How to Get Noticed in Tough Times

July 4, 2012

“Hello! Anybody paying any attention?”

The papers say times are going to continue to be tough for a while and I’ve already noticed many business owners retrenching and retreating, pulling back, cutting back and holding back. Ironically, though, a downturn is the perfect time to strategise new ways of increasing profitability. Especially if you have client-free time on your hands – sorry to say it, but it’s true!

Ivan Misner, bestselling author and founder of BNI says there are three stages people need to go through when building a business: Visibility, Credibility and Profitability. Every business person needs to go through every stage in order; however, you can accelerate the process by focusing on visibility and credibility at the same time.

The most important step is to increase your visibility. If no one knows about you, then it doesn’t matter how good you are. If you want or need to rise above the competition, you need to be visible. And the best way to achieve higher visibility is by writing, publishing and speaking, as much as you can and on your core topic.

Not sure what to write about? All you need to do is look at your business objectives and pick one that relates to your market. Then pick one topic where you feel confident, passionate and opinionated. It really is as simple as that, but many people never sit down to think about this at all.

Collaborating with other authors can, in some cases, speed things up and produce better results. Hertfordshire business owners Don Hales and Derek Williams put together the very impressive Wow! That’s What I Call Service in less time than authors of shorter books. Don and Derek are both experts in their industry, with slightly different experiences and networks. They complemented, challenged and encouraged each other all the way through the process, resulting in a book which is consistently at the top of the Amazon list for customer service.

Although business books are still seen as the ultimate benchmark of credibility, other media can also help to build visibility. A good blog, for example, can establish profile quickly and well-placed articles can achieve excellent reach, with readers of both of these tools enjoying your wisdom free of charge in most cases.

Note that I have said “a good blog”. If you are blogging to complement your other business activities, the content needs to be consistent with your offline message and you have to check it thoroughly for tone, accuracy and errors. Just because it is quick to write doesn’t mean it isn’t as important as any other piece of writing that represents you and your thoughts. Remember, your blog and all of your writing and speaking reflects you and your brand!

Whatever you choose to do, get started now. This is not the time to retrench and retreat. If your workload has slowed, it’s the perfect time to sit down and plan a writing strategy that will get you noticed. Then, when the market improves, you will have increased credibility and profitability.

Are you a raving fan? If so, you will win – big time

July 1, 2012

Yesterday I sat on the couch, glued to the action on TV. The Wimbledon tennis championship was on, and one of the players I really admire was on centre court. Serena Williams was playing excellent tennis and fighting to get through to the next round. I say ‘fighting’ because her opponent was playing well also, and she was not going to just let Serena waltz through. It was a tense match.

Throughout the match, I found myself speaking and at times, even shouting at the television, willing Serena to do well and sending her encouragement and good energy through the airwaves. It occurred to me that I was being a textbook ‘raving fan’ (or maybe raving lunatic, if you would ask my neighbours!)

It also occurred to me how great it would be if we all had those kind of fans – the kind that would really be rooting for us and willing us to win. The kind who would forget all ideas of preparing lunch, doing the chores and everything else, just to be there for us (I did finally eat soemthing at about 3pm!)

I’m sure you have people you can count on: friends, family, good clients and maybe even some super-satisfied clients who speak well of you, write testimonials and endorsements and refer other clients to you. But what if you had more? And what if they all were absolutely crazy about you and your service?

It’s my belief that you can design all sorts of campaigns and programs to get more people to endorse you and endorse you more heartily, but you can never really predict or control their response. Think of a time when someone had promised to help you with something, but then they had an emergency at home or at work, or they just got distracted with other things. Their intentions were good, but they could not, or chose not to, follow through.

Therefore, the sensible thing to do is to focus on something you can control, and that is the raving you do about and for others. See where you can help and support more people. Aim to be a better friend, client, associate, affiliate or partner. Look for ways to really add value to that person. Become the raving fan yourself.

This means you will need to temporarily stop pleading and begging and coercing others to Like your page or your business, review your book, promote your services or help you out in any other way. You will need to take the focus off of yourself, even if you feel you really need the help. It may seem counter-intuitive but I believe that when you turn the focus around, it has several benefits. First, it is liberating to think of others and makes you feel and look good.

Secondly, it allows you to be more creative, as you focus on someone else and something else besides your own project.

Finally, as many thought leaders in the area of influence have discovered, helping others puts a credit into the ‘emotional bank account’ and makes them feel more like returning the favour. It may not happen immediately, and this is certainly not the main reason for helping someone, but it all goes into the pot and when the time comes and you are the one needing help or support, people will remember.

