Categories
Business Communication

When business matters

Within a recent guest article of mine on FoundRead (part of the GigaOM network) I offered up a counter-point to Seth Godin dissin’ Word-of-Mouth marketing…

Within a recent guest article of mine on FoundRead (part of the GigaOM network), I offered up a counter-point to Seth Godin dissin’ Word-of-Mouth marketing

The chance came my way yesterday when Carleen Hawn read a comment of mine on her article entitled: “Why ‘word of mouth’ marketing won’t work“, a discussion of an article by ‘blogger and marketeer Seth Godin.

And this got me thinking — what are some of the fundamentals of business?

Like anything, the business world is dynamic, and more power to anyone who can their business world a better place.

However, just like anything else, certain things are a given, which novice and expert alike don’t often question — like word-of-mouth marketing, or earning trust in business, as just two examples.

And it’s often our “organic knowledge” that helps differentiates our businesses from the other guy.

But what other fundamentals of business are there?

People Skills

People skills are amazingly important. In my experience, there are several ways people deal with people skills, two of which stand out above the others:

  1. Those like me who really enjoy meeting with people and use their social skills well.
  2. Those who recognize that they lack certain social skills, but also recognize what those essential skills are. So they often employ people to compensate for their own deficit.

Management Skills

I don’t employ anyone. I never have employed anyone. Instead, I surround my business with small agencies much like myself, who all offer a very personal, highly-skilled service.

Because of the way that I work, it’s as much about managing people as it is the projects themselves.

So for day-to-day tasks, I offer my own services at my own rates. This means I remain competitive. But for those services that require more specialist skills beyond my own, I draw on the skills of those agencies I work closely with.

Some of these guys are people I’ve known for years, or who are really good friends of mine. So I have very frank and honest relationships with them.

To my clients, they get a scalable service — both in price and offering.

In terms of project management, I often supply clients with a broad range of service offerings, but I never engage in activities outside of the skills that I am at least familiar with. That way, I can always communicate to my clients what’s been done, when, why and how.

If you’re a business owner, managing projects is an essential part of your day-to-day job.

Employer Skills

Beyond project managerial skills, there are those who employ people. To employ people and manage those people in a productive, efficient way is something close to being an art form.

I have a relationship with a print design agency, whereby I work in their offices and take on their web development activities, which I perform at a discounted rate.

I see how they manage their staff and I understand the challenges first-hand. Of all the agencies and various businesses I’ve worked with over the last 8 years, Eikon Group rank amongst the best in terms of managing their staff.

As a business owner, my enthusiasm for what I do can be quite infectious at times, but for staff, I can see how that enthusiasm would be hard to sustain if the rewards and the money aren’t commensurate.

Industry Knowledge

When I started out on my own back in June 1999, I made two mistakes. Firstly, I started out on my own, and secondly, I should have stayed in employment at least one more year.

The old adage: “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is very, very true. There’s no substitute for industry knowledge and a knowledge of those within your industry.

So knowing whether you’re ready to run your own business is a discovery process, one that’s explored by asking some serious questions of yourself.

Working on my own has been an enormous challenge, which requires of me to wear many different hats — accountant, business development manager, marketeer, salesman, purchasing officer, IT guy .. the list goes on!

So while it’s entirely possible to work on your own, I’ve seen how those who partner up reap the rewards of their shared efforts much more quickly.

Few people succeed in business by just flinging themselves into a new or adjacent industry. Some intimate knowledge is required.

What are your fundamentals of business?

Here’s your chance to share with everyone and tell us what your fundamentals of business are…

Recommended reading

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.