Posts Tagged ‘entrepreneur’

Have you ever attended a writing workshop were one of the participants doesn’t want to publicly share their book idea because it’s so good someone is likely to steal it? Yeah, right!

As avid readers of Acknowledgments pages know, (take a look – they’re incredibly instructive), professionals never think that way. Well-known novelists will tap the resources of numerous experts to research their plots; leading non-fiction authors discuss, share, and ask for feedback on their ideas before they begin to write.

It appears to be the mark of the amateur writer to fear “giving away the store.”   Which is probably why so many of them are incredibly stingy with the insights they’re prepared to give in their books. This seems to be especially true of consultants, who fear that if they put all their knowledge into a book no one will need to hire them!

If that thought has concerned you in the past, I highly recommend Gihan Perera’s excellent Fast, Flat, and Free: How the Internet Has Changed Your Business (First Step Publishing, 2011).

What Perera has produced is that rare find: a high quality, self-published book whose content is vastly more valuable than the cover price. Indeed, what stood out for me as I read the book was how generous Perera has been with his material.

How many business books have you read where you get to the end only to wonder, “How the heck do I put any of this into practice?” Particularly frustrating are those books that give high-level advice without any examples or a means of embedding true understanding (rather than just knowledge).

When I work with clients I always want to ensure that they’ve covered the “4 Es” – preferably within every chapter. By which I mean:

  • Give a clear Explanation of what you’re talking about.
  • Offer reputable Evidence (from other books, scientific papers, respected articles etc) to back up your claims.
  • Provide relevant Examples so readers can see how others have applied the advice you’re offering.
  • Follow this up with ways that readers can achieve Empowerment, by suggesting practical exercises: things they can think about and do.

It’s rare to find a book that embraces all four of these reader “must-haves” – and even rarer in a book that’s self-published – which is why, hands down, Perara’s book is so outstanding in its accessibility and usefulness.

Here are just two examples of what this author did that any subject matter expert worth their salt should be able and willing to do:

  • In the Introduction Perera identifies one of the biggest challenges for small businesses today: how to compete with the “big boys.” He relates the issues faced by owners of small wineries in the region of Western Australia close to his home town of Perth, then outlines 18 specific on-line marketing and positioning actions that these wineries could take (two for each of the nine strategies highlighted in the rest of the book) – which could be adapted by any reader.
  • In the section cleverly headed Familiarity Breeds Content, Perera mentions a prospective client who wanted to position herself as an expert in selling Belgian chocolates. He reminded her that she should think instead of becoming an expert in solving her customers’ problems and goes on to mention three concrete ways in which she – and other readers – could do exactly that. (Unfortunately the silly woman decided she just wanted to be an expert on Belgian chocolates!).

There’s a valid complaint about this book in one of many testimonials on Perera’s website, and it’s one I agree with: this isn’t a “dip in, dip out” book. It’s a book that compels you to sit down, pen in hand and take copious notes. It’s choc-full of amazing advice – the kind, I imagine, that Gihan the Consultant offers to his clients for large sums of money.

Why isn’t he concerned about “giving away the store” as so many author-consultants do? Because once you’ve read his book you’d hire him in a heartbeat!

In this Fast, Flat and Free world we now live in there are – as Perera points out – so many “passionate amateurs” who will share their expertise with you for nothing. They’re all over the place, including online bookstores, where you can often get suckered into buying their ill-conceived, poorly written works full of superficial thinking.

Authors like Gihan Perera (and you, if you follow his example) have nothing to worry about in the era of Fast, Flat and Free…because they deliver those rare, superior experiences that savvy business people will always pay for!

Note: For an interview with Gihan Perera and some of the other authors featured in the Thought Readership series, please visit my AG page.

Liz-AlexanderLiz Alexander is a prime example of how childhood passions are the best indicators of future careers. She’s been writing since she could pick up a pencil, was reading newspapers at age two, and Homer’s epic poems by the age of 8. As “Dr Liz” (granted after five years in the educational psychology doctoral program at UT Austin), she draws on 25 years of commercial publishing experience to transform subject matter experts into best-selling thought leaders. Instead of the usual bio blah, blah, you can find an infographic depicting her communications career here, as well as social media links. Liz loves mutually respectful, intelligent arguments; feel free to challenge anything she writes here, or on her website
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Week In Review : Mar 27 – Apr 2, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on April 3, 2011

Business Intelligence in a Wiki World!

