Category Archives: networking

University College London Enterprise, Camden Council, Citrus Saturdays and Circalit

An interesting event this evening at University College London Old Refectory for a talk about the partnership with Camden Council business support and UCL Enterprise.

Timothy Barnes, the Director of Enterprise Operations at UCL gave an energetic talk about a selection of UCL activities to support entrepreneurs from within their 25,000 student body as well as entrepreneurial Camden residents.

Perhaps the most surprising and certainly the most youthful project is Citrus Saturday, which from small beginnings has spread across several European cities:

Citrus_Saturday_logoAround sixty 11 to 14-year-olds, drawn from a range of schools in the borough, will run stalls selling lemonade and other citrus products such as orange smoothies and lemon ice cream. The stalls will be located in ten prime locations, for example, Euston Station, Tavistock Square Park and Brunswick Centre. The children will be supervised by a trained volunteer drawn from the UCL student body, who will have acted as a ‘business mentor’ throughout the training programme.

Citrus Saturday is designed to infuse children with a spirit of enterprise. It aims to teach them the basic business and, indeed, life skills necessary to become successful, contributing members of their communities.

It’s also an opportunity for families, schools, businesses, students and even members of the public, to unite for a common purpose – to train the next generation of entrepreneurs through a free, enjoyable, engaging activity. Children will learn how to set goals, create budgets, secure investors, select a site, purchase supplies, serve customers, make a profit and repay investors.

Citrus Saturday offers many of Camden’s young people their first experience of these life lessons. It may be some time before they are thinking about going out into the world and making a living, but in the meantime we aim to boost their confidence and instil self-esteem – all while making sure they have fun, of course.

By chance I found myself sitting next to Raoul Tawadey the founder of one of UCL ‘s success stories Circalit.

Circalit is the best place to discover new authors and share stories online. You can read thousands of fantastic stories on Circalit for free by visiting the hot reads section.

Circalit aims to be the YouTube or SoundCloud for new writers. As Raul pointed out to me, there are many more writers in the world than video or music creators, but they don’t have a place to get exposure as the traditional publishers are swamped with manuscripts. The website also includes writing advice from professionals such as Sopranos scriptwriter Nick Santora. Circalit looks like a really interesting service to aspiring writers.

Circalit_logo

 

Guy Kawasaki ‘Enchants’ SLA Chicago 2012 conference

Guy_KawasakiGuy Kawasaki was the keynote speaker at the recent SLA annual conference in Chicago, and here are my notes from his talk.

Kawasaki started by talking about his time at the Macintosh division of Apple Inc. He described them as the largest collection of egomaniacs ever assembled in the US, until the creation of the Facebook development team.

In hindsight he realised that enchantment was a key part of his life, dating back to his first job in the jewellery trade.

His two recommended essential reads are:
How to win friends and influence people, published in 1931 by Dale Carneigie, and Influence – The Psychology of Persuasions by Robert B Cialdini.

Kawasaki has observed many hi-tech speakers over the years, and with the exception of Steve Jobs, they all ‘suck and go long’.

He always uses the 10 point model for presenting. So he told us if he ‘sucks’ today we will be able to tell.

1.    Achieve Likeability
–    Have a great smile – not just using the jaw, but also the eyes. So crow’s feet are good. Needs to be a Duchene smile
–    Accept others for what they are
–    Default to ‘yes’ – How can I help the person I just met

2.    Achieve Trustworthiness
–    Trust others first
o    Amazon – have a policy of returning an ebook in 7 days if you don’t like it
o    Zappos – buy the shoes online, if you don’t like them we will pay the return postage
o    Nordstrom – you can return anything to them at any time
–    Become a baker not an eater – a producer not a consumer
–    Find something to agree on with customers – it doesn’t have to be a big thing
o    Example of a dislike of Opera

3.    Perfect what you do
–    Do something DICEE
o    Deep
o    Intelligent – they understand my pain / my problem
o    Complete – the totality of the service you offer
o    Empowering – they make you more creative and productive
o    Elegant – someone has thought about the user interface

4.    Launch
–    Tell a story – a personal one, not a marketing one
–    ‘My girlfriend wanted to sell Pez dispensers online’ – the story behind eBay
–    Plant many seeds
–    The key to bottom up marketing – make them available to everyone
–    Use salient points when you talk about your services
o    Calories vs Miles to burn them off
o    Dollars vs Months of food for a family in Eithiopia
o    Gigabytes vs X thousands of songs on portable player

5.    Overcome resistance
–    Provide social proof of success – the white ear-buds that came with iPods were a visual indicator in the streets
–    Use a dataset to change a mindset
o    Gapminder.org – review of number of children and longer lives across the world
–    Enchant all of the influencers in the family not just the ones with the money, e.g. children.

