“How to build a great brand with very little money”.
David Hieatt is co-founder of The Do Lectures. And Co-Founder of Hiut Denim Co. He has built companies with strong brands using some simple rules that anyone can use.
What you will learn?
How to tell your story?
How to give your brand a voice?
How to get people to love your brand?
The importance of 1000 true fans.
How to use the real advantages of being small?
Is your idea going to change anything?
How to put a moat around your idea?
How to identify a niche before others?
The importance of being first.
How to fund it without losing control?
How to build a great team without employing anyone?
Price - £300
Price includes – Great lunch with the best local ingredients.
Plus teas, coffees and snacks throughout the day etc.
Location: The Hub, Westminster.
Sept 13th. 10am-5pm.
People who know me, know I don’t have much time for Email.I don’t reply to all of my Emails. And the ones I do reply to are as pithy as I can make them.In my book, one word replies are not rude, but are saving both the reader and the writer time.
I view Email as distraction from making things happen. I view getting things done as more important than having an empty in-box. I have bought all the apps to help me cope with Email. But they don’t work for me. It’s not them. It’s me.
“You can do anything, but not everything.”
I guess the point I am making is that Email is very efficient at using up a great deal of our time. It’s a super addictive distraction device that will stop us from getting stuff done if we allow it to.
Time is limited. And therefore, expensive.
So companies seek to take time out of each process to save money.
That’s why we when we phone companies up we can’t speak to humans anymore.
Instead we have to Press 1 for a suckier service than before.
So we all get it. We understand why they have to do it, but none of us really like it. No one thinks it is better. It’s just more efficient.
When we try to find ‘Love’, we don’t seek efficiency. When we play some music, we don’t sing to get to the end of the song. We don’t go to bed at night and dream about one day finding efficiency.
Humans are complex critters. But also incredibly simple too: Humans like speaking to humans. We just want to speak to someone who cares. Generally speaking, someone with a pulse helps this process along.
And who’d of thought this? Giving a shit can be great for business.
Zappos has built an entire business around caring about the customer. They even spend weeks training people, and then halfway through the training, they offer people money to leave. They want people who care to stay, and people who don’t care to leave.
So if you want to build a great company, make it less efficient.
Hire humans who care about the stuff you care about.
When you run a small company, next week is always the biggest week.
And next year will always be your most important year.
That tends to breed a culture of not ‘digging where you stand’. Of not focusing on today’s problems, because tomorrow will fix them. It doesn’t.
The reason next year’s product will not be ‘the one’ will be for the same reasons as this year’s isn’t ‘the one’ either. For a product to truly change, you have to first change the culture or the thinking that will produce it.
Part of this is accepting that your current project, product, website, blog, is the one. So commit to it. Iterate like crazy on it. Make this your best work.
You are here. Dig.
A start-up has the odds very much stacked against it.
But at the same time it has such incredible advantages that allow it to overcome them.
Yes, it’s under-funded. It’s almost a rights of passage. Apart from a computer, it has no infrastructure to speak of. No one knows they exist. They have no experience in what they are doing. They have never started something before.
But the things in its favour are enough for it to win.
First, they have a great idea. Sure, big companies have great ideas too, but a Start-Up amplifies the power of a great idea by making it happen fast.
A great idea executed at great speed has the power to disrupt entire industries because it launches the idea first. Being first matters when you are disrupting things. You get the most media coverage, but also you get the most funding and the most time to work on getting it right. You build a customer base quick. And your customers are already giving you feedback to get better.
“Your biggest rival is in his living room coding wearing just his underpants while eating his breakfast”
The speed comes from energy, passion but also being a tiny team. They have no legal department, they have no sales departments, they have no meetings, they have no office politics, they have no history of doing it in the same way, they have no memos, they have no bosses, they have no time for research, they have none of this. And all this is slow stuff.
Small teams make things happen faster. Boom.
When I worked the markets in the South Wales Valley, I had this amazing old Fiat 128. I loved it. But it had one or two quirks.
The key one was the petrol gauge didn’t work. I didn’t know if it was nearly empty or completely full.
So when I did a market, I was super keen to sell so I would have money to fill the car up full with petrol so I could relax. On days when I didn’t sell, and there was too many of those, I wasn’t sure if I would make it home. I did my fair share of walking home.
"Sales is Power" - Wu Tang
I learnt to drive in that car. And, more importantly, I learnt the importance of selling.
Yup, always be shipping.
The single biggest reason most businesses fail is because they never start.
People sit around telling their friends their great idea and don’t ever make it happen. Ideas need someone to make it happen. Ideas need doers not talkers.
Another reason businesses fail is because when they do eventually start, the founders don’t quite believe in the idea. Or one of the partners doesn’t. A lack of belief can be much more damaging than a lack of funding.
