Review of The Laptop Entrepreneur

From time to time I like to include reviews of books I have read and found useful.

Here is my review of The Laptop Entrepreneur.

I like this book.  The Laptop Entrepreneur: How to make a living anywhere in the world by Nick Snelling and Graham Hunt offers practical and easy-to-understand guidance for anyone who is seriously considering making a living via the internet and using the freedom that such a style of working delivers to live just about anywhere.

Nick and Graham are experts in doing the sort of things they write about.  Both are British and both live – and work – in Spain, using the tactics and techniques they write about in The Laptop Entrepreneur to build the type of future that’s right for them. [Read more...]

How to use your blog as a sales tool for your consultancy or coaching practice

Connections

Connect with your market via your blog

Some consultants, coaches and other expert professionals roll their eyes when I ask them if they blog.

When they answer they are likely to say that:

  • Blogging is a bit down-market for them.
  • Blogging is for youngsters.
  • Blogging is for the “me” generation.

They also often say:

  • Blogging is not for professional people.

They then go on to add that they don’t have time for blogging and social media and the like.

Serious businesses blog well and blog often

It isn’t difficult to bring forward evidence to contradict these assertions. There are lots of business blogs out in the world and many of them are very popular.

I’m a serious businessperson and I blog.  Well, actually, I’m a serious businessperson and I write articles and authority content.

The articles are blogs, of course, but I call them something different.

It’s relatively easy to convince professional people that they need authority content on their websites. They know that authority content positions them as experts in their niche.  They write authority content but don’t realise they are blogging.

Acquiring expert status is important and it helps to make sales.  Therefore, an authority blog is a great sales tool.

Blogging solves customers’ problems

I solve problems for customers via this site.

Lots of my business’s customers struggle to establish the value they deliver to their marketplace.  In fact, many of my customers are good at what they do, but don’t know how they add value in their marketplace. Thus, they don’t know how to promote themselves and their businesses effectively.

Almost eighteen months ago I wrote a series of articles (posts) about establishing the unique selling proposition in businesses selling complex products or services.  Whenever I start work with a new customer I always encourage him or her to read the complete series.

This approach adds value to the person’s learning process. 

I’m also solving a customer’s problem via this website.

Blogging helps you to get quoted, get shared, get tagged and retweeted

It’s not what you say about yourself that matters.  It’s what the movers and shakers in your marketplace say about you that’s important.

I make a point of writing interesting Facebook updates.  I tweet interesting material.  I write articles that get shared.  (Sometimes this is via social media.  Sometimes individuals e-mail links or include links in their newsletters.)

My blog posts are quoted, linked to, tweeted, liked and so on.

As a result, when I go to a business networking event I meet people who say:

“I follow you on Twitter.”

“I have liked your Facebook Page.”

“I liked your article on ……..”

It’s a great endorsement and, of course, other people in the room hear the endorsement.  That means I’m already starting to build a relationship with people even before we have shaken hands.

They’re starting to move along the Know-Like-Trust continuum that leads to business.  They’re doing that because of my blog.

Blogging helps you to make sales

My website (or blog) is a business asset.  It’s worth the time I spend on it.

It helps me to make sales, and that means that my business is more likely to profit, survive and grow.

What do you think?

Do you consider your blog to be a business asset?  Let me know in the comments section or on Facebook at:

Social Media Success Community

If you like this post please tweet about it using the hashtags:

#startup

#smallbiz

#entrepreneur.

You might also like to read:

Your great value proposition

One simple thing consultants can do to grow their business faster

Are you selling a complex product or service?

The Five Minute Guide To Managing Your Second Week In Business

Alarm Clock

168 hours and they're all yours!

If you’re following the Business Start-Up Month series of articles on this site, you’ll know by now that I tend to focus on how people in business use their time.

I hear so many people at all stages in their life in business saying that they don’t have enough time to do what they want to do.

My consulting clients say the same – at least when we start working together.

However, time is not the issue.  It really isn’t.

We all have 168 hours per week.  You can’t buy extra time.  All you can do is decide how to use it.

There is plenty of time . . .

In week two of running your business think again about my motto:

Clear thinking + the right actions = success

Clear thinking is easy in the first days of running your business.  It will lead you to an in escapable conclusion.

You have an urgent need to generate revenue.  You need to do this before your business goes bankrupt.

That means you need customers.

This situation presents a simple question:

What are you doing today, this morning and this afternoon, this minute, to bring in more revenue and to get more customers?

If the question makes you feel uncomfortable then I’m glad you’ve read so far.

5 minutes is all you need

You only need five minutes to come up with the solution to this problem.

Let’s assume that your working day runs from 9 am to 5 pm.  If it doesn’t, then substitute the right times.  If you work part time in your business, write down the relevant times.

Now you need to commit to spending ALL of your working time on one of three tasks:

  1. finding business
  2. preparing to deliver the business you have acquired
  3. delivering your service.

That’s it.  There’s nothing more to it.

Now spend five minutes allocating all your time to working on these tasks.

