McLaren in meltdown, how AI can read your website aloud, and what Dominic Cummings tells us about leadership

By Jim James,
Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of the SPEAK|pr Podcast

how Dominic Cummings in the UK has been caught on camera taking off to Durham. It’s interesting how a number of people in the government, including the professor, who has been giving the research about lockdown, are not playing by the same rules. Whether you believe he should go or not isn’t the point. The point is that these are people who are giving instructions and supposedly doing so with credibility and good leadership. This is a great example of how leadership is supposed to be done or not done, in the case of Dominic Cummings. It means entrepreneurs and CEOs really have to walk the talk, and so this is a leadership lesson from people in authority on how not to lead.

How big names have had to adapt during these COVID times

Hertz in America have filed for bankruptcy, and there, they can go to Chapter 11 and reemerge without the same debt and problems that folks face in, say, the UK. Hertz is taking a preemptive move and saying that they are still a business and will reemerge after COVID. McLaren, on the same day, has launched a bid for £250,000,000,000 as a loan so that they can restore their fortunes, and the Jaguar Land Rover group have also now asked for a bond of £1,000,000,000. Meanwhile in China, the demand for the new Tesla 3 apparently is phenomenal, and there are 200 people deep waiting to give their money across to buy electric cars. Evidently, there is a fundamental shift in what businesses are appealing to consumers, and Elon Musk has been somebody who has led the company from the front. One of the reasons Tesla is so popular is the same reason that Apple is and more, and it’s due to the central vision of the business which is to make a difference. Musk’s view, which is why he’s also into solar power, is his vision, his passion to make the world a better place. That resonates with customers who are paying a deposit for a vehicle that they haven’t seen yet. So, as entrepreneurs, communicating that vision is key. Apart from that, what people see in the likes of Elon Musk and Steve Jobs is the delivery on a personal level of that vision as well. 

This pandemic has forced companies to adapt and evolve, and they are going to be either reengineering themselves or possibly dying. And as much as people love McLaren and have respect for them and all the work they’ve been doing, maybe there’s an era change. More people are suddenly into biking, as evidenced by the 80% increase in shares of Halfords, which once was a fairly sleepy High Street retailer for a while, but is now reemerging with a new focus. Bike sales in the UK are up 23% as people are looking to get out and take other paths. The companies that in the past may have been hidden are the companies that may be coming out from the shadows now, and the question is, how can entrepreneurs take advantage of that and maybe pivot the existing businesses or re-emphasise the parts of the business in the past that may not have been winners?

Keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive through SPEAK|pr and Storification

Entrepreneurs must always be flexible, and automation using tools like Zoho helps with that. Automation creates opportunities for entrepreneurs of companies big and small alike to create a story, identify the “who,” make sure that person is credible, and live out the brand. In the SPEAK|pr program that stands for Storify, Personalise, Engage, Amplify, and to KNow, Storify is about creating chapters and a narrative so that the founder of the business can articulate what they stand for and what they believe in, and as Paul Dunn says, “so they can fulfil the dreams and hopes of other businesses or other customers or consumers or stakeholders.”

A big issue for all entrepreneurs is time. They have got so many things to do, because it’s a never-ending story. There’s always something to work on if you own the business. But with the SPEAK|pr program, it will teach entrepreneurs how to get noticed in 20 minutes or less. The methodology will be easy to implement and follow to help you add value to your business. SPEAK|pr has overview templates like a story planner, a Mastermind template, and a Technology Applications Directory. In the directory are over 100 applications you can use, many of which are free, to help to either create compelling content, to distribute compelling content, or to manage that content online. These are important because online, most companies do not have a solution for the most vulnerable elements of their business. There are even tools now that can read texts, documents, or even websites aloud, which is really useful when doing things like driving or cooking, or for the visually impaired. You will find tools like that and more on SPEAK|pr.

As seen from the fortunes of McLaren and  JLR, some traditional companies may or may not come back. Some like Hertz may be large enough, depending on their jurisdiction, to sustain their life for a bit longer by playing some legal and financial games, but it won’t change the fundamental issue of whether people are travelling and renting cars anymore. People may see a renaissance in the making of simple transport here as citizens turn their attention to biking. In any change, there will be opportunities and ones for entrepreneurs to pivot. Keep this in mind as you run your business in the hope of solving a problem so that other people, be it customers, family, friends, or the future generations can have a better life, which is the ultimate goal as entrepreneurs.

This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast SPEAK|pr, you can listen here.

Cover Photo by Jannis Lucas on Unsplash

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