In terms of Rugby or Football, this is the equivalent of not fully committing in the tackle. And when you are half-hearted in the tackle, you much more likely to get injured.
Players, who’re saving themselves for the next big game or an important tournament, often end up injured because they held back. Holding back often ends up in tears.
If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't even start.
Likewise, ideas need you to commit. They need all your money. They need all your time. They need all your energy. They need all your love. They need all your belief.
If you are half-hearted about the idea, don’t even start.
One night last week, there was a knock at the door.
It was a guy delivering Yellow Pages.
He delivered one for us. And one for the next farm, who were out.
I will never use it. I doubt the farm over the road will ever use it either.
Its time has been and gone.
It saw the Internet as a threat and didn’t move fast enough. Instead of cannibalising itself, it let Google do it for them. They kept doing the thing it had always done.
Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.
And now it has to change when it is at its weakest in terms of its ability to raise money and perhaps more importantly, is it just too late. The transition from paper to digital should have happened at least a decade ago.
The trouble with doing business like you always have done is if your customer is changing faster than you are, you will wake up one morning and they will be gone.
And you won’t have to worry hearing the knock at the door; the door will have gone too.
Last week we tried something new.
The Do Lectures turned into something else for 72 hours.
It became a place to start ideas.It became a place of doing.
It was an experiment. And the experiment was to see if you could take ‘time’ out of the process of the starting new companies. Can we accelerate them?
Like anything when you try something new, there is resistance.
But you have to let the experiment take its journey: Judge it at then end, and not before it starts. And not even halfway through.
Over the 72 Hours I saw people pitching their ideas via Ipad’s on Facetime to some amazing business guru’s while standing in a field on the western edge of Wales.
I saw websites being built.
I saw hackers building working prototypes on the spot.
I saw logo’s being crafted.
I saw people lose confidence and then bounce right back. I saw groups come together and I saw them fall apart. I saw frustration and elation.
I saw ideas being pitched and funded there and then.
But what I really saw was a glimpse of what the future looks like. And it is exciting but it won’t be easy, simple or predictable.
Ideas are messy.
1, Don’t follow.
2, Don’t seek consensus.
3, Trust your instinct.
4, Look for what isn’t there. But should be.
5, Ideas make you stand out. Great ideas make you standalone.
6, Ask dumb questions. They are not that dumb.
7, Most great ideas have difficult births.
7, Inform your ideas from what you see, what you hear, what you feel.
8, Don’t chase a fashion. Go where others haven’t.
9, Remember, ideas are plentiful. People who make them happen are not.
10, Don’t let your idea down: Execute well.
11, Good execution is hard.
11, Find the very best people you can and work with them.
12,Timing is important.
13, Love what you do. Or don’t do it.
14, Answer common problems.
15, ‘Standing still’ is just a nicer way of saying ‘going backwards’. Don’t stand still.
16, Fallow. Creativity needs rest.
17, Some ideas look good on paper and suck in real life. And some suck on paper but work in real life. Don’t be quick to judge your ideas.
18, Disrupt the status quo, or you’ll soon become it.
19, Failure is informative.
20, Optimism helps.
21, There are no short cuts. Do the work.
22, Luck matters.
23, "If you are going to try, go all the way. Or don’t even start." CB
Some books are more important than others. That’s because they contain an irrefutable truth. And once you know that truth and what it means to you, and how you need to use it in order to change things, then it is indeed life changing.
Many, many books claim that. But few really are.
‘The 80/20 Principle’ by Richard Koch is one of those rare books that you can indeed call life-changing. And business-changing too. It has a simple premise: 80% of the results come from 20% of the causes. This thinking originally came from an Italian economist called Vilfredo Pareto. In 1906, he created a mathematical formula to describe the unequal distribution of wealth in his country, observing that twenty percent of the people owned eighty percent of the wealth. It became known as Pareto’s law. But it was actually an American Dr. Juran's observation of the "vital few and trivial many" that gave the principle a broader spectrum. And so the principle that 20 percent of something always are responsible for 80 percent of the results came to be.
If you think about your business, and apply the 80/20 principle, you will see that how uncannily accurate it is. 80% of your businesses revenue comes from just 20% of your customers. 80% of your businesses biggest successes come from just 20% of your people. Once you are aware of this truth, you can start to focus and spend more time on what matters: The 20% of the vital few.
Just imagine if you spent more time on the things that made the biggest difference and not on the other stuff that really doesn’t matter as much to your business. So anyway, go buy the book. It’s great. But the reason to write this today is he has a new book out called the 80/20 manager. So watch out for that.
Here is Richard’s blog: Find your horse to ride, which is a great read. And gives you an idea how good the book is going to be.