Tim Ferriss, creator of the "4-Hour" empire, is nothing if not a media darling (we won't pile on—he'll tell you himself).
The entrepreneur, angel investor, and best-selling author (his latest is The 4-Hour Chef, a doorstop of a book for clueless dudes who don't yet know how to make scrambled eggs but aspire to "bacon roses"), is also a mentor in the 2012 Shopify Build-a-Business competition. Now in its third year, the contest has over 8,000 entrepreneurs vying for four awards of $50,000 along with personalized mentoring from Ferriss and other branding gurus like Daymond John and Eric Ries to help catapult their concepts to the next level.
Below, Ferriss gives us a sneak peak of a key lesson he shares with new entrepreneurs: you have to learn to tell your businesses's story—and if you can't do it well, you can bet the media won't do it well for you.
"The best entrepreneurs I've ever met are all good communicators," he says. "It's perhaps one of the very few unifying factors."
First, figure out the focus of your story—yourself, your product, a problem you're trying to solve, or perhaps most effectively, a trend.
"If you're trying to tie what your'e doing into a greater trend, you're going to need other examples, and you're going to need to get comfortable bringing in other cooperative competitors to create that trend piece. Learn the art of the pitch and of messaging."
Once you've figured out your angle, you need to hone your pitch and your story through (you guessed it) practice.
While getting your so-called elevator pitch down is a given, Ferriss recommends getting it all in writing so you can revise it. "Writing is thought crystalized on a piece of paper, which can then be reviewed," he says.
Another tip? Take time to develop what he calls a "swipe file" full of ads or offers or whatever it is that made you decide to buy something. Cut it out, stick it in a big envelope or Evernote, and then figure out what made you tip from "not interested" into "out another five (or five hundred) bucks."
"Everything that works in sales has been done already," he says. "Just keep track of the crap that you buy, or the awesome stuff that you buy, and decide what was the trigger, and then just sell to people like you. It's really that easy—and that's what I do."
Click below for more of Ferriss's mentorship lessons, to see what books he recommends, and how he learned to play nice with the media:
- 9 Build-A-Business Tips From Shopify's Most Crazy Awesome Stores
- Tim Ferriss's Tips For Manufacturing A Prototype
- Shopify's Build-A-Business Competition Starts Now
[Image: Flickr user Heather Kaiser]