CEI 047: The One Hour Business Plan with John McAdam

simple business planStarting anything new, especially when it’s a new business, can be really challenging.

So today, Danny sits down with John McAdam, author of The One-Hour Business Plan, to discuss the 5 stages to writing an simple business plan in a single hour.

Now, it might sound crazy, but John has reviewed thousands of business proposals from large and small companies over the last 7 years. And he’s found that, with one hour of dedicated writing time (and a few hours of thinking time), it’s possible to lay out a simple business plan to launch either a new business, or a new product or service for your existing business.

On this week’s podcast, John and Danny explore the five main elements of every successful business plan, whether you’re starting a small one-man shop or a large company. John’s five elements cover everything from defining your offer, how to get your offer to market, and how to set realistic business milestones.

Podcast run time: 23 min 13 seconds

And don’t forget that you can also download the transcript of this podcast. [Read more...]

Substantive Editing: The Editing Step You’re Forgetting that Could Make or Break Your Next Book

substantive editingWhen you think of “editing”, where does your mind go first?

Most readers and writers think of editing as correcting grammar, punctuation, and word choice in a manuscript – but there’s a lot of work to do with your book’s first draft before it’s ready for that!

Don’t go straight from finishing your first draft to correcting grammar and punctuation. Before you can focus on these, you have to ensure that what you’ve written is even on the right track.

If your book’s content isn’t effective or interesting, the best grammar and mechanics in the world won’t matter – and you’ll waste time and money focusing on them. Make sure you’ve first included and organized all the stuff your book needs to achieve its goals.

How do you do that?
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Are You Holding Yourself Back as a Writer? Take Your Seat at the Table

becoming a writerAsk any writer, and they’ll tell you the same thing: becoming a writer is hard work. And if writing is hard work, building an audience who appreciates your work is even harder.

So what’s holding you back from building your audience? You already know what you need to do to grow your blog and authorship platform. You’ve read the posts and attended the webinars. You’ve already put your best effort into your website and free offering.

Thre’s just one missing piece: you need to forge strong relationships with top writers. You need to stop going it alone and start becoming a part of the group.

By now, you know that writers don’t ‘make it’ in isolation. It doesn’t work to toil away in online obscurity, hoping that someone will swoop in to be your promotional Fairy Godmother. What does work is to facilitate heartfelt connections with writers you admire, people whose missions align with your own.

It makes so much sense, doesn’t it? When you read the posts and watched the videos, you feel jubilant. All I need to do is make friends with some ‘big players’, connect with them, encourage them, help them promote their work. Then, eventually, I can ask them to consider sharing my best work, because it will help the people they serve as well. It’s a win-win!

You wrote “make connections” atop your to-do list. Maybe you had a step-by-step itinerary, filled with great ideas as to how to go about doing that.

What’s Really Holding You Back

The only problem is, you’re not reaching out.

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Brand Yourself: How to Use Your Personality to Your Advantage in Marketing

brand yourselfIf you ask your customers why they chose to buy from you, your personality is likely to come up in the answers.

Maybe you seemed trustworthy. Or your sense of humor made people want your products and services.

Tweet it! Whatever the personality trait, your marketing made people notice it – whether or not you intended it to happen.

When you know what aspects of you people find most positive, you can brand yourself by emphasizing them in your marketing, and making lots more sales.

And if you know what aspects people aren’t as drawn to, you can avoid bringing them forward.

How you present your personality has a huge impact on your results. Yet, few people use their personalities well in their marketing.
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Is the Fear of Failure Keeping You From Starting Your Business?

business successYour job is sucking the life out of you. It’s Sunday evening and you have a knot in your stomach dreading the thought of facing another day at work.

Despite the stress, you know that you can’t walk away because you have bills to pay and a family to support. You feel trapped. You search the want ads desperately hoping to find a solution. But those searches leave you feeling more depressed because there is nothing out there that won’t be more of the same.

You start to think that maybe starting your own business is the solution; however, the statistics are scary. And the fact that you don’t even know where to start doesn’t help.

