11 Hours to Change a Company Forever: A Story about Business and Life

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flyingJune 8 2011 (**Times reflect Eastern Standard)

12am: Headed to bed early tonight, as I’ll be waking up again to drive to the airport in just a couple of hours. I’m a little nervous about today, but excited as well. You see, I’m headed to Phoenix Arizona for the day, where I’ll be working with a start-up small business, Gatewings, to help them with their marketing efforts. They’ve been using Hubspot and don’t seem to yet fully understand the system nor inbound marketing in general. That’s where I come into play. They’re counting on me to change that, and I’ll have roughly 11 hours with them of intensive training to make this dream a reality. Yep, it’s going to be a very interesting day.

2:30am Up again. I’m feeling pretty good despite the lack of sleep. After one of my typical 90 second showers, I’m closing the side door and pulling out of our driveway. In 10 minutes I’ll be picking up my business partner Jason and we’ll be off to the airport.

4:30am: Just arrived to Richmond international. Because I live in the ‘sticks’ of Virginia, it takes about 90 minutes to get to the nearest major airport. That’s OK though. My wife and kids love where we live—a small town with a rural feel. I love it too, it just means I have to drive a good bit to get anywhere. But here I am, and after a short layover in Charlotte NC, I’ll be headed west.

8:30am: Flying at 10,000 feet, Jason and I are taking this time to fully look over our client’s website. Upon further reading about Gatewing’s co-founder Nancy Genys, I’m blown away. Literally, her story of losing 2 children, her father, and her business in the course of 3 years is as moving and gut-wrenching as any I’ve ever heard. But instead of rolling over into the fetal position and cursing the world around her, Nancy felt prompted to start Gatewings so as to help others during their time of loss and tragedy. I believe in their mission, and simply cannot imagine what reaction I would have upon experiencing such loss in my life.

12:30pm: Just touched down in Phoenix. Nancy’s business partner, Steve Brinton, is picking us up at the airport. It’s time to get to work, and now I’m ready to make a difference.

1:15pm: We’ve got a little over 10 hours to make strides, so for the first part of the day it’s my goal to help these people (Steve, Nancy, and two others) to understand the common elements that should be on every page of their website. Right now, they’re lacking two major components– Social Proofs (in the form of videos, photos, written testimonials, etc) and Calls to Action (contact forms, free offers, etc). After spending a few hours on these subjects, I can tell the light bulbs are coming on. People that just hours earlier could not look at their site’s pages and pick out the flaws to see what was lacking can now identify all the core problems and needed additions. Basically, they’ve now started to develop the “inbound marketer’s” eye and they’re also thinking more like a consumer. This shift is essential, and I’m very happy they’re getting it.

6:30pm: Like most small business owners, these folks have never made their own videos, so for the next 2 hours Jason and I will do an actual video interview of the company’s owners and then go through the editing process with them so as to put them on their website. We’re going to keep this simple but the goal here is that from this point forward, they can record, edit, and upload any video they want–thus truly leveraging the amazing power of this often underutilized visual medium.

9pm: Videos went great. We did two quick interviews and after Jason and I showed everyone the process, Nancy completely edited and uploaded one herself to YouTube, and then put the code on her website. I can tell she’s excited to have picked up this skill so quickly and despite the fact that we’ve now been training for 8 hours straight, everyone is still mentally engaged and excited.

10pm: For the last hour we’ve been working on what I call ‘The First 50′, or, in other words, the first 50 blog articles on the Gatewings blog. Using the content brainstorming activity I’ve talked so much about before, we’ve now got 4 months worth of articles lined up with a set publishing schedule as well. I’m really, really excited about our plan, as I know these 50 articles will form an incredibly effective and traffic-driving long-tail keyword campaign– and could very well change this company forever.

12am: The long day is coming to a close. Our final activity is to lay out a priority plan for the coming months. So often, when businesses are attempting to establish a content and inbound marketing campaign, they get so caught up in getting ‘everything’ done that they actually get nothing done at all. This is what we’re going to prevent with this wrap-up, and the vision for Gatewings’ marketing future is now clear in everyone’s head. Despite the mental exertion on everyone’s part, I’m thrilled for the engagement we’ve had over the last 10 or so hours.

12:30am: Time for goodbyes. It’s funny how after one intense day we’ve been able to develop such a friendship. Personally, I’m thrilled with the results and fully believe this group of people will do what it takes. Now that they have the vision and have made ‘the shift’, their potential is boundless.

2:00am: Jason and I are boarding the plane, headed back to Virginia. Over the past 48 hours, I’ve gotten 6 hours of sleep, but by no means am I complaining. Today has been a good day, and helping people reach their potential, whether it be in life or in business, is what gets me fired up to jump out of bed each morning.

8:00am: So here I sit, again at 10,000 feet, but this time I’m 20 minutes from Richmond and reflecting on the past 36 hours as I write this blog post. I’m smiling too. These past few weeks of travel have been one powerful learning experience after another, and life is good.

Your Turn:

Although I’d love to hear any comment or question you may have regarding this post, I’m curious to know about your passions. What gets you fired up to get out of bed each morning?  What activities energize you so much that sleep becomes a chore? And finally, do you feel like you have a specific ‘mission’ in your life? Don’t be shy folks, write a little or write a lot, either way I’d love to hear your thoughts.


If you liked this article, you may also like:

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  • How to Turn Your Company Into a Content Creation Machine
  • The Day I Nearly Lost My Business: A Story of Tragedy and Triumph
  • Article source: http://www.thesaleslion.com/how-to-change-company-forever/

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