Here is an excellent analysis of the book http://readwrite.com/2007/08/06/rethinking_crossing_the_chasm
It is quite an old book now with multiple editions and updates, a wonderful book by Geoffrey A Moore. It is such an important book to read if you are even thinking about becoming self-employed and entering the business world. It taught me that even a good business idea can falter, inexplicably losing sales and customers. It demonstrates how to step across that natural barrier from limited success to a growing, healthy enterprise without limitations.
My way of adopting the ethos of this seminal book is to look at successful companies and mimic what they do routinely. This week’s blog is my top 10 things big businesses do that small business should too!
1 The Living Business Plan
I touched on this topic in an earlier blog. Traditionally business plans are used to think through the viability and projections of a business to secure funding. Investment is the usual need for a business plan. A living business plan is a blueprint for success, examining every area of your business with actionable goals. Do not be afraid to update, respond to new opportunities and change course. A good, living business plan will allow you to steer a course through unfamiliar waters while keeping your ultimate goal in sight.
Or to acronymphobes (I may have made that up) Search Engine Optimisation. This is not something to put off further down the road. It is not something only for established businesses and big business. Research carefully how to make sure your business is found among the competition. I wish I had not waited as long as I did. Keywords, embedded in your website and registers, drop those crumbs and lead people to your unique selling position. It’s a big subject, I won’t lie, and you’ll always be brushing up on your SEO skills, but to it now!
No doubt this is a section in your business plan (or living business plan). You may have the most incredible marketing campaign in the history of skywriting and round robbins. It will only take you so far, trust me. I was struggling to be in the places where potential clients were. The best thing I did was scrap the idea of an all-encompassing marketing plan. I now concentrate on weekly and monthly campaigns. The world of business changes too quickly and clients don’t sit still. Marketing must be on-going, don’t hate it, embrace it!
I have the qualifications to do what I love to do, proofreading. In my opinion it would be a mistake to be satisfied with that. You would have training opportunities within employment, and I think it is necessary to engage in this with self-employment. I already have courses earmarked and priced in similar and related fields. I wish to expand my service in the future and training is key to broadening my horizons and serving my existing client base, as well as securing new clients. I have every intention in reinvesting some of my future profits into on-going training. Take a look at your own industry carefully and identify if there are other areas you would find useful to know a little more about.
5 Reverse Engineering
Even the biggest companies and institutions take a good look at their competition, their immediate rivals, and analyse what they are doing right. Once you identify how success is finding your competitors, emulate their techniques. Then you may find your own, unique position in the field. You don’t have to be as impressive, but their techniques may help you find your core demographic. I have found looking at the strategies of successful people enlightening, as it is usually something you can do yourself. So take a good look at your ideal model of success and work back, pinpointing key decisions they made along the way. You might just jump that chasm!
I would say this is one of the worst things you can do in business. I have found this out the hard and unproductive way. Start each morning with tasks to accomplish and prioritise in order of difficulty. Work through each task one at a time, getting the hardest tasks done first. Anything left over you can be assured is a minor task to pop on the next day’s list. Multi-Tasking is not efficient; you will not be giving each task your full focus. Be ordered, be firm and take it one step at a time.
7 Social Media
As I have said in a previous post, very tempting to put yourself on every social media platform for full exposure. Another nugget of wisdom found through trial and error. Choose the media that performs a specific task for you and works well with your field. Instagram or Flickr is ideal if you work in the visual arts, photography or graphic design. Accounting not so much! I use Pinterest to work on design ideas for my business, LinkedIn for the latest news in my field, connecting with fellow proofreaders and business people, and Facebook for relevant news concerning my service. All of them leading back to my website. Your website should always be your most important priority.
Decide on how you are going to keep your accounts for every stage of your business development. You may only need a simple book keeping program to begin with, but have plans in place for when your business and income grows, when your tax status changes. Make sure you know how and when to pay taxes, keep those dates to hand! Also know when it is time to employ a registered accountant. They will not only help you keep things organised, but they will be insured for any mistakes and will know how to claim things on your behalf. Do make sure they are experienced in self-assessment accounting, it makes a difference.
I admit it is unlikely you will be able to afford a team of consultants. However, outside advice is vital. It can be an experienced colleague, Business Gateway (http://www.bgateway.com/ ) or even a family member. To an extent you can only have blinkers on when it comes to the success of your business. There will be times when you need a fresh brain on the topic, fresh eyes to look at a problem. Talking things through out loud is often all it takes to reach a breakthrough. Don’t be alone, you don’t have to be!
10 Customer Care
Often a business or company will ask you to complete a survey after you have dealt with them. They are not seeking compliments, they are seeking feedback. While it is lovely to receive glowing reviews that go a long way to securing future clients, detailed feedback is just as useful. Once you have completed work for someone, take a few moments to make sure they are completely satisfied. Let them know that if there are any issues to contact you any time. They may have an issue that can revolutionise the way you work, so listen attentively. Every few months let them know about your new offers and incentives, but don’t badger them. Cyber stalker does not look good on a portfolio!
Do you agree with my list? If you think there are some big business tips good for the little guy I have missed, comment on the article below.