Arlene Dickinson the CEO of Venture Communications is one of the dragon’s on CBC’s Dragon’s Den. She spoke at the Canadian InnovationExchange about her apporach to has a background in marketing and took the time out of her busy schedule to impart some of the lessons she has learned in her time competing in the business world. So here is her top 10 with some commentary from my side of the street. Drum roll please:
1. Never fall in love with a deal – There is always another around the corner and you risk losing the ability to see the situation clearly which can backfire.
2. Never fall in love with an idea – If you are too much in love with the idea you can become blinded to the issues that if you address will make it an idea that sings or one that falls flat.
3. Understand what it takes to bring it to market – She says you need enough information to make a decision but that doesn’t take 100% of the information it may only take 70%. This is about doing the research and be realistic about your plans and goals.
4. Speak the simple truth – KISS in other words keep it simple stupid, fancy language doesn’t work when you are pitching your ideas to vc’s, a few angels or even your family and friends since they are not experts speak in a way they can connect to.
5. Don’t let someone else tell your story – In marketing you never want the competition to tell your story, then you are letting them define you instead of you defining yourself. You want to control your narrative.
6. Do let someone else bring credibility to your story – Make sure you have a 3rd party to back up your claims, it gives your story more weight and believability than if is possible without.
7. Listen – Most people say they listen but you really, be an active listener and use what is said in your responses, it will make what you say have that much more impactful.
8. Confidence not arrogance – If you can’t sound like you believe in it then why will anyone else.
9. Create a compelling package – This is self explanatory but make it something they want to buy or if it is something that is not a physical product where the value is apparent and for me as an ad guy taps the emotion in all of us.
10. Reserve the right to get smarter – We can never know enough so be a lifelong student, because the only time you should stop is when you are dead.
So those were her rules and I can see them being useful in starting your own business and pitching the ideas, concepts and businesses.