“Begin with the end in mind” – how very perceptive that quote from Steven Covey is! Yesterday I spent a great day at Entrepreneurial Spark in Birmingham. In the morning, I mentored 3 business leaders and the afternoon was spent in 2 of their ”Piranha Pits” where business owners get to practice their ‘pitch’ to potential investors. Throughout the day, the principle of beginning with the end in mind and visualising what success would look like was going through my head as I was helping each business develop their sales and marketing strategies.
E-Spark is an inspiring place. It’s full of enthusiastic, mostly young, entrepreneurs who all typify the qualities and mindset required to start up a business – self-belief, self-starters, hard grafters, people prepared to go out of their comfort zones to achieve their business goals. Even their motto is “#GoDo”! However, many of them are not naturally planners.
I had a conversation with one young business owner who is about to hire an external social media agency. I asked him what conversation he would have at the end of a review period with these people? Would he prefer to sit down with his agency and talk about the number of posts they had done and discuss how creative they had been (their preferred agenda)? Perhaps they would talk about how many likes or followers they had achieved on his Facebook page. Or, instead, should he be having a conversation about how many visitors they had brought onto his website and what those visitors had been interested in? Was he going to monitor how many of these visitors had converted into sales? Would he be able to compare the quality of those visitors and leads with those arriving from other marketing sources, such as a referral partner?
He then went on to tell me that he was hiring a PA to help with his administrative tasks, so I asked him if he would consider hiring someone without a contract of employment and a job description in place? Without these things, it becomes impossible to have a formal review of that person’s progress in the role because you cannot take an impartial and objective view. Without setting the criteria upon which a task is to be judged in advance, you have no baseline measures from which to assess and improve. I compared his role as an MD with that of an orchestral conductor or band leader. If the leader doesn’t direct operations the players are all free to set their own pace, play at the volume they choose and interpret the piece however they wish, so the result will not necessarily be the one he’s trying to achieve.
Perhaps if the hashtag ‘begin with the end in mind’ is a little long, I would advocate their E-Spark motto to be “Go Think, Go Do”!
For practical advice on how to get the most out of hiring a graphic designer, website company or other marketing services, why not listen to my webinar, Getting_the_most_out_of_creative_agencies