The Wall Street Journal just posted an extended article, actually the product of four interviews, with four start-up coaches. I won’t try to echo their advice, just give you the link.
The relevance here, to this site, Selling Face-to-Face, is that a lot of readers of the blog, and of my how to sell guides, are people who are already engaged in, or considering undertaking, new business start-ups. Reinventing your career (voluntarily or involuntarily)? Considering self-employment? Got a new better mousetrap– or better App– you think (hope?) the market really, really needs? You’ll find some savvy advice in this article.
Link to Wall Street Journal article “4 Low Cost Ways to Gauge Demand for your Start-up”
The Wall Street Journal just posted an extended article, actually the product of four interviews, with four start-up coaches. I won't try to echo their advice, just give you the link.
The relevance here, to this site, Selling Face-to-Face, is that a lot of readers of the blog, and of my how to sell guides, are people who are already engaged in, or considering undertaking, new business start-ups. Reinventing your career (voluntarily or involuntarily)? Considering self-employment? Got a new better mousetrap– or better App– you think (hope?) the market really, really needs? You'll find some savvy advice in this article.
Link to Wall Street Journal article "4 Low Cost Ways to Guage Demand for your Start-up"
Fascinating perspective on career reinvention and entrepreneurship in, of all places, Britain's New Scientist, Myshkin Ingawale, co-founder and CEO of Biosense Technologies. The hook:
"When I was 17, I was clueless about what I wanted to do with my life. Now I'm 27 and I am as clear as I can be – I want to a successful entrepreneur, starting and growing more than one organisation in my lifetime. Sometime over these last 10 years, I'm not exactly sure when, I made the transition from "clueless" to "clear as I can be".
Definitely worth reading on a variety of fronts. I'll leave you to it.
Link to article
The New York Times this past weekend ran an article on Sam Palmisano, who is retiring after about a decade as CEO of IBM. Particularly interesting to me were the four questions he devised as a tool to help get key people thinking in productive new ways.
"The four questions, he explains, were a way to focus thinking and prod the company beyond its comfort zone and to make I.B.M. pre-eminent again. He presented the four-question framework to the company’s top 300 managers at a meeting in early 2003 in Boca Raton, Fla."
• “Why would someone spend their money with you — so what is unique about you?”
• “Why would somebody work for you?”
• “Why would society allow you to operate in their defined geography — their country?”
• “And why would somebody invest their money with you?”
Seems to me those questions — especially the first — are equally useful for business ventures a lot smaller than IBM, including those of us who are setting up new businesses or consulting ventures, reinventing careers, or taking a fresh look at whether we're as effective as we could be.
Further, a savvy sales person could incorporate them into a consultative selling approach, adapting these questions into a form to be asked of potential prospects … thereby establishing the need for your product or service.
NYTimes article on Sam Palmisano's four key questions
As I mentioned here recently, this Selling Face to Face site is aimed at new business start-ups as much as at the sales training needs of experienced sales teams.
In that regard— new business start-ups and how-to — here's an interesting link to an article on
Wicked Start a free site designed by an experienced entrepreneur and management consultant. I haven't personally checked it out yet, just read the article and looked at the Wicked Start website, but it seems definitely worth your taking a look.
As I understand, when you sign up you get access to a series of how-to checklists and templates to hold your hand through each of the major steps of a new business start-up from scratch.
It's free, so I'm not at all clear on the business model.
Here's the article I read, which came to me via the "Small Business from the New York Times" weekly e-mailing.
A Start-Up That Automates the Process of Starting Up — NYTimes article
Here's another heartwarming, uplifting story (in Washingtonian magazine) of a lawyer who left the field of First Class travel and lots of dollars in return for lots and lots of billable hours , then reinvented himself into a happier field. "… what I wanted to do all along was tell stories. and play rock n' roll.")
His name? Ron Liebman. His core point: if you're a practicing lawyer, ". . .to make it work you have to live the job. and if you live the job, there goes the rest of your life. It took me a while to get that."
It took me a while, too. Like him, I (also) was a Washington lawyer. And a New York lawyer. And a Virginia lawyer. And, to paraphrase the old saying about boats, "The second happiest day of my life was when I finished law school and got admitted to the bar (s), but the happiest day was when I walked away from law and lawyering."
Why am I including this story: because this blog is about (beyond sales) career reinvention, going off on your own, career change, and self-employment as a career opton.
In any case, for more on Ron Liebman and his books
For his article in Washingtonian: "I was a Washington lawyer"
When I was starting-up on this blog, I expected the main readership would be among new business start-ups, consultants, new free-lancers, people new to selling and sales. Why? Mainly because the economy was begining to slide down, and a lot of people were going off on their own— some as involuntary entrepreneurs, others as self- reinventors in advance of getting laid off.