The Law of Attraction and other universal laws suggest that what you put out comes back to you. If you believe that, then you can see that all the support, help and love you give to the people you trust and endorse will reflect back on you and you will win as well. Luckily, life is not like a game of tennis where there can only be one winner. We can all win and enjoy the game a lot more too.

Are you a weak sun?

May 17, 2012

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Just yesterday, I was reading a book where the author used the phrase ‘the sun shone weakly’.  I liked the sound of that, very poetic. When I looked up at the sky this morning, I thought I saw the exact representation of a weak sun.  If you stare at the middle of the photo, you can just about see the sun.

But then I thought about it some more and realized that the sun is not shining weakly.  It is shining just as strongly, only there are clouds (many clouds!) blocking it.  So I decided that I don’t like that phrase after all!  In fact, I think it is misleading, unhelpful and quite disempowering. 

We all have times when we seem to ‘shine weakly’ but sometimes it is just that there are a bunch of things clouding our vision and others’ vision of us.

Where in your life are you feeling like you are showing up weakly?  Feeling like you have failed or just can’t seem to get things moving the way you want?  Perhaps you are emanating strong energy and efforts, but you are being blocked by things outside of you.  

So, what to do about it?  Well, first, I recommend you acknowledge and celebrate your efforts.  Too often we only acknowledge and celebrate results and we forget to take stock of all the great things we have done and are doing to achieve those results.  I think it’s perfectly acceptable to acknolwedge every little step along the way, and in fact we do that on all of our client programs.

Then, you need to look at the things that are standing between you and and your shining glory.  If it is a person, think about the specific outcomes you want, and then have the conversation that you need to have.  If it’s technology, figure out exactly what or who could help you get things done and make the call or buy the software.  If it is your environment, pick yourself up and move – even if it’s just across the room.  

Feel the power of taking charge of things and moving forward.  Start sweeping those clouds aside so that people can see you shine.  Best of luck and let me know how you get on!

A fresh clean page

December 31, 2011

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As we turn the calendar to another day, another month and another year, a fresh clean page awaits each and every one of us.  Actually, each new day and even each new moment represents a fresh start, if we choose to see it that way.  It’s just customary and convenient to put the emphasis on ‘the new year’.

For some people, the idea of a clean white piece of paper (or screen) is exciting and liberating.  It’s an opportunity to look ahead and create something new.  An opportunity to start over, perhaps do a better job.

For others, the blank page brings fear and uncertainty.  What will end up being written or drawn on the page?  It can be hard to make the first mark, with the worry of doing it ‘wrong’. Many people hope that the new year will bring good things and be better than the past year, but they don’t like stepping into the unknown.  In fact, probably ten times as many people face new days and years from a worried state than from an excited one. 

Maybe it doesn’t have to be one or the other.  I like to look at the page as a chance to keep going, keep creating and adding to the pages already behind.  Because, even if we look at a new page, it is still part of the overall story, and all the words, images and creations from the previous pages are part of that story as well.

Good luck to you as you embark on the next page of your life.  Remember that it is just that – one page – and there are an infinite number of things you could fill it with.  Do fill it.  Don’t leave it blank, waiting for the perfect idea or phrase or moment.  And if you are still nervous, know that you are in good company, and if you are really scared, you could always write in pencil.

As Sir Alex Fer…

November 6, 2011

As Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates 25 years as manager of Manchester United, I feel a great sense of pride and awe. Such dedication, such commitment, over so many years. And it hits me: so few people these days have that long-term stick-to-it mentality, so few people seem willing to keep going over the long haul, through the rough times as well as the smooth. So I choose to dedicate this blog to all those who have built a business or a brand over many years, and keep on building it, despite the odds. They have probably already realized the value in sticking with one thing.

There are so many benefits to a single-minded commitment strategy. Firstly, you get to forget about everything else and just focus on the one thing that inspires and delights you. I appreciate that sometimes it doesn’t seem so delightful, such as when you have a difficult financial period or difficult clients or suppliers. But the overall big picture is one that you are tied to mentally, emotionally and maybe even physically. You develop a sense of loyalty to that business and brand, to the customers and clients who rely on you. You would never dream of letting them down and so you soldier on. I have had two rough patches over the past 9 ½ years I have been building The Book Midwife. Both times I thought briefly about quitting, but I knew I could never do it. I dug deep into my soul as well as my personal financial reserves, and I came out fighting. I picture that quintessential British icon, the bulldog. I imagine him with a bone in his teeth. Yes, it can be tough, but I will never surrender…

Another great benefit to sticking with one thing for a long time is that you get better and better at it, and people get to know you for that quality. Sir Alex understands that, and so do many committed business owners I have met, who have just kept doing the same thing, tweaking and adjusting, but never wavering. Other copycats may come and go. I see them all the time in my industry. Oh, look! All of a sudden he/she claims to be an expert. I just smile because the market knows the true experts are the ones who have honed their craft and deepened their understanding and their value, and that takes time.

