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What I Learned From a Question at 6 am at My Coffee Shop - Start-Up Learnings

At about 6 am one winter morning in 2021 at our local coffee shop, I was asked, "what precisely do you do?"

I stumbled in my response, and the person who asked said with a mischievous tone, that if I won clients without an elevator pitch, imagine what might happen if I had one.

Here are some start up learnings!

Since launching in 2018, most of my client engagements have been via my network. Former colleagues sought me out or referred me to people who had a problem that they knew I could help their team solve. Some former industry colleagues have asked me to speak at events. Many kindly read my weekly blogs, and one even trawled through my "website stuff" to create a pitch for their organisation. People have been very generous; however, I also realised I needed to focus more on my offerings several years ago.

I have learned that you need to make it easy for people to know what you are offering and keep it simple.

After various chats with several people, it was concluded that I have a "Digital" - technology business book - and a "People" - leadership book. My speaking offering is on either or a combination. Further, I have found the pandemic has also changed people's expectations of offsites or events; attendees want to talk more amongst one another rather than being "spoken at" for an extensive period. Workshops are very popular.

Both of these reflections have helped me crystalise my offering.

Further, people have said the cartoon images in my books are clever; these were created to explain a point. The images also work well in workshops, enabling insights leading to meaningful conversations. It is a key point of my differentiation from other speakers and facilitators; combining this with my industry expertise and experience, I am a clear choice for some clients. The catalogue of cartoon images has grown and is now at 25, with lots to select from based on the client's workshop brief.

My workshop offering has evolved into these;

  • Digital, better decisions today for your tomorrow – insights and strategies to rationalise and identify value-adding work enabling a Digital Business Model; the source is Digital Is Everyone's Business

  • Leadership, respecting the past and inspiring a meaningful future – drawing on the stories and research in Finding A Better Way

  • Executive insights - 2.5 to 4 hours; these sessions integrate the content from both above; they are tailored based on my client's brief

  • Bespoke workshops - with a facilitator who understands tech, digital and people. I will work closely with my client's executive to create and deliver these sessions, either over one or two days

Check out some more cartoons on my services page here. If you ever decide to be a solopreneur, this story may help you reflect on and develop your offerings.

If there is one thing I know for sure, the offerings above will change too.

Here is a link to all my books!


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