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The Top 11 Takeaways from Playbook 2022

September 27, 2022

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It hasn’t even been a week since Playbook 2022, and it’s still all we’re thinking about.

For anyone who missed it, we brought together some of today’s hottest business leaders to share their experience, wisdom, and advice on everything you might need to know about running and scaling your business. We heard from the likes of marketing mastermind Seth Godin, Drybar co-founder Alli Webb, and executives behind companies like Basecamp, Liquid Death, PandaDoc, and many more.

The result:

  • Two days.
  • 16 speakers.
  • 150+ questions.
  • Thousands of registrants from across the globe.
  • And too many dad jokes to count. (The Ronzio brothers will be here all week, folks — tip your waitstaff.)

Basically, a lot of value jampacked into over 700 minutes of prime business content. And soon, we’re gonna have every session available for you to watch and learn from at your leisure.

But, we get it — running a successful business means that you might not have a ton of free time to binge-watch the recordings in one go. So, to give you something to look forward to, we’ve condensed Playbook into 11 top takeaways that you can start applying to your business. 

1. Your company mission will propel you toward your goals.

Track superstars Allyson and Wes Felix initially co-founded Saysh to make shoes for Allyson to race (and win gold) with at the Tokyo Olympics. But what really drives their company now is supporting women and mothers like Allyson — and thus, changing the way companies treat female athletes and the landscape of women’s footwear. (Did you know that the design of almost all women’s footwear is based on men’s feet? We didn’t.)

With their team of female designers and features like their maternity returns policy, Saysh’s goal has become seeking more change for women. Not just in the footwear industry, but in athletics, society, and beyond — even if the chance to make a difference scared Allyson at first. But as Wes told her: “You can use your voice, even if it shakes.”

2. People will respond to your most authentic self.

For Caitlin Crosby, her personal beliefs and mission drive her company. She started The Giving Keys as a way to tackle the issue of homelessness, helping people transition out of tough situations. And while the company still donates to homeless causes, the mission has expanded — they want to help customers “pay it forward” and connect with each other.

And customers respond to Caitlin’s authentic desire to help others. Not only are they passionate about contributing to the company’s missions, but in the product itself — keys that are reminders of what makes each person special and unique. Caitlin recognized this desire in her customers and leaned into her brand’s authenticity. It works because in Caitlin’s words, “customers can smell when your motives are off.”

3. You’re probably doing more manual work than you need to.

Mikita Mikado and his co-founder started PandaDoc to help people create and manage proposals, contracts, and quotes efficiently. And that’s because they desperately wanted that automated workflow for themselves.

For Mikita, PandaDoc isn’t just his business — it’s a solution for a lot of the problems that he was having to spend hours of labor dealing with. When you have to do the same thing over and over manually, a lot of friction gets introduced to your workflow, which leads to wasted time and opportunity. So ask yourself: if you could automate just one thing, how much more efficient could you be in your business?

4. Company culture comes from your employees.

At The Cupcake Collection, founder and CEO Mignon Francois believes in giving her employees autonomy and allowing their individualism to shine through. She assigns them personality tests and research into what their names mean — she wants her employees to know themselves so that they can bring their best to the team. “When you know who you are, you can walk into any room and own it. And that’s what makes our team gel,” Mignon said.

Director of people, Natalie Dao, uses a similar approach at Liquid Death. While the company tends to hire kind people with a bit of a rebellious streak, it’s not because they’re trying to foster a certain type of culture. Your people are the ones who define what a company’s culture should be. “Culture creates itself,” Natalie shared. “It’s not top-down; it works bottom up.”

5. “The owner’s word weighs a ton.”

Jason Fried is a big advocate for getting out of your team’s way and letting them do what they were actually hired to do. The Basecamp co-founder has even written books about it! But, it’s not enough for leaders to just let their employees get on with it — they have to recognize the power their actions hold in the eyes of their team.

If the boss is working weekends, employees think they should work weekends. If the boss makes a “drive-by comment” on a project, that feedback becomes the number one priority. As a leader, you need to recognize that your actions and words have a ripple effect on your team — so, be a good example.

6. Build your brand like a social movement.

As a company that sells baby and kids food, Little Spoon has a special kind of customer: parents. And Lisa Barnett, co-founder, president, and CMO, knows that “parents talk. You get a lot of recommendations from fellow parents.”

