Author: tamaraparisio

7
Nov

#ScriptYourShift for Sweet Dreams

As a business owner who helps other companies create business plans, personal plans, and strategic plans, it can feel like I don’t even have enough hours in the day to get everything done. Lately, in fact, I have been low on sleep, trying to cram in that one last thing before I go to bed every night. With the seasons changing, my body and emotions have been shifting, and I have been out of touch with my body telling me to practice self-care always.

Part of running a business for businesses is sharing your vulnerabilities because there will always be something that resonates with the reader. I encourage you to reach out to me and let me know what resonates with you, to see if we can take this journey toward our thriving futures together.

Everything is a learning experience, and at one point this past week, I had crammed so much in that I was overbooking, and found myself overwhelmed with the sheer amount I had to do and the little time I had to do it. Like others who take pride in how hard they work, I had considered my work haul and long hours to be a testament to my strength – but this week it got the best of me, and I knew I needed to make a change.

For this reason, I made a decision to cancel or reschedule any appointments and tasks which were over-booked, and I made a point of ending work each day at a set time and letting myself sleep early. Lately, I had forgotten a little how valuable it is to take care of yourself, and it felt so relieving and calming to have sufficient sleep again.

I chose to go through one task at a time at work, from start to finish, because so often being overwhelmed comes not from how much effort and time is required, but rather how many results we are trying to achieve at once. Learning to not demand of yourself the ability to grossly multi-task, and learning to get through one thing from start to finish before starting the next, is invaluable to a business owner.

It is crucial to always remember that we are only human, and, more importantly, that that is okay, and that it is not okay to expect our superpowers to always be on display. For me, letting people know that they are superhuman only sometimes and must accept that they will not be superhuman all the time is part of the #ShiftYourScript strategy. If working with me sounds like a fit for you, reach out today to learn more about how I can help your company prosper.

Business planning does not simply involve a layout of all the details for operating the business – as a strategic planner, I also work closely with the entrepreneurs and business owners to effectively run their companies by keeping their own personal lives and their emotions and well-being accounted for. As they say, if your room is a mess, you are a mess….and if you are a mess, then your business will be a mess, and your life will be a mess.

If what I say resonates with you, then reach out to me today, and we will get started putting your script in order, one step at a time, breaking through all the barriers holding you back from a thriving company. Planning a business takes time and diligence – and I am here to guide you every step of the way.

 

31
Aug

Be Playful! 20 Questions for Joy

Here is a tip from #ScriptYourShift to play with possibilities. Being playful requires that you don’t take your Self so seriously. Set an intention for joy in your life. Joy comes from your heart. Happiness is fleeting — it is of the moment and in the experience. Joy remains and sustains. It is a vibration, a resonance.

To Be Or Not To Be Is Not The Question, To Be is All! — Wei Chen, Ancient Chinese Poet

See the humor in your life. Give your Self permission to laugh. Feel your experience of your own laughter. Get to the heart of the matter of what matters to the heart. When you are living from your heart, you have a resonance that attracts your desires. Love your self unconditionally. Enjoy your self. Then see the world around you share your joy.

Start in your heart.

Quench your thirst for joy to the bone. Embrace your funny “bone” … the body remembers everything. Unresolved emotional issues cause chaos in your body. Emotional trauma gets stuck in the body and manifests as discomfort or disease. Get to the core of when the event happened leading to the diagnosis. Stop recreating the past. Go back, observe the event objectively — recall it without re-experiencing the pain — and choose to let go of the belief system erroneously embraced. Give it new meaning. Reframe it.

Ask supportive questions.

Consider your questions carefully. Ask with your heart and in a way that reveals productive answers. Seek and ye shall find.

