During his presidential run, Mitt Romney responded to a heckler in the audience who was bashing big companies. The Republican famously said, “Corporations are people, my friend.”
Indeed, corporations are people. They are ran by people, employ people and provide people with things they desire.
Companies are People
Because people are the foundation of companies, you, the entrepreneur, should view your startup as a person. You should be able to describe your company as if it were an individual. What style, personality traits and dreams does your company have? Take a second to wrap your head around this concept – I know it sounds odd, at first.
Every business should be branded as if it were an individual. This will keep your marketing on target, help determine capital allocation and control the way your business is perceived by the public.
So let’s role play:
If your startup is a landscaping company, describe it as if it were a person… nothing?
I’ll take a stab:
My company is a 45-year old lumberjack. He moved to the city 5 years ago to help people transform their suburban properties into rich landscapes lined with native Alaskan trees so he can be reminded of his days in the wilderness chopping down Douglas firs. He drives a diesel engine F350 and wears cutoff flannel shirts so he can show off his guns. He has a mustache and wears mustard color Kodiak boots.
Now there’s a guy who knows his trees. He’s hired to redesign my backyard!
Think Men in Kilts… they took this idea to heart, and it worked perfectly.
You started a successful wealth management partnership. Describe it on a human level…
My company is a married couple of 30 years. They were high school sweethearts, both 55 years old, and on the verge of early retirement because they have been very smart with their money. She is a beautiful woman with long flowing black hair that’s just starting to grey, while he has maintained his youthful physique, but not his hair. He’s gone bald. They have two beautiful daughters who graduated from reputable universities and taken on great careers – one a lawyer, the other a museum curator. At 50 they both took a sabbatical and brought their daughters along to sail around South America. They’re well traveled and love to run marathons together.
Now there’s a wealth management company I want to invest with!
Starting to get the idea?
Let’s do one more. I just started a gym…
My gym is a clean shaven 33-year old former pro athlete whose career was cut short due to a terrible ACL tear. He’s still in phenomenal shape, but can’t play ball anymore. Naturally, he embraced entrepreneurship because he loves competition and being challenged. He wants to help others achieve their peak physical potential. However, given his injury, he’s limited in what athletic activities he can do, which makes him understanding of those who aren’t in great shape and intimidated by gyms. He wears sweats and a hoodie to work and during his lunch hour runs his German Shepard around the gym neighborhood. He’s been through ups and downs, and, like him, his gym has character; people love that!
Don’t just describe you when practicing this exercise. Your business isn’t you. It’s an individual. It needs human traits to be widely accepted by other people. And that individual can be whatever you want him to be. You must create a perception of your business because that will become reality. Your business must have a look and feel – a personality. A past life, and a story to tell.
Drop me an email if you need help with this (aaron[at]capitalistcreations.com). Let’s have some fun. Let’s create the individual that is your business.
Companies are people.