Updated: Oct 22, 2021
An Entrepreneur’s Rough Rise to Success
Mari founded a brand in the beauty and health sector. Originally of Portuguese-Brazilian descent, she was looking to derive high-level cosmetics from Amazonian natural plant medicines – unique, exclusive, expensive products that appealed to a very narrow niche target group in the United States, where she was planning to build her base. Technically, it appeared to be a brilliant business idea considering the price margin potentials and with almost no sophisticated competition. She expected to find enthusiastic buyers in a heartbeat.
Unfortunately, she was not able to garner attention using her somewhat already developed personal brand, and rapidly her funds were depleted. She was staring into a sea of debt and had two months reserve to help turn the ship around. At a business networking event in a major city on the West Coast, she met a language instructor that turned out to be the Beacon for what she needed to accomplish to save her operation. This is Mari’s story.
Communication Training Helps Getting Funding
Undoubtedly, Mari needed fresh cash. To finance the next product batch, completing the licensing process for her full product line, pay some overdue credit charges, and assure that she could redress her brand with the appropriate labels and web contents, she needed a minimum of USD $150K. She did not know how to talk to investors.
Meeting bankers and angel investors at networking events she presented her weak-written business plan and error-laden pitch deck and received no leads, neither hot nor cold. Creating the necessary documents was challenging for her so she hired someone; he delivered less than promised. Mari knew that she needed to project competence and present convincing materials as an entrepreneur at the investor interviews.
The English language instructor she met with remotely provided the training and materials such as worksheets and recordings so that Mari came to learn how to communicate professionally in English. Additionally, he connected her with an impact planner who revised her pitch documents. With his help, Mari eventually convinced an amount of mostly native English-speaking peer investors (P2P crowdvesting) to offer the investment she needed. She created a YouTube channel where she spoke in beautifully worded English about the need to help the Amazonian tribes by buying their cosmetic raw materials. Her accent softened and polished, Mari, spoke with confident proficiency with style and eloquence.
She emphasized how each purchase would help create impact, intelligently weaving in customer education so the developed world could receive the full healing power and reconstitution. The holistic cosmetics industry quickly recognized her authenticity and supported her in her development as a go-to influencer with links, mentions, and positive comments. She out achieved her planned goals even before she had her first new product batch together. Her credibility had earned her crowd investment support and influencer role.
Improving her language skills with the help of her instructor made the difference between failing as a brand and receiving the monetary rescue that allowed the exposure and expansion of the business that would soon thrive.
Finding Partners by Being a Great Communicator
Mari was confident in her business’s sourcing partners and product inventory to develop the market share necessary for financial viability. Nevertheless, she did not clearly understand what was necessary to monetize her reach, acquire a surplus of distribution partners, and reach all her revenue goals. Language coaching and instruction helped Mari identify the type of language and tone she needed to raise her entrepreneurial language and presentation skill levels. As an influencer in her community of followers, she could make the most out of any given opportunity to speak.
Now that she could code-switch between accents and languages and communicate fluidly in three languages, (Portuguese, Spanish, English) a market opened up for her and she grew her production of original and information-dense video and podcasting content. That sheer amount of competently communicated content further put her ahead of her competition and enabled her to convey with impeccable authority and authenticity.
Resistance and skepticism dissolved as she easily garnered attention for her brand and products. First, second and third-tier target groups responded to the positive reviews and experience described on her website as well as omnichannel distribution platforms. Whenever and wherever she spoke, people listened. The benefits of working with her instructor reflected in all facets of her business including product descriptions, miscellaneous content pieces, general advertising copy, and in written form content that Mari had begun to generate in response to customer feedback. She opened up two-directional communication channels with her customers that could hear and understand her more easily, stimulating engagement and increasing likability, so that she was now receiving mentions from larger media platforms.
