Throughout my studies in all of my classes this week, the thing that I have spent the most time thinking about when all was said and done came from Guy Kawasaki.
When I first got started creating this business, I was pretty unsure what it should all be about. Obviously we would make digital content for people and businesses that would help their business grow. But anyone with a camera can do that! I wanted to do something more. I wanted to create something that offered more than the product alone. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to work as a contractor for a company in New York, collecting footage for projects that they had gained in my area. I would get emails from them containing shot lists and other essential documents, I’d collect the footage, send it away, then get paid. I didn’t think much of it at first, but as soon as I had decided to venture out on my own with my business, I saw these as direct opportunities to not only get in the door with these potential clients, but also as a chance to see what a big agency like this was doing right and wrong.
I began communicating with these businesses asking them what they liked about the process with this New York company and what they didn’t like. I began comparing the shot lists that I had received and saw something that I deeply disagreed with. They all followed a template. Now, inherently there is nothing wrong with this. It saves time and money to have a template for business commercials. And informative content is what these businesses needed. The problem was the price for the product. I won’t mention them here, but they were astronomical in my eyes. All of these businesses were paying a ton of money to get the same commercial but with a different logo on it. This drove me insane.
Each and every business was run by individuals with really cool stories as to how they got where they were. Stories that were compelling and relatable. (Both elements of effective advertising.) I thought that these stories were being wasted. I knew that if we published content that told these stories, current and potential clients of these businesses would be able to much more effectively relate to them and would in turn give them business. So that’s what I set out to do.
Guy Kawasaki taught that a startup needs to create meaning. He said businesses that go out looking to make money generally fail. But businesses that set out to change the lives and lifestyle of others do well and make money as a result.
One of my mentors taught me this early on as well. He said that if you sell a quality product that will benefit your client, they will want to pay you for it. The money will come as a result of genuine work.
Guy also taught about making a mantra rather than an mission statement. Mission statements are long and impossible to embed into the minds of the company. But a mantra is something that can be easily remembered and engrained into the actions of the business. Ours is “Telling Your Story.” We genuinely love the fact that we live in such a diverse world. We want to show everyone around us how amazing that is.
In everything we do, the “your” takes precedence. We don’t want to sell you things that we don’t think you’ll need. We don’t want you to feel like you’re tied up in some kind of contract, being forced content with money spilling out of your pocket. We want this investment to be your investment.
It’s been a good week, I’m looking forward to the next.