Tag Archives: entrepreneur

The Rise Of The Micro-Entrepreneurship Economy: link & comment

A ‘politically-targeted Real World Signpost’: the cloud, social media, people working together, people trying different things in response to a changing world… this is the nature of the effects that can be achieved – but we have people around us who consistently need to be reminded: this type of article helps to do that.

And is consistent with recent UK Government “loans for young people to start small business” initiative: I am never one to be in love with the politics of such things nor do I ever truly believe that the overall projected results will ever be achieved but I am sure that a few successes will come about which otherwise might not have: so that is a good thing, no?

This is the post to the article


re Guy Kawasaki post telling entrepreneurs to ‘just dive in’

• I'm usually in agreement with this gent but I think that he is over-simplifying things a little when he suggests that businesses 'just dive in'… like everything else, awareness and planning are required if only to ensure that there actually is water in the pool before you dive!

I am not suggesting that Consultants and Social Media Specialist Advisors are the right answer – nor that they are the wrong answer… simply that the question should be more clearly defined before answers are considered.

I wouldn't expect a small business to spend weeks in planning a Social Media strategy but I would advise that a clear and documented view of your requirements will help to determine which social media tool(s) can deliver to that requirement.

This type of planning starts with a few questions along the lines of:
– what is the need / the economic driver / the business result you are hoping to achieve;
– how will you know when you have achieved it;
– which cross-selection of the myriad of tools out there are the right ones to deliver to your objective
– do you have time / resources in place to define a process and then regularly execute and manage that process?

Once underway this type of process tends to steer itself towards helping you see more clearly just what are your needs, which, to me, makes it so much easier to fill them

In response to a recent article on Forbes.com

A recent Forbes.com article Startup Success: Throw Away Your Business Books was, in my opinion, delivering counter-intuitive information.

My response follows:

I won’t argue that applying traditional tools to a non-traditional business model is not the approach… but I will argue that knowing enough to understand what is or isn’t traditional is a prerequisite to success and is predicated by learning (particularly when it comes time to pitch to someone who thinks and maybe has seen and heard it all before!)

The *right* books are a fundamental, inexpensive and fast-track approach to that knowledge which, like a methodology, recipe or your SatNav directions from point A to point B: what they are doing is:
– telling you what is the ‘straight and narrow’
– what were and are the lessons learned from the very old and the not so old ways of doing things (new books are being written rather regularly, after all)

My point is that unless I have a clue as to what has been done before and what has been thought of before I will be unable to know that what I am doing is ‘outside of the box’ or ‘not playing by the rules’ – and that I am better informed, every single step of the way, by the lessons of those who have failed and succeeded before me

in response to the question “How best to sell a solution in the technology market?”

One of the first challenges – and this is from the p.o.v. of one whose experience is based on a history of visioning conceiving and designing solutions – is to get all parties on the same page as to exactly what is the definition of “solution” in the current context…

But, to the original question “How best to sell a solution in the technology market?” I respond “by not selling a solution”.

Instead, sell a proposition which (once you all agree on that definition) is typically a compound of solutions.

To paraphrase myself from a post in a different LinkedIn forum:

In the world of organisations selling tech and tech-based solutions to business and government, a salesman requires the ability to clearly, precisely, quickly and concisely state:
– exactly what it is that he is selling
– exactly why his customer would buy it
– and why buy it from him rather than the competitor
– what his customer sees as the value what he is buying
– what his customer sees as value in terms of who he is buying from

I don’t mean as an elevator pitch or as sales material… these are the components of your account development plan or customer intelligence and without them I would suggest that you are only selling technology solutions and are not likely to succeed (or, if you have been successful are unlikley to remain so).

To get to this requires your clearly understanding which of your competencies, capabilities, credentials, etc. combine to form the correct proposition (solution, product, service delivery set – – take your choice of handles).