  1. “What feels joyful in this experience?”
  2. “What is my biggest dream?”
  3. “When did I last laugh out loud?”
  4. “What am I grateful for?”
  5. “ Which are my most memorable moments?
  6. “What fills me with joy?”
  7. “Where is the joy in this moment?”
  8. “How can I choreograph a life of joy?
  9. “What inspires me here, now?”
  10. “Am I smiling?”
  11. “Why am I so lucky?”
  12. “How did I create these awesome opportunities?”
  13. “What limiting beliefs can I let go?”
  14. “What supportive habits shall I cultivate?”
  15. “How will I make my life more meaningful, today?”
  16. “How shall I change someone’s life for the better today?”
  17. “Who shall I spend time with today?”
  18. “What is one thing I’ll do differently today?”
  19. “What is life calling of me?”
  20. “When all is said and done, will I have done more than I’ve said?”

Get out of your head and into your heart. Ask clear questions. Your mind will seek answers to anything you ask. Be wise in your query. Only ask what you desire having answered (instead of “how did I mess up so badly” ask “how did I make this work out well?”).

Question everything without judgment. Question your Self. Continue to question. Everything…

The answers are there, inside of you. Listen with your joy-filled heart!

Created for Eternally Eve, originally published here.

30
Aug

3 Things I Learned from My Recent Failure

Every failure feels like a crushing defeat that makes me question my self-worth and purpose. While I desired to wear multiple hats, meet every request, and bring a success, my toolset is incomplete and my skill across all disciplines is far from mastery. I can be chef and sous chef and wait tables, but that dilutes my genius. Attempting to focus on my strengths, I was asked to “stretch” and I agreed. In this effort, I could not reach far enough fast enough—though I gave my all in every attempt.

The course-corrections taken did not lead to smooth sailing. Resources were slim to none and new demands came on so strong, it was like drinking from a fire hose. I kept trying … and I will continue to seek the most productive outcome in every endeavor… still, I have not met with the delight of complete satisfaction.

Sometimes when you try to be and do everything, you become nothing, or a lot less than all.

However, when asked to step up to the plate, you gotta give it all ya got! Especially with a startup gig. The rush to get on base often requires concurrent planning and execution. Stutter steps happen along the way as the path becomes clarified and players come in and out of the game.

My “lane” is the strategic development. I create the brand plan—and the client team implements it. Areas for possible trip-ups include that there isn’t complete buy-in and there aren’t resources for implementation. Both of these bumps were present on this path, along with other challenges.

Still, when working for the vision, it is tough to realize disappointment. The victories drive action while defeat deflates momentum. I can only own my role — the few ways I could make a stronger player.

There were moments of victory. The joy of accomplishment fed my spirit till the next shoe fell behind in the race to forge ahead. When the brand plan was embraced and approved, things looked promising. And then there were the “squirrels” and distractions. Clients often desire to refresh the look before it takes hold. They want variety for the sake of amusement—not for the efficacy of impression. And, in the end, the client is always right. I can only create the plan, get approval, and remind them to stay on plan. When it is insisted to veer, I can only attempt to redirect traffic. And, often, I did.

I dared and I fell short of desired results. It would be tempting to come up with a single reason that things didn’t work out. But it isn’t that simple. And I must wrestle with, scrutinize, and learn from every misstep—as well as the few successes along the way. Perhaps I shall awaken to a new calling—all I know is that I’m trying to find my way. Here are the key takeaways from this unanswered prayer.

FIRST, make sure there is a PLAN.

If there is no plan, then there are only two choices. One is to create a plan and two is to walk away. I accepted an invitation to assist with marketing and branding projects for a startup in transition. There was a website, there was a business structure that was being revised for multiple entities — The Icon, The NonProfit Organization, The ForProfit Organization.

There was no plan. No vision. No mission. No strategy. At least, nothing in writing. Nothing shared. Here I offered to craft a short-term solution but the priority was set otherwise. I should have insisted on that being created or established in writing before proceeding. Instead, I took the carrot and ran with the project and its evolving particulars.

Thus, when I agreed to create a brand strategy for The Icon, it was an effort that stood alone and actually would be expected to lead all other actions. However, I was not in a position to be a leader in the developing organization structure, and there was no staff on board in the organization(s) to lead.

