Let’s write the next great start-up story…

A potential client of mine, located in Wadsworth, recently asked me: “Do you think our location will be an issue in finding great talent?” My response:

Your location doesn’t matter.  Your story does.

Candidates (the ones you want anyway) don’t bite because you have a fancy office that overlooks (insert scenic image here).  They bite because of the story they hear; the role they will get to play in the story; the impact they can have on the ending.  So, if you are just starting out, growing, or hiring for any reason, getting your story together is key to successfully recruiting talent.  Let me give you an example:

Over recent months, I’ve had the pleasure of partnering with a new company in Canal Fulton – Glass Slate Digital.  This week, Matt Mignona is joining them as VP of Strategic Accounts.  Matt, who has played key roles in a handful of successful start-ups, shared with me the reasons he took the job:

“This company screams potential all over the place because they have great innovation, an awesome team, and the support from their parent company CEI (been around 35+ years). This is a deadly combo.”     

He shared his excitement about working with George Buzzy, the organization’s President, who has a reputation of great leadership and smart investment.  With a deep background in retail, George started this company because he saw enormous opportunity to apply a trade show focused technology in the retail and hospitality space, among other verticals.  

“They’ve not only developed a really disruptive technology, but they also already have operational infrastructure.  Since they are part of a much larger company, this gives them a significant advantage.  For most start-ups, they are trying to: build, test, measure, sell, service and raise money.  It’s kinda like running a race and putting on your shoes at the same time.  CEI has been around for over 35 years and has layers of people to ensure GSD’s success.  This company is positioned to win and that’s what is going for them.”

The Glass Slate Digital story contains all of the keys to creating your own story:

  • Why did the founder start the company?  If you can help the candidate connect personally with the passion behind the idea that started the whole thing, you are half way there.
  • What is the market opportunity?  What is cool, new, interesting about what the company is doing?  How will the company change the world or the way people interact in it?
  • What are the key challenges that lie ahead?  Be honest about the difficult things that need to be done and how the candidate can help to solve them.  This helps the candidate see what their tangible impact may be.
  • Who is the leadership and what can be said about them?  What have their previous successes been?  Are they good teachers, mentors, people in general?
  • What makes the culture so good?  And I’m not talking about beers in the fridge.  I am talking about what makes people want to work there instead of where they do now.  What is good, fun, engaging, compelling?  Who else is working there and why did they join?
  • Make it authentic.  Tell the truth.  Whatever problems you may have, you are likely making hires to help you fix them.  Be brutally honest.

So, at first glance, you may look at Glass Slate Digital, wonder who they are, see that they’re located in Canal Fulton, and immediately think “Would I really want to make that drive?”  

I say, doesn’t matter.  Give me just a minute to tell you their story. . . 

Good luck to George, Matt and Brett in building something truly amazing.