Versatility

(First Posted November 2014 and it’s still good today…)

I belong to a group of small business owners and entrepreneurs that gets together twice a month to share what’s going on in our businesses. When the group first started, it was like a “pitch fest” but it’s really evolved into something more of a Mastermind.

Yesterday, the co-leader of the group asked me to lead off by sharing “what’s new” in my business. I had been thinking about writing this very piece for a couple of days so my comments flowed out appropriately in the moment. As it turned out, my thoughts seemed to resonate with everyone and became the theme of the evening. My theme was versatility.

Looking back over a nine day period in the past two weeks, I was constantly in motion for my audiovisual business producing a variety of events with zero tolerance for error. Each of the events I produced called upon a different skill set to meet unique challenges.

First was a flight to Orlando, Florida to produce a three-day General Session for a client I’ve been working with for 11 years. I rehearsed and supported six major speakers who are all in the business of predicting and plotting color trends and color forecasting, and consulting on global trends in general. They all presented on their own computers in either Power Point, .mp4 video files, Keynote or Prezi from an iPad, plus an additional dozen presenters from three continents with their regional reports. I also created and executed this simple but versatile stage design with which the client was very pleased:

CMG Stageset 11.14.14

Because of the nature of their work and the necessity of displaying accurate colors digitally, I always bring my spectrophotometer and calibrate each computer and projector for this annual conference.

Two days after returning to my home in Southern California, I drove into Los Angeles to support two pharmaceutical company dinners on one evening, armed with LCD projectors, laser pointers, slide advancers and my usual bag of cable adapters to make any device connect to any other device.

The next day I traded the projectors for an audio system with speakers, mixer and wireless microphones and my video camera and headed off to San Diego. This event was in a private home where I supported a reception for 60 people and round-table Q & A for a very high profile group of environmental activists.

After a short but needed nights’ sleep, I drove 4 hours through morning LA traffic to my home community of Oxnard. With less than an hour to spare, I met my arriving equipment truck and crew to set up video monitors and audio to create a temporary overflow viewing room for a funeral the following day at a local Buddhist Temple. This turned out to be quite a challenge as the cable run was over 400 feet. There were severe challenges to getting “clean” power from the building in order to get clean signals through the video projection and audio systems. We also recorded the entire event for the family and they now have a complete DVD of the ceremony with titles and packaging.

In small business, we really use a huge variety of different skill sets every day which differentiate us from the person sitting next to us who may be in exactly the same industry. Our group found that it didn’t matter if we were a realtor for a nationally-known firm, a mortgage broker, a franchise owner for fundraising products, the owner of a well-known jewelry business in a network marketing structure, a high net worth financial planner or a brand partner of the most real skin care company on the planet, we all draw upon and build skill sets that are our differentiating assets. We need to openly celebrate them and elevate their importance in our successes.

How versatile are you? What skill sets have you learned along your way that allow you to shine in your business?

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