In my article, “Life’s Lessons as a Square: Applying Chemical Engineering to Business (Part One)”, I talked about how my degree in chemical engineering relates to me as an entrepreneur. So, how do you design a process for success?
This might seem obvious, but, believe or not, people try to skip over the “make it or break it” piece.
What’s the “make it or break it” piece?
You must be crystal clear on what you want your end product to be.
I hear you. You’re thinking, “I already know that.” But do me a favor; stop and really think about it. What EXACTLY do you want your end product to be… the product that’s going to make THE difference for you and your clients? Because if you’re not precise, who knows what it’ll turn out to be!
We all know the story of the entrepreneur who becomes a huge success, only to realize it wasn’t what he truly wanted. So please, spend some time and think hard about what your end product will be. Go to your favorite coffee hang out, journal, meditate, or take a mini vacation (if only for the day). Do whatever it takes until you have clarity. Because once you’ve solved that piece of the equation, you’re ready to figure out what elements you need to produce it.
Take my company, Wasabi Publicity, for example. The product we want to produce is media placements that thrill our clients. See? It’s specific. Not just any media placements. Our clients want media placements that will make a difference. Period. You know that old adage, any PR is good PR? Well, our clients generally don’t see it that way.
The key to success is being very specific about the product you’re committed to producing. Because if you’re not specific, you probably won’t design the right processes. And vice versa: without the right processes, you won’t produce the right product!
So, how do you get from where you are now to your end product? Well, you know where you are now and you (should now) know where you want to get, right? All you have to do it design the process. When Michelle and I first started our company, we began by looking at all the elements essential for our success. And yes, there were many, many different processes out there. But we wanted to figure out which key elements WE needed to produce THE product (great media placements that thrill our clients).
Many factors contribute to our success, but three ingredients are absolutely essential: the right pitch, to the right media, at the right time. Bingo.
Once we were clear about the key ingredients essential to produce thrilling media placements, we reverse engineered the process to get from where we were at that point, to where we wanted to go.
So what does that look like?
• In order to create the perfect pitch, we knew we needed to hire creative geniuses with an eye for what the media wants. We then designed a simple structure of regular meetings so our creative team can brainstorm. When we land on a winner, one of our writers takes the idea and creates a pitch that will wow the media. Voila, we have the right pitch.
• To identify the right media, we have two processes: first, we research media venues to make sure each one reaches our client’s target market (so that each placement makes a difference), and second, we build relationships with those journalists so they’ll take our calls.
• You know the old expression, “Timing is everything?” Well, that’s generally the case in business and it’s definitely the case in PR. So, how do we time it just right? It’s actually pretty simple. We ask ourselves why the media should care about our pitch right now. There could be several reasons: it’s seasonal (winter is coming and our client has a new solar heating system); it’s breaking news (there’s something happening and our client has something to say about it that’ll make a difference to the conversation); or it’s simply something a journalist is personally passionate about and he/she thinks it would add value for their viewers, readers, or listeners.
There you have it. Right pitch + Right media + Right time = Success.
These ingredients produce the desired end products for us: media placements that thrill our clients.
The great thing is that you can design a process for any product you want to produce, for any business. This is so powerful because most entrepreneurs and businesses get stuck because they make whatever is going on in their business personal. It might not be personal at all. It might just be that there’s a flaw in their design – too much of this ingredient, not enough of that ingredient, too much heat (aka trying too hard), or not enough heat. You get the point.
So if you’re not getting the product your customer wants, it might be time to put on your chemical engineering hat and redesign your process.
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For 30 years, L. Drew Gerber has been inspiring those who want to change the world. As the CEO of Wasabi Publicity, lauded by the likes of PR Week and Good Morning America, he sparks “aha” conversations that lead to personal and business success. His PR firm is known for landing clients on Dr. Phil, Oprah, Anderson Cooper, the Wall Street Journal, Inc., Entrepreneur, and other top media outlets. Wasabi Publicity lives to launch conversations that make a difference and change the world.
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