Does this sound familiar?

I don’t know about you, but for years, those thoughts used to keep me up at night.

Is the fact that most businesses fail keeping you from taking that leap?

It’s a scary fact, isn’t it? Every day, there are start-ups that don’t make it, and freelancers who never quite seem to make a go of it.

Now, I can’t guarantee that the business you start will be a success. But, I can give you the one ingredient that will give you the best chance for business success.

No, it’s not an unlimited pile of money (not that you had that anyway.)
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CEI 045: Struggling with Entrepreneurial Overwhelm

PodcastImage045Every entrepreneur, no matter if they’re just starting out or have been running their own business for years, encounters entrepreneurial overwhelm. Basically, entrepreneurial overwhelm is a succinct way of describing the fact that we can always be doing more – more learning, more testing, more evolving, more strategizing.

The question is – how do you keep the overwhelm in check? As usual, Danny has some ideas and practical knowledge to share, and that’s why entrepreneurial overwhelm is the topic for today’s podcast.

Podcast run time: 17 min 39 seconds

And don’t forget that you can also download the transcript of this podcast.

[Read more...]

A Writing Routine to *Finally* Get that E-book Out of Your Head and Onto the Page

how to start writing a bookYou’ve got a brilliant idea for an e-book that will blow your audience away – but you can’t seem to get the thing written. Why?

When the first idea strikes, it seems simple. But the truth is, you’re going to face a lot of barriers to writing an e-book.

You’ll encounter fear of what your ideas will look like on the page and overwhelm at the process of publishing an e-book.

You may have to fit the writing around other obligations, like a full-time job or running your own business. You may have family or social obligations that demand your time, when you could be writing.

Whatever it is, this book isn’t going to write itself.

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Are Your Social Media Efforts Driven By Purpose, or By Fear?

JumpingTen years ago, Rick Warren’s book The Purpose-Driven Life took bookstores by storm and sold more than 32 million copies in 10 years. It simultaneously held the number one spot on the four major bestseller lists, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Publishers Weekly.

Rick’s message struck a nerve with millions of readers -  readers who discovered that living a life with purpose was more satisfying and rewarding than merely going through the motions.  When it comes to life, relationships, business, even our goals and dreams, we have two options: we can live with intention and purpose. Or we can be motivated by fear.

When it comes to social media for your small business, we have the same choice. We can jump in with purpose and passion, or we can let our fear make us hesitate and miss out!

And yes, I realize how we live life matters a great deal more than how we navigate social media. But Tweet it! if fear is holding us back from growing our businesses, chances are it’s affecting other areas of our lives as well.

Am I Doing It Right?

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Best of the Web – May!

Best of the WebA new month has arrived and summer is just around the corner.

And of course that means …  a new Best of the Web!

The web was full of great new content this past month, and we’ve collected the best ones for you. We have everything ranging from good old marketing and writing tips to the latest trend in engaged marketing: Native Advertising. If that sounds like a weird buzzword to you, read on.

Ready to dig in to the Best of the Web? Your business will definitely profit from it!
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5 Ways to Constantly Improve Your Business & Stay Connected With Your Clients

innovation in businessIf running a business is tough, creating one from scratch is even harder.

In order to stay ahead of your competition and keep up to the your clients’ demands, you need to constantly question your business model and keep improving your services or products.

If you are not implementing new marketing techniques, creating new products or services, or optimizing your internal structures, you are doomed to fail. Tweet it! Your clients’ needs will change over time, and you must change with them. Or maybe even *ahead* of them!

Since you are reading this post, you have already identified this need and are moving to improve what you are doing. That is already the most important step!

But constantly improving your business is more than simply reading blog posts. In the next five steps, I’ll show you how to implement a routine, create habits and structure your actions in a way that will give you the right mindset to constantly work on your business and keep improving.

You don’t have to implement all steps in order to succeed. Start with one and work your way up. Remember, the only thing that matters is to challenge the status quo, improve constantly and thus stay ahead of your clients’ needs.
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