Maybe you’re a great web designer
Maybe you’re a great coder
Maybe you’re a financial wizard
Maybe you’ve got a flair for industrial design
Maybe you’re a craftsman with unique skills
Maybe you’re great at managing and building a supply chain.
Maybe selling isn’t something you enjoy, like or even care about. Maybe making presentations is the part of business that really isn’t your thing.
Problem is this: There’s plenty of great ideas, businesses and people who never reached their full potential because the selling bit was missing.
Step forward the ‘Sandwich man’
Startup blog definition: Sandwich Man – a gun presenter and public communicator who presents the ideas and sells the dream on behalf of the business.
A sandwich man is called such, because he holds together all the good things like the bread does on a yummy sandwich. Without him all the ingredients, nutrition, ‘reason for being’ could all fall away.
A good sandwich man would start and close any business presentation to people like venture capitalists, suppliers, key accounts, customers and the media.
Quite often successful businesses are run by a team where one of the members is the tech genius and the other is the Sandwich Man. Who then communicates the ideas and vision to get people on board. Rarely people are lucky enough to have both skill sets. Regardless of which skill set we have, we always need a sandwich man. We can even bring one into the team on a needs basis.
But without one, we may end up with a great product or business which never gets the traction it deserves.
The following is a true story as told by Ender Baskin:
A few mates went out for some beers at a local bar. They were young, vibrant guys who where looking to meet some girls. Fine. One of the guys had a very cool t-shirt which said the following:
”Don’t get too excited I’m just the wingman.”
The group of boys all loved it. They thought it was very cool, awesome in fact. They were certain it could only enhance his changes of meeting a girl on said night.
As expected people ‘did’ love it. They all came up and remarked on how funny, cool and smart the t-shirt was. Only problem was, it was all the blokes who happened to remark upon it.
This parable is a a little bit like the type of advertising that wins awards. The producers and colleagues in the industry love it. Yet award winning advertisements don’t always sell the product. Cool and funny is great, often a nice bonus when communicating with our people. But if the basic objective isn’t met, we’re better off with something less cool that actually works.
I recently had some beers and a meal at a place called Little Creatures dinning hall in Melbourne Australia.
For the uninitiated, Little Creatures is a craft beer which has it’s origins in Australia and has recently opened a flagship ‘dinning hall’ – seen below.
They’ve simply taken this to a new level. I’m not taking about the fact that they have weird and groovy beer flavours, all naturally brewed. I’m talking about the way they take you on a personal journey with their service.
My favourtie was the beer education programme. They have a ‘pony show’ – I don’t think it’s called that, but it is what I’ll call it for this post.
You get a taste in little groovy pony glasses of all their different beers, then choose one you like. One of their ‘Little Creatures Beer Experts’ comes and sits down on your table with you and they explain all the different types of beers. A real sit down for 10 minutes. A rare treat when the usual sitiation is waiting 10 minutes for crappy service in bars and restuarants. They teach you how to taste each beer and the slight nuances of each. They even provide an idea what type of people generally like the different types.
It’s really nice and fun. I even heard the word “sessionable” to describe a beer – They invent some nice jargon to make you feel part of a tribe. Cool.
No need to advertise this little venture. We’ll do that for them….
And this is what cool startups are doing in retail.
I took this pic of this shop front / side in my local neighbourhood. It’s easy to see when you drive past.
Startup blog prize (free book) for anyone who can tell me what they do without calling the number (or knowing someone who works there / digging around).
I’m all for single minded simplicity, but if we are going to go to the effort to paint the brand and phone number, it’s also handy to have a tag line which tells people what we do.
Steve – rentoid.com
This screen dump from a presentation on Youtube says a lot. It’s the content loaded up on youtube everyday…
And mainstream media said it would never work. You can click here to see the enitre presentation. A bit long at 55 minutes – worth watching.
I took this quote from Seth Godins latest micro book Tribes:
“Do you beleive in what you do? Every day? It turns out that belief happens to be a brilliant strategy”
This resonates with me because it will motivate us to find solutions that ‘non believers’ will be too inept, apathetic or bored to uncover.
Entrepreneurs ought launch something they beleive in conceptually, not just financially.