Managing your second week in business

But …. But …. But …. you say.

You need to talk to the web designer.  You need to get some printing organised.  You need to sort out your desktop printer.

Maybe.

Maybe you do need to work on these tasks, too.  Just do them outside your normal business hours.  These tasks do not contribute directly to the success of your business.  Yes, you need to be able to print out the document you intend to take to the meeting with your new customer.

However, you need to get that customer and the next one and the next one before you can waste precious working time on non-essential activities.

If you don’t focus on the three tasks that will help your business to survive, then ask yourself this question:

Are you serious about wanting to succeed in your business?

Building a successful business

It takes a long time to create a successful business.  It’s hard work.  85% of new businesses fail within the first three years of trading.

You can’t afford to be half-hearted about getting your business moving.

In The Solo Success Start-Up Guide I call week two the “taking aim” week.  That’s what you need to do.

Create the right working habits and apply them from now on.

Now it’s your turn

How difficult do you find it to keep focused on the right things in your business?

It’s very easy to turn to non-essential but time-consuming activities and to push aside the tasks that are going to help you to get the customers you need.

What do you do to keep yourself focused on the right things?  Let me know in the comments.  I’d love to hear about your successes.

If you think this article is helpful, then please “like” it on Facebook, and tweet about it using the hashtags:

#startup

#smallbiz

#entrepreneur

You might also like to read:

The most common mistake new businesses make – and how to avoid it

If you start a consulting or coaching business, will it succeed?

The real secret of consultancy success

Your First Week In Business – Success Or Failure?

Calendar

Your first week in business - did it go well?

If you started your business at the beginning of the month, you’ve been in business for a week now.

Starting a consulting business or a coaching business is a challenge.

Starting out as a solo-preneur or independent professional is a challenge.

How well did you meet that challenge in your first week as a start-up business?

What did you achieve?

Asking you what you achieved is not the same as asking your what you did.  You were probably very busy.  There are so many things to do when you’re running your own business.

  • You need to set up your website.
  • You need to get your business cards ordered.
  • You need to sort out your office’s equipment.
  • You need to think about setting up a bank account.
  • You need to deal with your new tax position.
  • …. I could go on.

Important as these tasks are, they are not make-or-break tasks.  Of course, they need doing.  You need to address them all.  You probably need to address them in your first month in business.

Did you spend the whole of your first week in business working on this sort of task?

If you did, you achieved less than you might.

Focus on what really matters

Now you’re in business you must be very clear in your own mind about what’s really important.

For all new businesses what matters most is getting business.

How much of your time in your first week in business did you spend on getting business?

In The Solo Success Start-Up Guide I urge new businesses to find time in their first week to think about the following questions:

  1. Who do you serve?
  2. Which problems do you solve?
  3. What value do you add?
  4. Who is your ideal customer?

I ask people who are starting out to focus on these questions for one very important reason.

Their business is more likely to survive, if they know the answers to these questions, and if they pay attention to addressing the issues that their answers raise.

Business success or business failure?

There are lots of statistics around about new businesses indicating how few of them survive for three years.

I believe that the businesses that are most likely to fail are the ones that struggle to address a defined market, and solve the problems of a defined group of people.

If you want your business to survive, I believe you need to be clear about

who you serve – so that you don’t waste time, energy and money trying to do business with the wrong people

the  problems you solve – so that your customers and prospective customers will know how you will help them

the value you add – so that you have strong messages to deliver online, offline and face-to-face

who your ideal customer is – so you can target your marketing and sales efforts in the right way.

Work on your answers the questions I ask above in your first week and you will stand more chance of success.  That’s because:

Clear thinking + the right actions = success.

So what did you do in your first week in business?

Did you spend at least half an hour a day thinking about your answers to my questions?

If you did, you’re ready to start your second week in business.

If you didn’t, take some time early in week two to give them some consideration.

The Four Questions For Your First Week In Business

Just so that you don’t forget, the four questions are:

  1. Who do you serve?
  2. Which problems do you solve?
  3. What value do you add?
  4. Who is your ideal customer?

Questions for established businesses

Did you think sufficiently about these questions in your first week of trading?

I know I didn’t.  Twenty years ago, when I started my business.   I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do.  I remember visiting the local tax office.  I remember thinking about who I should follow up.  (I’d written quite a few letters to prospective clients before I started my business.)  I remember working on my offer.  I know I didn’t have a structured plan.

I made sure I put in the hours and I completed a range of tasks.  I hoped that by doing this would get at least some things right.

Lots of businesses still struggle to decide what to focus on.  You can get a head start on other start-ups by asking yourself those four questions now.

It’s Your Turn

So how is the new business going? What happened in the first week?  What are you planning for the second week?  Let me know in the comments.

If you like this post please “like” it on Facebook and tweet about it using the hashtags:

#startup

#smallbiz

#entrepreneur.

 You might also like to read:

 Use your time wisely!

Working efficiently damages your business.  Why not try a different approach?

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