6.    Make your enchantment endure
–    The Grateful Dead provide a space for people to tape their concerts for free
–    Build an ecosystem of the totality of your service
–    Invoke reciprocation
o    Don’t say ‘you are welcome’ say ‘I know you would do the same for me’
o    Enable people to pay you back in their own way
–    Don’t rely on money (e.g. price offers) – it is not the core of enchantment

7.    Great enchanters are great presenters, so:
–    Customize your introduction
–    Sell your dream
o    iPhone = $188 of parts manufactured in a factory in China, but is more than the sum of its parts
–    10 is the optimum number of slides
–    Delivered in 20 minutes at most
–    A 30 point font size is optimal – so you don’t read your text out to your audience

8.    Use technology
–    Social media is free and ubiquitous so use it
–    Remove the speed bumps for your customers
–    Capta reduces the number of customers
–    Sungevity.com – Uses your home address to mock up installation using satellite imagery
–    Provide added value
o    Information
o    Insights
o    Assistance
–    Example of Alltop.com website – aggregates information by topics
–    ‘Eat like a bird, poop like an elephant’. i.e. take little – give a lot
–    Use a lot of sources and spread the information.

9.    Enchant Up
–    When your boss or partner asks you to do something – drop everything else and do it.
–    Prototype fast
–    Deliver bad news early

10.    Enchant Down
–    Book by Daliel H Pink – Drive
–    Provide a MAP
o    Mastery – if you come and work for me …
o    Autonomy – if you come and work for me …
o    Purpose – if you come and work for me …
–    Empower action
–    ‘Suck it up’ – be a boss who is willing to do the ‘dirty job’

Kawasaki summed up Enchantment as having;
The Quality of Apple – the trustworthiness of Zappos – and the likeability of Richard Branson.

Enchantment-Cover

Personal Paralegal: The Social Media Dos and Don’ts to Protect Your Privacy

1384549_93705926b_httpwww.sxc.huprofilechidseyMany thanks to Fiona Causer from Paralegal.net for writing this useful guide to Social Media Privacy.

In this day and age, it behooves everyone to use social media to some degree – and it can be a great and fun way to keep track of friends, promote a product, or interact with customers. But with this freedom of idea and information exchange has come a new platform for privacy to be compromised by Internet predators, governments or even potential employers with whom one may be seeking employment.

With these cases of privacy violations on the rise, they have become a key topic of interest to paralegal schools looking to equip their graduates with the correct tools to navigate the murky waters of privacy law.  With social media usage sky-rocketing, more accounts of privacy violations will surely arise.  In order to protect your privacy, there are certain Dos and Don’ts that need to be kept in mind when using sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Foursquare.

Do:

1.     Follow the sites you are on regularly. If someone posts to your wall or says something unflattering, inappropriate or untrue about you, you want to be able to react within hours, not days or weeks.

2.     Know the privacy policies of each site. Reading the fine print can be a drag, but it allows you to understand what information is publicly viewable, what information is shared with other companies and what options you have in protecting yourself.

3.     Think before you post. You may write things or provide information that you later regret. If you’re angry or upset, wait a few hours before posting.

4.     Make sure that you have the latest security updates installed in your computer. This is just generally good advice. Also, consider downloading Facebook’s security software to further protect yourself.

5.     Keep your credit card and bank information to yourself. With the ubiquity of online purchasing, there’s a tendency to get a little too free with one’s financial information. If you’re not on a secure site with the intent to purchase, there’s no reason to provide this information.

Don’t:

1.     Don’t accept requests from strangers, particularly if something seems fishy. They may be after your password, or attempting to pass you a virus. Check out who they are before clicking on any links they provide.

2.     If you’re an individual, don’t provide your exact address, particularly on Foursquare. People can tell when you’re on vacation – publicly letting them know that you’re out of town, while also showing them a map to your door is a bad idea.

3.     Don’t let unflattering photographs be tagged. Facebook will allow you to un-tag any photos taken of you. Make sure you’re in control of your own images.

4.     Don’t post without proofreading. Spelling errors, clumsy grammar and typos all serve to make you look bad – and it gives view to a private thought process that you may want to keep to yourself. In other words, no reason to show others your first drafts. An extra minute and you can look much better.

