Interview with André Taylor
You say entrepreneurs need to focus on growing their business into a Premier Business. What is your definition of a Premier Business?
There are many excellent businesses around the world, but when CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs, and business leaders decide they’re going to create or elevate a business to being “best in class,” something extraordinary happens.
It means you’ve decided to not just copy other businesses, but instead apply a fresh approach to everything you’re doing, whether it’s the product, service, client experience, or marketing approach and serve customers like no other business in your category.
Luxury marketers often approach business with this mindset focusing on quality, distinction, and an elevated standard, but fundamentally a premier business is any business focused on breaking boundaries and rising to be the best or (among the best) in its category.
How do audiences gain from your keynote presentations?
I’ve been incredibly enthusiastic about business since I was about 8-10 years of age. I ‘ve always been fascinated by the idea of creating something from scratch that attracts loyal customers and the nuance of making this effort unique in the market, rewarding to those working in this business, and profitable to the founder and shareholders as well.
I think what audiences sense right away from my keynotes is the joy I feel about business concepts, the skill I’ve developed over 35 years of creating and building businesses, and my capacity to distill business concepts down to understandable nuggets they can apply that address the most pressing business challenges.
Can you provide three tips from your keynote “You Can Still Win!” about how to overcome challenges in business life?
My “You Can Still Win!” keynote is rooted in this simple phrase which has served as a personal reminder and rallying cry to me during tough times in my life, such as my home burning down to the ground in the dead of winter, having to work full-time all night in a restaurant through four years of high school, or diligently pursuing venture capital for a business venture, meeting with sixty firms, only to win and then lose the deal.
The phrase is the same encouragement I give to others who face equally, or more difficult circumstances. This is a message about resilience, ingenuity, creativity, and stamina with concrete business examples to help audiences understand the process of breaking through, bouncing back, and coming from behind in their lives and businesses. If I had to offer three tips, it would be these:
- Look for opportunity in every difficulty, no matter how severe, it is there.
- Stay in forward motion, even when your actions are imprecise. It’s better to be moving forward than allow yourself to standstill.
- Learning how to pitch, persuade, negotiate, ask for the help, and work with others is crucial to winning no matter what your circumstances.
How much does humor factor into your keynote engagements?
My audiences typically have a great time during my keynotes. I’m not a humorist, but I have been able to find humor in so many of my challenging moments. I try to help business audiences break out of an overly serious posture about their work and careers and have more fun with business and personal/professional development ideas.
Do you have a favorite experience from your speaking career?
One memorable experience was traveling to an event simply to introduce a key business leader who was being honored, only to find that the honoree’s plane could not take off from his city and he wouldn’t be able to make it to the event. I was politely asked by the host if I could turn my 5-minute introduction into a 45-minute talk, which I did.
This happened to me another time, when I was asked to give a second workshop on an entirely different topic, when another speaker couldn’t make a speaking engagement at a business conference. It turns out the second workshop was just as well received as the first and opened up lots of discussion among the conference attendees, for which the organizer was grateful. Another favorite is speaking to 5,000 students at New York’s Madison Square Garden.