As a self-professed “social-business professional” I shouldn’t be surprised, it began with a tweet.
From a top contact of mine, Lisa Taylor. Who is also a recognized leader in business around an emerging trend in personal career evolution; the legacy career ( but that’s another post).
“Paul I know you love Scott Stratten, did you know he’s speaking near your office next week?” – I went nuts. Scott is quickly becoming the professor of social business, his first book “Unmarketing” was a best seller and I’ve personally recommended it to 1000 people. He just published his second book and a Toronto talk was nowhere on his speaking schedule.
But this was a private talk. To a group I wasn’t aware of, even as a weekly Toronto Star reader. I read articles and knew they have great resources for small business but here is a club to help what Statistics Canada tells us is actually 98% of all employer business in Canada: Small Business!
Enter, the Star Business Club
They had Scott in for a talk on social business for their inaugural event this week. What a home run. I heard about the value of this group from the business owners who attended. The case studies in the paper each week, video education, the well resourced private site and I must say as a networking enthusiast myself I could see the result of a club that is curated for quality of member vs. an open group for anyone trying to get rick quick.
My favourite part of Scott’s talk was the power of the third circle of engagement: the revenue of social reach.
I also left finally understanding more about how Scott has connected with his tribe worldwide through a VERY unorthodox version of engagement Vs. promotion. It sounds simple but it’s a paradigm shift in how business professionals communicate ( ask me next time you see me ).
In the mean time, BizClub team, you rocked this event:
Thank you for being awesome.
You can join the club here, get LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter – but get on board dear network. This isn’t just a club, it’s a group of peers who care about each other’s success.
I leave you with my favourite resource for small biz, see you at the next event!
I personally found powerful value in Scott’s first book Unmarketing, I’ve recommended it to over 1000 peers, I was really worried about his sophomore effort. But it’s not called “the book of business awesome” for nothing. The other side is titled, “the book of business unawesome” – one a collection of things done right, the other a warning for those who choose to ignore this medium and message. People who love their customers, who work for themselves, who care about better business – love this book. His chapter on the “third circle of influence” is the best one pager on the revenue of reach – an instant addition to my arsenal on why business professionals need to join this wired tribe, NOW. I love that he constantly tackles the inner fears of marketing and business types “people are going to challenge and attack our product!”. Scott shares how brand leaders instantly flip bad reviews and solve customer problems – and in some cases get out in front of them like the new multimillion dollar McDonald’s campaign. In the world of client/donor service I continually argue with peers whose programs are focused on exhausting acquisition when the numbers show time and time again it is loyal customers/donors who hold the most revenue potential. It is time to serve and engage them in this medium and stay out front ahead of those who would steal them away from you. Refocus: Companies/Charities aren’t awesome, people are. Business IS personal, we often say “it’s about relationships” – well if that is correct then it’s the humanization of brands and us as professionals that are going to build and strengthen these relationships. He’s helped me, let him help you. Scott tells a couple stories of revenue business that started with one tweet, but he reminds the sceptic “you don’t build a house with a hammer, twitter is just a tool you use in collaboration with your existing networks. If you sucked without social, it will only amplify how much you suck”. He shares what the ROI will look like and that’s what we need more of instead of just the “how to”. Scott’s 30 tips for speakers is a rant from the cheap seats that will have any avid conference attendee throwing their lanyard in the air screaming “amen brother!!”. It could honestly be published as a mini-book and given to speakers when they are confirmed to speak. Like many business professionals I am sick of “wow, they went viral” stories. We never hear how they built their platform, how long did it take to get viral, what is the revenue and what does life after viral look like? Did the business scale up to succeed or was it just a big blip? Scott dedicates an entire chapter to the gritty details of this, it could be the first time I’ve seen this done so thoroughly, another big gift to the skeptic of social media strategy. Moving to the UnAwesome side…. Scott dedicated this to the naysayers, negatives, sceptics – you will see someone in your work peers in this list. The head of marketing or finance who says “my kids spend all night on the twitter and bookface, I don’t pay staff to spend all day playing farmville.” The best part of the unawesome side is that it speaks to the busy and overworked, it helps them understand the roots of trends instead of ridiculing them for not understanding. Social media isn’t just tied to the web, it’s about the future of mobile web. By 2014 the Internet will be used by more mobile devices than desktop computers. Google already reports that 61 % of users won’t return to a site they couldn’t access quickly, is your site mobile and tablet ready?! Finally someone challenges the overhyped power of the Facebook like. Finally some really smacks down the droning pathetic “show me the ROI of social media” with the real understanding of an HR, marketing professional and business owner (Scott has been all three). Funny enough though, his book, all these detailed case studies, the actual strategy and comfort talking numbers results in Scott once again writing the best business case for social media integration I’ve seen to date. Two for two Mr. Stratten. A special thanks and shout out to the Toronto Star Small Business Club for hosting a private session where I got to hear and meet Scott! I leave you with a couple of great video’s from Scott on ROI and better Social Business, Paul
One tweet. Just one. On a Wednesday night : “Dear Twitter network, my office is having a book sale for @UnitedWayTO – Anyone wanting to donate books, DM I’ll pick them up.” Within 24 hours, I had three offers and had to stop taking books for fear I couldn’t deliver them to the department taking them or fit them in my Zipcar! Within one week, three people had given me almost 300 books. If I had taken all offers, I would have had more than 1000 books. From one random, undirected tweet. Imagine if there had been real intent or strategy behind that ask? For the converted, hey you know the power of social media for philanthropy and social business. Let’s remind the naysayers, it’s time to dip your toe in the water! Create an account, learn the lingo read Unmarketing on why organizations need to invest and for the business set Scott’s new “Book of Business Awesome” will help with that nagging ROI itch too. On that note, it’s not a big deal to anyone but me, but I crossed 2000 followers on Twitter this week – A humble thanks to all of you who read, respond and engage. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your network! And to those three people, I thank you – and the United Way of Toronto thanks you too! I leave you with a little video note from them… Paul