5.     Don’t keep an account if you’re not going to use it. Especially if you’re running a business, having a Twitter account (or other account) that is only used once every five months is worse than having no account at all. Plus, because it appears that you’re inattentive, it’s ripe for poachers, who may start using your account to spam others connected to you.

90 Tiny Tips to Build Your Personal Brand

In the past, Rasheed Ogunlaru (who presents our monthly Your Life, Your Business workshop), has talked about the importance of building your personal brand.

So this list of tips from Alissa Alvarez at Online MBA is welcome.

90 Tiny Tips to Build Your Personal Brand

Personal branding isn’t something you can just sit down and work on for a day and then forget about. Rather, personal branding is built in small pieces, as your day-to-day actions all add up to the brand that is you. That’s exactly why we’ve found so many small tips that can help you build your personal brand, taking things one tiny step at a time. Read on, and we’ll share 90 tips that can help you slowly but steadily build your personal brand.

Finding Your Niche

Personal branding is all about figuring out who you are and how you want to project your image. Use these tips to help identify what you’re really all about.

Consider what makes you different

1.    When determining your niche, you should think about what makes you different from other brands out there.

2.    Identify your primary product

3.    Think about what you have to offer others, whether it’s a service, resource, or special ability.

4.    Find out what your talents are

5.    Consider what your talents are, what you’ve been recognized for and what you’re better at than most people.

6.    Think about how others identify you

7.    Take a look at your brand attributes and confirm that your brand matches what others would say about you.

8.    Do something remarkable

9.    Instead of playing it self and sticking to what you know, do something that’s worthy of taking notice.

10.    Identify your core values

11.    Share what really matters to you in order to identify what your core values are.

12.    Be unique

13.    Don’t feel like you need to copy another person’s brand. Be unique and stand out.

14.    Think about your passions

15.    Identify the things and ideas that you love, and identify your passions.

16.    Ask colleagues and friends to sum up your professional image

17.    Get a true reflection of what you’re all about by asking others to define you.

Creating A Message

Follow these tips to find out how you can share the personal branding message you have created.

1.    Physically make a message

2.    Write a paragraph and tag line that tells your story and emphasizes your speciality and talents.

3.    Share your message

4.    Once you have your message, be sure to actually share it with someone.

5.    Be authentic

6.    Don’t create a message that’s about someone else: be true to yourself.

7.    Control your message

8.    Don’t be too many different things to too many people. Stick to your primary message and focus on that.

9.    Find your target audience

10.    Consider who you really want to be talking to, and use your target audience to define what kind of presence you want to create for your brand.

11.    Know your audience

12.    Think about to whom you’re directing your personal brand, and communicate your messages appropriately.

13.    Be yourself

14.    Let your personality shine through and show the real authentic “you.”

15.    Use the right vocabulary

16.    Communicate with your audience using the right words from the industry so you can show your understanding of what’s going on.

Credibility

1.    Use personal branding to establish yourself as a trusted professional in your industry with the help of these tips.

2.    Be useful

3.    In everything you do, take a moment to consider how you are being useful to others.
4.    Live what you say

5.    Have a trustworthy, transparent, and educated voice to build your credibility.

6.    Be trustworthy

7.    Be careful not to offer anything you can’t provide, and deliver on what you’ve promised.

8.    Believe in your brand

9.    Commit to and invest in the ideas that support your brand.

10.    Create a portfolio of successes

11.    Showcase your past work, get testimonials, and do whatever you can do show off how great you are.

12.    Find and share great content

13.    Create a buzz around your own personal brand by finding great content and sharing them with others.

14.    Create a visual hook

15.    Find a memorable visual hook that people will enjoy and remember you by.

16.    Find out what other leaders are doing right

17.    Find the experts and leaders in your profession, and see what they are doing to promote their brands.

18.    Cultivate a personal style

19.    Select clothing that represents you and makes you stand out from the crowd in an attractive way.

20.    Be a leader

21.    Lead by helping people, and use leadership to grow your influence.

22.    Get featured in the media

23.    Find opportunities to be featured in the media, possibly creating even more opportunities for exposure and credibility.

