Quite often I speak about James Martin, a futurologist who heavily influenced my life over the past 8 years. Martin talks about the T-generation, a generation of young people who can, quite literally, change The World. It has been my mission to help the T-Generation assisting young tech entrepreneurs to succeed and young unemployed to make a career for themselves in tech start-ups. It took me a long time to make work commercially my passion for this cause but it’s been worth the endurance. Please look at TM Agency for more details.
I was speaking to an associate yesterday about the preferred mindset of a tech entrepreneur. For me, a true tech Entrepreneur should encompass the following traits: disciplined, very hardworking, able to thinking around the most difficult problems and ready to do battle when the time is right. Alfred Lansing’s book about Shackleton’s voyage is one of the best reads for a tech entrepreneur, it gives an insight in to what a tech entrepreneur should be willing to go through to truly succeed.
For a start-up, closing those first few sales can be difficult. Often you’re selling thin air, or at best a MVP, you might be innovating within industry and so need to explain or educate who you’re selling to, plus if you’re a high tech product there is the art of managing stakeholder relations for the complex sale. I have become quite addicted to those challenges!
Still in the crazy and new world of tech start-ups I have found my saving grace was my old school mentor Richard Denny, he’s no corporate heavyweight but Richard is no nonsense and cuts to closing the deal. He gave me the best sentence to use when deciphering if a prospect is worth your time: ‘are we going to do business together?’ Works every time – selling in this space is difficult enough so it’s always wise to make sure you’re not dealing with potential time wasters.
It’s been a funny old week. Haven’t stopped since coming back from the last business trip to #MWC14, today I finally get to relax – I really need to. Sadly a family member passed away last weekend, in watching the life leave her body, the ugly rattle of death ironically reminded me how beautiful life is. Caught up in the day-to-day it’s easy to forget why till the bitter end most of us will fight to live. I made a pact to myself to live every day as if it were my last, for even the ugliest of things in life can bring beauty and good.
I can now take in this hectic week. One of conference calls till the early morning, gathering a new set of very interesting clients and of remembering life is precious. As I do my usual Friday am walk around Goldbourne Road antiques stalls I see the famous brutalist building Trellick Tower ahead of me and smile, beauty can come from ugliness in many ways…
There is no doubt about it, MWC is a great event. Fringe parties en masse, there’s lot of fun to be had too. But honestly, is that where the new business is? In my mind, only if you get really lucky. Most serious business is pre arranged via 1-to-1 meetings. If serendipity favours you, the high net worth decision makers are found in some of the luxury hotel bars well hidden from most. I love the parties, it’s great to gel with the likeminded folk you always connect with at events, but this year the big wins came from doing business is a slightly different way. Less about getting into the coolest parties and more about the focusing on business meetings. Seems to have worked!
Currently at MWC, I have taken a different approach to the event this year which stems from a very basic change in direction. Ordinarily I’d be running around the conference pipped up on way too much coffee, sore feet (I insist on wearing stilettos) collecting business cards en masse, packing in as many meetings as possible. Not this year. I am meeting a few start-ups who I deem to be setting good standards within industry, plan to move one account from European to Global, catching up with quite a few investors – the pace is much slower.
In fact, my approach as a whole is much less frantic, less about immediate revenues, more about closing business that will allow my consultants and I at TM Agency to do great work with. In my mind there is no such thing as a ‘bad client’ rather it’s up to the service provider to select clients who are right for them. As a dear friend recently said to me: ‘There is no point teaching a pig how to fly. Firstly, it’s impossible. Secondly, they will only hate you for it.’ I am glad to have taken a step back from client activity, to have changed approach, and am now benefitting from a little bit of calm – pigs cannot fly and I’m no longer trying to force them to!