It hasn't been that way, so far as I can tell: most of the readership seems to be professional sales people, folks who already know their way around a sales call, and were looking for fresh ideas.
Yes, that kind of info is here, but also here are a lot of the basics of getting started in sales, or starting up a new venture, finding prospects, and making a convincing case. There are also a lot of free sales training articles drawn from books (Selling 101, How to Sell Face-to-Face Survival Guide, Sales Training Tutorials, and Sales Presentations and Demonstrations.
In any case, for the "reinventors" out there, let me recommend the article, "pulling off the ultimate career makeover" in Fortune, issue of July 4, 2011. Case studies include,
- An owner of franchises who sold them off and is setting up his own franchise operation, Yogurt Mountain. (Full disclosure: I have not, repeat not, received any free samples!)
- A sales executive formerly with the likes of Intel, Dell, and NetApp who, after being down-sized, first became a free-agent, then was hired as director of marketing of a social media operation.
- A lawyer, downsized after the media burst bubble burst in 2000, who turned around to become a contractor with the same firm. That led to a further reinvention as she set up what's best described as a legal firm of part-time lawyer contractors, many of them women juggling work and school-age kids.
- A director of strategic development and communicaitons who got cut when that company was acquired. He then did what any good consultant and strategist does, develop his "brand" after an analysis (which makes very good reading) of his passions and skills. Now he's consulting full-time.
- Another lawyer who left the practice (good for him!) to become an author of mystery novels. (First reinvention.) Then when the market for paper books started sliding, he moved into the e-book field and took on self-publishing his backlist for Kindle and the like. (Second reinvention.) By the way, as a "reformed" lawyer myself, I can't resist giving a plug to another lawyer who found "real work," hence this: his name is Paul Levine and you can read more about his mysteries at Website of Paul Levine
Fortune article: Pulling off the ultimate career makeover, by Douglas Alden Warshaw
"Faced with bruised nest eggs and high unemployment rates, older Americans—ever resourceful—are becoming entrepreneurs, " begins this Smart Money article by Anne Tergesen.
The core of the article is a Q and A with Eric Ries, Entrepreneur in Residence at Harvard Business School, focusing on his forthcoming book, The Lean Startup.
Here is one sample, making a point that I think is very much on-target with what we speak of in this blog. Notice how there are elements of making cold calls, using a consultative selling model to find prospects' real needs, and then crafting a brief, focused message making the case of how he can best fill those needs expresssed:
Q: What if you are offering a service, such as carpentry work, and you know there is a market. How can you go about testing whether your business will succeed?
A: I know someone who started a home interior design company. He knew that people would spend money on home refurnishing, but would they want to buy it from him? He spoke to prospective customers, to find out why it was that they wanted to remodel. It turned out that many potential customers in the place where he was based were women. He had the realization that they were not just buying home remodeling, but the sense of control a designer could create for them over their environments. He tried out tag lines for his business until he found a hit—which enabled him to market himself as offering something they could not get elsewhere. The tag line he chose was “unlike your husband, we listen.”
Link to that Smart Money article, "Older Americans fuel entrepreneurial boom."
HOW TO SELL FACE-TO-FACE: SURVIVAL GUIDE, a to-the-point sales how-to handbook, based largely on a consultative selling approach, especially for people getting
started in face-to-face sales, or marketing their skills or services as consultants, free-agents, career-changers,
or in new business start-ups. 6×9, 125 pages. ISBN:
Available in both paper ($9.95) and e-book ($2.99) versions via Amazon. (A free Kindle reader is available at the Amazon site. Also, it can be read on other types of readers, including iPad, IPhone, and Blackberries via free Apps that are available from this Amazon site.)
UPDATE: HOW TO SELL FACE-TO-FACE: SURVIVAL GUIDE IS NOW ALSO AVAILABLE ON KOBO. KOBO is "device neutral" — which is a techie way of saying that if you buy via KOBO you can read it on your PC, MAC, iBook, IPad, etc. etc. KOBO provides free readers/adapters. Here's the link to Kobo's version of HOW TO SELL FACE-TO-FACE: SURVIVAL GUIDE .
KOBO, in case you haven't heard of it, links with Borders— which I'm sure you have heard of.
BARGAIN! BARGAIN! BARGAIN!
At this point, the e-book of HOW TO SELL FACE-TO-FACE: SURVIVAL GUIDE is a smidgen cheaper via Kobo than via Amazon/Kindle. ($1.79 versus $2.99.)
First the good news: "President Obama's proposed 2011 budget includes funding for 100 additional federal staffers [within the IRS]. . .
Who says this country isn't creating new jobs? Well, look at that! Yes, it's true! The IRS is creating new jobs: 100 jobs IS 100 jobs that can be added to the labor statistics.
Continue reading IRS creates new jobs! Really!