Saturday, 22 May 2010

#unplanyourbusiness in The Financial Times

My #unplanyourbusiness idea got some coverage in today's Financial Times, in an article called 'When There's No Plan A'. It features contributions from me, David Hieatt, Gary Vaynerchuk, Raj Dey and others. Check it out on here.

You can grab a copy of the short e-book I have authored with David Sloly here.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Simplify Your Message

Often I act as a ‘Clarity Funnel’ for my clients: I soak IN a business’s DNA and then articulate OUT a clear and distinct market position or strategy/idea.

What does that actually mean? For a client I’ve been working with this week, that means visiting their warehouse, getting under their skin, talking to their staff, listening to the business owner and then funnelling all that ‘stuff’ into clear and simple marketing communications that the marketplace will understand.

I love that process and the challenge of funnelling a complex reality into a simple sell.

Too often our businesses, our brands, our personal offerings, are so multi-dimensional we’re guilty of complicating how we describe them. We get lost.

So with all that in mind, I LOVE the simplicity of Shane Mac’s website. A one pager of a few lines communicating his multi-dimensional work life with links to find out more. So simple, but equally so effective. I’m sure Shane’s going to inspire a whole breed of stripped-down websites for consultants and freelancers.

Nice one, Shane. (hat tip to my friend Espree Devora for sharing)

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Tony Hsieh: Everything I've Learnt

I’m a huge fan of Tony Hsieh and everything he’s achieved with Zappos. From when I saw his keynote at SXSW in 2009 I’ve followed his business with interest (and it was great to meet him at SXSW this year on board the Delivering Happiness bus). Tony was in London this week for Google Zeitgeist. Unfortunately he was too busy to meet up on this trip but he shot a video with Loïc Le Meur, founder of Le Web where  Loïc asked about the lessons he’s learnt in business. From the inevitable lessons in the importance of Culture to Work/Life integration, there’s some great takeaways here.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE (I removed the embedded video as it was not displaying properly in some browsers)

This video is taken from Loïc Le Meur’s blog. Merci bien Loïc! 

Monday, 17 May 2010

Celebrating making ideas happen

I've met lots of people in the last few weeks who’ve started their own business. Some came up with an idea for a new product or a service, and they made it happen. Others had a dream about quitting their jobs and setting up their own business. They too, made it happen. Each of the businesses has a different story but inevitably success was about being both talented and tenacious, and not giving up in the face of adversity. Like most of us in business, most of their journeys involved a bumpy ride.

But, they did it.

But of course, thousands of business ideas remain ideas. They never go beyond the chat in the pub, the scribble in the note pad, or the random conversation on a flight. For whatever reason(s), the owner of the idea doesn’t suceed in taking it to market.

There’s an obsession with measuring business success by financial indicators; of saying a new business is only successful if they’ve got a certain profit (how about ‘any’ profit?) or a majority percentage market share. But how about another metric? How about the fact that someone came up with a random idea, and that they turned it into reality? That they scribbled an idea on a beer mat in a pub three years ago, that they raised funding and now the resulting company is here today?

I think ‘did you make it happen?’ is a great metric and we should celebrate more the stories of those people who turned their ideas into reality.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Inside Dave Stewart’s Ideas Factory

I've had a file on my desk for nearly twelve months bulging with cuttings and notes on Dave Stewart. Ever since I discovered Dave had an awesome portfolio of business activities and creative projects, I decided this was a guy I wanted to meet. Despite attempts and the good efforts of his manager, Dave was just too busy on his London visits to meet up. Then a few weeks ago I spotted Dave in London’s Wardour Street. He was stranded in town because of the volcanic ash cloud. We connected on Twitter and several emails later, yesterday we finally met.

We chatted for an hour about Dave’s ideas factory, his new book ‘The Business Playground’ and how he manages to juggle so many projects. A video of our conversation will be posted online in June.

Dave is President of ‘Weapons Of Mass Entertainment’, his very own ideas factory in LA. As ‘ring master’ Dave sits across a range of ideas from movies and music to product development, books and TV shows. Dave describes his office as a madhouse and says many of his ideas are borne out of chaos. After our interview Dave gave me a glimpse inside the ideas factory via some video clips on his Mac book – here’s a behind the scenes tour of life in his office:

if the video above does not display above, watch it on YouTube here

Thursday, 6 May 2010

My New Marketing Manifesto

I'm regularly asked for my top tips to make a business more successful - what can give businesses the edge in the marketplace, what makes them stand out in the crowd? Whilst this is what I get paid by clients for, I decided to put together a free one-page download, with my top ten tips.

I've called it 'The New Marketing Manifesto: Ian Sanders' Ten Damn Effective Tips To Raise Your Game'. You can READ & DOWNLOAD it as a PDF at Scribd here.

I don't promise any dramatic new ideas here, just common-sense tips that I know will work for your business.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The thrill of seeing your ideas out on the shelf

What is it that motivates you through tough times in business? Is it the money you’re earning or perhaps you enjoy working with a certain bunch of people? When I was working hard writing my books, it was the thought of seeing the finished product on the shelf that helped drive me.

Chris White is an entrepreneur who has a led portfolio of creative businesses including product development company Bluw, creative agency Bluw Creative and digital architects Bluw i. His most recent business is Karrot Entertainment, a business developing intellectual properties for the kids and family market. I spoke to him on the roof of the Karrot building in South East London to ask him what’s motivated him:

If the video above does not display, watch it on YouTube here