24.    Show your confidence

25.    Don’t be arrogant, but be sure to project confidence so that others will be comfortable with you.

26.    Contribute to Q&A sections

27.    LinkedIn, eHow, About.com, and lots of forums offer opportunities for sharing your expertise.

28.    Be a speaker

29.    Much more effective than just attending, speaking at events shares the opportunity for showcasing your expertise.

30.    Be consistent

31.    Make sure your resume, LinkedIn, and Facebook are all saying the same thing.

32.    Win awards

33.    First, do work that’s worthy of awards, and be sure to apply for awards in your field. This can bring lots of recognition and credibility to your personal brand.

34.    Take a writing class

35.    The way you write has a major impact on how you are perceived, so take a writing class to make sure you’re getting it right.

36.    Stay on top of trends

37.    Educate yourself and stay on top of newly emerging trends in your industry.

38.    Back everything up with proof

39.    Share objective proof to back up broad statements, using numbers, dates, statistics, and more.

40.    Toot your own horn

41.    Publicize awards, achievements, and anything else that’s remarkable so that people actually know about it.

Efficiency

1.    Keep personal branding from taking over your life with these tips that will help you streamline your efforts.

2.    Interact effectively

3.    Give yourself a time window for interaction so that you don’t spend all day networking and using social media.

4.    Determine where to invest your energy

5.    Building a brand is a major undertaking, and there’s only so much you can do in a day. Think about where you really want to invest your energy in brand building.

6.    Be brief

7.    State your value quickly and in bite sized chunks, or you run the risk of droning on and becoming forgettable.

Online Presence

1.    Maintain an online presence that reflects who you are with the help of these tips.

2.    Own your domain

3.    Register your name or unique URL to project a more professional image.

4.    Have a great website

5.    Your website is still like a virtual lobby, offering a jumping off point for your entire online presence.

6.    Learn about SEO

7.    Search engine optimization might sound a little scary and daunting, but in reality, it’s actually quite easy, as long as you’re creating quality content. Taking the time to do SEO right can make all the difference when making your brand stand out.

8.    Keep your personal and company brand separate

9.    Establish yourself as a person, rather than a company, so that you don’t limit the power of your personal brand. This is especially helpful if you may not be with the company forever.

10.    Be a polite emailer

11.    Check your grammar, etiquette, and writing skills so that you’re communicating like a professional.

12.    Pay attention to your email address

13.    Your email address offers a significant opportunity for building your brand, especially if you use your real name.

14.    Do your best to lock down your name online

15.    Whether you have a common name or an unusual one, put out as much quality content as you can, with your name one it, so that you can better control your online presence.

16.    Find out where you are online

17.    Do a Google search to check in on your online presence to see you you’re doing and if you need to make any changes.

18.    Monitor your online brand

19.    Carefully keep an eye on what is being said about you online, and make corrections as needed.

Networking

1.    Get connected and establish your brand with others by following these tips.

2.    Find relevant people

3.    Seek out the recommendations of colleagues, check out Twitter, and more to find relevant people that you should be connecting with.

4.    Join industry associations

5.    Meet up with people who can help you build your brand and career by joining industry associations.

6.    Be generous with your time

7.    Take time to do charitable work and go beyond the call of duty.

8.    Say yes more often

9.    Accept more invitations and go to more events, finding opportunities and taking advantage of ways to explore and experience.

10.    Have business cards

11.    Even if you don’t have a job, create business cards with your contact information to share with others who want to contact and remember you.

12.    Do your research

13.    Before any networking event, be sure to know who is going and what will be discussed so that you’re well prepared.

14.    Be accessible

15.    Let people know you’re out there, and that they can reach you on a regular basis.

16.    Don’t miss out on events

17.    Attend conferences, seminars, and other events to get out there and shake hands and meet other relevant people.

18.    Ask for testimonials

19.    Ask other people to recommend you for your expertise, and then be sure to publish what they’ve said about you.

20.    Be an active alumni

21.    Make the most of where you went to school by joining the alumni association and taking advantage of networking events.

22.    Show support for others

23.    Be passionate about helping other people when they need it.

24.    Learn how to introduce yourself

25.    Be ready to communicate who you are with others, concisely sharing the answer to “Tell me about yourself.”

26.    Get connected with passionate people

27.    Find other people who live passionately, and get together with them regularly for inspiration.

28.    Take guest blogging opportunities

29.    Extend your reach beyond your immediate network by taking opportunities to guest blog and share your expertise.

30.    Promote others rather than yourself

31.    Instead of spending all your time promoting yourself, take the time to point out what others are doing really well.

Job Hunting

1.    These personal branding tips are especially relevant for job hunters.

2.    Work for free

3.    Your experience is worth its weight in gold, so when it comes to getting a job, any past experience can really pay off, even work you’ve done for free.

