Thursday, February 10, 2011

Morris Miller of Cutstone Ventures at ACG Austin

The Central Texas Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth was "wowed" by Morris Miller, co-founder of Rackspace and president and CEO of Cutstone Ventures.

His talk was a fast paced overview of what businesses need to do to execute on a pro-active strategy for growth and success.

Miller has been a hands-on founder and investor in many companies, and his love for business and deals began at an early age. He was mowing lawns, selling lemonade and reading business books on positioning before he was shaving.

He an evangelist that your business must own something in the customer's mind. Being second in mind-share can leave you invisible (who was the second person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean? We all know who was FIRST!).

Knowing who you are and what you do best and making sure you hammer it home in your marketing is key. When you do this, people will remember it forever (How do you spell relief? R-O-L-A-I-D-S).

A company's strategies will evolve over time (sometimes quickly), so leaders must be prepared to morph when their products and services are not resonating with customers. Know that you cannot wait for perfection: "The best is the enemy of the good". You can always make your offerings "better", but if you sit back and wait for perfect you will lose.

Thing in business change, and executives need to constantly be thinking about who they are and where they are going. Over time a category can divide and become more categories. Thus if you are falsely under the belief that you cannot own your category, look around for the new trends in your business.

His example of MILK was great. Ten years ago there was few milk categories: "milk" and "chocolate milk" (and maybe non-fat). Now there is "Organic Milk", "Natural Milk", "Soy Milk", "Energy Milk", "Lactose Free Milk", "Strawberry Milk", "Almond Milk", etc.... The category split and new business opportunities emerged. Those who were paying attention have made a lot of money.

What disruptions are going to hit your industry? If you are not looking for it you will miss out.

In the end, it is all about relationships. Miller stressed several times the power of the connections with people. He has over 4000 contacts in his phone, and he works to stay in touch with these individuals. To ignore you network is to miss opportunities (ahhh, the whole "networking thing"... hmmmm.... someone should write books about that topic!!... Oh, I did!). He closed by reminding the audience that you have to put energy into these human relationships (He is right!).

Morris Miller is a great speaker, and he talks fast, so you have to listen fast..... but the information was powerful.

The Association for Corporate Growth continues to bring amazing business leaders to the platform at their monthly lunches in Austin. Are you attending regularly?

Have A Great Day

thom singer

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