AA: Most speakers seem to define
themselves by their topics—
leadership, diversity, sales. If I.T. firms did
that, most would be out of business in
a matter of months. Where are Novell
local area network companies now?
We noticed that the I.T. companies
that specialize in a particular industry
or type of client seemed to have more
longevity and flexibility.
Following their example, my core
growth-strategy firm focused on
privately held midsize service firms,
technology-driven businesses, and
distribution companies. The service
o;erings have certainly evolved since
the firm was founded in 1971.
AA: To me, helping midsize businesses grow
is the answer to many of our economic woes.
That is why we have always looked far and wide
for ways to help them. As it turns out, that
helped my companies, as well. ■
AA: Let’s go back to manufacturing.
We noticed that prospective customers assume that if a manufacturer
can handle the demands of a huge
corporation, the manufacturer can
be trusted with their project. Like
manufacturers, it paid for us to identify a few marquee clients and focus
marketing, prospecting, strategic alliances, and sponsorship e;orts to land
those accounts. A combination of targeting by geography, influencers, and
marquee prospects is referred to as
“pegging” in growth-strategy circles. I
recommend professional speakers use
“pegging” in their business to enhance
their business opportunities.
¢ MANUFAC TURING
Announce what you
My favorite example of a growth strategy from the manufacturing industry
involved Sony Corporation. They
hold press conferences when they
are “considering doing something.”
That’s brilliant! Companies that can
be subcontracted to help distribute or
provide transportation send credentials and pricing. Talented engineers
rush to submit their resumes. And prospective customers speak up. When a
critical mass of various resources has
been reached, then they proceed.
Think about how much money
a press conference costs compared
to the formal bidding process,
search fees, and product promotion.
Speakers could adapt this idea if
there is a service or a speech they are
“considering” that would be more
successful with candid input.
q GW: You advocate focusing on our target
markets, both who they are and where they are,
rather than on our speaking topics. How has
that worked for your worldwide businesses?
q G W:
Give us one more
we can use in
q G W:
To sum it all up, the
phrase “we noticed …”
comes up repeatedly. Is
that your secret?
In the 1980s, we noticed that other
professional service firms (lawyers,
accountants, engineers) seemed to
benefit from establishing a presence in key markets. Years ago, that
involved brick-and-mortar branches.
By the 1990s, we had six branch o;ces
in key metropolitan areas (including
Europe), where clusters of aggressive
privately held service, distribution,
and technology companies were.
The digital age reduces some
of the need for physical presence,
but the strategic question remains:
Where do you need to have a presence to get noticed by your target
market—physically or digitally?