4.    Create a value statement

5.    Highlight your values and strengths to get the attention of a hiring manager.

6.    Put your resume online

7.    Add social features, photos, and more to your photo by putting it online.

8.    Quantify your results

9.    Prove your value by showing quantified outcomes.

Social Media

1.    Follow these tips for great ideas in building your personal brand through social media.

2.    Carefully consider which tools you want to use

3.    If you can’t effectively use a social media tool, there’s little point to having it at all. A poorly managed social media presence can be worse than not having one in the first place.

4.    Listen up and stay in the loop

5.    Don’t be one sided: be sure to listen and respond to what others are saying.

6.    Fill out your profile completely

7.    Fill out all of the information fields to promote everything important about yourself.

8.    Go out and find new followers

9.    New followers will find you, but you can build your presence much faster by seeking them out yourself.

10.    Listen first

11.    See what others are saying on social networks, and even set up Google Alerts to listen in on how social networks are working before you get started with them.

12.    Engage and interact

13.    Participate in the back and forth of social media, engaging with others and interacting with content.

14.    Create multiple streams

15.    Be ubiquitous, creating an online presence on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and more, as many as you can reasonably maintain on a regular basis.

16.    Be adaptable

17.    Social media is constantly changing, so always be ready to adapt to new developments with a consistent approach.

18.    Don’t forget videos

19.    Video projects can pay off in a big way and offer a great way to really showcase your brand.

20.    Manage and optimize your social media systems

21.    When creating your social media accounts, set them up so that they can be automatically updated, pushing to your blog, home page, and more.

22.    Stay interesting

23.    Don’t just set up social media and walk away: keep things interesting by writing, sharing videos, photos, and more.

24.    Curate content like it’s fine art

25.    Think carefully about how you share links, news, and resources, curating your content like a museum director might select works for an exhibit.

26.    Use the same profile photo

27.    Make your online presence easily recognizable by using the same profile photo everywhere.

28.    Use a consistent name, too

29.    Build recognition by using the same name in everything you do online, preferably one that is close to your actual name or profession.

30.    Schedule regular posts

31.    Stay on top of your online presence with scheduled tweets and blog posts, so you always have something new to share.

32.    Think before you Tweet

33.    Be careful not to write anything that’s embarrassing or offensive, or anything you wouldn’t get away with in any other professional setting.

34.    Keep everything PG

35.    Be careful not to post anything you wouldn’t want your grandma (or potential employers) to see.

36.    Point to your social media presence elsewhere

37.    Promote your social media presence everywhere, on your website, blog, and even email.

38.    Bring offline relationships online

39.    Ask your “real life” friends if they are on Twitter or Facebook.

40.    Blog your voice on the web

41.    Blogging is a great way to find natural traffic without too much marketing effort.

42.    Don’t give away too much personal information

43.    Be careful not to over-share information or be inflammatory when building your brand.

44.    Make some accounts private

45.    If you feel the need to share things online that aren’t professionally appropriate, be sure to make those accounts private.

 

Make it, Sell it in the Business & IP Centre at the British Library

Many thanks to Fran Taylor for this report on Make it, Sell it:

On Friday we ran the very first of our ‘Make it, Sell it’ events, designed to help jewellery and crafts makers to commercialise their designs.

Around 90 makers came to the Business & IP Centre networking area during the day.  In a ‘speed dating’ style format, they got to meet some great names from brands such as Etsy, Real Business, Tatty Devine, Folksy, Artquest, the Design Trust and Wolf & Badger.

In what was described by Time Out as “an Antiques Roadshow-esque” show and tell, attendees could also bring along their work. I loved all the products on show, but here were some of the ones that caught my eye:

Camilla Smith-Westergaard from Butterscotch & Beesting has designed an amazing range of circus and magic inspired confectionery. She has created a really distinct and strong brand through her own illustrations.

Butterscotch & Beesting Circus

Laura Brannon produces unusual, fine-art style pieces of jewellery under the theme of ‘Dead lights’.   She reuses household materials from shower heads to rubber and foam.

Laura Brannon lucy

Belinda from Bels Art World produces fantastic illustrations in the form of calendars, bags, cards and zines.

Bels Art World

Last but not least, Jo Cameron of Wild Fowl Designs makes contemporary earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets.  This was one of my favourite designs from her range, which Jo also wore on the day. It’s always good to wear your own products…

Wild Fowl Designs

Global Entrepreneurship Week 2011 is on its way

GEW logo We have had some excellent events during Global Entrepreneurship Weeks over the past few years (Global Entrepreneurship Week 2010).