This leads to, SECOND, make sure there is staff or PERSONNEL to assist with execution. 

After attempting to bring in colleagues to flesh out the talent pool, and realizing personality conflicts with the client, I made the mistake of attempting to fly solo and find resources along the way. I was in charge of developing the overall strategy for The Icon brand, however, it became clear that there was no implementation team. While there was an intention to assemble and hire a team, there was not a network in place.  

Wanting to bring my “superpowers” and to realize success for the project, I took on the tasks of implementation across platforms that, strategically, required being revised, updated, or created. I spread myself too thin and I employed my adequate but not masterful skills of design, webmaster, leader, and etc to attempt translating the brand strategy across marketing efforts. I called for help and called out the gaps. Some were filled. Others remained gaping.

It was a disaster at best. The issues were many-fold. Time ticked away at its unforgiving pace and I was losing efficiency bouncing from one last-minute priority to another as deadlines flew in my face like pixels in a video game. People came in the fold for a while — for instance, a woman stepped up to take charge of social media — and the relief of assistance was further taxed by the need to train and align them. 

For this, I created a plan — the Social Media Strategy was developed to assist brand presentation across Facebook and YouTube. From distinguishing a Profile from a Page and then concurrently creating a Celebrity Page on top of the existing NonProfit Organization Page plus planning for an eCommerce Page for exquisite items in the warehouse, this effort quickly scaled beyond reach. And, then the social media manager left the building.

With my hands full, I failed to pick up the threads and weave them into place, and I realized there was no clear path for reconciling all the loose ends. There was nowhere to turn.

So my last major key lesson is, THIRD, make sure there is a PROCESS—or that there are many processes—in place to support success. 

Key processes include Defining, Supporting, and Reporting. The reporting structure needs clear definition so that attention can be brought to the weaknesses and shortfalls in order to thwart disaster. In the changing business structures, the Board of Directors members revolved in and out of the organization, and then disappeared. The one consistent Director traveled for work and was not a businessman so had little efficacy in leading the pack, though he took responsibility for funding all.

Expectations were often unclear and the scope of work changed during each project. I created and executed a series of Social Media posts that were determined to be off-brand after the fact — so I deleted all of them. Getting aligned was difficult and getting approvals was even more difficult. All input and feedback came from The Icon, who really should not have been bothered with such detail, and yet there was nowhere else to turn.

A process for defining the details including deadlines and every duty would assist progress to the plan. And a system of support is critical. Weekly meetings would veer off agenda so effective review didn’t happen and next steps were not certainly determined. I failed to create a place to give shared visibility to all so that changing dates and demands would be communicated undeniably and in a timely fashion. 

I failed to uphold “no” when demands grew beyond my ability to stretch. I failed to “stop” and regroup to ensure alignment and support. I failed to find a way to voice requirements for success in a way that would capture attention and yield success that was better than haphazard. “Step up!” it was commanded. Get ‘er done! Then, even the victories got lost in the fog of let down.

I couldn’t dissuade the escalation of activity so disappointment was the way. This won’t be my experience next time, not at the next opportunity.

And a bonus key comes to mind; FOURTH, make sure you are a fit, PERSONALLY.

Camaraderie and cohesion aid accomplishment. While I met weekly with The Icon, I rarely felt heard. While I respect and revere the position of The Icon, I worked to remain objective. I did not find a way to drink the kool-aid and still serve in my hired role. Keeping out of the grey area meant keeping out of the cultural current. I attended a couple events to get to know the energy of The Icon’s work, as direct experience assists understanding and the ability to message it. Still, I felt it important to serve in my role rather than be served by The Icon. I stayed on the sidelines, in my lane of hired hand.

So again, perhaps I am not a fit in this as I see the newly hired full-time staff immerse themselves in the flow while taking on challenges full force. Or perhaps this is the plight of a contractor vs an employee — always on the outside looking in.

