The Process of Creation: Crafting Startup Stories with Advisor Kevin Smith

By Phyllis Mak, Altitude Accelerator’s Communications Intern

After working with Altitude Accelerator Advisor Kevin Smith, Alexandre Pestov, CEO of Meemin, says “Our team was very fortunate to have Kevin’s assistance with sharpening our messaging. At the early stages of development, we struggled to define our product in a way that resonated with the target audience. Kevin stepped in to change it. His experience, outstanding listening skills and ability to wrap complex concepts in simple yet vivid ideas helped us shape a successful foundation for the subsequent marketing efforts.”

Getting your business out into the world is a step-by-step process that requires strategic communication, smart branding, and the determination to make an impact. At the Altitude Accelerator, Kevin Smith helps his clients turn their vision into words and crafts that innovative dream into their business story.

Kevin is a Story Architect and runs The Story Architect, an organization that works with later stage startups and small enterprises. Kevin’s work is to help these companies with their messaging and go-to market strategies. Kevin began volunteering as a member of RIC Center’s Volunteer Advisor Team in 2014 with a focus on guiding clients on how to approach a specific buyer persona or industry, effective pitch to customers or investors, and in sales strategy.

“When I wanted to start a business 20 plus years ago, there were no resources available, and that in part delayed my own entrepreneurial journey,” Kevin reveals. “So I’ve sought ways to give back to ensure that those who are interested have fewer roadblocks.”

A part of Kevin’s business philosophy led him to give his time towards helping early-stage startup entrepreneurs with their businesses, particularly with their sales and marketing challenges. When entrepreneurs need to narrow their business story down to a concise, marketable point, Kevin teaches them how to analyze the situation and approach possible customers with a well-crafted story that shows the value of their work.

With an extensive amount of experience coming from tech sales, marketing, and making over 10,000 pitches to a diverse range of customers, Kevin has created his own process on how to successfully pitch to customers. That formula has become the core of his own business and a part of the highly beneficial advice he shares with his clients at the Altitude Accelerator.

Kevin understands that at the beginning of the business process, there is a lot of guesswork involved with potential customers in regards to how to solve their problems, and how to get their product/service to market.

“I like to call the business model canvas the ‘Business Guess Canvas’,” Kevin explains. “The goal is to start testing the assumptions you’ve made on your Business Model so that you can either verify them or build new assumptions to prove you have a viable business quickly.”

Kevin’s own goals when it comes to business advising strives to help his clients understand their customers and the problem they are solving with their product. He believes that volunteering at the Altitude Accelerator has exposed him to a wide array of clients, industries, networking opportunities and knowledge from different experts. Clients that work with Kevin can gain a wealth of valuable and constructive advice to aid in their business growth.

“While I’ve been sharing my knowledge and experience with startup clients at Altitude Accelerator, I’ve also been gaining knowledge and insights from other domains, which has helped me become a better mentor with future clients,” says Kevin. “When I see a client that I’ve helped get funded or succeed in the market, I feel great for having been a part of their success.”

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You can stay updated with the latest news from The Story Architect on their blog and on Twitter. Looking for entrepreneurship advice? Trying to get your story out to the market? Register as a RIC Client today and gain access to all of our business advisory services.

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