Posts Tagged ‘CEO’

Always Be Caring. The other ABC.

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Always Be Closing is a popular term in startup and business to keep a CEO/entrepreneur’s laser-sharp on two things viz. 1) relentless focus on sales and 2) fund-raising. It’s the top advice mentors give to startups.

However, there is another ABC, Always Be Caring, where it drives a CEO/entrepreneur to continuously reflect on what others may think about the product or company. Caring about the feeling of others, caring about what customers think about the product, caring whether people are getting value from the deliverables.

Here’s some of the things to care about:

  • What are your customers telling you. Are you listening what they are not telling you? If you care about the customers, you may be able to listen what they are not telling you
  • What is your team not telling you. Team members will seldom tell you what’s wrong, unless they feel that you care about them and their feedback
  • The smooth edges of your website. Website is your store-front. Doesn’t matter whether you are consumer or enterprise business. A smooth design tells people that you care about the visitors, whereas a sloppy conveys many things otherwise.
  • Design, usability of your product. Ditto.
  • What’s in the refrigerator / pantry. This is also depends on where you are and how much money you have and cultural sensitivities.
  • Quality of the product. Slightly different from design, usability. A usable product may be delivering zilch value or may have incomplete features. However, a product with every feature working and delivering utmost value conveys positiveness and that you care about your customer’s time and attention.

Closing is good. However, if you care then you can start and also go back for more. If you care, people will buy, instead of you selling to them.

As a CEO have you immersed yourself (including showing that you are an idiot)?

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Bragging alert: This post talks about a recent personal experience to prove a point.

I was offline for the whole of last week attending a marriage in my exetnded family.  While attending the event, I’d put myself out for stardom, popping my neck M2out wherever/whenever possible and making an ass out of myself at other times.  From participating in mindless discussions to taking split-second leadership roles; to managing wherever required and at times staying out of the loop sipping beer at the poolside … and of course flirting occasionally (Don’t worry, my better half never reads this blog).

I was able to enjoy the 7 days as I did not hold myself or the attitude and without worrying that I may look like an idiot in front of others for certain acts — On the contrary whenever the idiocy was on the rise (or the attitude was it’s natural best), the guffaws of laughter were at their zenith. I told my story to everybody, to strangers and even to the staff of the hotel I was staying.

Result…connected with a lot of family members with whom I had lost touch, made some new connections and solidified the existing ones…came back home, happy.

No holds barred immersion into your business is one quality which IMO keeps people at sidelines. If you don’t engross, how can you tell the story, if you don’t act foolish, how can you break the ice and win nay-sayers? If you don’t keep showing your face, how would people feel your presence.

You may have a product, you may have a team but are you engaging yourself with customers. Are you telling the story of the product even if there is only one person listening? Are you flirting with other investors when you already have a term sheet from your existing Series A dude. Are you exposing your gullible side to your mentors? Are you ready to experiment with your idea when people are ready to call you an idiot? Or you want to wait for a perfect product?

Are you ready to start dancing with 10 unknown people in the middle of the traffic with your best suit down? Or you are waiting for people to pull you in? You want to ignite rather than add logs later.

Picture taken while doing the ‘hands-up-in-the-air’ dance on the streets of Jaipur and later cropped on the boundaries to anonymize the identities.