While I am drawn to The Icon and the work, I have a perspective of an observer and I keep my personal boundaries with great care. It is, perhaps, not the best alignment for this particular client. With full-time staff on board, there is a new direction emerging. So be it. I will hang on to the glimpses of achievement in the sea of simultaneous engineering this startup went through. Growing pains. Awkward like adolescence. Now taking off to experience the next stage of expansion.

My goal is to learn from this adventure in failure. To hone my strengths and shore up my weaknesses. And, one day, the people who doubt me will be the ones who talk about the one day when they met me. I might even be one of them.

I should have declined projects when we discussed that I was the wrong person for the detail work. It was out of alignment with my skill set. When asked to step up, I did. I should have said no. Still, some things went well. Overall it was disappointing. In trying to be everything, I was reduced to nothing.

4
Jul

Happy 4th of July Birthday, U.S.A.

“Today Is Your Birthday” — The Beatles

You say it’s your birthday
It’s my birthday too, yeah
They say it’s your birthday
We’re gonna have a good time
I’m glad it’s your birthday
Happy birthday to you

Yes we’re going to a party, party
Yes we’re going to a party, party
Yes we’re going to a party, party

I would like you to dance (birthday)
Take a cha-cha-cha-chance (birthday)
I would like you to dance (birthday)
Ooo, dance, yeah

I would like you to dance (birthday)
Take a cha-cha-cha-chance (birthday)
I would like you to dance (birthday)
Ooo, dance

You say it’s your birthday
It’s my birthday too, yeah
They say it’s your birthday
We’re gonna have a good time
I’m glad it’s your birthday
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you

Songwriters: John Lennon,Paul McCartney
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
For non-commercial use only.
Data From: LyricFind

 

9
Apr

10 Points You Must Cover in Your Initial VC Pitch

You are a startup looking for a VC and a VC is looking for a startup. So how do you convince a VC to take your call or meet with you? You send them a deck — make sure it is stacked in your favor.

Start by developing and refining the reasons why the VC should meet with you. Organize your presentation with most persuasive and logical order of reasons. Make sure to punctuate with visuals — simply add headlines or bold leads to your paragraph or include illustrations. And, definitely, cover the ten critical points.

  1. THE DETAILS. Announce the name of your company, where it is located, the round, how much capital you wish to raise.
  2. THE PLAYERS. Introduce your team. Include the expertise each person brings.
  3. THE USP. Capture attention with your Unique Startup Proposition — what are you solving? Is this a necessity or a luxury? What is most impressive about where you are with it right now? It could be the team, the technology, the growth, etc. Get the VC excited about the possibilities.
  4. THE POTENTIAL. Show the VC the size of the opportunity. The projected market must be large enough to provide ample return on investment. Do your homework here and make it relevant to your specific vision or solution. Complete this picture with how you stack up to beat competition. Explain how you plan to scale.
  5. THE THING. Present your product. Whether it is a prototype or a blueprint, an app or a service, include as much detail as you have defined. Use all media that is available to portray the product with optimal clarity.
  6. THE PLAN. Outline your go-to-market strategy. How will you approach and capture your market? What will help you build your tribe? Do you have a website?
  7. THE WAY. Explain your business model. How will you generate and capture revenue? Online, salesforce, multi-tiered marketing? There are many options.
  8. THE KIPs. Show the numbers. Not just a spreadsheet, include charts or graphs that quickly communicate your Key Indicators of Performance or success.
  9. THE ASK. Yes. Ask for it. Let the VC know your needs — the money, the time, the support, the connections — and request to meet in person or via Skype to proceed with next steps.
  10. THE CATCHPHRASE. End with a battle cry. Make it unforgettable so that whatever the decision regarding your request, your startup will be remembered.

Make sure your presentation is clear, concise, and complete with compelling information and arguments. Brand the pages in a way to give repetitive attention to your startup name, logo or other identifying feature. Prepare the narrative for your presentation, ensure that it translates with or without you. May the VC be with you.

Also published via Medium and originally created for Invest Southwest, here.