And it looks like this year will be just as good. It will run from 14 to 18 November, and includes Speed mentoring sessions and Question Time for Entrepreneurs.

Speed mentoring

Each day we’ll be running informal half-day networking sessions. The Centre will be full of business experts and successful entrepreneurs who you can talk with informally and get advice.

The themes for this year are:

Monday – Absolute Beginners

Tuesday – IP & Innovation

Wednesday – Women in Business

Thursday – Marketing Maestros

Friday – Make It, Sell It!

The speed mentoring sessions run from 10.00am – 13.00pm and 14.00pm – 17.00pm and are free.

Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Question Time for Entrepreneurs

   

Photos: Tim Campbell,  Lara Morgan and Vernon W. Hill II

Our special evening event will give you the opportunity to question some of the most successful and influential people in British business today. Speakers include Emma Bridgewater, Lara Morgan, Vernon W. Hill II and former Apprentice winner Tim Campbell. A networking reception will follow the event.

Business Startup Show

Join us on stand 412 at the Business Startup Show in Earls Court on Thursday 17 and Friday 18 November! Along with our partners, Business Plan Services, Trademark Direct and Grow, members of the Business & IP Centre team will be on hand to explain how we can help kick-start your business.

Find out more about Global Entrepreneurship Week.

‘Absolute Beginners’ day

The essentials you’ll need to get going in business – finance, market research and business planning.

‘IP & Innovation’ day

Meet experts who can help you innovate and stay creative as well as protecting your ideas

‘Women in business’ day

Meet a whole host of female entrepreneurs, from the big names to women that are just getting started.

‘Marketing Maestros’ day

Find out how to improve your brand and marketing strategy on the Marketing Maestros day in Global Entrepreneurship Week.

‘Make It, Sell It!’ day

Meet craft experts to help you grow and develop your business.

Question Time for Entrepreneurs

Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Question Time for Entrepreneurs

Create your elevator pitch with Amber Raney-Kincade

CN_Tower_lift

Photo by Abdou.W

You step into a lift and someone asks “What do you do?” They are getting off in a few floors, so you only have seconds to gain their interest and pass off your business card. How will they remember you? Amber Raney-Kincade’s workshop is dedicated to creating your specific elevator pitch. You will leave this seminar with a pitch you can begin using immediately.

I attended this workshop yesterday at the City Business Library near the Barbican as part of my journey to create the perfect elevator pitch for the Business & IP Centre (How elevated is your pitch?) Read on to see if I have succeeded.

I have included Amber’s description of her workshop in full above, as it is a wonderful example of a pitch in its own right.

I have decided for this workshop review to try and give an insight into the process. So I am going to include my working notes for my pitch, along with the topics covered by Amber.

1. The five W’s and H are common approaches when first tackling a business related problem, and are used here:

Who is the subject of the elevator pitch?
The British Library Business & IP Centre
What does the person or business do?
We provide information, training and support for inventors and start-up business.
Where does the business or service operate?
We are located within the British Library at St Pancras in north London. Next door to Kings Cross.
When is the service available?
We are open Monday to Saturday from 9.30am to 8pm (5pm on Fridays and Saturdays).
Why offer the product or service?
We want to make use of our existing information to make the British Library more useful to inventors and start-up business.
How does the product or service work?
We give free on-site access to millions of pounds of market research reports, directories, trade journals, company databases, with workshops and free advice clinics.

2. Understand the pains of your customers, so you can present your solutions to their problems.
For the Business & IP Centre customers this includes a lack of knowledge of:
o    Their market place
o    Their competitors
o    Relevant legislation
o    Intellectual Property protection
o    Facts to back up their gut feelings
o    How to prioritise

3. Next Amber made us look at the components of our business or service
What is the service, product, company etc?
Information, training and support for inventors and start-up business.
What problems does it solve?
Inventors and start-up business need to know more about their market place, their competitors, relevant legislation, Intellectual Property  protection, facts to back up their gut feelings and how to prioritise.
How am I different?
We hold the largest collection of freely available market research and business information in the world. We understand the role of intellectual property in protecting a start-up or growing business.
Why should your customers care?
So you don’t waste time and money, and make the right decisions for your business.