by Linda Williams, Mar 28, 2011

Often the development of Business Intelligence insights is closely guarded within the company to ensure at least a temporary advantage in the marketplace. Secrecy in all areas of analytical review is no longer possible or even preferable in a world that is increasingly transparent with the pervasive use of social media. But the decision to tap into the networked intelligence to speed up problem solving or make breakthroughs cannot be rote, but must rest with the complexity of the use and the expertise of internal resources to meet that need.  more…

Project Reality Check #15: The Requirements Game

by Gary Monti, Mar 29, 2011

Nailing down requirements is the number one complaint of project managers. Addressing this requires two skills: political adroitness and finding a balance point between exploring solutions and exploiting what is known and available. A mantra regarding project requirements goes something like this: “Requirements are stated needs, expectations are unstated needs. Clients tend to judge based on expectations.” So, in order to be a successful PM, it isn’t enough to simply say the client should be realistic. The PM and team need to push as far as they can working with the client in developing a realistic solution – one that will save reputations, relationships, and pocket books as well as produce the desired deliverable. more…

How to create your own good moods?

by Vijay Peduru, Mar 30, 2011

Whenever we meet certain people, they trigger a mood within us… Anxiety, flow, joy, fear, exhaustion, etc. Is there a way where we can choose our emotions? Yes, just like we choose to enter any room in our house, we  can choose our moods ourselves instead of getting triggered. This is a key skill for all, especially entrepreneurs when dealing with situations that might trigger default moods. more…

Flexible Focus #47: Clearing your Clutter

by William Reed, Mar 31, 2011

One of the things that prevents us from seeing life in this way, that shields our eyes from the wisdom in natural simplicity, is that we are surrounded by too much clutter. The recent events in Japan has triggered going back to basics and clearing the clutter. It has brought out the goodness in people. Mandala Chart can help us shift our focus. You can start by answering the following questions:

  1. What are 8 ways in which I can serve the most important people in my life?
  2. If I had to keep or choose 8 things, what would they be?
  3. What are 8 things I can do to clear the clutter in my life?
  4. What are 8 goals or values by which I choose to navigate my life?  more….

Leader driven Harmony #18: Gen-Ys need Special Handling when entering the Workforce – Part 2

by Mack McKinney, Apr 1, 2011

Upon arrival at a new job, every new employee is judged.  They will be scrutinized by established members of the organization in three areas: Talent, Reliability and People-skills. Give them the strongest possible start in each area. Basically, sharing of values and standards, repeated and demonstrated over time, is how individuals are brought into a team with shared goals, interdependencies and mutual rewards. more…

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Week In Review: Oct 31 – Nov 6, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on November 7, 2010

Project Leadership #3: Courage and Stupidity

by Himanshu Jhamb, Nov 1, 2010

Well, you think Courage and Stupidity are two separate categories of actions? May be not. They may be separated by a very fine line indeed. Asking what may seem to be a dumb question or taking a stand for your team in front of your boss may seem stupid. But they may end up saving the project. more…

Chaos and Complexity #8: Governance, Boundaries and managing Time

by Gary Monti, Nov 2, 2010

As a leader you do not have enough time to get involved in every decision the team has to make. Traditional management technique of dealing with individual situations or exception management is not the solution. Applying management efforts across a boundary will decrease the number of interactions a leader must and returns some of their time. more…

Social Media and Tribes #19: Travel tribe takes medieval ages online

by Deepika Bajaj, Nov 3, 2010

Prague still uses the local currency and does not accept the Euro. It lacks a reliable taxi service, among other things a tourist would need. Thanks to social media, in spite of these handicaps, Prague is successful in attracting a fair share of tourists. more…

Flexible Focus #26: Leveraging your time

by William Reed, Nov 4, 2010

We all perceive time in different ways and not all of them are equally powerful. Some approaches are to redefine it as experience or think of it as change. But the first step to gaining a flexible focus on time is to free ourselves from the tyranny of a single perspective on time. more…

The Origin of Leaders #1: Imagination – Developing your most powerful human talent

by Conor Neill, Nov 5, 2010

Imagination is what sets humans apart from animals. We don’t just respond to the world, but can begin to see a new world and thus plan and act accordingly. Especially true for a leader. A leader must see a future that is not yet here. The clearer you can see and touch and feel this potential future, the more compelling you can communicate it to others. So, how can you develop your imagination? more…

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Week In Review – Sep 5 – Sep 11, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on September 12, 2010

The trap of entertainment!

