Posts Tagged Business

The One Year Rule: aka Happy Anniversary to Me

Posted by on Sunday, 6 April, 2014

One-year-ruleI don’t know where I heard about the one year rule for new businesses. I may be making it up, but for the last few months I’ve believed it to exist.

The rule is that it takes one year until a business is successful.

Technically, Tap Dancing Spiders is nearly five years old, but last week was the first anniversary of it being my full-time gig.

What have I learned in the last year?

  1. Sometimes my best isn’t enough. Budgets change, contracts fall through. It’s not personal on me, despite how it may feel. Smile, offer to help in the future, and move on. Keep it positive and they’ll come back.
  2. Take that chance. Yes, it’s scary and it may fail, but I’ve learned things and met people you wouldn’t have otherwise.
  3. The right tools make my day so much easier. This includes FreeAgent - my accounting package, HootSuite Pro, Google Calendar, and my web hosting with IvyCat.
  4. Relationships matter. Whether it’s professional relationships or personal, I need them. I’ve gained projects through professional connections, knowledge shared with all, and most importantly, I’ve learned how much my friends mean to me and I to them.
  5. And the final one is from a Doctor Who quote: We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh. It’s been a roller coaster ride, and while it’s starting to steady out, I know there are more dips and turns to come. I’m actually looking forward to writing a book of my experiences, just not yet.

So thank you to all whom I’ve met, worked with, laughed with, … cried with… over the last year. The one year rule is real. Let’s have cupcakes to celebrate.

Clarification on the full-time gig thing. Yes, I was full-time on Tap Dancing Spiders when I left Australia, but that was just temporary while I resettled. This time it’s for keeps.

Book Review: Promote Yourself – The new rules for career success

Posted by on Saturday, 2 November, 2013

Promote Yourself Dan SchawbelIt’s hard to work out exactly why I don’t like Promote Yourself by Dan Schawbel. I’ve written many introductions and deleted them, all trying to find an objective reason.

I think it’s because there’s no clear audience identified.

There are many other reasons too, but they’re all subjective. The focus on millennials, the “it’s all about me” attitude, the instructions to do A and B to receive C. But these are disagreements, not reasons for it to be a bad book.

I know Dan Schawbel intends this book to be a career guide for millennials. I’m not convinced that’s who’ll get the most out of it.

I see the primary audience as early gen X and baby boomers who are struggling to relate to the younger members of their teams. The secondary is audience is millennials, but those who do well on tests, but struggle to make friends. The ones who want to be rich, famous and have an MBA, but lack an understanding of creativity or how.

Let me explain.

The first half of the book focuses on building your personal brand at work with the aim of getting promoted. Dan explains the need to network with the right people. He also explains how being a social media guru will make you indispensable, because no one older than “you” understands or can use the internet and computers. You can help them learn. But he also feels the need to explain what Twitter and Facebook are. By his reckoning, shouldn’t millennials already know that?

All through the book are to-do items. Take on an extra project, promote your wins, set up a personal website and you’ll be promoted. Sure there are caveats about over doing it and looking like a jerk, but I think the book (and its readers) would benefit from being told how and why. It’s there on a surface level, but reading this brought back memories of some jerks I’ve worked with. They knew how to tick boxes, but lacked the understanding to know which boxes should be ticked. One thing these jerks had in common was an MBA, giving them a great theoretical knowledge, but not the wisdom to apply it.

Which made me laugh at page 229: Should I Get an MBA? It’s probably the page I agreed with the most. No, an MBA isn’t mandatory, and is more useful in some companies than others. However, I’m not sure the entrepreneurs Dan used as examples of successful people without MBAs were the best to use. They each built their fortunes by making ideas happen, not by playing the game for a promotion large companies.

Promote Yourself isn’t all bad. Pointing out need to excel in your current job first is essential advice, dealing with job hopping and self-directed learning were other gems.

I’d love to give recommendations of alternative career books to read instead of this one, but it’s a sub-genre I tend not to read, so cannot. If anyone can, please add it to the comments. In the mean time, I’m sending this book to a millennial for his perspective.

Book Review: What’s the Future of Business by Brian Solis

Posted by on Wednesday, 12 June, 2013

wtf-brian-solisOn Saturday I heard Justin Briggs explain how to set up WordPress for SEO.

During his presentation I was getting more and more agitated. I was convinced he was wrong and that his techniques won’t work.

I was right and I was wrong. Yes, his check list of things to do will get your site a certain level of visibility. Applying Justin’s tactics along with the tactics in What’s the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences by Brian Solis will get you even more visibility. Justin’s presentation leaves out the people aspect of SEO: write posts people want to read.

In this book, Brian changes things up from his previous publications. I love it. The most obvious change is the coffee table book style. It’s a hard-cover, 12″ x 12″, and full of bright colors and scream-out quotes. I was stopping all the way through to take photos of the quotes. Yes, the featured image is one of those.

Aesthetics aside, Brian’s focus in this book is on how to create amazing customer experiences. He introduces the concept of Generation C (the generation of customers), and What’s the Future of Business takes you through the Moments of Truth needed to turn a fan into a customer and get them to buy again. Differently than other business books, Brian quotes a Google publication that the first moment of truth is actually as early as when the customer first identified a problem to be solved.

He includes lots of models and case studies and research that’s useful and engaging. If professors can move passed the need to select expensive heavy tomes, this would make a very effective text book. Weirdly enough, I finished reading and couldn’t recall any case studies at all. I don’t think it’s a fault of the writing; there’s just so much packed in and I read it over a few weeks.

So, yes, [WTF] is very different than his outline of social media tools in Engage!, and all the better for it. If you’re in business but don’t have a marketing theory background, this will help. Even if you do, grab this, you’ll LOVE the models. I know I did.

Economics and Public Relations

Posted by on Monday, 3 August, 2009

Tonight I was lucky to attend a workshop by Mark Weiner, author of Unleashing the Power of PR. It was a great, practical presentation and I did take lots of notes.One thing stood out though. On his very first slide, Mark stated the “language” differences between business and PR. How many CEOs would know what you mean if you said clutter or buzz?Later when he was describing how to measure the return on investment for PR campaigns I scribbled a note “elasticity of demand” to explain his concept. It got me thinking: how many people in the workshop tonight would understand the term elasticity of demand? Describe the concept and they’d be fine but not by using the terminology. This lack of business knowledge is a weakness in Australian PR. We have some great communicators and PR practitioners but can they hold their own with the rest of the board table?So, if your sole qualifications are communications and PR, get out there and do an MBA or read up on what some entrepreneurs have done to make it. If you don’t, your company will forever see you as only a cost centre.