‘How to be a business rock star’ – Sydney Morning Herald talks about Sir Richard Branson, Tim Ferriss & the upcoming 21st Century Financial Education Summit
‘How to be a business rock star’
By Valerie Khoo (Original article from www.smh.com.au September 1, 2011)
Move over Mick Jagger. Pass the mantle Jon Bon Jovi. There’s a new breed of rock star in town.
They’re flashy. They hang out with celebrities. They are philanthropists. And they are whizzes at making money or building empires.
Not only that, they’re filling stadiums (okay, small stadiums but the kind that are usually venues for rock concerts). Like Hisense Arena in Melbourne this coming October during a “financial education summit” when entrepreneurial rock stars Sir Richard Branson and Tim Ferriss take the stage to wow an audience who’ve paid anything from $297 for a general admission ticket to $4995 for a dinner with Ferriss plus 20 other people. Yes, you read that correctly, it’s not a typo – $4995.
The business rock star is not a new phenomenon. But the cult of celebrity is being imbued into their public personas. They write books, publish memoirs and star in their own television shows (Branson’s reality show is called Rebel Billionaire.)
They don’t just run companies. They’ve become a brand. A walking, talking embodiment of what some people perceive as success.
That’s what the new book The Invisible Branson: The Definitive Guide to Becoming a Business Rock Star by Louise Woodbury and William de Ora is about. In the book, Woodbury and de Ora encourage business owners to apply rock star personal branding strategies to get the attention of your potential customers.
Specifically, they dissect the tactics of business rock star Richard Branson and how small business owners can adopt similar approaches to build their brand and their business.
While the book covers a multitude of topics, here are the three that stood out to me.
1. A big hairy audacious goal
The authors say that having a big hairy audacious goal (BHAG) is vital. Having goals it not new in the world of business but we’re not talking about goals like “increasing revenue by 30 per cent” or “leasing a bigger office”. Woodbury and de Ora suggest that BHAGs need to be have a long time frame – as in 10 to 30 years.
For Branson this might have been something like “to create a new airline that competes on a global scale”.
Don’t freak out. You don’t need to have the same kind of aim – as long as the BHAG is a stretch for you and takes you out of your comfort zone.
“You need to be committed to doing whatever it takes to make it a reality,” write Woodbury and de Ora. “Along the way there will be a million and one people who won’t believe that it’s possible for you to achieve this. This is why we see so many entrepreneurs become numb, frustrated, and disillusioned with their dreams. They want people to believe in them.
“They want support from the people who are close to them. However, what you must realise is that if you dare to dream big, you inadvertently dare the people closest to you to dream big. And not everyone is up for living an extraordinary life.”
2. Turn problems into opportunities
In the world of small business, particularly in the current economy, you can walk into a networking event and think that you’ve arrived at a pity party. Staff are hard to find. The tax office is a pain. The government isn’t doing enough. Customers don’t get it. The list of whinges goes on.
While it can be useful to analyse weaknesses in your business, Woodbury and de Ora suggest that problems can be a great source of finding opportunities. “Richard Branson has certainly demonstrated to the world how to treat problems as opportunities and allow them to improve the way we do business. In choosing to operate with this mindset, you also choose to assume full responsibility for the direction of your life.”
3. The art of self promotion
When you’re running your own business, you need to master the art of self promotion. There’s no point offering the best product/service in the world if no one knows about it. While this may not come naturally to some people, the authors basically say you have to get over it.
Woodbury and de Ora write: “If you don’t blow your own trumpet, no one will. If you’re an entrepreneur, then you’re in sales and marketing. Your role is to promote, promote and promote – to be seen and get known. No matter how uncomfortable it may be, there is no doubt that you are the best spokesperson for your business.”
Obviously, most entrepreneurs aren’t going to reach the same heights as Branson. But it’s about being a rock star in your niche. You may not be able to charge $4995 for a ticket to have dinner with you – yet.
But you should aim to become an expert in your field so that you become the “go to” person when people need help in that area. So what’s your personal brand – are you a business rock star?
21st Century Financial Education Summit
Visit www.21stcenturyfinancialeducationsummit.com to grab your tickets to see Sir Richard Branson, Tim Ferriss, Jamie McIntyre and over a dozen of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs LIVE at the 21st Century Financial Education Summit! October 21st & 22nd 2011, Hisense Arena, Melbourne.