4. Amber showed us how to structure a pitch. It needs to:
–    Have a hook
–    Be straightforward (especially no jargon)
–    Establish credibility (name drop if possible)
–    Show passion for what you are doing
–    Be about informing, not bragging about you or your business
–    Not be all about you – needs to be about their needs – not yours

5. Then you need to think about background information
Who are your competitors now (be honest and realistic)?
o    For the Business & IP Centre we have partners and competitors in the shape of other business libraries, Business Link and local authority enterprise agencies.
­Who are you not like?
o    We are not patent attorneys giving legal advice
o    We do not provide incubation space
o    We don’t register companies or trademarks
­ What are your Unique Selling Points?
o    The depth and breadth of our content.
o    Our specialist knowledge and expertise.
o    Our combination of business and intellectual property knowledge.
­ What is your motivation / objectives?
o    To help inventors and individuals start and grow successful businesses.
o    To contribute to the growth of the UK economy.
­ Who is your idea client?
o    Inventors and early stage business start-ups

5. Amber ran through lots of good, bad and indifferent real examples of elevator pitches she has come across. This lead to a heated debate amongst the attendees, but with broad agreement of which was best and why.

6. We then had five minutes to come up with a pitch, which we presented to the room. The next twenty minutes consisted of a lively session where we helped each other improve our pitches.

7. Finally Amber gave us a formula to apply in the unlikely event that we had not managed to produce a suitable pitch during the workshop.

 

So after all that work, here is my shiny new pitch:

Are you ready to take the leap to start your own business?

At the Business & IP Centre in the British Library we provide free information, workshops and advice on your markets, competitors, legislation and in fact pretty much anything you need to start or grow your business.

Please let me know what you think, and how it could be improved.

Thanks again to Amber for a great workshop.

Amber_Raney-Kincade

http://www.raney-kincade.co.uk/Raney-Kincade/Home.html

http://ninfield.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/how-elevated-is-your-pitch/

The professionals: business bootcamp

business-bootcamp-logoFollowing swiftly on from the launch (Boris boots up Business Bootcamps at the British Library), our very own camp is nearly here.

Put together by experts and business owners, this two day bootcamp is designed specifically for sole traders in the professional services, from IT consultants, marketing freelancers to accountants. We have noticed that many people are setting up their own businesses, based on their professional skills after having been made redundant.

The content across both days covers all of the essential issues you are likely to face as a new business.

Along with practical exercises and inspirational presentations, you will receive a fact-file of research reports and guides to use afterwards which would cost in excess of £500.

The benefits of the bootcamp:
• Meet with like-minded people
• Understand how effective networking can boost your business
• How to present a perfect pitch
• Best practice look at financial viable models
• Get information on professional service delivery from the experts
• Discover more about how to refresh your business plan
• Introductory guide to intellectual property
• Develop a strategy to carry your business forward.
Experts

• Johnny Martin – get to grips with your finances with the no.1 small business numbers coach.

• Nick Winton – understand how to grow your client base and potential profits with clever strategy and lead generation.

• Rasheed Ogunlaru – how you can learn to ‘be your brand’ and grow your profile with effective networking.

Event details:
Mon 13 June 2011, 09.30 – 20.00. Tues 14 June, 09.30 – 17.00 at the British Library Business & IP Centre.

Cost: £125

Booking: The professionals: a business bootcamp

The socialisation of the internet – Social Media World Forum

Social Media World ForumMy colleague Fran Taylor has kindly allowed me to publish her notes from the Social Media World Forum in March. There are some excellent tips below.

Socialisation of the internet

–    Social media encourages mob or herd like mentality, which can be really negative. The panel gave examples of this in Japan where users of social networks are often anonymous.

–    You need to think about your business objectives first when using social media.

–    If you have a strong product and brand, people will be receptive to you online.

–    More controversially, traditional branding is ‘plastic’, i.e. it’s based on an ideal not a reality. Organisations have to accept that they won’t be perfect and that they’re made up of real people.

–    It’s important to accept that you can make mistakes if you want to be innovative.  Organisations need to remember the importance of ‘playing’.

–    If someone ‘likes’ you on Facebook it doesn’t mean that you’ve made it.  Someone needs to buy your product and give it a good review – this is the end goal, not a social media output.

–    Marketers can be too optimistic when reporting on success e.g. “I have x thousand followers’.  Again, success is in reaching your business goals, not just having fans on social media sites.

–    Quote of the session: “Being dull is a recipe for disaster.” From Joanne Jacobs, social media consultant.

