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Stand.

October 3, 2008

At Coote Libeau we help companies communicate efficiently in foreign languages. We do this in a number of different and funky ways which fly closely to consulting and just as closely to training and without getting into all the details this is the nuts and bolts of what we do.

When Christophe and I created the company we targeted a niche in professional training and had to repeat our pitch 17 000 times for various organisations (mostly to convince them to give us money) so we have the idea of what we do down pat. This, we discovered, is the easy part.

The hard part is taking a stand for what we don’t do.
No, we don’t give kid’s lessons. No we won’t do your teenager’s English homework. No we don’t organize holidays to England. Etc, etc. Even in the moments when we really could have used the money we had to take a stand for the reason we went into business in the first place. I used to say that if we start to do anything and everything we will become the lowest common denominator of what we set out to do, and eventually have a company which doesn’t have anything to do with the one we wanted to create.

Of course Seth Godin says it better:

“To really stand for something, you must make difficult decisions, mostly about what you don’t do. We don’t ship products like that, we don’t stand for employees like that (“you’re fired”), we don’t fix problems like that.”

Or John Mellencamp sang it better:

“You gotta stand for something or you’re gonna fall for anything.”

Or my mom said it better constantly:

“If you try to please everybody you wind up pleasing nobody.”

Take your pick.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2008 11:57 am

    I pick David Ogilvy:
    “The essence of strategy is sacrifice.”

  2. Tim permalink*
    October 3, 2008 12:12 pm

    Or from Monty Python there is always:

    “He must be a king.
    Why?
    He hasn’t got shit all over him.”

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