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Jeff Hoffman, ColorJar – InnovaBuzz 173

Jeff Hoffman

Jeff Hoffman, ColorJar

In this episode, I’m really excited to have on the InnovaBuzz podcast as my guest, Jeff Hoffman, a successful entrepreneur, proven CEO, worldwide motivational speaker, published author, Hollywood film producer, and a producer of a Grammy-winning jazz album. He has founded multiple startups, has been the CEO of both public and private companies, and has been part of some well-known companies, including Priceline.com (known as Bookings.com for my Australian friends), uBid.com, ColorJar, and more. I do encourage you to read the rest of his amazing bio.

Jeff has achieved a lot in his life and continues to excel, and it’s such an honour to have him speak to us on the InnovaBuzz podcast.

In our discussion, Jeff talked to me about

  • Getting out of your office regularly and spending a day in the life of your customer – in their environment, where they hang out and listen to the conversations they have
  • Building products by solving problems you encounter and that other people will have and will value getting rid of that problem
  • Storytelling and how to craft stories that are meaningful to your audience by involving your customer or audience.

Erica Castner on episode 132 suggested we interview Jeff.

Listen to the podcast to find out more.

Listen to the Podcast

The best content is a content that invites the readers to somewhere they want to go and takes them along for the journey so they feel like they are in the story with you. @SpeakerJeff on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

Show Notes from this episode with Jeff Hoffman of ColorJar

Key points and take-aways from this episode include:

  • When you find yourself in a situation where you are complaining about something, STOP and ask the following questions. If your answer to all these 3 questions is YES, then you probably have a company.
    1. Is this a problem that bothers a lot of people or is it just me?
    2. Is there a better way to do this?
    3. Is this a business? If you fix it, would people be happy enough that you made it better, that they would pay you to do it?
  • Spend time thinking about what the other person would want to hear in your content. No one but you actually cares about what you want to say. People care about what they want to hear. 
  • To have engaging content, you need to have a story that invites the listeners or readers to come along. They want to be part of it. They want to feel like they are taking a journey with you. The best content is content that invites the readers to somewhere they want to go and takes them along for the journey so they feel like they are in the story with you.
  • You are never going to come up with an answer by just sitting in your office. Schedule some time out of the office to spend a day in the life of your customers. Hang out where your customers are and don’t sell. Listen to how they tell stories to each other and what they seem to be engaged in. If you spend time not talking but just listening around them, you will get better and better at determining how to deliver your message.
  • Go out of your bubble. Immerse yourself in other worlds that you wouldn’t normally spend time in because that is where the answer is.
  • You have to love learning. Do your homework. Do a lot of research. Reach out to a lot of people. Ask a lot of questions and really study that business, that problem, and that industry. 
  • Go out and find people that already have the expertise that you don’t and add them to your team. 
  • Build the kind of culture where everybody shares their ideas, their perspectives, and different backgrounds, but in the end, everybody should agree that you have to head in the same direction.
  • Don’t hire people by their CV or resume. Hire by culture so that you get the kind of people that you already know are going to be good team players for you. Cultural fit is more important than specific skills.
  • It’s a never-ending process to learn about your ideal customer and update your customer profile because the more intimate you get with your knowledge of who your customer really is, what they want and how they want it to be delivered to them, the better you become at delivering what your customers want.
  • Find a natural story. Ask people to tell you their stories all the time. A customer’s story resonates with another customer’s story way more than a story you are trying to create.
Go out of your bubble. Immerse yourself in other worlds that you wouldn't normally spend time in because that is where the answer is. @SpeakerJeff on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round

Here are Jeff’s answers to the questions of our Innovation round. Listen to the interview to get the full scoop.

  1. #1 thing to be more innovative – Info-sponging. Schedule time to leave your industry behind and go see what the rest of the world is doing.
  2. Best thing for new ideas – Realise that I learn way more outside of my office than I can in my office, being out in the world and around customers.
  3. Favourite tool for innovation – Human capital. LinkedIn.
  4. Keep project / client on track – Quick standup meetings. Too many meetings slow down your productivity. You will go faster if you are standing than if you get everybody seated. By doing this everyday, we never get very far behind.
  5. Differentiate – Track your competitors but respond to your customers. Don’t base your uniqueness over whether you are better than your competitors. Distinguish yourself by being the one that is deeper into the customer. Stop comparing yourself to competition. Compare yourself to what the customer said needs to be done.

To Be a Leader

Go out of your office and start spending time hanging around with customers. Spend time finding people who are smarter than you and letting go. You can’t scale until you let go. As you empower your people and let go, your business will start to grow. But if you’re afraid to do that, you will always be the reason your business never really got that big. 

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank Jeff through his website, email, and on LinkedIn.

Links

Cool things about Jeff

  • He is the co-author of the book SCALE, a how-to guide for growing your business.
  • He has produced movies, TV shows, and has produced musical events including concerts, tours, and charity events with such artists as Elton John, Britney Spears, NSYNC, and others.
  • He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the national CEO council for his contributions to the field of entrepreneurship, and the Champion of Entrepreneurship Award from JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, and Rising Tide Capital, as well as receiving the George Brown Award for International Cooperation. 
Find a natural story. Ask people to tell you their stories all the time. A customer's story resonates with another customer's story way more than a story you are trying to create. @SpeakerJeff on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

Listen to the Podcast

Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is a transformational marketing strategist, podcaster, speaker, the chief innovator and founder of Innovabiz who partner with innovative, exceptional business coaches and consultants to enable you to acquire more leads and more business by reaching your ideal target prospects with your message, so that you will achieve growth and be able to make a difference to more ideal clients. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, as well as on Innovabiz' Twitter, Facebook, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Tales of Marketing Transformation Show and his personal Photography website.

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