Lucky enough to have the opportunity the attend CEO National 2014, I am able to sit in sessions and listen to multiple renowned entrepreneurs and inspirational speakers over this weekend. The first day was packed with breakout sessions and networking opportunities; and here are some of my takeaways from the speakers during the first day:
Elizabeth Presson works at the intersecton of company culture, marketing and technology to help organizations engage a new era of employees and customers. As her biography describes, she is on a mission to redesign the way we approach work. The biggest factor that immediately drew me to attend her talk is that she’s consulted The Muse and been featured in Mashable, 2 of the most resourceful websites that I’ve been consulting daily. In her talk, Liz explored the “10 Truths Learned a Different Way” that an entrepreneur must be able to acquire. The first 5 are very intuitive: 1> Put your genius into effect, 2> Manage your own psychology, 3> Be your own boss, 4> Make your business highly mission-oriented, and 5> Execute more than anyone else. The other 5 are called the counterintuitve: 6> Stay small, 7> Build something that a small amount of users love, 8> What u need to succeed in a startup is not the expertise in the startup itself, 9> Do things that don’t scale, and 10> Always consider nature as you’re building your career. In some level, all these business practices allow Liz to redefine the workplace, considering her business WorkingRemote.ly that is used for distributed to companies to reduce facilities cost. Below is a quote from Liz that I deemed necessary for entrepreneurs of all age:
Making money is incredibly expensive, because you’re selling moments of your life. In fact, to do incredible work takes just as much time and money to do good work. Thus, always push your limits and pay your full efforts with the work you do.
Jared has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, TechCrunch, Huffington Post, and at TEDxYouthMiami among other media outlets and stages. Titled “How I hacked my dream job”, his talk made the audience to see deep in themselves to seek out the lifestyle they want to have, based on passions and skills. The marriage between things one’s passionate about and things one’s good at, as he framed, is called one’s “Zone of Genius.” To activate your “Zone of Genius”, here are the steps you need to set up to succeed: 1> Build valuable skills related to your dream job, 2> Build a network of solid, supportive contacts, 3> Research! (Make a “Reach-out Hit List”), 4> Learn how to communicate, 5> Hustle your way in, 6> Work for free in the early stages, 7> Become more productive (Parkinson’s Law, 80/20 Law, Gmail Inboxes, Pomadoro Technology, Airplane Mode + Alarms to Work, no multitasking) 8> “Volunteer as Tribute” to make the quantum leap, and 9> Rinse and Repeat. In brief, what I like about Jared is his ability to research meticulously and diligently as well as his go-getter mentality.
Jenna helps emerging leaders reach the next level of success in business and life. She speaks, trains and consults areas ranging from personal branding and goal setting to asking for referrals and creating business development strategies that drive growth. Her group, CONNECT Madison, is an exclusive young professionals group focused on professional development and community engagement. Her speech focused on Networking, Creating Win-Win Relationships, a topic of my highest interest. Her talk visited some very familiar concepts that I can easily identify with such as S.M.A.R.T goals, do homework beforehand (LinkedIn, RSS feeds, netvibes…), give-and-take policy, follow-up strategy (handwritten “Thank You” note, email, deliver as promised…) etc. Here are the 10 crystal-clear ways to kick-ass at any networking events: 1> Have a strategy, 2> Do Research, 3> Pack your schedule, 4> Know your elevator pitch, 5> Don’t be shy, 6> Break out from your group, 7> Provide value, 8> Ask questions, 9> Take notes & follow up, and 10> Know how to exit gracefully. I probably got the most out of Jenna’s presentation than any other speakers throughout this whole weekend. If interested, you can find more information about her at Jenna Atkinson Consulting.
Mark Altman is the CEO and Founder of MindsetGo, a consulting firm which provides solutions for organizations in the areas of management, sales and customer service. He was able to transform his vision into a business that would become one of Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing privately-held companies in the nation in 2010 and 2011. Mark’s signature theory in business approach, in which he talked about in our session, is “I.D.E.A.S” – “Innovate, Differentiate, Execute, Assist, and Succeed.” How does this strategy play around? First of all, you need to identify the primary goals of your business. For Mark, they are three-fold: 1> Collaborating with customers to offer superior solutions, increased profitability, maximized efficiency, and a standard of excellence, 2> Helping each client find, establish, maintain and support its business care, and 3> Providing customizations for tangible and actionable results. He then extracted what it takes to accomplish I.D.E.A.S by visiting each idea from a theoretical point of view to highly applicable perspectives. To Innovate, know why people care about your product by using the BIS (Brand Identity Statement) model. To Differentiate, figure out what makes your product better than anything else by examining distinction and scarcity. To Execute, ask yourself what are the most critical things in your business with the well-known S.W.O.T analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). To Assist, communicate with all of your advisor, acquiring, developing, and managing talents. And to Succeed, pick your path and be urgent with it.
Our day ended with an inspirational speech from the famous Kevin Harrington, founder of As Seen on TV, Inc. He’s probably most well-known for being an investor “Shark” on the ABC television series Shark Tank (the show gives budding entrepreneurs the chance to pitch their products to a panel of acclaimed Sharks in hopes of turning their ideas into a successful business reality). Kevin’s biggest point in his talk is that entrepreneurs must learn how to take their products and go public using their IPU – Internal Productivity of You. The way to do it relies on the 3Ds – Discover, Demonstrate, and Dominate. To Discover, your idea must solve a problem, ease a pain, and improve on an existing biz model, To Demonstrate, you need to create a perfect pitch through the 3 phases of teasing, pleasing, and seizing. To Dominate, spread your idea to an empire.