Not too long after, she had grown into her persona as knowledgeable and sympathetic even beyond her targeted niche circle. Her ability to communicate in all three languages had allowed her to reach farther than she had imagined, as she traced the development of those skills to her language instructor. The next level took her internationally to farther English language speaking countries and she added Canada, Australia, and the UK to her distribution network.
Good Communication Makes Finding Clients a Breeze
There is no better way to acquire customers than walking out into the world and having a conversation with anyone who will listen to your message. This is prominently illustrated in the context of "lean startup methodology". i.e., when we survey our ideal target group.
With the ideal customer avatar identified, their validation maintains the existence of the brand and keeps the doors open and swinging. Calling on their support in the form of actual hard currency (money) is seen as the highest form of commitment and underscores the work accomplished by an entrepreneur. Finding a sales pitch and pitching brand messages correctly strikes home with a prospect who is already enamored with a product before the movement of capital.
It is surely challenging to pull the biases, interests, arguments, and internal buying decision-making processes out of the ideal customer. “Talking their language” earns their trust and goes a long way in opening hearts and allowing them to sincerely share what it takes to make them take out their credit cards and finalize the purchase of a product or service, ideally in droves. Small talk and exercises in a conversation led by Mari’s language instructor were invaluable for her success as she visited marketing networks and holistic medicinal cosmetics enthusiasts. She learned to strike up a productive conversation, fast gained a routine, and her initial uncomfortable awkwardness fell away.
People are magnetized by when non-native speakers communicate with a command of finely tuned English language skills. Puzzled by a word, idiom, or expression, practice, creating mental notes, and filling the gaps with words unfamiliar to her native tongue make accented speakers even more likable. It tied back with the type of pitch that she was bringing to the table, which was all about supporting indigenous tribes in Brazil. She and her instructor further explored the range of vocabulary with relevance in her particular area of communication, and her skill increased exponentially. Mari had a distinct motivation to drill down on her weaknesses and gain a full range of competence. Brilliantly shining a light on her brand every time, she met the stage, she spoke convincingly and from her heart to her audiences. Lines formed regularly for demo products; she sold out at any convention or event where she set up space.
Sweeping online sales soon followed as she again struggled to meet the demand. New raw material sources had to be exploited to avoid keep bottlenecks as word spread and recommendations poured in through every network and platform.
Leading Teams as a Communication Expert
As business accelerated, management needs became obvious. Opportunities for a key account manager, a marketing assistant, an in-house web/content designer, and a purchasing assistant on the ground in Brazil were designed, defined, and announced. Interviews and written exchanges became voluminous, and she was happy for her language instructor’s help in idiomatically translating for the native English speakers on her team.
Mari’s leadership and authority became more and more vital to the success of her company. Despite her discomfort and lack of confidence, she continued nurturing her opportunities to speak in English and continued working with her instructor who continued to raise the bar on her language skills goals measurably and repeatedly so that her improvement continued seamlessly. With that, she felt confident to rally her teams to efficient performance. She found new ways of condensing instructions as her ability to communicate in English continued to expand. She could feel herself enjoying speaking in public, offering her abundance and a sense of purpose.
Before it was just speech and projections, but now she was starting to see how she impacted and improved the lives of indigenous people in Brazil. She traveled to use her experience to further inspire and motivate her teams and soon they became enchanted and enthralled with the vision that radiated from their top executive leader. Her ability to illustrate masterfully in three languages what they were really doing – which was so far beyond simply making money (of which they were making a lot) – stood at the heart. Now business began to soar as a result of visibility so that she was forced to dial back her active sales and partner acquisition efforts and simply focus on content creation. Emails, calls, and messages poured in, some with the most attractive proposals. Two additional account managers and the implementation of a performant CRM system enabled her to continue on the rise.
Monetizing her influence with cross-sponsoring affiliate products and placing digital educational courses around being a practitioner with Amazonian medicinal cosmetics caused ripples that launched her no-longer-just-a-startup into an unpredicted stratosphere of success. When a Mexican angel investor reached out with an offer to purchase a seven-figure stake of her company, she knew she had reached a turning point in her entrepreneurial life. He wanted to invest in a leader with skills, experience, talent, and integrity, and he believed in her message as she delivered it. She accepted the offer, only after using her language skills to negotiate better terms than offered.
