Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How to have a good One2One meeting

I had a recent One2One meeting with another Business Owner who asked for some help with One2One meetings. He explained that he was following up with people from his networking groups and was having One2Ones with a couple of people each month. His problem was that nothing was happening afterward. He shared his experience from a couple of these meetings which revealed that he had no agenda and was setting no expectation for what might happen next.

When agreeing to meet someone for a One2One for the first time in a Networking context your aim should be to establish whether you are going to go forward & build a business relationship or not. You don't need a formal agenda, but there are some things that help in the long term when you agree them up front:

1. The amount of time you will both set aside for the meeting
2. What you want to learn about each others background and business.
3. Is there a fit between your business and theirs and could you see yourself being able to introduce them to other trusted contacts of yours. What would need to happen for that to take place?
4. What the next steps will be.

I use this simple mind map to make sure I keep these things in mind.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Get 7 networking secrets for business success

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast

Monday, January 26, 2009

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs - Don't Expect To Build Your Business By Accident

Baby Boomers who are becoming entrepreneurs have serious intentions of building businesses that go beyond being hobbies. Research shows that they expect to build businesses that will support and fund their desired lifestyles rather than opting for the traditional path of retirement. Unfortunately, many are depending on building the business into a success without being willing to plan for success.

Regardless of the industry, most new entrepreneurs start with a common problem. As an entrepreneur, you face the challenge of establishing a complex business with limited resources and limited time. You have very little room for big mistakes. Because the challenge is bigger than what you can do by yourself, you have to involve others: employees, independent contractors, investors, and possibly even partners. And of course, your ultimate success is based upon how you are received by customers.

As a professional entrepreneur, it is your job to set the expectations for the business, for all aspects of the business, for everyone associated with your business. People often refer to this as having the entrepreneurial mindset, being willing to accept responsibility for what you are creating.

People often think of the business plan as a tool to raise money. Your business plan is far more importantly your tool for designing and operating your business. Writing your plan does not have to be as complex and time consuming as most people expect that it must be to produce results. One very good resource comes from Jim Horan, a skilled writer dispensing advice to entrepreneurs and author of The One Page Business Plan: The Fastest, Easiest Way to Write a Business Plan.

It is in accepting the responsibility for creating your expectations for your business and seeing that they are properly aligned with the expectations of your customers and employees that you avoid the trap of depending upon things to come together by accident. It is in defining and aligning expectations that you differentiate your business in the marketplace. This is what makes you stand out from the commodity businesses.

The overwhelming majority of business owners either fail to establish expectations or to communicate the expectations they hold locked in their minds. They think that common sense should tell people what to expect. They fail to establish specific systems that explain to customers how they will be served. They fail to establish systems and procedures that employees follow to make sure that customers get exactly what was promised to them.

People so often depend upon everything to come together by accident. What people fail to understand is there is no such thing as common sense. What we call common sense is actually an agreement or alignment of our expectations that results from dialog over time. By establishing the expectations on how you will serve the market, what promises you will make to your customers and how you will keep those promises, you make your business stand out from the many that lack direction and only do the same thing twice in a row by accident. That is how customers develop the common sense to come to you rather than other sources in the market, you are consistent in meeting your promises. Customers can feel in control because if what you promised is exactly what they want, they know exactly where to go to get what they want. They come to you.

Don’t assume your serious intentions are automatically built into your business. Take specific calculated steps to: 1) create the vision; 2) document your vision; and 3) find a way to express it to others so they can join you in delivering on your promises. Delivering on your promises cannot depend upon everything coming together by accident. Build your business on the solid foundation of a plan that honors the needs of everyone, you, your customers, and your employees alike. Make your plan. Make your promises. Deliver on what you promise. Expect it to all come together by plan, not by accident.

Shallie Bey

Andrea Stenberg, blogger for Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs, was one of the first to report on the Bank of Montreal study about the serious intentions of baby boomer entrepreneurs. You can see her post at:

http://thebabyboomerentrepreneur.com/28/ipsos-reid-study/comment-page-1/#comment-852 .

For more insights on The One Page Business Plan, see the free resource directory I have created on How To Write A One Page Business Plan at:


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Who do you already know, like and trust?

I have used this quote from Bob Burg before:

"All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to
those people they know, like and trust.

I meet many business owners and professionals who end up constantly searching for new contacts when networking. It seems that it is very easy to forget those that we already have a relationship with.

I met with a partner in a consultancy firm last week who had carried out a business diagnostic for nearly 100 companies a couple of years back. What a great database of ready made contacts without having to meet anyone new!

In a recent podcast, 'How to start building your network', I spoke about identifying those people you already know or have worked with. A little bit of reconnecting can produce brilliant results.

Some of those people already know, like and trust you!

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Get 7 networking secrets for business success

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast

Friday, January 16, 2009

Generating business through Linkedin

I recently reconnected with someone on Linkedin that I had done business with previously. We already knew, liked and trusted each other & are now doing business again. It has also led to us delivering some additional networking training business for business owners and professional firms.

It is worth using the Linkedin tools to find the people from your existing contacts that are already there and getting back in touch. People often forget their existing contacts when networking and I talked about this in a podcast recently, 'How to start building your network'.

