Happy Holidays

By Mike Myatt, Chief Strategy Officer, N2growth 

Well folks, I’m finally going to take a blogging vacation and thus this will be my last blog post for the year. That being said, I thought it would be an appropriate time to thank all of the N2growth stakeholders for their contribution to our continued success. It is with the utmost gratitude and respect that I express my sincere appreciation for the loyal support of our clientele, the assistance provided to us by our vendors, suppliers, partners, investors and the tireless efforts of our employees. For without these invaluable contributions we would most certainly not have experienced a record breaking 2007.

During 2007 we were honored to have advised our clients in complex mergers and acquisitions, rebranding initiatives, helped them to acquire and develop key talent, helped them launch new products and open new markets and were by their side in a variety of other challenging and rewarding initiatives. Many of our clients had record years in terms of growth and they received numerous recognitions and honors. We are pleased to have contributed toward their success in such a meaningful fashion.

Because our success is so closely tied to the success of our clients we set the chinning bar very high with regard to performance expectations at N2growth. The unyielding commitment to quality growth by design (not just growth for the sake of growth) is not an easy thing to sustain, nor does it come without casualties. That being said, we have always recognized that growth is pure oxygen to a healthy and vibrant corporation. It creates a dynamic, proactive, vital, and enthusiastic environment where people see genuine personal opportunity which in turn leads to a certainty of execution that our clients have come to expect from us. In this way growth is more than a key financial driver, it is an essential part of our corporate culture at N2growth.  

We are honored to serve as coaches and advisors to a phenomenal group of CEOs and entrepreneurs. The long term relationships we have forged with our clients is largely due to the extraordinary individuals who make up the N2growth team. As we move into 2008 we will maintain our commitment to expanding key relationships at the highest levels of business, media and government in order to achieve our client objectives. We will spare no expense in continuing to make the necessary investments into talent, technology and innovation to keep our clients in their industry leading positions. The strong differentiators of our talent, our relationships, our business model and our total commitment to achieving results which are measured in multiples over the fees we charge is what makes working with N2growth a completely unique business experience.

I want to personally thank all of you for your continued support. We wish you a happy and safe holiday season and prosperous New Year. In 2008 we pledge to insure that our tagline will remain synonymous with our vision…

Your Future. Only Better.„¢

See you in 2008…

Bill Gates on Success

By Mike Myatt, Chief Strategy Officer, N2growth

Shame on you Bill GatesBill Gates and success…The linkage between the man and the trait seem obvious. In reviewing various news blurbs last Friday afternoon I stumbled across a viewpoint column on BBC News authored by Bill Gates. In this op-ed piece Mr. Gates was espousing his views on what it takes to be successful. As the world’s wealthiest man, the co-founder and chairman of the world’s largest software company and one of the world’s largest philanthropists, I was intrigued to read his thoughts on success. In today’s post I will share my thoughts and observations about the comments put forth by Mr. Gates, and take the opportunity to rant a bit while I’m at it…

Let me begin by saying that I don’t know if the viewpoint piece I read was excerpted from another more lengthy piece, or if perhaps Mr. Gates was limited by an editorial word-count constraint. The aforementioned caveats noted, I was clearly disappointed with what I read. Certainly Bill Gates must have more to say on the topic of success than the casual comments articulated in his article. Let me be clear that I found nothing wrong with his recognition that understanding the value that information technology plays in both our present day lives and our future is important, or that having a proficiency in math and science is beneficial. I also have no complaints that he recognized the value of good interpersonal communication skills, having an innate sense of curiosity, being passionate about what you do and the need to be a life long learner. These are all valuable insights that will certainly help you live a more successful life.

What left me disappointed was not so much the few general observations that Mr. Gates did address, but rather the numerous things he did not address. It is my opinion that when someone possessing Bill Gates considerable credentials and professional accomplishments addresses the public at large that they also assume a tremendous burden of responsibility knowing the influence that their words carry.

One of the problems in today’s information age is that the continued advancement of technology and media have aided in the proliferation of endless amounts of useless rhetoric by those not qualified to give it. This trend makes it necessary for the public at large to be much more discerning about the counsel they chose to rely upon. The issue that I have with Bill Gates is that he gets a defacto free pass as what he says, or does not say, is taken as gospel by many without having to undergo the filter of a discerning eye.

