Feb 19, 2014
(My favorite power boots, more about them in a sec.) Recently, I met with Focus creative agency to talk about my blind spots. (Yes, we all have them, even experienced consultants who’ve been groking and rolling for years. The most difficult client is always ourselves…just like doctors can be the worst patients…and don’t take their own advice…)
They asked what I do for clients. “Marketing Troubleshooter” is interesting, but what do I really DO? After much huhhhing and ummming, (and staring at my boots), here’s the deal. I renovate businesses and practice tough love for entrepreneurs (I’ve been known to sign emails [ and tweets], Love, Mom.)
So, here are three tough love tips for today:
1. You need money. You need more than you think you will. Yes, this sounds awfully basic, doesn’t it? Certainly, if you don’t have passion, you’re probably not going to accomplish much. Employees. Services. Leases. Equipment. Travel. Customer events. Marketing materials. It all adds up, and quickly. If you’re projecting positive cash flow in six months…change that to a year so you’ve got some extra runway.
Related post: Sorry, Sometimes the Numbers Just Don’t Work
2. You will fail. At something, somewhere, sometime. More than once. The customers who should buy your product won’t. Lab perfection will (sometimes literally) crash and burn in the field. You’ll totally flub an investor pitch. You won’t get the bank loan. You’ll forget some all-important, terribly critical thing YOU MUST DO OR LIFE WILL END AS WE KNOW IT! Have I sufficiently depressed you yet? Here’s the “Love Mom” part. It’s okay. Everyone fails. We all do stupid things. Sometimes things just—well—suck. And we go on. Ask yourself, “Will this matter in a week? A month? A year?” What’s the worst that can happen? If it’s not literally life or death, you can recover, learn and maybe even turn that failure into an opportunity. Failure isn’t fun. It hurts. It’s often necessary.
Related post: I’m glad I’ve failed.
3. People won’t like you. See above about flubbing the investor pitch. You may have given a terrific presentation…and the managing partner doesn’t like you, period. Remembers you from some past corporate gig or some such. Ditto for potential customers. People invest in and buy from people they (really) like. However, if everyone simply “likes” you—that means you don’t stand out. (One of the worst “compliments” a southern woman can give another, “She’s such a NI-ce girl.” And if we follow with “God love her” that really is the ultimate dis and dismissal.)
I’ve been described as a lot of things…but I’ve never heard “nice.” And so we come to those red boots. I wear them a lot. I love them. I get a ton of compliments from a wide range of people. However, it’s not typical for a woman to show up at a biz meeting wearing sharp-toed red boots. I do…from Silicon Valley to Chicago to New Yawk City. They stand out. And if people decide they don’t like ‘em…well, that’s their choice.
Y’all have a nice day, ya hear?
More from the archives:
How Did You Get Here? (One of the first questions I ask when doing an entrepreneur sanity check)
The One Sure-Fire, NO FAIL Success Method for Start-Ups! (Spoiler alert: There isn’t one.)
It Takes More Than Positive Thinking
Are You Unhappy? So?
What Am I (Are You) Missing?
Your Customers—Can’t or Won’t?
“What can I say? If you want it done on time – give it to Mary and get out of the way! And, she gives me direct and independent advice. Sometimes I don’t like to hear it, but she knows it’s part of her job!” – F. Leroy Pacheco, Executive Director, The Loan Fund (New Mexico’s oldest and largest alternative lender)
Contact Mary Schmidt Today!
- Tough Love for Entrepreneurs—Three Tips
- Three Things A Customer Service Rep Should Never Say
- A Reality Check: Super Bowl Ads
- Here’s a Wild Idea: Make Products, Not Ads.
- You Never Know When You May Need an Old Idea. Here are Three.
- “Mama Don’t Text.”
- Failure is a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
- Brain Food
- Do Good. Do Well.
- Start-Up Sanity Checks
- Marketing Troubleshooting
- Pet Peeves
- Social Media Reality Checks
- Web Bytes