The following article from the NRG Business Networking Newsletter by Will Kintish explains more about how Linkedin works;
'LinkedIn…your best online networking friend'.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Get 7 networking secrets for business success

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Career Renegade - A Book for Entrepreneurs

Are you a young person looking to make your mark in life? Or, perhaps, are you a Baby Boomer looking to redefine your life as an entrepreneur? Are you wondering how to live a life of fulfillment and joy, and a life with a proper work life balance?

So many people begin their life wanting to make a difference and find themselves side tracked along the way. They begin by asking what they want to be when they grow up. And then they discover that they are grown up and they still don’t know what they want to be.

Jonathan Fields saw that happening in his own life and in the lives of so many people around him. He saw people running faster, working harder, climbing higher, sweating more blood, and pushing through stifling fatigue. Most importantly, he saw that usually they were no freer or happier.

He saw people trapped in their fear that if they tried to do anything about it they would become poor or a failure…or even worse, perhaps both.

He decided to find the solution to the riddle of actually doing what you love for a living without leaving your life behind. Not only did he succeed, he discovered that part of what he loves is sharing the solution with others. Jonathan wants to share it with you in Career Renegade.

He describes his intent as wanting to deliver something that is not only fun and inspirational, but insanely useful. Once again, with the clarity brought by intense focus, Jonathan has another success.

Discipline is required for success in every pursuit. Part of that discipline is acquiring the fundamental information, as he calls it, that is required to participate in any activity. He will give you a lot of information and will point you to other sources to help you learn the fundamentals: the rules of the game, the knowledge of systems, wisdom, cheats, hacks, and secrets you need to know.

In Career Renegade, Jonathan moves what information marketers call the free line. He will give you for free what could cost you hundreds of dollars to learn in other courses. In addition to sharing with you for free his take on ropes to know, he points you to other useful free resources available on the Internet that you might not find easily by yourself.

One of the things you will enjoy is that Jonathan provides complete information. Unlike what so often happens, he won’t just tell you what to do, leaving you in the dark about why or how. He will even talk about how to explain what you are doing to your friends and family so they won’t think you have gone crazy.

So if you want to understand work life balance, if you want to pay the bills while pursuing your passion, whether you are a prospective young entrepreneur or one of the fast growing segment of the population composed of Baby Boomer entrepreneurs, talk with Jonathan Fields. Career Renegade is a good place to begin that conversation.

If your answer is yes, you want to know about Jonathan Field’s new book, Career Renegade. I have created a Squidoo Lens at http://www.squidoo.com/Career-Renegade. This site gives you a quick tour of the book and the thinking that will show you how to make a great living doing what you love.

Shallie Bey

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs – Commit To Taking The First Step

Unwritten, the song performed by Natasia Bedingfield ( click here it see her perform the music video on YouTube), has a message for would be Baby Boomer Business Owners.

I am unwritten,

Can’t read my mind

I’m undefined.

I’m just beginning

The pen’s in my hand

Ending unplanned.

This is where many aspiring Baby Boomer business owners find themselves, undefined. And this leads us to the very first step defining what being a Baby Boomer Entrepreneur or Baby Boomer business owner means to you? Is this something to which you are committed? At the very minimum, are you committed to finding the answer about your level of commitment before you spend your money and your life on the task of starting a business?

Are you willing to test out your role as a business owner? Are you sure you really want to be a business owner or is that just the next trendy thing to do because everyone else is doing it? Is this a life you really want to live?

Staring at the blank page before you

Open up the dirty window

Let the sun illuminate the words

That you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance

So close you can almost taste it

Release your inhibitions

Are you willing to release the inhibitions that come from years of working for someone else? Are you prepared to set aside the fears associated with being in the driver’s seat? Are you willing to go from a fuzzy generality to a specific commitment to be an entrepreneur? Are you willing to confront how you can define a work/life balance that works uniquely for you?

Feel the rain on your skin

No one else can feel it for you

Only you can let it in

No one else, no one else

Can speak the words on your lips

Are you ready to take the first step? Are you ready to commit to being an entrepreneur or business owner? If so…

This is where your book begins…

For more information to help you make that first step see: Join The Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs (click here ).

Shallie Bey

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A networking system gives predictable results

If you have set objectives for your networking then you can quantify the actions you need to undertake to achieve your results. This simple mindmap shows a four step networking system. The ultimate goal of this is getting other business people to recommend and advocate you. After all that is what networking is all about for many people.

1. Target Market
Identify the people you are trying to reach with your products or services. More in a previous entry, 'How to identify your typical customer' and this podcast, 'Your target market – Who is your right person?'

2. Proposition
This podcast, 'How to explain what you do', gives you some advice on how you can always answer quickly, confidently and effectively when someone asks, “What do you do?“.

3. Inner Network

This podcast, 'How to focus on the right people when networking', explains how to concentrate on building your Inner Network. Build close relationships with others who provide a complementary service to the same target market as you. This will help your networking to become a regular and reliable source of new business.

4. Advocates
This podcast, 'How to motivate your network to advocate you', explains how to set about motivating others in your Inner Network to advocate you.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Get 7 networking secrets for business success

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast