The Amsterdam Light Festival is one of the great winter events of the city. It has been gone for a month and I miss it already.
The lights really glitz up this gloomy village in the doldrums of winter. They bring warmth and illuminate the darkness. Dutch start-ups and scale-ups can learn a lot from the festival.
Like the lights, we live in a time of gloomy populist uprising, slow sales cycles, and some chaotic economic conditions. But this is good news if you are a light. They glow brightest in the darkest places.
Here are some ways you can create a light:
1. Illuminate – This is the age of data and we must convert all this data into insight for clients. Uncover something about your industry, function or community that people can use to enact their roles. Try to distil, diagnose, and direct the stuff your clients pay attention to.
2. Warm – Prospects are often sad. They can’t find that resource, recruit, lead or company for the project they are working on. Sure, you can exploit this but don’t be the one who shows up with the “what keeps you up at night” question. This is going to stress them out more and can shut down decision making. Try an alternate approach and ask “what’s working well?” Find out their vision and discover the love you both share for doing what you in your sector. Find your “shared purpose” and you can create a warmth the same way a trusted advisor does.
3. Electrify – Some people just have a gift for mobilizing others. Many don’t. Find and coach champions who get others excited to drive new initiatives. Hint: they often use “we” vs “I” language, and they often carry a counterintuitive view of the world. They like to challenge, intoxicate, and arouse curiosity. If you do the same thing these people will find you. That’s the law of attraction.
4. Cast the right net – I couldn’t think of a better metaphor to capture the essence of what gave birth to Amsterdam all those years ago than the picture above. Even today it applies to why this city is so successful. Are sales and marketing aligned on your net? Is it sustainable?
What light are you bringing?