8
Mar

Pearls of Wisdom

It was an honor, a privilege, and a joy to step out on stage and present “Script Your Shift” to the Pearls of Wisdom tribe. What a perfect place to cut a groove in this new chapter of my life. In case you missed it, here is the video. For a Pitch Perfect session, eMail me at Tamara@TamaraParisio.com. Let me assist you to create the script for your starring role in your success!

SCRIPT YOUR SHIFT. Write down your goals. Business Plan, Personal Manifesto, or Strategic Map, put pen to paper to improve performance. Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, did a study on goal-setting with 267 participants (it only takes 30 to be statistically significant). She found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down. A modality employed to make the process entertaining rather than daunting is to approach your plan as a script for your success. And, you are cast in the starring role as the lead character. Here are three examples of clients who stepped into the celebrity of their success.

Anita Miranda the Official Lipstick Reader

CHARACTER

From psychic fairs to celebrity parties and luxury events, Anita Miranda stepped up into high heels to expand in stardom as The Official Lipstick Reader.  

CAST

After establishing her starring character, Sherry Anshara attracted the supporting cast, including influencer Vishen Lakiani of mindvalley.

SCENE

To set the scene, Donna Sparaco shows up in full character, Daily Dose A Donna, to motivate and inspire with her proprietary program, Set Your Dial to Joy.

Download a pdf of the Script Your Shift handout.

22
Jan

Six Keys To Learning From Failure in Your Startup Endeavor

Most startups fail. Much like the game of baseball, failure is part of the process. How you deal with failure will determine your success.

“Learn from failures. Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” — Steve Jobs

Understand what caused the failure. Identify the error and find the solution for it. Then, every mistake becomes a lesson. Study it — grow from it. Forge ahead to success.

STUDY FAILURE

In every startup failure, there are many details in the process. Looking at each step, every decision, and finding which play worked and which didn’t will reveal the cause of the failure. It might be one choice, or a series of choices that didn’t work together. Assess and learn from the mistake.

“There are no negatives in life, only challenges to overcome that will make you stronger.” ― Eric Bates

TAKE RESPONSIBILITY

Take full and complete responsibility for your own actions, decisions, and intentions. Own it. Say it out loud — I was wrong. I struggled. I made a mistake. Understand your justification and the rational for decisions you made; and realize where your thinking was wrong (even though they seemed right at the time). This will give you the power to adjust. And, it will build confidence for going forward.

“The harder you fall, the stronger you rise.” ― Matshona Dhliwayo

HAVE CLARITY

Struggle is often perception and projection more than reality. When confronted with a hurdle, ask yourself “If I were to let this be easy, how would I approach it differently?” Get your subconscious aligned and in gear to see the solution.

“Life always gives us another change: It’s called ‘To Move On’.” ― Ana Claudia Antunes

BOOST CONFIDENCE

Your brain registers every goal achieved — small goals and large ones. Every accomplishment motivates you to achieve more success. You just have to deliberately be conscious of them. To do this, keep a list of your accomplishments. At the end of the day, every day, write down achievements — large and small — and take a few minutes to savor them. Let this boost confidence and self esteem as you forge ahead. Look for the possibilities. Seize the opportunities.

“The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.” ― George Bernard Shaw

MANAGE WORRIES

When you start to imagine pitfalls, visualize what will go right instead of what will go wrong. Don’t repeat or dwell on stories of past mistakes. Move on as fast as possible.Focus your mind on the positive, like that fresh idea, the easy commute to the office, and the latest accomplishment, rather than focusing on what bad thing could or did happen. Stay in the present moment.

“Never feel intimidated by defeat nor death, but rather intimidate life with your dreams.” ― Auliq-Ice

CARRY ON

Push through your resistance to failure and liberate yourself from fear. Relax and remain focused on the task at hand. Trust your intuition. Rather than worry about what could go wrong, generate solutions to any imaginable problem. This will give you confidence to proceed.

