Archive for Business

Pitching Blind

I’ve always done sales. Not now, not in the traditional sense of the word, but im still selling ideas when i talk to people, and still wanting to persuade people that my ideas are good.

One thing that always gave me a buzz when doing traditional sales was not bothering to prepare. What! i hear the cry (or maybe murmer in this blogs case :), It’s good though, really. It makes you very very focused on what the other person is saying to you, in both speach and body language – as you really won’t know how to play it unless you listen.

I just got off a call with a great group of guys. My partner in a new business, his partner, who i’d never spoken to before, and a consultant we hoped to persuade to join our company.

It was nerve wracking, hoping that the other guys did a good job of explaining how we saw this consultant fit into our company, and hoping that everyone was on the same page – fortunately, it turns out that my new partners are good at this game aswell. The call was great, we managed to articulate our needs, and the benefits to our prospective partner rather succinctly considering that noboby had done even the slightest bit of preparation.

As a result, we hope to have a great new addition to the team :)


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Make Time for People, Save Time for Yourself

When you have multiple projects on the go, and lots of people are looking for your input on various things, aswell as friends and family needing your time, and attention, here’s a tip: Make time for them!

I picked this up many years ago from an ex boss of mine. The idea is, that if someone wants your attention, they’re unlikely to be happy with “yeah, later..”, and by fobbing them off till later, you begin to build a backlog of folks wanting to talk to you. So, you deal with it now, but not only do you deal with it immediately, you deal with it comprehensively.

It’s a trick many good communicators know instinctually. Giving someone an excuse, or worse, giving them less time and attention than they feel they deserve, creates an unhappy person, an unhappy person that you still have to communicate with. The way to do it is this:

  • Deal with the request for your time now, or at worst, your earliest moment.
  • Listen, don’t talk. If it takes longer than you’d like, then you can help by asking questions that can get that person to the point, but the idea is to let them fully explain what it is they want.
  • Answer them fully. Take your time, and don’t rush.
  • Ask them if you’ve covered it all – They may feel like they don’t want to “bother you”, so make sure that any other issues are covered by prompting them for more information, and asking them if you’ve helped them.
  • Tell them you’re moving on now, and to be in touch if they need anything else.

So, doesn’t that take more time out of your day?

Not really. That persons need is unlikely to go away, so for the most part, you’re just deffering the time you spend on it till later. By the time you get to it, if you get to it, whatever it is could be a whole lot more pressing.

By taking time to go through the issue comprehensively, you satisfy that persons need, and allow them to get on with whatever it is they do, and allow yourself to get back to your own work, uninterupted by one more person. If they do come back with additional points on the same topic, because you’ve taken the time to fully answer their first queries, you can bullet point subsequent answers – and they won’t mind at all.

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Business Opportunities

Part of the point of writing a more personal blog was the opportunity to talk about a few things im up to generally. I find it extremely beneficial to write things down, particularly where others might read them, in order to get my own thoughts together on a subject.

I wanted to learn CSS way back in 2002, so started writing about it over at webmasterworld, and eventually ended up being quite good at it. I wanted to learn much more about the search and advertising industries so started Threadwatch and have become quite knowledgeable in those areas. There’s always more to learn of course, but the point is, i learn better by writing than i do by reading.

So here, i just want to talk about some stuff that interests me, and some stuff im currently doing, or want to do.

So what am I doing?

Well, back in September, i went to the SEORoadshow, which was a fantastic weekend with mates in the Search marketing field in Edinburgh. That weekend, i had a long chat with a friend about bringing him in as a partner on Threadwatch. The fact is, I simply can’t make that site pay its way without help, and im happy to give up some ownership in order to get that help, and make TW the success it deserves to be. I won’t say who, not for now at least, as the papers are not signed yet and the details are still being worked out, but TW will become a real business shortly.

Also at the roadshow, i met up with another friend who has this great idea, and some great financial backing to go with it, for a very different kind of blog network – yeah i know, everyone and his dog has a fucking blog network, but trust me, this one’s a bit special. Again the papers aren’t signed yet, so it’s far from a done deal, but there’s certainly an opportunity to be involved with something exciting right from the start, and if all goes to plan, it’ll be one hell of a ride!

Lastly, seperate to the roadshow, i pitched an idea to a friend in the states about a new kind of ad network. It’s all very 007 at the moment, but the upshot is that he like the idea so much that we’re forming a company, and getting a whole bunch of great folks involved in again, something a bit specal. This one im particularly excited about as it’s probably the toughest of all three ventures to pull off well, but then i like a challenge, so im happy.

None of this would have come about without TW, the social currency, and the raising of my personal profile doing that site has helped me make some cool connections with some very interesting people, so those that scoff at the total lack of business model on that site (at least for now) take note, it may well pay off in the end, albeit indirectly :)

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