Some people are reluctant to commit to just one thing. They say they like variety. Well, those of us who have kept doing our one thing know that you can get variety in lots of ways. No two customers or projects will ever be the same, will they? I think the talk about variety is a smokescreen for people who are scared to choose. They fear that they will choose the wrong thing, or that they will miss out on another opportunity. Many worry that there is not enough business in just one area. Let me assure you, there is always enough business for people with deep levels of commitment and years of experience. And if you hop from one thing to another, it makes it very difficult for people to pigeon-hole, categorize or tag you, which they need to do in this busy world.

I also see people uncertain and confused about what they should commit to. That is a valid concern, and one that can be addressed so easily and effectively with good coaching. It can be hard to see all of the possibilities and it can be very valuable to have another opinion or someone to bounce things off of. By the way, if you like this idea and are a coach or other small business owner in the UK, come along to the Coaches Networking Convention next Saturday 12th November, where I will be speaking about developing your niche.

Let me conclude by raising my virtual glass to Sir Alex and wishing him the best for as long as he wants to continue in his current career. And I also toast every single committed entrepreneur who grits their teeth and carries on, no matter what. The payoff is sometimes right around the corner. There are those who quit just before they are about to succeed. And then there are those who would never quit. Their commitment and longevity will win in the long run.

Is it Time to Leave Your Philosophical Footprint?

September 19, 2011

You probably feel very alive today, but I’m guessing that one day you will no longer be here in the flesh. When that day comes, I wonder what you will be leaving behind. A family – spouse, children, grandchildren, maybe great-grandchildren? Assets? Such as a house, car or other material possessions? Or intangible assets, like a company?

You will most likely leave many of those things behind, and you will also leave behind memories and ideas. Let’s call this your philosophical footprint. All important thinkers leave a philosophical footprint on the world. Any inspirational leader, past or present, that has made an impact on you did so by sharing their unique wisdom and ideas in a way that spoke to you and moved you in some way.

About five percent of all people manage to fulfil their big dreams and create something really special in the world, something that lasts and helps people for generations to come.

I don’t know if you are in the five percent, but if you are, you will know what I am talking about! I love seeing people free their best ideas and daring thoughts so that they can take others to a new level of thinking and action. That is true leadership – thought leadership, in fact, since they move people mostly with the power of their ideas.

Now is a great time to reflect on what people will remember about you, what you said, how you made them feel and maybe even how you inspired them! Stepping through life is easy; we all do it. Leaving a lasting footprint can also be easy. You just need to choose.

If you’re a serious player, check out our Thought Leadership Retreat – you may be closer than you think to creating a lasting impact on the world.

You Want to Write a Book, But…

June 1, 2011

Perhaps you’ve thought about writing a book?

Or you know someone who has written and published their book  and it’s made you think about doing the same.

You even get excited about the idea.

 

And THEN you have some or ALL of these thoughts:

-  I have so many ideas but where do I start?

-  Will my book be interesting and unique enough?

-  Am I a good enough writer and will it get published?

-  Will people read it and like it?

 

Or, you’ve already started a book and you have some of these thoughts:

-  This is hard

-  I have writers block

-  I don’t have enough time

 

Stop there!  This is quite NORMAL, this is where everyone starts.

There is GOOD news for you.

 

I have found that ALL of my authors say the same thing:

-  When you work with the right people

-  And use a good process which is fun and easy to follow

 

It makes writing a book a REALITY.

 

My obsession with helping authors fulfil their dreams has created something NEW.

 

You can find out more, at no cost, by watching the next of my short videos

Click here NOW

 

You will also be automatically registered for a F R E E

LIVE Interactive Webinar at 7:30pm GMT on Thursday 9th June where I will reveal writing and publishing secrets, answer questions and provide feedback.

 

I look forward to seeing YOU at the webinar on 9th June at 7:30pm UK time (2:30pm EST)

Click here to find out more.

 

P.S. Many people run around in circles with the wrong book and take years to complete it – there is an alternative and it starts HERE

Click here NOW

Today is World Book Day – Should We Celebrate ALL Books?

