By the time a business owner gets to the 3-year mark – you become crystal clear on why you are in business.
For me, clarity came this summer. After 3 years of running a marketing firm, I took a step back and realized that we had more to offer the market.
The reason I started GridStone was my deep and abiding view that innovative companies will change the world for the better. By reviewing our service offering, I could see that our real value came by focusing on business growth through revenue generation for these innovative companies.
So we pivoted to be more reflective of the value we truly bring to our clients.
My top 7 learnings stem from this pivot.
- A clear message makes all the difference. Our message in the form of our tagline was “Advancing Technical Marketing.” The problem was few understood what technical marketing was and I would usually spend 5 minutes explaining it. So we shifted gears – now our tagline is “You’ve got a great business. Let’s grow it!” It’s simple. It’s bold. It’s achievable. Most companies want to grow, they just don’t always know how. We focus on our 5 core pillars to generate revenue (check them out here) and our message is clear.
- Innovations don’t need to be big to make an impact. On any given day, the media is a buzz about Elon Musk, SpaceX and Tesla. I’ll admit I’m a fan but beyond Mr. Musk, the world is filled with remarkable ideas. Our focus is on working with innovative companies – and with leaders who may not have the celebrity of Elon Musk but who want to change the world in their own way.
- Sales and marketing need to work together. For three years, we were a marketing firm. But until we tied sales into the equation, I believe we only had limited impact. Now we don’t start a conversation unless it is a sales and marketing conversation. The difference has been so powerful that I can’t imagine ever going back.
- Kindness and small gifts are remembered. We celebrate our clients’ successes with congratulatory cards and small gifts. I was pleasantly surprised when a gift we gave a client quite a while ago was referenced in a kick-off meeting as a cool thing that we did. It reinforced the idea that whether in our business or in our personal lives, a gesture of kindness counts.
- Training needs to be a repeatable process. I read a quote not too long ago aimed at business owners that said, “If the information is only in your head, you are losing money.” I can’t tell you the number of times over the years that I’ve been put on hold until the boss gets back from a trip or vacation. That quote is what motivated me into action and I started downloading my brain into templates and repeatable processes. Now our training is on its way to having structure and consistency.
- Space matters. We moved from our little office in June into a larger office on 17th Since then, many of our friends, colleagues and clients have had a chance to see our new space. What a difference it has made! Contractors come to visit, clients meet in our boardroom and our office has become a place for collaboration and new ideas. One woman told me that we’d see ourselves differently once we moved into the new space. She was right.
- Positive people make work fun. Our team today is filled with confident, positive people. When we held a training session for the team in September, there were 8 of us around the table contributing to the discussion and sharing ideas. The meeting went by in a blink of an eye but the feeling of optimism stayed with everyone. Now, the days fly by and every day is filled with that same positive outlook that we share with each other and our clients.
Until next year!