When I share my personal career path, people often say to me “wow, that’s amazing planning” – now, in the rear view mirror of hindsight, hubris and ego make it look like a strategic straight line. Make no mistake it was a white knuckle zig-zag of a ride but by sharing some of my tips, I hope to save you some bumps in the road. Most people don’t even think about their next job until it’s brutally clear they need to start looking, most start looking and networking only when they have lost a job. I often say that looking for a job when you need one is like looking for a date the morning of Feb 14 or looking for someone to kiss at 11:59pm on New Year’s eve: Oh you’ll find someone, but they will be what you can get, not what you need or deserve. I refuse to live life with lowered expectations. And so years ago, I sought out mentors. There are many formal mentoring programs in professional associations. Young people are often told “get a mentor” in University or College. The problem is, those associations are all “pay-to-play” membership based ( which most often young professionals have NO access to) and having just one mentor is putting all your eggs in one basket. Plus I think that the noble sage version of mentorship is outdated – who has the time for 2 hour boozy lunch meetings listening to some wise leadership type pontificate? I was delighted to find that the folks at Harvard Business agree. Like any corporate or social-profit business/charity: You need a personal board of directors. Here are some personal tips from me on my unorthodox board: The Dynamic Sector Leader : This leader pulls you up. In my 12 year career in charities working in bequest and legacy giving, Ken Ramsay has been a mentor of incredible help and inspiration. He has worked in faith-based organizations like myself and has carved a powerfully successful career and gained wisdom along the way. He is at the top of his game and has challenged me to think bigger at every stage of my career. Taking a career risk is so much less scary when the voice of wisdom and experience is whispering “jump, you can do it”. This board member is one you learn from, listen to and watch. Contact with them is infrequent as they are often very very busy. A meeting once a year is a good goal to shoot for. I would recommend choosing someone who is never satisfied with their own status, so they won’t let you get comfy with yours. The Next Generation : I am privileged to have formed a relationship in my sector of fundraising to teach at Georgian and lead/lecture with Humber College. They have allowed me to create an army of hard working, passionate young professionals. Frankie Chow is just one of them. These leaders push you forward. They teach you new technologies you may not understand, because as natives to it they live it. They keep you on your toes, keep you humble because they will call BS on you if it escapes your lips, keep your heart pure and your gratitude level high as walking with them through the challenges of coming up in the world reminds you what you have and what to be grateful for. Frankly, they also scare you a little bit. Seeing them in the rear-view mirror, keeps you running faster forward. Sector experts. Also known as fellow nerds. People who are just a little ahead of you, not twenty years but five or ten. They are cerebral and things you enjoy “thinking” and “doing” they obsess like you and together you can nerd it up without fear of alienating peers. You can’t meet often but they make great twitter peers and conference buddies – smart people who share what they are learning with you. Ann is mine, for every 5 hours I’ve spent thinking about something, she has spent 5 days and has done it for 5 years. Non-Sector experts. People who do NOT do what you do. For me this is the many successful business entrepreneurs in my network. As a fundraiser I believe we are closer to entrepreneurs than we are cubicle dwellers in business. We have so much to learn from them, spending time with people outside your sector brings fresh new ideas to your world. For me, this was the twitteratti who taught me the power of this medium. The Fixers. These are the expert problem solvers. Often these are consultants with many years business experience who make a living creating clarity. I’m lucky to have on my board Alan Kay who literally is an expert in something called “Solutions Focus”. Studying and learning from him changed my entire life. I often refer him to my network to save organizations from themselves. This position often changes depending on what stage you are in your career, building, leading, creating, consulting. The Disruptors. These people challenge the status quo. They will often challenge YOUR status quo. I know dozens of peers right now who have good jobs, flexible work environments but they know it’s time for change. But those golden handcuffs are too comfy. I was in this place, I had a nice easy five year plan. Meeting in a Starbucks one Tuesday afternoon Promod ripped up my plan asking questions about what I wanted in my business life. Sharing his wisdom and story, woke me up from my complacency. Watching and learning from him since always keeps me fired up, and on my toes. Last but never least, the running-partner. These people support but challenge you by being you, maybe better. They can be younger or older but someone you have regular access to and who you keep in touch with often. They push and pull you in micro-ways and coach you from inside the moment as a peer. They are your sounding board and unlike the other directors they are a little more invested in your success. In my life Christina Attard does the same legacy work I do but her activity blogging, in digital communication, in legacy giving keeps me motivated and sometimes annoys me into bucking up by simply outperforming me at my own strengths. Now, this board will probably never meet. They will probably not know they are “on the board” but they should always feel your gratitude and you should fight hard to be of value to them in their business life. I even created a personal award to say thank you to mine. So where to start? I leave you with two fabulous resources on this topic: A detailed blog-series on how to set up your board and a brilliant minute-and-a-half coaching video below. Continued success in all you do, Paul
I hope this post is of value, I encourage you to follow the professionals linked in this post on twitter at : @TheGlassHammer @CDowdHiggins @JerMonson and the ever-awesome @HarvardBiz