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” — Paulo Cohelo, The Alchemist

Treat failure as a lesson. Ask yourself, “What did I learn?” rather than beating yourself up for making a mistake. Don’t bring the negative energy from yesterday into today. Today is a new day.

1
Dec

Manifest Destiny in 8 Key Areas 1 at A Time with 6 Steps

There are eight key areas to self-actualization: Visibility and Voice, Relationships and Love, Purpose and Destiny, Career and Prosperity, Health and Vitality, Spirituality and Connection, Impact and Influence, Creativity and Manifestation. Select one area and focus your intention to create a change. The other areas are affected. Success in one area leads to improvement in another.

“In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.”— Dalai Lama

  1. Set a Bold Intention. Break through a pattern of being stuck with focus and intention. Focus your energy from your heart. Select a specific outcome in a key area. Then, allow your mind to open and create the strategy.
  2. Remove Inner Barriers. Identify and release your limiting beliefs. Connect with your deeper truth so you can show up authentically and realize the experience you desire.
  3. Create from Inside Out. Cultivate your intuitive mind. Ask “If all of life organizes around my success, what do I desire to create?” Connect with your self. Allow yourself to access an inner source of knowingness. Be curious and receptive.
  4. Generate Support. Surround yourself with people who encourage you. Create partnership. Enlist assistance.
  5. Create Accountability. Design a project where you are accountable to something bigger than your self. Show up. Grow into every step.
  6. Make a Commitment. Do what it takes every day. Get organized. Get training. Get going. And, as advised by Wallace D Wattles, “Do, every day, all that can be done that day, taking care to do each act in a successful manner.” 

 

21
Aug

Positioning Your Product or Brand

Positioning is a facet of the marketing strategy that aims to give your product or brand a distinct perception — relative to competing brands — in the mind of the customer. An historic campaign for Avis reflects this: “Avis Is Only №2, We Try Harder.”

In developmental stages, determine the positioning you intend for your product or brand. Research and market feedback will help you discover if it is aligned with actual consumer attitudes. If not, then marketing messages can help close the gap or change perception.

Positioning is an art. Great positioning tells a compelling, attention grabbing story — a story that resonates with your audience. — Rebel Brown

The positioning process begins with identifying a market problem or opportunity, then developing a solution — often based on market research, segmentation and supporting data. Once positioning is determined, it will help align and guide marketing efforts and business objectives. The perfume I use is the indulgent scent for pleasure seekers. Thus, the tone and manner of messages, images, events and PR are created to consistently express this in all communication.

Again, positioning is the perception of your product or brand in the mind of the customer. Perception is reality. Aim to establish the highest and best use for your brand among your audience. And, be open to emerging alternate audiences, too. Here are some examples of common positioning strategies and how they might translate in the marketplace.

DEMOGRAPHICS Place your solution among those best served by gender, age, income, area, etc. If you try to be everything to everyone, you may not appeal to anyone.

PRICE Present your solution as an affordable option with a low price point or elevate your products or services among the competition with a high price point to create a perceived value (or reflect a real value).

DISTRIBUTION The environment and locations where you sell your product communicate quality and value propositions like convenience or specialty items. Select your sales channels to align with your desired positioning.

AFFINITY Find your tribe. Those who desire to align with your proposition. Position your solution to engage group loyalty of customers with a common, personal denominator.

Positioning is how you communicate benefits of your solution to your audience. Everything from where you make your product, how you make it, where you sell it, and for how much will convey subtle queues to the market. Align positioning elements with the overt messages employed in promotions, advertising, and public relations. Ultimately, positioning is how your market sees your solution among the alternatives.

13
Aug

How to Realize your Vision in 3 Key Steps: Think it up. Feel it in. Act it out.

Think it up. Feel it in. Act it out. These three steps are crucial on the path of realizing your vision for your life—personally or professionally. Every entrepreneur starts with an idea. For successful dreamers, this vision drives action aligned with achieving the end result. Oftentimes the process is automatic. And, to amplify the probability of success, you can make this a mindful method.