by Himanshu Jhamb, Sep 6, 2010

It is common practice to get together and bitch about things because it is entertaining. What good does it do? It will be beneficial to everybody if we can engender something positive in these conversations. more…

Character and Personality #10: A simple honesty

by Gary Monti, Sep 7, 2010

What others observe with a leader who shows integrity regarding the character and personality traits discussed in previous blogs is a simple honesty. While the need for this simple honesty increases, achieving it is a daily challenge. You can achieve this by practicing moral and emotional integrity. more…

Social Media and Tribes #11: Leverage the language of the tribe

by Deepika Bajaj, Sep 8, 2010

During her recent visit to Spain, Deepika had a new observation of what a Tribe is in the context of Social Media: A Tribe is a set of people who communicate in the same language in any given conversation. Language is important for nurturing and maintaining your social media tribes and so leverage language to empower and engage your tribe! more…

Flexible Focus #18: Engage visual thinking

by William Reed, Sep 9, 2010

A picture is worth a thousand words. Similarly, it is simpler to have a set of pictures to help keep our Mandala in focus. In this article, William has assembled images that can help you recall and recreate new ideas around the central theme. more…

Forget Project management. Let’s talk Project leadership!

by Himanshu Jhamb, Sep 10, 2010

There is a difference between managing a project versus leading a project. Leadership is out there… it screams responsibility and accountability. It is about reaching out and getting what you need to get the job done, fearlessly. This give an introduction to the genesis of this series. Over the subsequent posts, Himanshu will share his journey of how he transformed the way he did things in various areas… and will share the challenges, the fears & the situations. more…

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Week In Review – Jun 13 – Jun 19, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on June 20, 2010

Buyers for your company: How to build a great list?

by Steve Popell, Jun 14, 2010

In a previous post, Steve discussed the fact that becoming an attractive strategic acquisition candidate should begin with learning precisely what prospective buyers think that means, and how to elicit that information in a series of telephone interviews.  But, an equally important element is determining whom to interview.  This post addresses that question. more…

Leadership and Mythology #6: Panic and Self doubt

by Gary Monti, Jun 15, 2010

When you leave your comfort zone, even little things take on much bigger significance and cause you to doubt yourself. But once you become comfortable dealing with uncertainty, the rewards will be tremendous. Leaving your familiar confines is like being touched by the Greek god Pan. Leaders are characterize by their ability to stand up to Pan.  more…

Social Media and Tribers #2: DEATH of Email; RISE of branded Tribes

by Deepika Bajaj, Jun 16, 2010

A while back, email was an effective medium to market your products. But not anymore. Because of the rise of junk mail people don’t trust the emails they get. New web marketing is based on the foundation of TRUST with our tribe. In this post, Deepika gives a high level overview of how to go about building trust within your tribe. more…

Flexible Focus #6: Peace in the Elements

by William Reed, Jun 17, 2010

A great way to gain flexible focus is to study elements of words, their roots, nuances, and varieties of expression. This can be done in any language, but in Chinese and Japanese you have the additional dimension of written characters (kanji), not only the elements or radicals which make up the kanji, but the remarkable range of expression made possible in writing with a brush. more…

Author’s Journey #26: Speak your way to book publishing success

by Roger Parker, Jun 18, 2010

Speaking is one of the best ways you can promote your book while planning and writing it. It creates a special bond with your audience, paving the way for book sales and lasting relationships. In this segment, Roger encourages you to speak your way to book publishing success by speaking about your book at every opportunity. more…

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Week In Review – May 30 – Jun 5, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on June 6, 2010

Quality #15: 7 tips for acting on customer feedback

by Tanmay Vora, May 31, 2010

Listening to your customers and getting their feedback is important. But if we don’t act upon it, we are wasting not only our time and resources, but also that of the people who took time to provide the feedback. In this post, Tanmay lists some simple tips to integrate customer feedback to deliver meaningful business change. more…

Leadership and Mythology #4: Sociology and Control

by Gary Monti, Jun 1, 2010

Some myths are propagated just so that leaders can exercise control. But there are limits to it. Remember Gary’s last blog? Instead of just beating the drums, what would happen if the leader asked everybody to sacrifice all they had? But if the Chief allows Newtonian mechanics to be embraced and lets loose his power, a new social order arises. Like Obi Wan sees, there are guiding principles that enable the leader to earn the trust and following of others. more…

Mortgage Challenges for the Self Employed

by Guy Ralfe, Jun 2, 2010

Guy recently relocated and started his own business. He is finding it difficult to secure a mortgage for his new home as banks and lenders have a criteria of assessment for the self-employed that he does not yet meet. His advise to those who want to follow in his footsteps – secure the credit before you begin your new operation. more…