So when it came to marketing her business, Lisa treated it like a social movement — they compared shelf-stable food versus fresh food on their website to pique interest and still allow people to come to their own conclusions. The company wanted to drive business through word-of-mouth by unifying their customer base against a common enemy.

7. “Would you be missed if you were gone?”

We won’t lie — it feels almost disrespectful to watch Seth Godin, author of twenty bestsellers and over 8K daily blog posts, and try to condense his wisdom into just one takeaway. But, to whet your appetite for his session replay, here’s one question that Seth came back to again and again: “Would you be missed if you were gone?”

Meaning, how valuable is your business to your customers — would they miss you if you were gone? How much do they trust you as the solution to their problems? You don’t have to try and steal people’s attention to make yourself the biggest, baddest business on the block. If you’re providing value to even a small group of people, then you matter.

And this question doesn’t just apply to the value of your business! Who are the lynchpins within your team, and would you miss them if they were gone? Your employees should bring something unique to your team that should be celebrated. They add to the value that will make customers miss your business.

8. Don’t balance — prioritize.

Montell Jordan: Grammy-nominated artist and songwriter, ordained pastor, author, and entrepreneur. Just look at that list — the man knows what it means to wear a lot of hats. But it’s not a matter of balancing these different roles — it comes down to prioritizing.

Balance means putting things on equal footing, but some of us have a tendency to try and balance things that shouldn’t take priority. “When you say, ‘how do I balance my children with my job?’ or ‘how do I balance my wife with my career?’ you’re saying that both your job and family are on equal footing when in reality, there should be a priority there,” shared Montell.

The bad news is that you can’t try and balance everything in your life. The good news: “You are successful at what you give attention to.”

9. Follow through on your feelings to execute good ideas.

Having a gut feeling about an idea can lead to magic — but it’s how you act on that feeling that’s important. As a consultant to a lot of successful businesses, Candy Valentino has learned that “feelings are not facts.”

If you have a gut feeling about something, turn to your data. Your numbers will show you the direction you’re really heading in and what changes you’ll need to make. Just be ready to put the work in. “Ideas don’t build multi-million dollar businesses. It’s the execution of them that do,” said Candy.

10. If you build it (your org chart), they will come.

For business consultant Connie S. Falls, documenting your processes should start with your organizational chart. When you look at your org chart, you see who you have and who you still need on your team. From there, you can focus on the tasks that will run your business. Once you have those in place, you can start thinking about roles and responsibilities and the policies that will hold your business together.

And your org chart can also serve as your goal post for five or ten years down the line. Base it off the industry standard — if a business in your industry needs 75 people to function at full steam, you know what to aim for while scaling.

11. Entrepreneurship is a practice of fearlessness.

Every entrepreneur knows that starting a business takes a great deal of bravery. Even Alli Webb, who co-founded Drybar and grew it to over 150 franchise locations, recognized that a lot could go wrong when she was first starting out. But for your business to be successful, you have to take that first step and just do it.

Alli had no business plan and no business model. All she had was a strong gut feeling that enough women wanted the Drybar service. “You have to have that kind of fearlessness,” Alli said. “Failure is an option, but we’re going to try it anyway.”

You can’t be afraid to get outside your comfort zone and go past your own limits. To add more locations, hire more people, or pick yourself up when something goes wrong, you have to practice fearlessness. That’s what it takes to make it as an entrepreneur.

Bonus: Your competitive edge is how you treat your customers.

The average U.S. company has about six competitors. Meaning, your customer base is spoiled for choice. Even if you release new features faster than the rest, your competition is gonna catch up to you eventually. So, according to Hubspot executive Dan Tyre, the one thing that will set you apart from the rest is how you treat your customers.

Actively work to help your customers — don’t just sell to them. They’re smart — your customers will recognize that you’re in the business of helping people like them. And when you treat your customers like real people, they appreciate it. And they’ll be loyal to you as a result.

Feeling pumped? Inspired? Ready for more? Look out for our future Playbook 2022 recaps on every session. And if you want to watch the rest of the replays now, register and get them sent straight to your inbox.