–    Sites like Trip advisor are going to increasingly come into trouble with litigation, which may affect the credibility of review sites in the future.

–    Worryingly the representative from Facebook had no idea if the site was accessible for people with a disability. The panel agreed it needed to be higher on the agenda.

–    You don’t have to be innovative i.e. first to market.  It’s fine to be an ‘adapter’ i.e. to build and improve on what others do first.

–    We can’t move completely to crowd sourcing and social decision making in the future.  You still need leaders and experts.

Measuring reputation and monitoring social media activity

Reputation

Klout Logo-    The two main tools at the moment are Klout and Peer index.

–    Reputation measurement is still flawed through social media – you need to take these figures with a pinch of salt as they don’t reflect the full picture, although they can be useful.

–    Sites like Stack Overflow are being used for reputation scores in employing people in the tech industry.

–    It’s important to know who are the major tweeters and bloggers in your industry and engage with them.

Measuring activity

–    There are lots of agencies and products that could help us measure our social media activity.  Brandwatch, Synthesio UK to name a few.

–    It’s important to remember that monitoring agencies can’t access private content e.g. a lot of LinkedIn and Facebook.

–    Good quote: “In real life all good relationships start by listening.”  You need to know what you are listening to online and what types of conversations you want to monitor.

–    It’s important to collect qualitative as well as quantitative information.

–    Sampling can be effective.

–    Sentiment analysis is when you look at whether content is positive, neutral or negative.

–    If you have more sophisticated systems, they can link in to your CRM data.

–    Google alerts are misleading – they only pick up around 5% of content.

–    Free tools are ok but very limited.  You have to weigh up time spent vs. value.

–    Measurement is about outcomes and changes in behaviour.  People are not ‘avatars’ or ‘clicks’.

Where social media fits in an organisation and PR

–    It’s important to be clear who is accountable for activity, but no one can own social media.

–    Be clear about how you measure your activity and what your business goal is.

–    You can’t control, only follow and contribute.

–    You need to set guidelines for staff, coach and train them.  Focus on empowering them, again, rather than controlling.

–    Sometimes the line between PR and customer service can get blurred through social media.

–    It’s not about being ‘liked’ it’s about adding value.

Fran Taylor
http://twitter.com/#!/BL_Creative

Review of who’s got your back

whosgotyourback_coverOnce again I am indebted to Pervin Shaikh for another generous donation to our Business Help book collection.

Last time it was the amazing What Would Google Do? This time I am reviewing who’s got your back (yes, it seems lower case titles are still trendy). Keith Ferrazzi, the ‘best selling author of NEVER EAT ALONE’, supplies ‘The Secret to Finding the 3 People Who Will Change Your Life’. I think I’m all case confused at this point.

By the way, what a great surname for an author, or in fact, anyone intent on becoming a personal brand.

If the title and pre-title (see cover shot) don’t get the message across, then how about the sur-title? ‘The breakthrough program to build deep, trusting relationships that create success – and won’t let you fail’.

It is at this point that I have to confess to breaking a long standing policy on this blog of avoiding negativity. I don’t really see the point of writing about something unless it has something positive to contribute.

However, I’m afraid this is going to be an exception, and this is really an appeal to you, to help me understand where I am going wrong with this very popular book.

Unfortunately the author gets my goat right from the first chapter, by using the example of Jean Nidetch, ‘a plus-sized housewife who enlisted her friends to help her stay on a diet’. This was the 1961 beginnings of what was to become Weight Watchers, a $4 billion turnover business by 2007.

The author explains that Nidetch, ‘just wanted to get skinny, but through an inner circle of friends offering expertise, wisdom, honesty and support she achieved far more than she ever imagined possible.’

However, to me Weight Watchers is an organisation that exploits people’s desire to lose weight by persuading them to adopt a calorie counting diet, when so much evidence indicates that no diets work in the long run.

Why diets don’t work and The Problem with Weight Watchers and other Calorie Counting Diets

To quote the book’s blurb; Keith Ferrazzi, the internationally renowned thought leader, consultant, and bestselling author of Never Eat Alone, shows us that becoming a winner in any field of endeavour requires a trusted team of advisors who can offer guidance and help to hold us accountable to achieving our goals. It is the reason Ph.D. candidates have advisor teams, top executives  have boards, world-class athletes have fitness coaches, and presidents have cabinets.

In conclusion, I am left wondering if this the management book equivalent of the Emperor’s New Clothes. So please let me know why I am wrong.