We dedicate this special section to the makers of Beijing – the entrepreneurs, crafters, and movers and shakers who provide new ways of experiencing this great city. We know there are many out there who have exciting endeavors in mind but are just waiting for the right moment. So we hope that you find inspiration in each maker whom we’ve invited to participate in this feature.
Mountains of Imagination
Many tasks in our careers involve public speaking and presenting: talking to clients, meeting colleagues, and so on. While it’s easy to be factual and descriptive, the real challenge for many presenters is how they can stand out, and make meaningful connections to achieve positive results. Designer Martin Barnes and his cute assistant MoI (who’s making her first-ever appearance in a publication) from Mountains of Imagination are ready to help people enjoy and improve on their pitching, presenting, and visualizing – skills needed when you’re looking into winning a client or building a personal brand!
beijingkids: What inspired you to put up your business/brand?
Barnes: Mountains Of Imagination was started after three key events:
First, an unsuccessful agency pitch where my presentation and ideas went forward without me attached. Second, seeing too many professionals struggling with building and presenting as part of their day to day work. And lastly, the insight that every professional in every industry presents as a way to create value and build success
And now, with 18 years creative experience in London and Beijing, I understand that I have a skillset I can share and help people enjoy presenting. So rather than creating commercial design work, I focus on training professionals to upgrade their presentation skills
How did you face the first few challenges that came along your way?
Always look for some form of upside – if the project didn’t work out for some reason did I learn anything which I can use again in the future. I make lists of errors as a way to externalize them and make checklists for the future so I don’t repeat them.
Share with us a memorable story with your customer/patron and how did that help you build your brand better?
I find every project has a wobble and a victory – there is always some part of your process you can refine as the challenges grow. After many slip-ups, I focused for a year on documenting all steps of our value chain and have a 20-step roadmap I use and constantly refine to manage my projects. It is essential and we have learned from all projects, not just one lightning flash moment.
We know that Beijing is a land of opportunities so what can you tell people who are planning to set up small businesses?
First, do it at your own speed – fast or slow is all good depending on our audience and market. Second, whenever you introduce your business, share why you do what you do; focus on how your “why” solves your audience’s challenges. Most pitches spend too long describing what they are, and oftentimes it is not the strongest way to start a pitch as the audience connection is weak.
What’s that one thing that keeps you in Beijing?
The creative opportunities and the speed at which they happen here. Beijing is one of the most exciting cities as we grow into the 21st century!
Contact Barnes via the official WeChat account of Mountains of Imagination: 创想如山 (type in chuàng xiǎng rúshān) or visit mountainsofimagination.com
This is the digital version of the Making the New Beijing feature article in the beijingkids November 2018 Beijing Makers issue
Photo: Lens Studio