.
But because of the surprise and the suddenness of the situation, few are actually equipped to take advantage of the situation. That is why you should have a solid elevator pitch prepared that you can present in a pinch.
Always have a prepared elevator pitch when you step out of your home or office. To help you come up with an effective elevator pitch, here are some tips:
Make it short and simple
As said above, you have a very limited time to give your pitch so you probably have about a minute or 2 inutes max to present your case. You do not want to be wasting those precious time prepping your pitch. You want to go direct to the point with the simplest words to explain your case. Do not use heavy words and jargons. Instead of impressing the target, you might just end up trying to explain certain terms that you used which he or she did not understand.
Present a problem and a unique solution
Aside from a brief overview of your company, your pitch should include a problem that is relatable to the target. Given that problem, you can present your product or service as the solution to that problem. Explain the benefits of your solution and its difference from what is being offered by competitors.
Always have your business card ready
If possible you should bring a paper copy of your pitch that you can give to your target so that they can review it after your pitch. But since you would not have those copies with you at all times, you can settle with always having your business card with you at all times. You have to always, I mean ALWAYS, give a copy of your business card to the target before or after the elevator pitch. This way, the target has a quick way to get back to you if he or she finds your pitch interesting.