How do you feel when some asks…So what do you do?

This picture shows how I have felt inside for many years.


If you have an easily recognised job and you are happy with it, this emotional response may be puzzling to you.  The answer is straightforward for you.  How you feel about giving this answer depends on how you feel about your job. E.g. I am a doctor, architect, marketing director of xxx, consultant with McKinsey etc.

But when you have set up your own business, or if you work in a field that people don’t easily understand, then it can be a scary or tricky moment. At Differentiate we have been working with clients for 16 years and often struggled to “label” or “describe” what we do as a business.

Why is this a struggle?

Sometimes I am worried about sounding undifferentiated and generic and what to be special and distinctive.  So I come up with something that is “different”.  But what I have found is that in doing that, all too often I just come across as unclear.

A solution
So I have spent some of the past 12 months working with Mike Harris to be better at answering this question. Mike was founder of First Direct and Egg Money and developed pitching skills in doing this.  He now has an approach to solve this problem. He calls it Perfect Pitch.

The emotional revelation for me is that creating an elevator pitch is liberating and confidence building.  This means if the situation is just social then I am more relaxed and not worried that I might come across as selling inappropriately.  If it is a business context then this is, of course, the first step in marketing a product or service. Be clear what it is. Your customer has to understand what is you offer. Only then can they decide if it helps them solve a problem that they are grappling with.

This post shares my answer to the question “what do you do?”.

All feedback welcome. Please email, tweet @chrisradford10 or comment here.

  • Is it clear?
  • Does it make sense?
  • Is what we did for you?

Here is the shortest one for the elevator (probably still too long)

I’m a strategy consultant who helps business leaders create growth strategies that everyone is convinced will work. We work with big firms, but are re-engineering our product to work for smaller businesses as well.

I was a marketing director at Pepsi. In 1996, I founded Differentiate to work in consumer products and B2B. Most notably we helped Mars to create CELEBRATIONS and then turn GALAXY into a $200m+ brand in the Middle East. More recently we helped MIRACLE GRO transform its performance as well as reposition some professional service businesses.

Business leaders have lots of ideas but can be unsure how to pick the winners. And then when they do they struggle to convince everyone the ideas will work.

We created the EFFECTIVE GROWTH LEADERS programme to address this. This is about coming up with and picking winning ideas and convincing the whole business team the ideas will work.

We are known for getting results and on a mission to reignite growth in established products and services.

If they seem interested then talk more about the problem and solution……..

Problem – what is the problem I am trying to solve?
We have researched the problems faced by 300 business leaders. They told us they have many insights and ideas but struggle to see the wood from the trees. They sometimes lack the CLARITY they need to pick the winners. Then when they choose a potential winner it is hard to CONVINCE the business to go ahead. This is because BIG GROWTH ideas are disruptive. And disruption creates risk. The business needs convincing the RISK IS WORTH IT. This is not easy. It takes an ENTREPRENEURIAL mindset and determination to do this. We call these people INTERNAL ENTREPRENEURS.

Solution – how do we solve this and why is it believable?
We have a 5 step method to address this. We create clarity and evidence using research, analytical tools and workshops. This 5 step method is the Effective Growth Leaders programme. At the end of the process, you know which changes to the product, the branding, the marketing or the distribution strategy will be most EFFECTIVE at driving growth.

What is our next game? Where is this going?
This is high end consulting that works, but it costs over £50K. Many mid-sized businesses cannot afford this. The GAME CHANGER will be to make it affordable to mid-size businesses.
To do this I am taking the analytical tools online. I am restructuring the approach to run 10 clients in one EFFECTIVE GROWTH LEADERS programme rather than just 1 at a time.

Mission and purpose.
We are known for getting results and on a mission to reignite growth in established products and services.

What is you experience of answering this question.  Do you have a pitch that is both clear and interesting?