Advisor & Board Member | Watkins Advisory | watkins.consulting
Recently you made the choice to start your own company, Watkins Advisory, what tips do you have for someone who is afraid to take the jump to develop their own business? Where should they start and how do they know their idea has legs?
Taking on any new adventure is a combination of preparation and grit. To start your own business you have to have both in spades. You need to know that there’s a market for your idea and have developed a rough sense of how you are going to take that market. To get there though, you need a hell of a lot of hustle and determination.
Beyond this, much of where to start is dependent on what the business will do. I’ve wanted to start my own consultancy for years now, so the path to get there for me was focused on things like the skills I needed to develop to sell myself as a consultant and the network I wanted to build to be able to find great companies as clients. For other folks who might want to build a product, the path might begin with prototyping and beta programs to get user feedback. I also think it’s important to set clear goals for yourself so that you can track your progress. Ideally, these should align with your business and your revenue model so that you can start to see whether you’re able to create a target and hit it.
Whether you’re able to build a huge company or not, developing your own business will teach you a great deal about yourself, and those lessons are valuable to learn.
Where do you see the future of brand marketing headed and how do you find ways to differentiate the companies you work with against their competitors?
People pick products and brands because they are trying to say something about the person they are and those choices help tell their story. This means that consumer choices, and often business ones too, are driven by a sense of alignment on values. If I stand for this set of things, or if I want my company to be seen as standing for a set of ideas, I’m likely going to pick products that reflect my stance and avoid those that don’t.
I say this in response to your question because I believe that this dynamic, more than anything else, will influence the future of brand marketing. Creative campaigns and stunts may get you noticed, but having values that drive how you market your brand is what will create long-term loyalty. Differentiation isn’t about standing out, it’s about standing for something.
What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
Hire a coach and work with them to find your own leadership style. Find colleagues and peers who you can call on when things are rough or when leadership feels particularly lonely. Find ways to celebrate your own success, especially when you’re not directly doing the work any more. Be patient and forgiving with yourself.
If you had the attention of every marketer what would you say to them?
Stop seeing people as cells on a spreadsheet or numbers in your lead generation funnel. Learn to really understand the people you want to reach and develop empathy for their lives and their interests. Only then will you be able to market to them in a way that matters.
Best Tip For New Leaders“Make time for yourself. Self care is necessary and will make you a better and more grounded leader.“