Situational awareness is a lost skill in an age where nearly everyone has earbuds or headphones on. We stare at mobile phones while we walk, work, and eat.
Situational awareness–knowing what is happening around you right now–is not a natural state for a modern society unaccustomed to the dangers of the wild. We don’t have to worry if a bear is nearby or an enemy is stalking us. We just have to passively cross the road when the traffic lights tell us it is safe.
Just a few days ago, we made some big changes to our flagship product CoSchedule. We decreased our prices. In an economy of ever-increasing prices this may sound crazy, but really, it made perfect sense. It’s all about a focus on value.
When I was a kid, I always wanted to be an astronaut. When my family chose Florida as the destination for a family vacation, it wasn’t Disney World or MGM Studios that caught my fascination; it was the Kennedy Space Center. Kids dream big because it doesn’t occur to them to do otherwise. How about you? Do you have any audacious goals?
Our team has grown over the past three years. We’re in it for the long haul.
Todaymade turned three this week. Not bad, right? More than 40% of businesses fail before they reach three years of age, but not this one; it’s business as usual around here. We’re not taking a lot of time to celebrate, though, because we have lots of work to do.
But it has me thinking: what are some of the steps that businesses need to take to make it? It is certainly our goal to turn this startup into a lasting company. What about yours?
Here are a few things that I believe we’ve done right, things that can set a business up for the long haul.
The launch of CoSchedule has ushered in many changes here at Todaymade, including a newly found focus on sales. After being in business for several years, a focus on sales is not particularly new, but with a new product in the pipeline we have started to think about them differently.
How can you convince someone to buy what you are selling? How can we convince someone to buy CoSchedule?
With marketing, advertising, and sales we are really trying to accomplish the same thing – sell more stuff. Much of the time, we try to make it sound like magic or science. But here’s the thing – you can’t trick someone into buying your product.
There is always the opportunity to tell a story. That’s what your reader wants.
A few weeks ago, I made the trip from Atlanta to North Dakota to spend some time hanging out with the Todaymade crew live and in person. While I was there, we had a few great discussions about who we were as a company and who we were becoming.
As a company, we are growing up. Todaymade is constantly changing, and that is a good thing.
For many years, I had a lingering sense of dissatisfaction in my career.
It wasn’t that I had a “bad” job cleaning up kid puke or mopping overflowing toilets. (Those jobs had come earlier in my career.) Rather, I felt caught in a string of jobs where the boss was more interested in an adherence to a set of office rules than the actual quality of my work. Thinking for myself was frowned upon, and heaven forbid that I should suggest ways to improve things.
I had unwittingly become a cog in the corporate machine.
Henry Ford was a brilliant machinist, inventor, and business tycoon, but he would have never made it without his reluctant business partner James J. Couzens. There’s a good chance, though, that you’ve never heard of Couzens.
Henry Ford, James Couzens, Elwood Rice and Gaston Plantiff in Ford Model K Car, 1907.
Most people don’t know that before starting the Ford Motor Company in 1903, Henry Ford was a part of two failed automobile enterprises. The first was the Detroit Automobile Company, which folded after Ford failed to ship a working automobile. The second (the Henry Ford Company), eventually became known as the Cadillac Automobile Company after some failed partnership dealings.
There was one big reason for the failure of Ford’s first two Automobile companies: Ford’s failure to get his product to market. He didn’t ship. This changed, after starting the Ford Motor Company, because of one man – James J. Couzens.
A few days ago I met with another startup that shared a common industry with Todaymade. They started at about the same time that we did, and to date they have achieved more in revenue, and have grown a larger team than we have.
As a natural competitor this could bother me, but as we talked I realized that the comparison just wasn’t necessary. As companies, we existed for completely different reasons. For me, it came down to culture vs. commodity.