Let’s look at each one a little more closely.

Step 1 — think about it. Be conscious of your thoughts and manage them. Intentionally think about your dream in productive ways. Create your thoughts. Then let your thoughts create  your plan. Ponder openly and confidently about your vision. Consider the highest good that will come from your goal.

In your daily life, think of ways to step into what you aspire to create. Write down these ideas and the milestones on your path to realizing your vision. Make a map of the journey. Think through each facet of  your adventure. Your thoughts are very powerful, because they affect how you feel.

Step 2 — feel inside it. Allow yourself to feel what it is like to experience your dream. What does it feel like to be on the path to achieving your dream? How do you feel doing the work you long to bring forth in the world? Touch the textures. Smell the aromas. Taste the flavors. Listen to the sounds. See the results. Take your thoughts and feelings very seriously.

Meditation is a great tool to assist you. Meditation is a game-changing practice. For just a few minutes each day, take the time to cultivate the feeling of what it is you desire, and experience it. Allow yourself to dwell in the feeling, the excitement, the joy of realizing your life’s vision. The feelings that come forth in meditation manifest in your life—whether only in the meditation or echoing it in your experiences when you take action.

Step 3 — act on it. Take action from a place of alignment with your vision. Many who pursue big dreams take action from a place of ego. They push with the force of “I’ve got to make this happen!” Or they fall prey to beliefs such as “I’ve gotta hustle and work hard.” Or they come from lack and think “I need to do this.” Or they shut down and play small wondering “Who am I to do this?” So they never do anything. Align with your vision and recognize limiting beliefs to thwart them along the way.

Acting in alignment with your thoughts and your feelings, engage others. Support from friends will boost your confidence beyond the limits of your logical mind. Connect with your dream personally and this equips you to notice when you are out of sync so you can quickly realign with your vision.

Take a pen and paper and jot down the three steps. Note your thoughts. Write out your feelings. And list the actions you take every day toward living that vision, personally or professionally! This is a plan for your business and a plan for your life!

 

21
Jun

6 Tips to Hone Your Investor Pitch

There’s the windup, and then there’s the pitch.

The pitch is critical to every startup. It’s your story; your identity; your compelling reason for being. And you have to get it in the strike zone in order to keep your company alive and to ensure that it thrives. Pitching your startup to investors—or to potential customers—can be overwhelming.

You have to know your stuff—your budget, your offerings, your advertising, your brand story, and more. This is your lifeline to resources. And, your future rests on the success of your delivery. To assist you to perfect your pitch, here are a few tips to get your story straight.

Know your why.

Storytelling is all the rage in advertising, and now in business branding. Sharing your story in the most compelling, powerful manner builds connection and credibility among potential customers and with investors.

Once you have your why—the reason you do what you do—it is much easier to find those interested in that passion. And, it is often said that when you are focused on your why, the how shows up and the what doesn’t matter.

Have a plan—a booming business plan.

The greatest idea in the world will not have a chance in surviving execution without proper planning. A solid business plan that clearly expresses your strategy and tactics, including how capital will be used, plans to scale the business, and reasonable anticipated growth will give an investor confidence that there will be a return on their money.

A solid plan shows the investor that you are knowledgeable about your product, the competitors, the market opportunity, the industry, and the future of your business. Reinforce your business plan with the critical details. Determine your break-even point, then customize the plan to demonstrate monthly cashflow. When the business is your baby, your pitch is especially essential to build a community of credibility and support.

Show sustainability.

Sustainability is continuous viability and longevity. It is key to obtaining funding from VCs and angel investors. It is also critcal in earning respect from industry professionals and gaining credibility among potential customers. There’s a difference between a flash-in-the-pan and an idea that inspires early adoption.

Customers and investors are savvy enough to know when a product has the potential for longevity. Everyone who will invest, purchase or support your company needs to know that you will be around for the long haul and you have a plan for how to do that successfully.

Know thy audience.