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Article

The Top 11 Takeaways from Playbook 2022

September 27, 2022

Jump to a section
Share it!
Sign up for our newsletter
You're all signed up! Look out for the next edition of The Manual Weekly coming Wednesday am!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

It hasn’t even been a week since Playbook 2022, and it’s still all we’re thinking about.

For anyone who missed it, we brought together some of today’s hottest business leaders to share their experience, wisdom, and advice on everything you might need to know about running and scaling your business. We heard from the likes of marketing mastermind Seth Godin, Drybar co-founder Alli Webb, and executives behind companies like Basecamp, Liquid Death, PandaDoc, and many more.

The result:

  • Two days.
  • 16 speakers.
  • 150+ questions.
  • Thousands of registrants from across the globe.
  • And too many dad jokes to count. (The Ronzio brothers will be here all week, folks — tip your waitstaff.)

Basically, a lot of value jampacked into over 700 minutes of prime business content. And soon, we’re gonna have every session available for you to watch and learn from at your leisure.

But, we get it — running a successful business means that you might not have a ton of free time to binge-watch the recordings in one go. So, to give you something to look forward to, we’ve condensed Playbook into 11 top takeaways that you can start applying to your business. 

1. Your company mission will propel you toward your goals.

Track superstars Allyson and Wes Felix initially co-founded Saysh to make shoes for Allyson to race (and win gold) with at the Tokyo Olympics. But what really drives their company now is supporting women and mothers like Allyson — and thus, changing the way companies treat female athletes and the landscape of women’s footwear. (Did you know that the design of almost all women’s footwear is based on men’s feet? We didn’t.)

With their team of female designers and features like their maternity returns policy, Saysh’s goal has become seeking more change for women. Not just in the footwear industry, but in athletics, society, and beyond — even if the chance to make a difference scared Allyson at first. But as Wes told her: “You can use your voice, even if it shakes.”

2. People will respond to your most authentic self.

For Caitlin Crosby, her personal beliefs and mission drive her company. She started The Giving Keys as a way to tackle the issue of homelessness, helping people transition out of tough situations. And while the company still donates to homeless causes, the mission has expanded — they want to help customers “pay it forward” and connect with each other.

And customers respond to Caitlin’s authentic desire to help others. Not only are they passionate about contributing to the company’s missions, but in the product itself — keys that are reminders of what makes each person special and unique. Caitlin recognized this desire in her customers and leaned into her brand’s authenticity. It works because in Caitlin’s words, “customers can smell when your motives are off.”

3. You’re probably doing more manual work than you need to.

Mikita Mikado and his co-founder started PandaDoc to help people create and manage proposals, contracts, and quotes efficiently. And that’s because they desperately wanted that automated workflow for themselves.

For Mikita, PandaDoc isn’t just his business — it’s a solution for a lot of the problems that he was having to spend hours of labor dealing with. When you have to do the same thing over and over manually, a lot of friction gets introduced to your workflow, which leads to wasted time and opportunity. So ask yourself: if you could automate just one thing, how much more efficient could you be in your business?

4. Company culture comes from your employees.

At The Cupcake Collection, founder and CEO Mignon Francois believes in giving her employees autonomy and allowing their individualism to shine through. She assigns them personality tests and research into what their names mean — she wants her employees to know themselves so that they can bring their best to the team. “When you know who you are, you can walk into any room and own it. And that’s what makes our team gel,” Mignon said.

Director of people, Natalie Dao, uses a similar approach at Liquid Death. While the company tends to hire kind people with a bit of a rebellious streak, it’s not because they’re trying to foster a certain type of culture. Your people are the ones who define what a company’s culture should be. “Culture creates itself,” Natalie shared. “It’s not top-down; it works bottom up.”

5. “The owner’s word weighs a ton.”

Jason Fried is a big advocate for getting out of your team’s way and letting them do what they were actually hired to do. The Basecamp co-founder has even written books about it! But, it’s not enough for leaders to just let their employees get on with it — they have to recognize the power their actions hold in the eyes of their team.

If the boss is working weekends, employees think they should work weekends. If the boss makes a “drive-by comment” on a project, that feedback becomes the number one priority. As a leader, you need to recognize that your actions and words have a ripple effect on your team — so, be a good example.

6. Build your brand like a social movement.

As a company that sells baby and kids food, Little Spoon has a special kind of customer: parents. And Lisa Barnett, co-founder, president, and CMO, knows that “parents talk. You get a lot of recommendations from fellow parents.”

