As part of our 6th birthday celebrations, Streamlion Consulting has, of course, not missed the chance to enjoy a cake! Such a traditional – and unmissable – part of celebrating a birthday and, while eating it, we contemplated how other businesses have celebrated birthdays.
Of course, budget comes into play when deciding how to let the world know you have a successful brand and business (this is, of course, another marketing opportunity at heart) and some of the bigger players have really pushed the boat out in the past.
Apple celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Mac by compiling a video shot by its own employees using iphones. This global project showed people’s lives being enhanced by Apple products and was a supremely clever, multi-level message for its audience. Apple have long said their mission was to bring technology to the hands of the people and this was never more evident than in their birthday video. Of course, it also served to showcase many of their products as well as being a really inclusive experience for their people.
Heinz were also clever at bringing people along with them but they focused on their customer audience when, for their 130th birthday, they enabled customers to order bottles of ketchup with personalised messages on the labels. A truly inspired way to boost sales and create a keepsake to ensure your brand is always front of mind.
You might say Coca-Cola’s 125th celebrations broke new frontiers as they became the first soft drink to be consumed in space. They engineered this other worldly stunt by letting astronauts on board Challenger test out their ‘space can’ and also installed a vending machine called the ‘Space Dispenser’ on board the space shuttle Discovery.
For us mere mortals with a more average budget however, birthday celebrations are no less important. With 20% of startup businesses reportedly going bust within their first year and a massive 60% not seeing their third birthday, reaching any anniversary is an achievement. And, for Streamlion, it’s extra special because seeing businesses ‘making it’ is the cherry on the cake for us.
So, our cake might seem modest in comparison to some of the big brand birthday antics but, for us, it represents why we are here and what we do:
- We help startups to pull together a recipe for success by creating a business plan that will secure valuable funding and investment;
- We help entrepreneurs find the right mix to ensure their business rises to the top and satisfies all their goals;
- We advise business owners on how to choose the right ingredients for success as their business grows and scales;
- Our extensive network of investors and knowledge of investment markets is the icing on the cake for our clients;
- We help businesses take the temperature of the market when launching, scaling or exiting their businesses;
- Excellent customer service and a good sense of humour is baked right in.
Happy birthday Streamlion, and all the other businesses still going strong after a challenging year.
Streamlion is 6 and, to celebrate, here are 6 things we’ve learned about being in business so far.
1. No business is an island.
Never truer than over the past year, collaborating creates a stronger team. Finding reputable associates is worth its weight in gold to your business because you never have to say ‘no’ to a client again. You can offer a wider range of services by partnering with complementary businesses and these relationships tend to generate business referrals in their own right.
2. Networking is key.
Networking can be a little like marmite – you either love, or hate, the thought. But, if you find a group with a style that works for you, and put the right amount of effort in, there’s no doubt it can reap rewards in many ways. From identifying your ideal clients and generating leads to building your trusted partners, by networking we get to find out who we know, like and trust – and whether the feeling is mutual. For Streamlion, networking has been a key strategy, paying dividends from a business growth point of view and also in building our valued investor relationships.
3. Mistakes are learning points.
We all get it wrong from time to time but perhaps we should look at this as a good thing. We don’t learn without making mistakes. Sayings such as ‘fail forward’ indicate that sometimes getting things wrong can be to our benefit – this is especially true in the case of serial entrepreneurs who are renowned for keeping going until an idea sticks. Learn to love the lessons that come from getting it wrong.
4. Stick to what you know.
This is not to say you shouldn’t innovate (far from it) but when it comes to business, you should avoid being bogged down by non-core activity. Anything back-office or additional to securing sales or delivery should be handed over to carefully selected associates.
You are the power and the brains behind your business so don’t dilute this. To quote a brilliant Virtual Assistant in one of my networking groups, ‘outsource everything but your brilliance’.
5. Evolve. Always.
The uber successful Jeff Bezos is quoted as saying “what’s dangerous, is not to evolve” and we’ve certainly seen evidence of this over the past year. As business owners, we should continually revisit and review what we do and how we do it. For Streamlion, the latest evolution is putting a “best in class” Referral Partner scheme into place, where I generously reward my strategic partners for introducing and qualifying opportunities for my pipeline. A win-win situation for us all.
6. Don’t take your ideal customer avatar for granted.
Perhaps my most recent observation, having watched businesses turn themselves inside out to survive the pandemic, is not to take your ideal client persona for granted. It’s critical to spend time understanding your ideal client but this isn’t a one-off task. This also needs to evolve, especially as you change and bring new products or services online.
I hope there’s some food for thought in there for you – and I’d love to hear your own business lessons if you’d be willing to share.
Responses to, and outcomes of, the pandemic have varied greatly around the world and not always conformed to stereotypes. This fact, and the issues that have been raised by the immense disruption to our definition of normality are certain to change working cultures across the globe. Here’s a whistle-stop tour of what the world might look like when the pandemic has finally died down.
Globalisation has been the great economic movement for some years now but coronavirus might just have highlighted some of the downfalls of the world becoming a smaller place. Stand aside the speed with which the virus was able to spread, huge trust issues have also been thrust into the open as a result of previous big players like the US and China seemingly unable to handle the pandemic in the right way. From Trump denying its very existence to a strong suspicion that China has dramatically under-reported its numbers, both countries may no longer be featuring in the future plans of big business.
So, while we’ve uncovered a greater need to work as one when it comes to managing crises, the pandemic may also show us that we need to rely less on countries who aren’t trusted and transparent.
2. Quality not quantity
The issue of quality has many strands when considered in relation to the pandemic. Firstly, remote working has uncovered an unexpected increase in efficiency, even with the incredible strain on families who are home schooling. It’s not without risks, as mental health statistics are starting to show but empowering people to get the job done, whenever and however may well be a change that’s here to stay.
Quality is also under the spotlight when it comes to manufacturing and this brings us back to globalisation. Currently China is the main beneficiary of a global economy, chiefly down to the sheer volume of manufacturing it can process. However, it is not making goods to the quality required. Consider PPE: poor quality (aka cheap) face masks are a financial risk not worth taking. The future is likely to demand better brand promises focused around safety and a commitment to trust.
3. Eggs in baskets
One of the main reasons for disruption during the pandemic has been seen through supply chains. Simply getting goods from one place to another has been the critical path many times and this is likely to mean global supply chains will be questioned once the pandemic has died down.
Certainly seeding our suppliers across different countries and continents, while harder to track and control, will mitigate risk. The winners here are likely to be less well-known providers of cheap labour such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. The losers? China again.
4. The age of values and conscience
Perhaps an unexpected outcome of the pandemic has been the accelerated rise of Generation Co – the conscientious, values-based, environmentally-aware demographic within society. They believe that businesses should be partnering with government and society at large to improve the world. Sustainability, empathy and planet-friendly goods and services are under the microscope and there’s a strong belief that large corporations will need to tackle these issues to be successful in the future.
We could be heading towards a world where shareholders are no longer on the top of the pile. In fact GenCo believes that the planet itself should be our main stakeholder.
There’s another angle on conscience to consider and that’s empathy. A global study of workers conducted by Quartz and Qualtrics showed that 37% feel their company culture has improved as a result of the pandemic and a big part of that is greater recognition of employee’s mental health. Employers will need to continue to show empathy and value emotional, as well as physical, health in their people if they want to retain a strong, enthusiastic and capable workforce.