Tailor your pitch to your audience, whether it’s potential investors, a sea of customers, or a panel of judges. When speaking to investors, focus on the numbers, viability, and sustainability of the company. Let them know what’s in it for them—in the short term and in the long run.

If you are competing in a startup battle, presenting to a panel of judges, focus on your business as a whole. This will be the broadest pitch you give. Don’t leave out important details when you cast a wide net. If your investors are new to the industry, be sure that you speak in clear terms—don’t lose them in jargon and acronyms. Regardless of how well a panel understands your business, remember that you are in charge of the effectiveness of your pitch. No excuses.

Rehearse, a lot.

It may seem obvious, yet people often neglect proper practice. They may feel too much practice could make them seem stiff. While actually, the more you practice, the more relaxed, comfortable, knowledgeable, and “natural” you’ll be. This gives the impression of expertise. And, the better you know your stuff, the less likely you’ll be thrown off course by questions or derailed by nervousness.

The mere thought of public speaking makes many people nervous. The good news is that presentation skills can be honed, making the experience less worrisome. Practice is the secret to elevating your skills. Create and rehearse a variety of pitches so you can readily respond in different situations. From a one-minute elevator pitch to a thirty-minute talk, preparation and practice are the keys to communicating your message powerfully.

Show your stuff.

Give your audience a reason to remember you. Create a memorable phrase or give your audience hands-on time with your product (if possible) are a couple ways to be remembered. Consider what distinguishes you and what differentiates your product. Communicate that clearly and powerfully to ensure that, at the end of the pitch, your audience won’t stop thinking about your business.

Pitching your business starts with the proper wind up. It’s about the mechanics. It is like casting a fishing line with the appropriate bait into the hungry crowd and then waiting patiently for the bobber to dip with a fish on the hook.

Take all of the advice you have studied, ask for feedback, perfect your pitch, practice, and learn from every experience to improve with each and every presentation. Hone it and own it. And know that when you simply deliver your well crafted, well rehearsed elevator pitch, you have got the room interested in what you have to say.

15
May

5 Point Outline for How to Write A Blog Post

— A Basic Outline With Insightful David Ogilvy Quotes

Content is an important marketing tool for all businesses. It takes your message from advertising to advertorial — making the customer the star of your story. There are so many ways to show and sell with storytelling. So, get started. Here is an outline to guide you.

Topic & Working Title or Headline

Start with intention. Build a working headline to focus your efforts, and perhaps, provide a theme. Ultimately you will revise this to make sure it grabs attention and get readers interest.

On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy; when you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. — David Ogilvy

Introduction

What’s the big idea? Summarize the net takeaway(s) to be addressed in your article. Write the key idea(s) you want readers to get out of reading it. Consider posing a question to engage your audience. Or make a compelling statement to pique curiosity. This is where you set the stage for your tale.

It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. — David Ogilvy

Key Insights

Brainstorm all the things you want to deliver in the post and list them. Organize them, then group them into main idea(s). Break up your insights into sections so that thoughts are lumped together by theme. As a benchmark, create three to four sections. Expand on these. Beef up sections with some or all of the following:

  • examples
  • quotes
  • how-to or directions
  • easy-to-implement advice
  • benefits
  • personal experience
  • what worked, what didn’t work
  • supporting or helpful information or statistics

Then read it. Revise it. Reorganize information until it makes sense and tells the whole story in the most captivating way.

The more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be. — David Ogilvy

Wrap up

In the end, summarize the post with an actionable takeaway, promise, or benefit of the lesson or experience. Leave the reader with results they could expect. And include a call to action: do this … now.

What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it. — David Ogilvy

Extras

Include hyperlinks that would lead to more information expanding on ideas, people, or features mentioned in the blog. And, always include an image when you can. A picture is worth a thousand words.

I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. — David Ogilvy

Enjoy the journey as you write your way to success. Share your self, your style, your vision in a way that attracts your tribe, one reader at a time. Create the spin to win.