The other day a guy in the surf asked me if I still worked at Quiksilver.
I hadn’t worked at Quiksilver in a really long time – but that isn’t what surprised me.
What did was that someone was interested enough to ask what I was doing for work.
It came across as a considerate gesture more than anything. Why?
Well most people are getting up, busting their butt everyday to pay the rent and put food on the table. We’re all in the daily grind giving it our best shot to make it happen for our families and futures, so why should anyone care what the next guy is doing for a crust?
My answer was “Nah mate, I haven’t worked at Quik in years”.
“What do you do now?” he asked.
What I had been doing was spending time with small business owners, lots of time. I’m talking over 10 years worth of time. And on this journey I’ve been inside hundreds of small to medium enterprises (and a few big ones). Pulling them apart, turning them upside down and inside out, seeking answers to what makes them tick and what makes them flop.
My job is to make businesses perform better.
I do this by getting business owners to share what they think their brand looks and feels like to their customers, and what value their business delivers via its products and services to their customers.
Then I audit their brand and business and give them the good, the bad and the ugly. From here we create a business strategy and plan to connect their brand to their business, together.
Sometimes in this fast paced world, especially on social media channels like Facebook with all the mysterious magic, we can forget that good old fashion roll-your-sleeves-up work ethic and value never goes out of style.
A key responsibility I have is to reaffirm business owners that you can easily be distracted from what actually works. What will always work are real conversations with people, like the chat I had with old mate in the surf.
Sounds simple, but it isn’t.
Though it is rewarding when we get it right. And mostly it’s a good time.
But it isn’t all about me, far from it. I have a team, and together we work with all types of businesses creating brand strategy, ideation, advertising campaign strategy, creating ideas for tactical marketing content and delivering digital strategy.
So when you get asked what you do for a job, don’t dismiss it, embrace it. Be proud of what you do, share your journey with those interested enough to ask. And if you ask someone what they do for a job – get ready to endure their answer because it is important to them.
If you are employed by a small business or crazy enough to own one, hold your head high and crush the up coming Monday by knowing you account for over 90% of our countries business footprint.
If you’ve stayed for the long read, thanks!