Have you ever finished a great visit and had the prospect say, “This is great – Can you get me a proposal?”
If someone asks this we need to simplify on the spot – “Sure thing. Are you an email person?” (Everyone is.) “Would it be okay if I summarized our conversation in bullet point form and shot that back by email?”
Save yourself HOURS by converting ‘proposals’ to ‘bullet points.’
His core message: Do less, but better. You can unlock quality and make your highest contribution toward the things that really matter by doing only what is essential.
He dubs this ‘Essentialism.’
In some ways this isn’t a new idea, and yet, I found myself underlining nuggets on every page:
If you don’t prioritize your life, somebody else will.
To embrace the essence of Essentialism requires we replace false assumptions with three core truths: “I choose to,” “Only a few things really matter,” and “I can do anything but not everything.”
Once we accept the reality of trade-offs we stop asking, “How can I make it all work?” and start asking the more honest question “Which problem do I want to solve?”
Essentialists spend as much time as possible exploring, listening, debating, questioning, and thinking… Almost everything is noise, and a very few things are exceptionally valuable. This is the justification for taking time to figure out what is most important.
This makes a lot of sense. Recent discoveries in neuroscience tell us that the decision-making function in our brains does not prioritize!
Essentialism is applicable to any human endeavor:
Sales/Major Gifts. Spend more time with better prospects. Just Visit. Just Ask. The discipline of the Sales Process (e.g., strategy, predisposition, follow-up.) These are the essentials; almost everything else is noise and nonessential.
Life. An Australian nurse named Bronnie Ware, who cared for people in the last twelve weeks of their lives, recorded their most often discussed regrets. At the top of the list: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” McKeown argues for LIFE DESIGN, “This requires, not just haphazardly saying no, but purposefully, deliberately, and strategically eliminating the nonessentials.”
I agree with McKeown’s notion that Essentialism is an idea whose time has come. We are in an age-of-noise. Discern. Focus. Do less. Have more IMPACT.
This week’s theme is BUILD YOUR FUNDING RATIONALE.
Essentially there are three ways to create a funding rationale – the three P’s. You can ask someone to invest in:
It would be more accurate to refer to this final rationale as a ‘unit’ but then I would lose alliteration. You can do the math to figure out the cost to impact one student, one class, one session, one exhibit, one visitor, etc. This could be a total cost or a ‘gap cost.’
This could include seed funds to launch a program, sponsorship for a program or gap funding for a program. The cost of the program is set against the impact of the program – You’re selling the impact of the program.
Commonly used with the ‘campaign mindset.’ Cast your vision, attach a dollar amount, articulate a funding plan then ask someone to be a piece of the plan.
You can use one, two or all three – but you must HAVE a simple funding rationale:
“Could you sponsor a classroom? (or 5?)”
“Could you underwrite the program this year and next?”
For Impact is a team of entrepreneurs. I sold my first company at the age of 20. Tom, a serial entrepreneur, has founded 19 different companies. Just about everyone else has experience in starting or building companies and scaling ideas.
What brings our team together is this experience plus a common passion to use this DNA for Impact. (And, there we have a nice little reference to our raison d’être.) Extracting this DNA — then putting it into words — it reads:
Focus on 10 prospects who could TRANSFORM your funding … and TRANSFORM your organization.
ONLY do that which is productive in your funding plan (Stop doing special events that aren’t special and that don’t raise money.)
Stamp DRAFT on everything and go visit!
No committees. “Engage, then plan!”
Just Visit. Just ASK. Ten steps forward and two steps back is still eight steps forward.
Tom brings a more powerful voice to the ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT. Not only has he done the 19 companies, but he’s traveled the world visiting with and mentoring social entrepreneurs. Here is a one-pager on TB/BS/AN from Tom.