A couple weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend Collision Conference, hosted in Toronto this year for the very first time. Collision is a huge conference centred around technology and innovation. It boasts over 25,000 attendees, hundreds of impressive speakers and is North America's fastest-growing tech conference. While tech is the focus, there were sessions, keynote speakers and opportunities that intersected with almost every other field of work or study. As the world of tech grows, it continues to move into all other areas, and Collision really highlighted this providing some great opportunity for learning and reflection. As I've reflected on the experience, here are some of my major takeaways:
Don't be Afraid to Generalize
We live in a world where there's a lot of pressure to specialize. Even as kids we're constantly asked what we want to be when grow up - from the get go we're told to pick a thing and stick with it. Our education system, in some ways, even encourages us to pick a single, linear path and then stay on it. But this isn't always the best way. Our world, technology included, is constantly shifting. Those who are able to keep up and eventually thrive are often those who have a general knowledge and understanding of multiple different things. It can take a lifetime to really specialize in one area, but to develop a general understanding and ability in multiple different areas can take a fraction of the time and can end up serving a greater function. If you know where it is that you want to specialize, then that's great - go for it! But don’t forget to respond to change, it's those who can adapt that really make it in the long run.
Tell Your Story
When it comes to branding and marketing, the major question is always one of converting our marketing into profit - how do we turn impressions and brand awareness into actual revenue? One thing that is easy to forget is the power of having an honest story to tell. It sometimes seems too simple. We can get bogged down with the technicalities of strategy and data and analytics - all of which are very important and impactful - but never forget the importance of having a good story to share. People want to connect, it's engrained within human nature to love a good, engaging or relatable story, and this is how effective marketing starts.
If you haven't considered your story, think about it now. Be honest and authentic, consider how you began, why you began, why your company is valuable and what makes your business unique. From here, write your story and then make sure it threads through all of your marketing and outputs. People can sense authenticity, and an authentic story is priceless.
Don't Let the Inner Critic Take Over
We all have an inner critic. It's the voice that tells us we don't know what we're doing, we aren't good enough to get the job done, someone else is better, or we need to wait until everything is perfect before making the first move. The critical voice within can be important, as it pushes us to do better, up our game and continue improving, but you can't let it take over. When it comes to almost anything, from entrepreneurship and running a business to perfecting an art form or mastering a craft, it's imperative that you always press on despite what your inner critic is saying. Even on the days that feel especially challenging or negative, discipline and hard work are still necessary. Don't forget that every tech mogul, billionaire and superstar has had to work against their own inner critic in some capacity.
If you've been considering the growth, strategy or improvement of your own business, you're on the right track! Continue to consider growth, and keep your focus on building and improving. Over time you will see this positively reflected in your business. And of course, if you need assistance with planning, strategizing or marketing, don't hesitate to get in touch.