Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Make more money from your practice!

A million-dollar expert is someone who has successfully built a specialist infopreneurial practice.

A practice is based on the expertise of the principal. In the case of brain surgery, the practice is based on the expertise of the brain surgeon. While there would be other people in the practice supporting the surgeon, she is the one who does all the delivery (in this case the brain surgery). If she is sick, the receptionist isn't going to fill in for her. Without the brain surgeon the practice is not worth anything.

In the case of the infopreneurial practice it is based on the subject-matter expertise - or the ideas - of the principal. The expert is typically a consultant, speaker, author, trainer, mentor, facilitator or coach (ideally a combination of these). Practices (as opposed to businesses) generally have low start-up costs and continue to be funded from the cash flow created in the practice. For example, you get a website when you can afford one. Businesses, on the other hand, have an initial investment focus and even if you build one with a low budget, at some point it still takes raising funds or capital investment to get it to the next level.

There is absolutely no doubt that investing early and funding a practice as if it was a business will accelerate its growth. But these early investments can also be applied to the practice too soon. A $5000 brochure describing a service that you quickly evolve out of is a complete waste of time and money. The early investment made in a practice is usually in the learning and growing that the expert has done in the years leading up to launching. Read more...

P.S. The above table was an extract from the book Thought Leaders, written by Matt Church, Michael Henderson and Scott Stein.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Entrepreneurial Adaptation - How to know when to quit

Sometimes you've got to know when to quit.

I am a product of the self development gurus of the early 80's; Napoleon Hill, Clement Stone, Og Mandino and my personal favourite, Brian Tracy. They taught me to persist, to never give up on my dreams and to be a single minded SOB.

The problem is, I hold onto things longer than I should and persist with structures, relationships and mindsets that simply don't serve me anymore.

Modern gurus like Guy Kawasaki (Rules for Revolutionaries) and Seth Godin (The Dip) tell me I have to know when to fail fast and cut and run on ideas that no longer serve. They say (and I believe) that the pace of change is so fast that an idea that was good last year is not at all viable this year.

It reminds me of the Charles Darwin quote "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change". As my friend Steve Francis, a learning expert says, "Adapt or die!"

Finding the line between 'success tenacity' and 'entrepreneurial adaptation' is delicate. Here are a few ideas on drawing the line:
  • Set strategy contextually and be willing to change it tactically.
  • Measure the things that matter but don't spend all of your time looking in the rear view mirror.
  • Continuously scan the environment for the new ideas that are rocking the world. Use a model such as S.T.E.E.P. to help you do so methodically. Google S.T.E.E.P. and you will see what I mean.
  • Study disruption events and never forget the business you are in. E.g. Are you in the Train Industry or the Transport Industry, Video Store Industry or Entertainment Industry?
  • Continually search to create meaning around the good things and bad that you are faced with. Remember, it's not what happens to you that matters, it's the meaning you place on it that does.
Do these things and you just might succeed in this awesome, wild ride that is the 21st Century.

2012 is fast approaching... it's going to be wild.


P.S. My friend Craig Rispin is a futurist and offers a copy of his book 'How to think like a futurist' to readers of my newsletter this month. Read a copy here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Is innovation the goal?

I have been doing a lot of work in the innovation space lately. I reckon we have to be very careful when launching an innovation initiative through an existing business. Let's take the IDEATION stage in an innovation roll out; this is the stage when you are generating cool ideas and asking the whole business for suggestions on what the business can do. If you simply collate these ideas and never report them, never track the source, don't allow forum style comments in an open source manner and actually run idea competitions to close this 'generating' and 'commenting' phase, you will disengage your people. What's worse, is you may not execute on your brilliant ideas.

So, in a few lines:
  • Come up with ideas
  • Track them
  • Allow open source commentary
  • Progress them and report on it
  • Run competitions to close off this phase
  • Focus on execution and reporting
Your culture and execution frameworks then become key to making innovation happen. If you define innovation as cool ideas then it's not the goal. If however we define innovation as great ideas that have been turned into commercial realities then it's a perfect goal.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Profitable Positioning

One of the pieces of commercial communication we all have to get good at is the art of positioning ourselves profitably. This is often harder when you are selling intangibles like services and truly challenging when you are positioning yourself.

The key is to manage the process through the three filters of YOU, IT and THEM.

The following diagram explains it:

Start by disclosing a little about you, then become objective and outline the process you use and finally explain how this makes a difference in their world.

Answer the whole question next time you are asked ‘what do you do?’