Flexible Focus #4: The eight frames of life: Health

by William Reed, Jun 3, 2010

The word Health has a narrow definition in most people’s minds. It usually has the connotation of eating well or exercise or avoiding sickness. But it is much more than that and it impacts not only you, but people you interact with and sometimes those you don’t interact with. Follow the Mandala on Health to get a handle on your health and lifestyle. more…

Author’s Journey #24: Building your expert network and Obtaining pre-publication quotes

by Roger Parker, Jun 4, 2010

It is never too early to begin marketing and promoting your book. One of the best methods is to seek out and build your expert network. Believe it or not, experts are willing to help you – endorsing your book helps reinforce their expert status. Networking brings a whole slew of benefits – so get started today. Read this article to find out how yo can do it. more…

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Week In Review – May 16 – May22, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on May 23, 2010

How to avail of opportunities that you cannot see?

by Himanshu Jhamb, May 17, 2010

Himanshu had a thought provoking moment when a long time friend wanted to invest in one of his ventures. It brought home for him the question of how you can be an opportunity to others. The answer lies in providing what others are looking for, i.e., be of value to them. On the flip side, you need to do the same to recognize value in others and build relationships. The two work together to increase your capacity. more…

Leadership and Mythology #2: The mystical and co-opetition

by Gary Monti, May 18, 2010

Can you compete and co-operate with somebody at the same time? If you are having difficulty with this concept, think about Apple, Microsoft, Google, Intel, Yahoo, etc. Do they only compete, or sometimes co-operate too? To be an effective leader, you have to balance competition with co-operation. more…

Performance Procrastination

by Guy Ralfe, May 19, 2010

Guy, donning his new business owner hat, has to take charge and take action. He had to deal with an employee performance issue and concludes that bearing short term pain is good for the long term gain. Of course, dealing with employees is an art and science – there are way too many considerations in play. But ultimately, it all boils down to the question: Is the employee pulling his or her weight and, are you getting your value for the money you pay them.  more…

Flexible Focus #2: Are goals traps or opportunities?

by William Reed, May 20, 2010

Goals are overrated. Yes, you read that right. In the western world, there are several traditional ways people think of goals and work towards achieving them. Following them, you either miss the big picture or miss the details or simply follow a beaten path. Flexible focus, epitomized by the Mandala Chart, is the product of eastern spiritual thinking. It is a philosophy that enables you to be free of your goals. You are not goal free, but you approach them in a detached manner that removes your bondage to your goals. more…

Author’s Journey #22: Use one sheets to sell books and build your profits

by Roger Parker, May 21, 2010

One sheets are single page, 8 ½ by 11-inch, marketing documents used by authors to promote their books and build their profits by attracting speaking invitations and promoting their coaching and consulting services. In this post, Roger tells you all you need to know to create one sheets.  more…

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Week In Review – May 2 – May 8, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on May 9, 2010

Can we avert failures in our life?

by Vijay Peduru, May 3, 2010

This article reminds me of one of my high school teachers. This was his famous refrain: if a rocket destined to the moon is off by a fraction of a degree, it will not reach its destination. You can change your destination only if you change your direction. Nothing happens all of a sudden. There is no overnight success. Take small steps in the right direction every day. more…

Leadership Cancers #8: Anticipation

by Gary Monti, May 4, 2010

Wow, Gary… or should I say “The sage of Active Garage”? Performing action without becoming a servant of the desired consequences has been a subject of discussion for the longest time. This is a very nuanced concept and can be easily misinterpreted out of context. But understanding and putting this single principle to practice can bring you peace of mind and take your performance to new heights you have not experienced before. more…

Are You Preventing Your House Sale?

by Guy Ralfe, May 5, 2010

One of my teachers insists on learning the art of quitting. You got to listen to this Kenny Rogers song on this topic. While quitting is an essential art, it is equally important to not shut the doors of opportunity. When you don’t give into emotions and think strategically, you can leverage every thing that comes across your way for your ultimate benefit. more…

Pillars of Success

by Robert Driscoll, May 6, 2010

Based on movies, TV and what we read in the media, we have a pre conceived notion of what a hugely successful CEO is. You cannot be more wrong. Robert has captured the essence of one CEO’s practices for success in this article. more…

Author’s Journey #20: Choosing the right incentive to build your List

by Roger Parker, May 7, 2010

One of your most important marketing and promoting decisions is choosing the right incentive to offer as a bonus to visitors who sign up for your e-mail newsletter or weekly tips. It’s not enough to offer great information delivered at consistent intervals via e-mail. In this article, Roger has listed a great array of incentives you can provide your readers. more…

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Pillars of Success

by Robert Driscoll on May 6, 2010

Recently I was listening to what I thought was going to be just another training class about how to be successful in business. Work hard; think differently; empower your employees. The usual.

