Javed Khan’s company, EMpression: A Marketing Services Company, works with highly motivated entrepreneurs and organizations, with an aim to help them “breathe innovative ideas and long-term vision into their business marketing plans.”
With two decades of experience in marketing, brand and communications, Khan has worked with many top level financial services firms, including Trimark Investments (now Invesco Canada), Franklin Templeton Investments, and Manulife Investments.
Khan became a small business advocate, having seen numerous businesses with faltering marketing plans and initiatives. He called it the ‘treadmill’ approach to doing business–thoughtless running, repeating the same mistakes – ending in defeat.
By staying on top of trends, new ideas and technologies, he distills them into concrete elements that entrepreneurs can implement.
An accomplished professional speaker, Khan has been a featured keynote at hundreds of conferences, meetings and seminars, having spoken to more than 8,000 organizations.
His seminar topics include areas of digital marketing, developing business relationships, email marketing, and how to create winning LinkedIn content.
How would you describe what you do?
Javed: I lead a marketing services based organization. So, we built this company, essentially, around four fundamental services we strongly believe any entrepreneurial organization requires. Those four services are digital content, website, brand, and identity brand management.
When a company comes do you, are there typical things that they ask you to do, or are there typical fixes that they are asking you to do?
Javed: Yes. Common ones are digital presence. They don’t have people within the organization that have a sense or insight into the digital world. We do that commonly. We do get the, ‘please revisit our web presence. It is dated. We do not know the new and updated trends in technology and we are looking for you guys to do that.’
In most cases, it’s a conversation that goes like this: ‘We don’t know what we don’t know. But we know we are not doing a good job in social. We know that our website isn’t churning what we’d like it to churn, and we are people-strapped. We just don’t have the time and energy to do what we’d like to do. So, can you come in and advise us on what it is we need to be doing, and then build a program around it?’
What are some key things you might impart to an audience on how to improve or upgrade their business relationships?
Javed: I certainly thing one of the items on the top of your list has to be online presence. You need to have a digital DNA. So, your digital presence needs to be updated, consistent, and needs to be an area to start conversations. Back in the day, building relationships and building a network, and all of those things, were face to face. You went to an event, you did your face to face, you collected this thing called a ‘business card’ you used this thing called a ‘telephone’ and on you went. Now, it’s a little different. You have the opportunity to do your research, to figure out who you want to connect with at an event, figure out who you want to build your network with.
I say there are things you need to be aware of about building the relationship and network. Number one, online presence; a whole LinkedIn discussion. Number two, do your research: Figure out who you want to meet, and build a network with. Do the research on that individual. Be able jump into a conversation with that individual. Three, follow up and follow through. That, still, is the number one pitfall from people.
You interact a lot with management and leaders. I’m wondering if you have a particular outlook on what differentiates a good leader/manager from a great leader/manager?
Javed: I think there are a few things. One is that a great leader has the ability to delegate and trust their team around them, and be able to manage that expectation with their team. I think, two, they are a strategist, a visionary. They have a mindset of where they want to go, and will, in some cases, be very laser focused in where they want to go.
The biggest one that I find is that great leaders are not there to make friends. I don’t mean by being obnoxious, or rude, or crude, or disrespectful. No. They are there to be firm, fair, engaging, and bring everyone into the conversation, rather than the conversation going one way. They have the ability to corral a team, and they have the ability to communicate in a very effective way for people – who weren’t on board – to come on board.
As an entrepreneur yourself, what advice would you give a budding entrepreneur, or what would you caution?
Javed: Be ready for failure. You will fail. That’s going to happen. And, that’s okay. It’s okay not to be successful the first time around. But also, be prepared that it may take a toll mentally. It may discourage you. It may make you start second-guessing what you are doing. You need to have some level of self-encouragement, and continue to talk to yourself and say, ‘It’s okay, I’m going to think positive.’ Positive energy is very important, both inner, and in the people you surround yourself with.
I also think that you need to take a financial risk or a time risk. Successful folks that I’ve come across – the ones who are very successful – their story is not of overnight success. It’s taken a lot of time to build or evolve to where they are. That comes with precision, patience, and positive energy.