Monday 25 October 2010

Changing what’s normal - Business Building in the 21st century Part 1

I left the corporate world and started my own business in 1991, the year the internet became publicly available. That’s 11 years before LinkedIn and 13 years before Facebook!

I didn’t have my own website until 2000. In that year less than 500 people visited my website. Today more than 10 times that amount of people visit my website every month. The numbers have dramatically increased since I began blogging in May 2007, three years after the launch of Facebook.

Much has changed in my two decades in business as a catalyst for changing what’s normal.

I have a thriving business today because I have embraced 9 massive changes to business building strategies and tactics that have occurred over my time in business for myself; spin to story, what to why, interruption marketing to permission based marketing, media to mass media, expert to thought leader, generalist to niche, provider to partner, service to experience, and complicated strategy to simplified strategy.

In this blog I explore the first two changes. I will explore the others in subsequent blogs.

1) spin to story

Authentic stories sell. Most people ignore advertising because they don’t see it as the truth about our product or service. People embrace real stories about real people which is why genuine testimonials about what we do and case studies about how we have helped people to meet their wants and needs are key ways to attract customers/clients.

What are people saying about your product/s and/or service/s? Are you using what people are saying about you as a key way to build your business?

It is accepted, sadly, that politicians make promises, fail to deliver, and then spin the facts to explain why they can’t deliver! To do this as a business person is to risk losing business, customers/clients, and our reputation. Please don’t spin the facts. Tell authentic stories. Such stories become viral by word of mouth, which is still the most powerful way to grow our businesses.

2) what to why

“Doing well by doing good” or enlightened self-interest is a key way to build our businesses which is why so many people have embraced the triple bottom line of environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and economic prosperity.

How good is your business for people, and our planet? If you are doing good for people and our planet it is likely that you are making higher profits.

Profit is not a reason for being in business, rather a result of being good at business. What’s your reason for being in business? Douglas Atkin, author of The Culting of Brands, asks: What’s your cause? What do you want to have happen? If you’re not out to cause anything then you might as well go back to bed.

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