Back to School

Updated: Oct 8, 2017

No matter the size or stage of your business, I would take lessons from Noam Wasserman from Harvard Business School and Bill Aulet from MIT every day of the week and twice on Saturday and Sunday!

I feel so incredibly privileged for the opportunity to participate in this caliber of training so early in my entrepreneurial journey. Everything I learnt is too good not to share, so below is a snapshot of some of my key take-aways and I’ve included some FREE resources and links for you. I hope they help you grow your business. 

Presentation Skills

  1. Be still like a lion and stand in the middle of the space, not behind a lectern in the corner. If you are nervous, keep your head still and make your movements purposeful, put your weight on your front foot, take up space so you look like the safe choice. If it looks like you can’t control your head or hands, it doesn’t give much confidence that you can run a company!

  2. Bring excitement that you are the person who is going to change the world with your idea and make your audience feel like the hero in your story.

You can watch Deborah Frances White’s talk here.

Customers (hint: no customers, no business!)

  1. Your idea is the most overrated thing in entrepreneurship. The execution of getting it to the customer and the team you have around you to make it a success is far more important.

  2. Understanding your target customer is essential. Get to know their attitudes, values, problems and fears. Ask them what they think and find out how you can best serve them. 

  3. Customers buy from businesses they can relate to and solves their problems quickly and easily, they want a car not a carburettor (or handbags, not handles!) Make sure you and your team, have alignment with the customers values and aspirations. 

  4. Talk about how your business benefits them, not it’s features and show them how you solve their biggest problems.  You succeed when the customer succeeds. When describing what value you are offering to your customer:

  •  tell them what the situation is like now

  •  tell them what is possible if they buy into your solution

  •  tell them how you will make them feel once they use your solution

  •  under promise and over deliver

  •  give them a real number of how much you will fix their main priority

5. Understand when the Windows of Opportunity are open to know when your customer is most receptive to you. Here is an article from Harvard Business School to explain Windows of Opportunity in more detail:

Also I found this useful article about how to attract your first customers:

Your Team

  1. The strength of the wolf is in the pack, that is focused on a single target. Create a strong team who are all focused on one target customer and demand excellence.

  2. You need to talk about the “elephants in the room” with your team right at the beginning: the relationships between the co-founders, what role everyone takes and who makes what decisions, and what rewards each person gets. Don’t give titles away like candy if the person can’t live up to it as your business grows.

  3. When you are negotiating equity splits in your company, be aware of possible unknowns. Create a flexible agreement that reflects how much effort people put in over time, e.g. If this happens…. When that happens… Have a disaster plan!

  4. Your team needs a common vision, complementary skills and shared values. Creating a strong culture is important to maintain consistency in the business, one where the team uses the word “we” more than “I”. Make sure people fit in with your culture. If they don't, get rid of them quickly or it will cost you more in the long run.

  5. The board of directors are there to keep you accountable, they are not your friends. Meet regularly and leave with objectives of what you and the board should achieve by the next meeting.

Your Core

  1. People don’t buy what you do; they buy WHY you do it.

  2. Your core is something that is unique, hard to duplicate, grows in strength and is important to your customers. It's your secret sauce.

  3. Build your relationship with your customers and add value for them, turn them into champions for your business.

  4. Having IP is like having B52's to protect the crown jewels of your business. But they are pretty worthless against a larger company with more lawyers and money than you have to fight them.

As promised, here is a link so you can get free access to the first 2 chapters of Bill Aulet’s book to help grow your business. But this also has lots of other links to videos and slides to get you started AND a FREE tool to help you follow and implement the 24 steps can be found here:

The course was a really intense week with an astonishing amount of material covered in such a short period of time. But what was just as important to the experience, was the Scotland Can Do Scale team and other entrepreneurs that took part. I am sure the business connections and friendships that were formed over the week will help support and grow our businesses well into the future. If you have the opportunity to go to networking events, make the most of them because you never know how many amazing people you’re going to meet. 

Wishing you all the best with growing your business! 

Nicole Blyth

Founder, RelocateGuru

RelocateGuru aims to help local buinesses thrive.  By sharing your insider knowledge about your neighbourhood, you can help others discover great local businesses like yours!

Sign up today to join the pre-launch list, to be the first to know when RelocateGuru launches and promote your local businesses.

What business tip did you find most helpful? Do you have any others to add? I would love to hear it in the comments below.

Do you know anyone who would like this article? Share it with them by clicking the social media links below. 

#growyourbusiness #businesstips #startup #MITSummerSchool

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