The Building Blocks of Success- Entrepreneurship as Growth

Business, Business Communications, Communications, Entrepreneurship, Growth, Marketing

I’ve always been interested in a variety of industries and just generally in how businesses are built successfully.  So, after hearing some positive things about a local company here in Minneapolis and its team, I set out to sit down with Mike Rynchek and get to know him a bit better.  In chatting with him, it became extremely apparent to me that he’s one of those people that was really predisposed from birth to create and seek to build.

When I sat down with the July/August edition of Inc. Magazine I couldn’t help but catch the cover featuring a bold headline of “Bring on the Entrepreneurs” and it got me thinking again of the need to create and build successful, creative business models in the communications and marketing industries.  The traditional agency model, if not broken, is certainly in need of some good maintenance work as fewer companies are seeking single agencies to handle all their needs.  There is so much specialization needed that selling a one-size fits all model doesn’t make sense.   I again thought of my conversations with Mike and asked him to share a little more about his background and thoughts on building a business that is conducive to ongoing growth.

Q: What attracted you to the concept of starting and running your own business?

A: Two words, flexibility and opportunity. Since childhood, I’ve always wanted to be a CEO and I truly enjoy the power of marketing. Put them together and I found my passion.

Q: What can marketers/communicators learn from entrepreneurs in other industries that should be applied to this industry?

A: Marketers, much like entrepreneurs in other industries, should always be looking for inspiration. Now, with the advancement of technology, both entrepreneurs and marketers have the freedom to be creative and innovative in ways never thought possible.

Q: When you think about the creative process, what stands out you and what do you try to do at Spyder Trap to create an environment that is unique for your clients?

A: Consistency is key in any creative process, while forward thinking is crucial in defining our objectives. In combination, these elements help to capture the core needs of our clients. Additionally, our clients provide an external viewpoint for inspiration.

Q: How would you describe the business community in the Twin Cities? What have you found helpful, and what has been challenging?

A: The business community is lively in the Twin Cities offering an abundance of social engagements and community events to engage in. From simple coffee shops to extravagant galas, there is always something social happening in the Twin Cities business community. Social networking helps to establish, to connect, and to build upon professional relationships. One challenge I encounter is time; there is never enough time in a day. I often find myself needing to be in two places at once, if only I had a clone!

Q: A lot of entrepreneurs mention a constant nagging feeling of wondering what’s next. Do you experience that and how do you channel those thoughts into a productive model or path for new experiences?

A: “What’s next?” is a common question among entrepreneurs. This is a question I ask myself everyday! I have found that the best entrepreneurs are perpetually striving to find the pulse for what’s next in all areas of their business and environment. In my experience, the question of, “what’s next” has had a positive impact in aiding my growth as an entrepreneur. I am confident this question drives the growth and innovation necessary to remain successful in marketing. Larry Page and Sergey Brin had to be thinking, “what’s next?” before they launched Google in 1998.

Q: Who has served as an inspiration/mentor for you as you looked to build a successful business?

A: I am fortunate to have numerous mentors in my life who inspire me daily. As long as I can remember, I have found it important to gain insight from people in all areas of my life ranging from high-level executives to family and friends.

Recently, I have been incredibly inspired by philanthropic events that I am involved with, as I have learned that giving back is truly humbling.

I appreciate Mike’s help on this post and sharing some of his thoughts. I’d also like to hear more from the community on taking on an entrepreneurial mindset and what you believe is critical in creating companies that raise the level of quality in a creative manner. How do we collectively break into a new level of achievement that benefits clients and the organizations we serve?

Just My Two…er, Fifty Cents on Marketing Your Brand

Business Communications

How can a brand (corporation, retail product, etc.) connect with its target market?  This is the type of question I tend to ponder at all hours.  Last week, while watching a little late night television, I found a great source in the form of 50 Cent on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.  Yes, that 50 Cent. 

I watched as the rapper came out and began chat with Conan and I literally put my laptop down and was drawn in.  He was engaging, funny, and charismatic to the point that you couldn’t help but like him. (Check out a clip via the good folks at Hulu here. )

Like him and his music or not, he does a great job of taking advantage of every opportunity put in front of him and clearly keeps business on his mind at all times.  In just a couple of minutes he highlights some of his varied business efforts (Vitamin Water to cologne and a no-go on condoms), flashes a million dollar (at least) smile, pokes fun at aspects of his own reputation and shows off how to properly fluff a pillow.  Seriously, he’s a renaissance man.

What can you really take away from 50?

Engage with personality– Not everyone will have a spokesperson (CEO, owner, or PR person) with natural charisma but the approach is still valid.  If you’re reading from a statement that you don’t believe in, it will show and your audience will know it’s phony.  Find a way to let personality come through in the best way possible to highlight the qualities of your speaker.

Have a purpose before you ever speak– As evidenced by his success and constant willingness to take on new ventures, 50 Cent is able to identify a goal for himself and go after it.  This appearance on Conan is to support the launch of his new album and what he did was show a side of himself that will engage a broad audience well beyond his core listeners.  He tailored his message to fit the audience he was speaking to and did it well.

You must have several channels to promote your brand– In digging around after the segment, I took a deeper look at how 50 approaches his own promotion.  It’s easy to see when you visit his site that he is taking full advantage of all the technology available to him to reach out to his fans, and potential fans, and build his own brand.  He blends his image of street tough performer and charming young businessman to reach his goals.  Facebook, Twitter, heavy video use, and contests to support the community all support his actual performance schedule.

If you can take and apply these ideas to your own brand, you may find some great new ways to put some added fun behind your organization.  And if that won’t work, maybe just call 50 Cent directly. If the price is right, he just might be your next spokesperson.

Minnesota AMA and Smart People

Business Communications

I had the great opportunity to attend the Minnesota AMA Conference on Tuesday and wanted to quickly say thank you to everyone I was able to meet while there. It was such a fun experience because many of the pros there were people that I either didn’t know at all or had only met online until Tuesday. The conference brought together a good mix of dedicated marketers along with many from related industries like PR, advertising, or sales.

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, it’s important to understand and continually learn about these connected industries to provide good counsel to clients and/or our own employers. I walked away with a number of new ideas and many good reminders about constantly providing value propositions that will resonate with the end-user.

Some highlights for me included hearing more about how Bahram Akradi, Chairman and CEO of Lifetime Fitness, approaches adding value for members and how Michael Keller, Chief Brand Officer of Dairy Queen, is enhancing a strong emotional brand with a new line of product offerings designed to extend that brand further.

I’d like to also collect comments and ideas from others who attended the sessions. What did you learn? Who did you meet? I’d love to hear about your experiences and thoughts on breaking down boundaries with other pros who have differing responsibilities. That’s how we can all learn and get better.