Communicators are Good at Understanding Outsourcers
For Mari workloads swelled so fast even with her growing in-house personnel, it soon became painfully obvious that she would need to leverage her distribution network and outsource as much work as possible around digital asset generation. She wanted to build a franchising/MLM type operation.
Once the pilot expansion plan commenced operations, she was met with difficulties in motivating the people that were not part of her in-house team. To reach the global members of her expansion with whom she had infrequent contact, she needed her word to hover in space with greater longevity. She also found that she could read between the lines and capture implicit meanings and gestures contained in the language so that as she ran her due diligence acquiring outsourcers and MLM multipliers as partners she now activated that intuition.
Communication skills became a measure by which Mariu recognized potential and weaknesses in contributors to the mission. Weak communicators generally showed weaknesses in the delivery of their commitments. Hiring qualified leaders, allowed her to stop worrying about breakable links in the chain of value creation. A weak link in the communication line could take down a small business quickly, creating a scene as uncomfortable as juggling broken lightbulbs.
Her personal strength and fortitude excited and inspired her staff and teams as they listened and also expressed their opinions and reflections. Open lines of communication became easy to maintain as meeting and or working with Mari became a privilege. Her work was prioritized over other assignments, a powerful holistic entrepreneur and leader, recognized by outsourcers she spoke to. She displayed her wares and persuaded them verbally that her business was possibly the most impactful business they were ever offered in the complete course of their entrepreneurial careers.
Mari's language instructor made sure she would never be caught unprepared in any business engagement or negotiation. She was prepared to inject her opinion and perspective, remotely or in person, and she was heard and understood. She communicated eye-to-eye with her vendors and created a path for her small business to the grandeur of incorporation. She added protection for thousands of hectares of rainforest and served disadvantaged and endangered communities serving thousands of people. A retreat and education center was founded to honor Mari in one of the most sacred sites in the Amazon. As they celebrated the buildings’ opening day, Mari knew that she owed thanks to her language instructor whom she casually met at an ordinary business networking event 8 years prior.
Do Not Underestimate the Value of Language Instruction to Build Credibility
The story you just read is true. The characters are real. The company exists. And the value of language is beyond what many people recognize. Indeed, language and communication training are sacred tools as we work to improve the world around us and accomplish our own life goals. Privately and professionally more than in other languages, polished English language skills can open doors and engage responses and actions that support entrepreneurs in achieving their dreams.
Language and communications skills can result in greater lifetime abundance, purposeful work, professional and personal relationships, and the development of a following. Of course, communicating competently, clearly, with intent and purpose, and identifying flaws and vulnerabilities in expressions are brilliant investments. With the use of a language instructor that understands the struggles of the entrepreneur, moving towards a goal while perfecting the delivery of the vision and message becomes synchronous. Communication problems can cause stumbles for any organization as they seek funding. Speaking with clarity and confidence builds admiration for the brand(s) when dealing with partners, clients, as well as third-party outsourcers.
Accents can create a negative image for any brand or startup. Sadly, this type of discrimination still exists in the world today, but as we do our best to quiet biases, they must be addressed in an ever more competitive global market scrambling for scarce resources. As our exploitative economies have grown, we can only do more to strengthen chances for market survival. A polished accent can add interest and attention without being a distraction and disengaging the audience with uncomfortable faults.
Language instructors who step in to change the course of a business such as Mari's are working to support the achievement of the students’ goals. The importance of excellent language skills cannot be emphasized sufficiently as a startup business owner steps onto the set of a global marketplace. Improved communication skills of executives and professionals speaking English as a second language can be the key to overcoming challenges. With direction and focused practice, training can result in positive changes that are measurable in years of professional success and accolades.