So when it came to marketing her business, Lisa treated it like a social movement — they compared shelf-stable food versus fresh food on their website to pique interest and still allow people to come to their own conclusions. The company wanted to drive business through word-of-mouth by unifying their customer base against a common enemy.

7. “Would you be missed if you were gone?”

We won’t lie — it feels almost disrespectful to watch Seth Godin, author of twenty bestsellers and over 8K daily blog posts, and try to condense his wisdom into just one takeaway. But, to whet your appetite for his session replay, here’s one question that Seth came back to again and again: “Would you be missed if you were gone?”

Meaning, how valuable is your business to your customers — would they miss you if you were gone? How much do they trust you as the solution to their problems? You don’t have to try and steal people’s attention to make yourself the biggest, baddest business on the block. If you’re providing value to even a small group of people, then you matter.

And this question doesn’t just apply to the value of your business! Who are the lynchpins within your team, and would you miss them if they were gone? Your employees should bring something unique to your team that should be celebrated. They add to the value that will make customers miss your business.

8. Don’t balance — prioritize.

Montell Jordan: Grammy-nominated artist and songwriter, ordained pastor, author, and entrepreneur. Just look at that list — the man knows what it means to wear a lot of hats. But it’s not a matter of balancing these different roles — it comes down to prioritizing.

Balance means putting things on equal footing, but some of us have a tendency to try and balance things that shouldn’t take priority. “When you say, ‘how do I balance my children with my job?’ or ‘how do I balance my wife with my career?’ you’re saying that both your job and family are on equal footing when in reality, there should be a priority there,” shared Montell.

The bad news is that you can’t try and balance everything in your life. The good news: “You are successful at what you give attention to.”

9. Follow through on your feelings to execute good ideas.

Having a gut feeling about an idea can lead to magic — but it’s how you act on that feeling that’s important. As a consultant to a lot of successful businesses, Candy Valentino has learned that “feelings are not facts.”

If you have a gut feeling about something, turn to your data. Your numbers will show you the direction you’re really heading in and what changes you’ll need to make. Just be ready to put the work in. “Ideas don’t build multi-million dollar businesses. It’s the execution of them that do,” said Candy.

10. If you build it (your org chart), they will come.

For business consultant Connie S. Falls, documenting your processes should start with your organizational chart. When you look at your org chart, you see who you have and who you still need on your team. From there, you can focus on the tasks that will run your business. Once you have those in place, you can start thinking about roles and responsibilities and the policies that will hold your business together.

And your org chart can also serve as your goal post for five or ten years down the line. Base it off the industry standard — if a business in your industry needs 75 people to function at full steam, you know what to aim for while scaling.

11. Entrepreneurship is a practice of fearlessness.

Every entrepreneur knows that starting a business takes a great deal of bravery. Even Alli Webb, who co-founded Drybar and grew it to over 150 franchise locations, recognized that a lot could go wrong when she was first starting out. But for your business to be successful, you have to take that first step and just do it.

Alli had no business plan and no business model. All she had was a strong gut feeling that enough women wanted the Drybar service. “You have to have that kind of fearlessness,” Alli said. “Failure is an option, but we’re going to try it anyway.”

You can’t be afraid to get outside your comfort zone and go past your own limits. To add more locations, hire more people, or pick yourself up when something goes wrong, you have to practice fearlessness. That’s what it takes to make it as an entrepreneur.

Bonus: Your competitive edge is how you treat your customers.

The average U.S. company has about six competitors. Meaning, your customer base is spoiled for choice. Even if you release new features faster than the rest, your competition is gonna catch up to you eventually. So, according to Hubspot executive Dan Tyre, the one thing that will set you apart from the rest is how you treat your customers.

Actively work to help your customers — don’t just sell to them. They’re smart — your customers will recognize that you’re in the business of helping people like them. And when you treat your customers like real people, they appreciate it. And they’ll be loyal to you as a result.

Feeling pumped? Inspired? Ready for more? Look out for our future Playbook 2022 recaps on every session. And if you want to watch the rest of the replays now, register and get them sent straight to your inbox.

Article

The Top 11 Takeaways from Playbook 2022

September 27, 2022

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