Monday – first zoom meeting 5:30pm – 9:00ish. Chris and I were both so excited to start the Drake Business Accelerator. Our facilitator Bill Adamowski is so enthusiastic, supportive and certainly has plenty of experience we can learn from. We were introduced to the rest of the teaching team who seem great, too! A large part of our first meeting was everyone introducing themselves and their business or business ideas for those brand-new startups. It was an eclectic group of business ideas which certainly makes it interesting. As a former immigrant myself to England for 15 years and my British hubby who is an immigrant here in the States, we have a special warmth toward the other immigrants in the group. Our 2 dogs Oliver and his mom Daisy couldn’t figure out what they heck we were doing. Behind the scenes in the zoom call, they had plenty of creative tactics to try to get us away from the meeting. Hats off to the parents of the group!

After all of the introductions, we learned a bit from Bill. Then he dropped the bombshell by Monday…our first assignments.

Drake Business Accelerator Week 1 Assignment

  • 5-10 customer discovery calls
  • fill out a form called the business canvas with info about our business
  • fill out a one page doc to share with the group displaying how many calls we made this week
  • Everything has to be emailed by Sunday midnight.

One of the members was brave enough to speak up and say that he was feeling overwhelmed with the work required. He was nervous about jumping straight into the calls and unsure how to proceed. He put a voice to all of our trepidation!

Tuesday – started feeling nervous about balancing our usual workload with the tasks that were asked of us.

Wednesday – Chris had an incoming call that presented an opportunity to get some feedback about our business, so that was 1 of our 10 calls.

Thursday – Today, I woke up at silly o’clock because my one-year-old dog was trying to trick me into letting him leave our guest bedroom where he sleeps and come into our room with his mother. Then, I couldn’t get back to sleep. My mind was racing with the tasks I needed to finish in the morning to clear space in my afternoon to make “Customer Discovery Calls.” I ended up sneakily turning on the laptop in bed. I thought I got away with it, but I ended up waking up my hubby and business partner, Chris. I then proceeded to talk his ear off when we had our morning cuppa (translation from British – cup of tea). My mind was racing with what questions to ask on the “Customer Discovery Calls.” I had some ideas, but apprehension abounds. I’ve done cold sales calls before, but just interrupting someone’s day to pick their brain feels difficult!

My morning started with a pleasant surprise. One of the teaching team called me to talk to me about our business. It was fantastic to start the day with some positive feedback. It bolsters the spirits when you know you need to do something difficult in the afternoon.  2 of 10 calls.

I finished my lunch and knew that I needed to get started with my calls. I wrote out my list of questions and then spent time discussing them with Chris. We were both a little confused that the instructions suggested we ask really open-ended questions to learn about potential customers problems. We really want to get feedback on what we offer, and if marketing agencies aren’t interested in our white label social media service, why they aren’t interested. We decided on a set of questions, and it was time to start calling.

We started by calling some prospects we’d previously sent some cold sales emails in Chicago. Out of 10 calls, only 1 company answered the phone. I ended up speaking to the HR Director. They had a voip phone number with an absolutely terrible line. My voice was repeating back to me as I asked my questions. It was a fairly harrowing call, but I did get some feedback. 3 of 10 calls.

At this point, I was feeling fairly dejected. I’ve only had one self-generated call myself, and it was with the wrong job role. I dug deep and reminded myself that I’ve done cold calling before. This is how it goes. You have to persevere. I thought I’d try calling a different region to see if they were more prone to answer their phones. Goodbye Chicago. Hello Austin.

Fate seemed to smile on my determination, as I was logging into our database to find our Austin list, a notification popped up to say that a potential reseller from Minneapolis wants to book a call. YES! Call booked. Come on Austin! ‘Let’s be having ya’ as they’d say in England.

Now, things are starting to happen. I have a call with the right person, and she gives me some great feedback. Just what I’m looking for. I’m now inspired from the conversation to change the questions to be more direct. I improve the questions, so we can get more value from them. Next call, presto…magic, just by asking for feedback he tells me he’s interested in becoming a referral partner. 5 of 10 calls.

I’m now in flow, but it’s 5pm. I could make some calls in the Pacific time zone, but I have some regular business that needs taking care of. Need to make up some time this evening since I had these calls today. Feeling much better about making additional calls on Friday.