For Mr. Gates to address the topic of success and not speak of service above self, courage, vision, wisdom, integrity, empathy, persistence, compassion, aggressivity, discernment, commitment, confidence, a bias to action, creativity, self-discipline, doing the right thing, overcoming fear, failure and challenges, loyalty, confidence, strategy, humility, a sense of timing, common sense, generosity, the ability to identify and develop great talent, attention to detail, family, faith, listening skills, respect for others, tactical excellence, charisma, extreme focus, understand risk, and a host of other issues is nothing short of tragic. You see, I’m not really picking on Bill Gates individually, but rather to all those who have access to a platform that don’t understand the power of their words, or as the case may be, the weight of their omissions.

Whether you are a business leader, politician, social activist, teacher, parent, student, religious leader, author, columnist, blogger, or just a run of the mill citizen, your words matter…Every person on the planet has a sphere of influence that is impacted by their words or lack thereof, and to not understand the impact your words have is nothing short of tragic. My advice is simply this…don’t take for granted whatever platforms or venues you have been afforded, but step up to plate and take the responsibility seriously. Life is more than a sound bite… 

Why Brand Name Clients Matter

By Mike Myatt, Chief Strategy Officer, N2growth

If your company doesn’t have a recognized brand I will guarantee you that your selling cycle is longer than necessary as your sales process grinds to a halt while you endeavor to establish credibility. Even after enduring the good fight, when all is said and done you likely end-up making frequent price concessions in order to win business. You are most probably sick and tired of dealing with repeated requests for references and explaining why someone should take the risk of doing business with an unproven entity. It’s not enough to know you’re good, your prospects have to know it…the battle cry of “trust me” will only take you so far in today’s market place. In today’s post I’ll share the best method for establishing instant credibility with your prospects…

If you’re a small or early stage company or a solo professional services provider you’ll be all too familiar with the scenario described in the opening paragraph above. However there is an almost instant fix to your problem…Nothing and I mean nothing adds instant credibility like being able to say that Apple, Bank of America, Disney or other name brand businesses are counted amongst your clientele. While there can be considerable revenue associated with landing the big account, the real value comes in the ripple effect of being able to leverage their brand equity into increasing yours…

The key to acquiring your first brand name client is being willing to get extremely aggressive at every stage of the sales process. If you have to discount or even give away the business do just exactly that…After all, you’ve likely discounted pricing to attract a small account why wouldn’t you do it to land Wal-Mart? Just imagine how much money you’d have to spend in marketing, advertising and PR to create the same perception that landing Microsoft as a client would create…This will certainly go a long way in offsetting any price concessions that you may have to make.

While the 800 pound guerilla may tax your infrastructure and require you to make commitments you’re not used to making, if you can land the account I liken it to watching the first domino starting to fall. Not only will it be much easier to land small accounts when you have a brand name client, but it will also be easier to attract other big brands as well.

Bottom line…profile and target key accounts with recognizable brands that will add value to your business and your brand. Develop a sales strategy for winning the business and begin the process of landing your first brand name account. The sooner you start the faster you’ll find the power curve in your selling process start to shift in your favor. Good luck and good selling…  

A Must Watch Video

By Mike Myatt, Chief Strategy Officer, N2growth

I’ve written often on the subjects of time, focus and doing the right thing, and this video addresses them all from an authoritative and entertaining fashion. My son is a fourth year student at the University of Virginia and sent me this video of a lecture he recently attended. I will tell you right up front that there is nothing new in this video, but when you hear someone speak about things related to time and priority knowing that they only have a few months to live, it places even the most well understood concepts into a whole new perspective. 

I will share with you that this video is 90 minutes in length and is well worth every second of your attention. For those of you who question whether or not you have 90 minutes to spend watching a video, let me share a few gems offered by the speaker: “you don’t find time for important things, you make it” and “you’ll never get your spent time back, so spend it wisely”. My advice to you is this…if you do one thing today watch this video.