There are many publications, workshops and training courses proclaiming the need for, this business start up method or that self confidence technique to succeed. While these are all worthwhile studies, sometimes we just need bite size information to set us on the right path. We are all individuals and have our own way of learning, I will typically take a hand full of good suggestions or ideas from a number of publications and see what works for me. The 4 titles I have listed can of course be read individually, here I attempt to offer a grouping that when taken together will show us a path to getting a small business off the ground.
In this weeks blog post I have grouped together 4 such publications, aimed at generating an idea, then understanding where we are right now at this moment and how we react to circumstances around us, onto developing our idea into a potential income stream and then finally creating an environment of repeat business.
SO…Start from where we are…
What will make us happy? For most of us this is a difficult question to answer, unlimited wealth, freedom to do what I want, meet Mr or Mrs right, the love and security of a large close family, I’ve heard lots of different responses to this question. Ultimately it doesn’t matter what our dreams are, it matters what we are currently doing to get to where we think happiness lies. Martin Amor and Alex Pellews ‘The Idea In You’ looks at how to come up with your life changing idea or help you find your ‘thing’ in life that will make you happy and content. Written in punchy chapters and aimed at the budding creator, its ability to generalise but still make the information relevant to the individual has earned it much praise. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence in here as well as case studies given different examples across a number of industries. Each chapter ends with a ‘Do it now’ exercise which brings me onto why I think this publication appeals. Throughout my 4 choices you will notice a common theme, a recognisable thread that ties them together. We all have a taste for self improvement or personal development, taking that extra class or studying course material to gain a qualification or certificate, but all this is literally academic if we don’t do something with it. If we don’t start from somewhere, no matter what our current position, then all the study in the world isn’t going to move us towards our goal. Of course, in some industries we need to be certified by law before we advertise our wares, but you get my point.
Move on with confidence…
Now we have our idea or reason for self improvement, next we need to establish our goal, the ‘how to’ that when applied with purpose and confidence will take us from where we are now to seeing our dreams fulfilled and ultimately what happiness means to us. S.U.M.O (Shut Up, Move ON) is an old favourite, a no nonsense guide on how to ground our current mindset, anxieties and doubts, by stripping out the negativity and suggesting alternatives to help us. Paul McGee is an international speaker and best selling author, SUMO was published a few years ago now but is as relevant today as ever, in fact maybe even more so in our ever changing and competitive world. Each chapter ends with a useful summary (remember me saying I like to take small nuggets from a number of titles) and throughout there are personal examples highlighting how we all face challenging situations, the wealthy or famous are not exempt from this, it’s how we react that determines the outcome.
Put your stuff in order…
We have an idea, we are now motivated to move onto the next stage, starting up. Once again there’s tons of support out there for business start ups, most of it requires a subscription of some sort. The UK’s .gov website has some very useful business start up information but what it doesn’t do is put this info into chronological order, step up Everyday Entrepreneurs written by Ken Horn an author and experienced start up business advisor. This straightforward guide to starting a business takes out the noise of you must ensure this or don’t forget to check on that in a years time and focuses our attention on the here and now. What do I need to have in place to take the self employment step? An increasingly attractive way of earning, that is rapidly becoming a necessity for some or a means to create additional income for others. Once again the message here is we can all dream, but dreams mean nothing unless they have a goal set to a time frame, motivation to keep us on track, and the confidence to take that next step. This title lays out crucial information in a way that can easily be applied as we progress through each chapter.
Repeat business, how to earn it.
My final offering is one many of you may know, Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles is taken from the popular One Minute Manager series by Ken Blanchard, it tells the story in parable format of how to create an environment of not just satisfied customers, but customers that will go on to become regular repeat business and preach the gospel about your product or service to anyone that will listen. This all sounds very impressive and as though it is locked into a world of idealism, but the principles here are right, how we engage with our customers will effect their sub conscious body language and attitude to us the next time they visit. In a nutshell how we come across will impact how our customers respond. Making them feel more relaxed and appreciative of our product knowledge and genuine customer care will feed positively in to their attitude the next time they want to engage with us. And because there is currently a lot of mediocre customer service in the world at the moment this approach will ensure that they tell their immediate acquaintances and contacts on social media.
We now have an idea, a method with which to start from, a practical guide to starting up and a reason to treat each customer as a member of the family. The 4 titles I have chosen have been included for the unique way they approach their subject matter, how by taking a step back assessing our current position and putting into practice straightforward steps to move us closer to our goals and dreams. However, the watch word here is as the authors above point out more eloquently than I, – WE NEED TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP!
Please let me know if you have questions.