Sunday, February 24, 2013

The new business battle.

The new business pitch experience is kind of like a slow motion, extended director's cut fight scene. You have no idea where your competition or your breakthrough idea will come from, but you must be ready to defend it. All while maintaining your now business. And maybe some semblance of sanity.

(More specifically, I picture this way over-the-top scene from Boondock Saints II. Although, for what it's worth, I totally would have paired that scene with Conscious Killer from BRMC. I mean, come on, the MacManus brothers were religious vigilantes. It just fits.)

So, you get the new business creative brief. You may or may not have a clear weapon, but you most definitely will be blindfolded. That's the thrill of it though. In most cases, you have no idea who you're up against. What insight will your competition have that you don't? Are they close friends with one of the potential clients? Will they be smarter, or more funny, or find that one thing that the client can't deny?

Stop.

Don't think about any of that. You have to put all that anxiety aside and work harder to create something undeniably true. Something right. Be certain that everyone will be bringing their best to the table and push yourself and your team harder.

The whole process is a grueling mental spectacle clouded with adrenaline and anticipation. You'll wake up in the middle of the night and send ridiculous emails to your team. (Sorry team, it felt like urgent genius at 4:00 AM. At 8:00 AM, though still entertaining, clearly not genius.) You'll forget to eat. (However, you probably will not forget to drink coffee.) You'll annoy your family and friends who maintain a normal work/life balance. (Yeah, during a pitch, 'work' holds its side of the teeter totter down like a relentless schoolyard bully while 'life' gets stranded in the air. Legs flailing.)

Time stands still, but there's never enough of it. You fill the wall, your sketchbook, and your free-time with conceptual angles. Then, just when everyone has second-guessed themselves to death and almost lost hope, you get the inspiration when you're not looking for it. A big idea effortlessly launches more supporting ideas. And it all starts to make sense. You build it as quickly as you can.

Then, pencils down everyone. You submit the idea. And you wait.

Coming off the high of a pitch is both exhilarating and exhausting. Those of us who seek the thrill of new business will continue to collect our arsenal of randomness and find satisfaction in the delirious aftermath of the pitch. We'll gladly subject ourselves to the uncertain creative smack-down. We'll build our team and hone our plan of attack. Growing from mistakes and briefly relishing victories.

Wait, what's that? There's another new business opportunity? Already? Alright. Cover me, I'm going in.

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