How I more than doubled my business

After nearly 20 years of producing stories for TV news, I was well-positioned to open a video production business. I was convinced I would be successful right away. (Why wouldn’t a guy who has won over 20 Emmy awards be an instant success?) My friends were cheering me on, but the leads were not materializing. I quickly learned awards alone were not enough without a strategic business plan.

As someone who is in the business of producing stories for clients, it can be a challenge to tell the story of your own business. It can be hard to read the label when you are inside the glass jar.

Call it luck or fate, but I met a man by the name of John Nemo. If you have not connected with John on LinkedIn, I highly recommend doing so.

After a few emails back and forth, I asked John what he thought of my business and website. Truth be told, I was hoping to be praised. Instead of the affirmation I was seeking, he shared some brutally honest feedback, and his words hit me like a sledgehammer. However, I knew I needed to remain coachable.

John told me that the name of my company was a joke to prospective clients and my website looked outdated and needed to be overhauled. Essentially, I needed to re-brand my company. He didn’t sugarcoat the truth, just offered me the brutal facts. I thanked him and walked away from the exchange feeling dejected.

Colleagues and friends would say I’m all about looking for the positive in any situation. Instead of wallowing in John’s candid words, I treasured his feedback and was truly grateful for his honesty. I call it the gift of feedback. His advice was fair and square as I was the one who asked for it in the first place. I just wasn’t ready to accept the criticism.

After doing some soul searching and conducting an informal focus group, I knew I had to reach deep inside and discover a name that reflected who I am to the core and what it is that I do. That was the advice of my career coach, Anne Pryor. She’s an amazing person! Anne is a brand strategist, LinkedIn Coach and Trainer. She’s another winner that can help your business grow.

After some time, the right name came to me. I am a creative soul who is passionate about producing videos, thus I landed on Creative Soul Video, under which I operate my business today.

Since the rebranding my client list has more than doubled. John Nemo and Anne Pryor helped to unlock the doors to my business, and I am forever grateful.

If you’re looking to improve your brand or grow your business, go outside of your network of colleagues and friends to gather objective feedback. You have to jump into uncomfortable waters and tuck away your ego. (Get out of the glass jar.) Allow yourself to be vulnerable and surround yourself with winning coaches and trainers.

  • Put aside your ego
  • Be coachable
  • Accept criticism
  • Create an action plan
  • Most important, find some humility

True humility is a strength, not a weakness.

I look forward to reading your thoughts in the comments section.

Mark Anderson is the Chief Storyteller and CEO of Creative Soul Video, a marketing communications company specializing in video production | visual storytelling. Mark has won over 20 Emmys for his work as a video storyteller.

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