March 3, 2011

Today is World Book Day and I want to urge you to use the event as an opportunity to celebrate those books which have most influenced you. Let’s consider all books, rather than relying on publishers with big budgets deciding which books should gain all the glory.

World Book Day is a time to celebrate the beauty of the written word and excellent books, yet why does it increasingly seem to be about which publishing house has the biggest budgets to push out free copies of their predicted bestsellers?

Read the full article here

I’m giving birth to triplets this week

February 15, 2011

It’s not often you get to give birth to 3 babies in a week.  Even when those ‘babies’ are books!  Although we help hundreds of people each year, three in one week warrants a bit of a celebration.  So please help me welcome to the world some really fabulous titles that will all make a great impression in their specific markets:

Pension Matters

On 16th February, Pension Matters will be born.  The brain-child of seasoned financial adviser Paul Steel, this book provides clarity and reassurance to those just approaching the retirement age.  It outlines the choices you have and guides you through the maze in a friendly and supportive way.

The Body Objective

 

On 18th February, Camilla Ellis will give birth to The Body Objective.  A comprehensive book which offers advice and insights on nutrition, overall health and fitness, this book will be well-received by people who want to improve their  general health and wellness, and people with specific health challenges.

 

Finally, 21st February will 10 Commandmentsbe the birthday of The Ten Commandments by Russell Connor.  A very slim volume, it is a book which Russell will be able to use with his clients to showcase his extensive experience and expertise in business consulting.  We apologise if anyone was looking for the biblical version – this is not it but it is a business bible, of sorts!

 

So we have an eventful week coming up!  I applaud all my author clients who have persevered against self-doubt, time challenges and critics, to create books that create a real impact and build credibility.  If you would like to be featured in a future blog post, please contact me today.  The sooner you start, the sooner we can launch you into the marketplace.  Thanks for following us and watch out for more exciting news in the very near future.

HIGHLIGHTS from The Book Midwife

February 1, 2011

What a couple of months we’ve just had! If you have followed any of our news, you probably know about some of the exciting things we have been doing in December and January. Still, it gives me great pleasure to summarize what has been the best two months ever at our little company. I hope this report makes you smile and feel inspired to get involved!

Helping more people than ever to write and publish books

Over the past two months, my own private client list sold out as I helped 10 new private clients start their books!

Speaking

I also enjoyed presenting at the European Professional Women’s Network and the Chartered Management Institute, as well as being a guest presenter for Lisa Peck a.ka. the ‘Step it Up Queen’ and UK Sales Mentor Steve Clarke on their webinars.

Growing and Adding More Value

In January, we also trained and certified three new Book Midwife Consultants!  A very warm welcome to Sharon Eden, Bianca Kroon and Oni Bhattacharya!

The entire Book Midwife Consultancy team

There are now six of us, which means we can help even more aspiring authors to plan, write and publish their books.  So no matter which consultant they work with, clients can be assured of the same proven and award-winning system that has helped over 300 people to write their books in just 90 days!

Sharon, Bianca and Oni at our team dinner

We need to expand the team even more, especially in the U.S., so if you know a coach or consultant who has written a book and would like to help others achieve the same, please ask if they would consider training as a Book Midwife Licensed Practitioner.


Finally, the month of January ended with the first ever Thought Leadership Retreat – a very small, very exclusive two-day event especially for people who need a strategy to become the REAL thought leaders in their field.

Two delegates working on their thought leadership plans

Feedback has been very positive, and the next retreat has been planned for May.  If you would like more information, please see the website.  But you will need to be fast, as there are only 6 places available.

Lots of Lovely New Books!

And this report would not be complete without acknowledging the many Book Midwife and Ecademy Press clients who successfully launched their books in December and January.  Huge kudos to the following:

Deb Battersby, author of The Magic Mirror and the Grandma Message

Iris Clermont, author of Team Magic

Sharon Eden, author of Whack Around The Head

Hattie Hasan, author of The Joy of Plumbing

Cali Bird, author of Don’t Give Up Your Day Job

 

Cali and Mindy at the launch of Don't Give Up Your Day Job

Hmmm… I just noticed something about this list.  Can you see anything interesting?  Let me know, and let me know what we should do about it!

Well, that’s the end of the round-up!  I hope you are also having a brilliant start to the 2011.  If so, let me know so I can help you shout about it.  If not, let me know if there is anything I can do to help you shift things in the area of thought leadership, writing and publishing.  Wishing you a wonderful year ahead!


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