The proposition needs appropriate staging and presentation based on the needs and perceptions at a customer-specific level: what value will it provide and how will the ROI manifest, not what tech it uses or the world-class offshore development facility…

In my opinion, everything is secondary to what your customer sees as the value in buying it, and in buying it from you.

and a quick response to John: while I agree that change can be troublesome, it all depends on the objectives. To use random examples:

– if you are replacing the telephone system across a vast business organisation – or upgrading versions of Microsoft Exchange or other back office software – or even moving users from XP to Windows 7 then mimimised impact is required… and there are likely countless other, better examples but yes, sometimes change is bad
– if you are introducing a tech-based solution to transform a business unit, whether doubling output, halving resources or generally miminising costs, change is necessary and desirable: if the work packages being delivered by 10 people today will be delivered by 4 people, SAP and a dog next week then change is inevitable and is in fact a primary target of the exercise

True concern for the end user is laudable but only if that is what the man with the spreadsheet is paying for – which is of course the final part of the equation: once you know what it is that you are selling & why your customer would want to buy it, and from you then the next step is to ensure that you are selling it to the right person (another example: the IT department of your Local Government customer might not have VoIP on the roadmap until next year BUT VoIP in the contact centre would increase the base of people who can be employed in the contact centre – demand for contact centre resources as one of their current business issues base – by enabling simplified and connected home-working – – and in doing so offer employment to home-bound people which in turn provides extra “ticks in the boxes” around accessible employment targets.

and yes, it should be a great year!

Do feel free to contact me directly if you want to discuss further propositions as the basis for results in selling tech and tech solutions

In response to a question on LinkedIn as to what constitutes an effective sales meeting…

Let me start by saying that I am neither a salesman nor what a professional coach would consider a coach however I consult in the sales and pre-sales space around technology, IT services and outsourcing… and I have spent far too much of my life, like the rest of you, in sales meetings that were clearly NOT effective, and so would like to offer a few opinions on the discussion.

I agree with all everyone says about circulating agendas, themes, guests, schedules, outcomes, the responsibility of all to participate in the success of the meeting, minutes and all the rest – but publishing your agenda and encouraging participation and openness is standard for successful team meetings in most aspects of a business.

While I won’t tell you how to motivate your teams since I don’t know them or what they need, I do want to mention a few things that are sure to convert all of the aforementioned good work into an ineffective meeting:

– Facilitation: whoever manages the session should manage the session; the group needs to act like a team with a single conversation only

– Bad slides: I won’t bore you with detail – though I do hope that you know the difference (if not, let me know… we’ll talk)
o One way to fix it: pay attention, care, produce better slides (audience members: criticise poor slides when you see them… better to point out areas for improvement internally with peers than to deliver a bad presentation to your customer… then again, do you always needs to use a slide deck?

– Focus of agenda on interests of all: we don’t care how much Robert, Mark, Susan and Bill sold last year, this year or hope to sell next year… okay, we do care a little but do not require extensive reporting: the boss needs the deep detail, for the most part the rest of the team needs only an overview.
o Ways to fix it: mix it up, but things that might be valuable, depending on the needs of the owner of the meeting, include: did they do anything different on that recent closure; have they come up with an approach to have that ‘different kind of conversation’; tell us why they went after the CFO for that last deal and why it did or didn’t work;… in other words educate and inform the team with things that their peers are doing that could apply to their own space. One approach that I have used in the past is to ask each member of the team to provide one roadblock encountered and one roadblock cleared since the last meeting, the former to seek ideas and assistance, the latter to inform and pass on skills and knowledge

– Repetitiveness is boring
o Ways to fix it: rotating different team members as facilitators each meeting, charged with changing something from the last time and ensuring interaction during the session
o Boss’s choice: deliver something needed topically = it may be education one session, a customer / expert / exec speaking the next

– Show that you are listening and interested: capture and document ideas, plan how to take the good ones forward

If you manage some or all of the above, you will have people leaving the meeting not only feeling that it had not been a waste of their time – and maybe even motivated by someone else’s idea, solution or comments or, just as often, by the thoughts tweaked and synapses fired in his own head, generating the right answer for his issue based on the knowledge and interaction of the session.

All of the above is opinion, take it as you may… but one thing I can guarantee you is that playing ‘that’ scene from Glengarry Glen Ross is not the motivator that you might think it is.