The gentleman speaking was the President & CEO of one of the world’s largest wireless companies. At first I figured he was your typical blue blood, Ivy League educated executive who would give us some words of wisdom and then he would be on his way. How wrong I was. This gentleman talked about his life story and the struggles he had to overcome just to simply get an education, let alone build the company he ran today. From his life lessons, he built the foundation of his work ethic that he has kept throughout his personal and professional life.

He stated that you learn to be a leader through your personal and professional experiences as well as your formal (high school, university, graduate school) and informal (training classes, certifications) education. This is your foundation. Continuous learning and the accumulation of knowledge is what helped him build what he calls his pillars of success which looks like this:

Everything starts with an idea, a dream, but don’t just dream, dream big. Believe in yourself and don’t limit yourself to what others say. But dreaming is not enough. You have to have a good strategy on how you want to execute your dream, a winning game plan. Hope is not a good strategy. Don’t just expect things to happen. You need to have a good understanding of how you are not only going to start your new venture, but how you will get your customers, areas to target, etc..

Developing a winning game plan is just the beginning. You have to be willing to take risks. Calculated risks. This is where you need to get out of your normal comfort zone. You need to start thinking and acting differently than others in your market space and creating offers that have marginal value in the marketplace. Don’t just do something simply because it feels like the right thing or even worse, introduce a “new” offer that is just simply another flavor of a similar product or service already in the marketplace. If you do, you will never be noticed. Be different.

As soon as you have a game plan and you start executing on it (and taking risks), you will most likely come across obstacles that you have never come up against before. Don’t avoid them. Tackle and embrace them and learn from them. These experiences will only make you stronger.

Overcoming obstacles, if approached properly and you learn from them, will only create new opportunities for you. Find the value in them and incorporate them in to your offer. This will only increase the marginal value in your offer. As you add more features or functionality in to your offer, go back to the first pillar and start the process all over again. This should be a continuous cycle in your business.

The foundation that holds up these pillars of success is the leader’s principles: teamwork, integrity, credibility, attitude, vision and excellence. These will be discussed in my next post, but I hope this post can help jumpstart your dream to start a new venture where you can build your own pillars of success.

robert_driscoll_color This article was contributed by Robert Driscoll, co-founder of Active Garage. You can follow Robert on Twitter at rsdriscoll.
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Week In Review – Apr 11 – Apr 17, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on April 18, 2010

Lifecycle Management: Knowing what your company owns, how it’s being used and where it lives

by Matthew Carmen, Apr 12, 2010

The key to managing a financially sound IT organization is to start with a sound planning and implementation process. You need to know what it is you are managing. They are software licenses, hardware assets, leased equipment and the list goes on and on. Knowing this is the first step to understanding how they are used and the details surrounding the total cost of ownership. more…

Leadership Cancers #5: Simplemindedness

by Gary Monti, Apr 13, 2010

The difference between simple and simplemindedness is a razors edge. When designing a solution for a customer, you need to understand the disciplines, principles and the balance between them that is required to go from customer requirements to functional specifications to design to production. Failing to recognize any one aspect will lead to a simpleminded solution that will introduce unintended complexity. more…

Customer is King

by Guy Ralfe, Apr 14, 2010

As Guy wades deeper into his new domain of business, he is able to understand with great clarity that the first order of business is to take care of customers. This cardinal notion spans across all industries without exception. If you do not take care of your customers, somebody else will and you don’t that to happen. more…

Business Valuation in divorce is different

by Steve Popell, Apr 15, 2010

In a divorce situation, the manager-spouse purchases the community property interest of the non-manager-spouse through the process of community property division. The standard “fair market value” method of evaluation is not valid here. Read this article to understand the fundamentals of this evaluation method. more…

Author’s Journey #17: Finishing your book on time and avoiding writer’s block

by Roger Parker, Apr 16, 2010

Finishing a book on time and avoiding writer’s block is a challenge to many authors. Better planning will help you finish your book on time. Start by creating a content plan and commit to a daily progress. more…

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