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Articles filed in: Entrepreneurship

The Last Thing You Should Rely On Is Your Resume

Your resume is not so much a testament to what you’ve done, it’s a timeline of where you’ve done it. The world doesn’t need to take your resume’s word for anything, it can find out more about you in three clicks of a mouse than you can tell in twenty perfect bound pages.

When I asked the CEO of a successful tech startup how he managed to find such great people to work with, he said, ‘Doers leave a trail’.

Good marketing is simply great storytelling. Great storytelling is not about telling at all, it’s about showing. Dream opportunities don’t land because of something someone read on an A4 piece of paper.

Make your resume the least impressive thing about you.

Leave a trail.

Image by Daniel James.

Lessons From The $100 Startup + Win A Copy

Sometimes you get to the end of a book and struggle to remember a key message from it. Although The $100 Startup is written for people who aspire to live a life like the author Chris Guillebeau, (who still in his early thirties, has visited more than 175 countries and never had a boss), there are lessons in it that can be applied to every single business.

In the book Chris tells the stories of over fifty (sometimes accidental) entrepreneurs, who are creating a new future for themselves by doing something they love. He gives readers a One Page Business Plan, an Idea Matrix and plenty of ‘how to’ advice. The best of this book though is not the in the pages of ‘how to’, it’s in the passages about the ‘why it works’.

This little book does what many business books fail to do, it shines a light on the cornerstone of business itself, the notion of what value is. Chris differentiates features from benefits and shows you how to do it too.

More than anything else value relates to emotional needs

It’s a subtle distinction, one that’s the difference between a 32MB music player and 1000 songs in your pocket.

While he takes us on a journey behind the scenes of several independent microbusinesses, this book is not just a nudge for those who don’t want a nine to five gig. It’s a book about how opportunity exists for every entrepreneur, business and brand at the intersection of ideas, freedom and value.

The $100 Startup is released tomorrow (8th May). I pre-ordered my copy weeks ago, but Chris was kind enough to send me an advance copy, which means I’ve got a copy to give away if you’d like it. Along my copy of the book I’m also offering a 1 on 1, one hour Skype consultation with me to brainstorm about your current business strategy or new idea you might have bubbling.

*If you’d like a chance to win the book and an hour with me just head to the comments below and tell me why. Comments close on 14th May and the winner will be announced here next week.*

*BONUS* Watch the interview I did with Chris when he was still at 150 countries. We talked about how to create an unconventional business and he shared a story he tells in the book.

Image by Stephanie Zito.

Begin With The Possibilities, Not The Limitations

When you’re scoping things out. When you’re strategising, or planning how to get from here to where you want to be, you often start by asking the wrong questions. You put your first focus in the wrong place.

You start by thinking about what went wrong last time. By telling yourself what you can’t do with what you’ve got. You begin with the limitations and not the possibilities.

Focus on what you made possible. Look at the things you brought to life.
Something you created from nothing, anything that you made happen.
Start there.

Then ask:

  • When did I blitz it?
  • What worked?
  • How did I do that?
  • How can I apply that here?

When you start by working out what you did when you were at your best, you can bring more of that genius into your life, work and business.

The same rule applies whether you’re the VP of marketing for Coca Cola, or a lone entrepreneur tapping away at your keyboard in Starbucks.

Image by Matthew Kenwrick.

The One Thing You Need To Learn From The World’s Greatest Marketer

Yesterday I did something I don’t normally do…I Googled Seth Godin. Not because I never have cause to, but because I have Seth’s blog on speed dial in my toolbar. The results made me chuckle. You see Seth has been circled by over 95,000 people on Google+ and he has never posted a single update there. He has a very smart profile page, that’s it.

Seth’s strategy is simple and effective. His focus is on building one asset, his own blog, where he posts great content every day, and all roads lead back to Seth’s blog.

Here’s the takeaway for every single business and brand.

Keep the home fires burning. Wherever the foundation of your business is focus there. If you’ve got a tiny cafe, or a chain of laundromats, make them the kind of place people seek out and want to come back to. If your business has a virtual home online, make it the place where people come to be inspired, motivated and educated.

As the guys at 37signals would, say make it the place where you generously “out-teach the competition.”

Keep your home fires burning. Make your business or platform the place where people want to gather.

Image by Zanthia.

Why You Need To Change How You Think About Success

From the outside looking in success looks so easy. Successful people make it all look a bit like falling off a log. It’s easy to think that success happens in the moment, or is catalysed by one major event. Like being stranded while travelling, deciding to charter a flight and then selling tickets to other passengers by scrawling the details on a blackboard. Eureka!

In reality success doesn’t happen like this. The opportunities you’ve created didn’t just fall in your lap. They are not the result of one giant leap, but the product of a million tiny decisions you’ve been making every day for years.

It’s the small choices that define us,
not the momentous one off decisions

Danielle didn’t begin building her multi-layered business on the day she launched her website. She was laying those foundations long before she ever came up Fire Starter Sessions. And although it’s a great story, Richard Branson was exercising his entrepreneurial muscle long before he chartered that flight.

Success, like washboard abs, is a habit. The daily practice of making small choices that add up in the end. It’s about doing what you said you’d do, even though nobody but you will notice and knowing in your gut why that matters.

Image by Rattlesnake Jake.

The World Is Calling You. Be Ready

The Idea Execution Blueprint

The best-laid plans are no substitute for and idea that’s done.
Just do it!

Image by Jeff Daly.

Why You Need A Mission More Than A Website

Nine times out of ten when I consult with clients they are impatient to get to work on the tactical side of spreading their idea. They wonder about what website and social media platforms to use. They worry about design elements and website functionality. Maybe you do too?

Of course you want to get your idea out there into the world. But while tactics are necessary to spread your idea, in the long run it’s more important to have an idea that matters first.

Many of the answers to the tactical stuff can be found with a quick sixty second search. You can’t Google your unique mission and vision, that’s why it is the foundation of your business or cause. The same rules apply to global corporations, solitary artists or tiny cafes.

Tactics help to promote your idea, a clear strategy is what really sells it. The first question you need to ask is ‘why will people care about this?’ and not, ‘how will we get them to buy this?’

People don’t buy into your platform, they buy into the difference you make.

Image by Retinafunk.

How To Guarantee Failure

Do nothing.
Don’t start.
Sit on the fence.
Avoid taking the first step.
Stay in analysis.
Stand still.
Never ship.
Look for ten different opinions.
Act on none.
Stop trusting your gut and feeling like gold dust.
You are.

Image by Christa Lohman.

Trust And Excuses

The next time you don’t quite manage to do what you said you’d do, send your apology and stop there. Don’t be tempted to say I’m sorry……and. Excuses actually don’t change how the other person is feeling about being let down by you. Making excuses simply justifies your inaction to you. Excuses don’t help you to make a better impression once you’ve broken your word.

Try ending the apology with a full stop. I’m sorry I didn’t email back yesterday {full stop, period}. Because everyone knows that if you’d really wanted to you’d have found a way around your dodgy internet connection, or the fact that your kids were home sick. Excuses don’t actually excuse.

Just like the members of a trapezing crew of an 18ft Skiff, what the person on the other end of that excuse really needs to know is that you’ll be there for them. Like you said you would.

Image by Ian Sanderson.