It’s hot in Greece and Nicola Cairncross is trying to make up lost time after a power cut knocked her internet out for a whole day. As that week had already included a big party and recording five “Write Club” episodes, scheduling a client call on a Saturday morning proved to be not such a good idea, leading to extra urgent work that made her miss the local “Royal Wedding” party, (but she enjoyed it at home while working). She’s got a great business book recommendation for you though…
Clicks And Leads is a “tongue in cheek” digital marketing Vzine by entrepreneur, author, podcaster, speaker, Nicola Cairncross.
Mentioned in the Vzine
- Harry & Meghan Royal Wedding Highlights by BBC
- Playing To Win by A G Lafley
- Traction by Gino Wickman
- Profit First by Mike Michalowicz
- Clicks And Leads Academy – mentoring with Nicola Cairncross
- Nicola’s free app for your mobile device – Clicks & Leads
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Hi, everyone, Nicola here, and it’s hot in Greece. It’s like summer’s come all of a sudden. It’s only, what is it, mid-May, day of Harry and Meghan’s wedding.
I’ve just been having a late afternoon shower because I’ve been working all day. I was supposed to go to a wedding party, but didn’t make it because I had a chat with a client this morning. There was some urgent stuff to be done and I wanted to do it straightaway. So I was a bit silly on that one. I should have scheduled the client call for Monday morning, and then I would have had all the work on Monday afternoon, and I would have been able to go to the wedding party.
But the internet was out yesterday. We had a power cut and, for some reason, my router’s not working. So I’m very kindly piggybacking on my next door neighbour’s but it did mean a whole day of stuff that was scheduled didn’t happen, including two new business development calls.
So you have to roll with the punches on this one, and today I chose to get one of my client’s work done so that on Monday I can concentrate on the new business development calls. I’ve still got one podcast to edit before tomorrow, that’s the Write Club podcast, and I’ll be doing that before I go out this evening.
Just like to get everything done, then I can have the whole Sunday off, completely free of client work or any other kind of work. And I think it’s important to at least have one day a week where you can just go and do whatever you want to do that doesn’t involve a computer.
So it’s been a really busy week this week. Got back on Sunday with Sarah. Went to a party on Tuesday and then Write Club ladies came round to record five episodes of the podcasts on Wednesday. Thursday was a podcast recording day with Judith, and then on Friday, as I say, no internet. So it’s been a pretty busy week, and I’m starting to think that this semi-retirement lark isn’t all it’s cracked up to be But we’ll see what happens this week. It should calm down a bit hopefully. So let’s get on with the show, shall we?
Okay, so, this week I want to recommend a book to you. It’s called Playing To Win by A.G. Lafley, L-A-F-L-E-Y, and it’s all about why strategic decision-making can be made easier, and how important it is when you’re starting out in business.
Now you may have heard me recommend the book Traction many, many times. That does help you make a simple two page business plan, and it helps you set goals, timeline goals, and it helps you set the actions that you need to do. The big rocks I call them, and many other people do too. So how to get your big rocks done first.
The book that I’m recommending to you now, I think, comes just before Traction. It comes when you’re actually thinking about the kind of business you want to start, and who you’re going to serve, and where you’re going to promote your business, and all those kind of things. It breaks it down into five simple boxes, and each box is connected. I’ve made some notes, as you can see.
The first box is: What is your winning aspiration? Oh, before I start, I’d like to just say the thing I really like about this book is a) it simplifies things and b) it’s talking about winning. So it’s not talking about just starting a business to survive, or just starting a business to pay the bills, it’s talking about starting a business to win.
It’s not said in a really heavy going, you’ve got to beat everyone else, you know, that whole blokey kill everyone else, beat everyone else, all that sort of thing. It’s a very light book. I found it very light and very easy to read. But it makes you think differently, ’cause you’re thinking about winning.
So the first thing you need to think about is your winning aspiration, and the tip they give you is that your winning aspiration is always going to be about people, and serving people rather than financial goals.
The next decision you have to make is about where you’re going to play. You know, what kind of playing field are you going to play on? Where is it geographically? Where is it in terms of demographics? Where are you going to play in terms of age groups of people or different marketplaces or different segments of a market?
The next box you’re going to look at is: How will you win? Once you’ve decided where you’re going to play, how are you going to win? What is your winning offer going to look like? And a winning offer is not just a product and a price, it’s about how you’re going to make it absolutely irresistible for people to buy that product at that price.
The next box you’re going to look at is: What capabilities do you need? Do you need to have authority in the field? Do you need to have expertise in the field? Can you bring in that expertise? Can you bring in that authority? So do you need more people to be capable of delivering the sales that you’re going to make? Is there a skill that you’re lacking in that you need to bring someone in to cover? So that’s all about capabilities.
And the final box is then: What management systems do you need to support the capabilities so that you can achieve your winning aspiration, on the playing field of your choice?
And I really liked it. The five boxes, they all interlink. They can fit within a bigger framework, so it can be one division within a bigger company, and they give you lots of fantastic stories.
The guy who wrote it was very big in Proctor & Gamble for a long time, so he knows all about how it works in bigger companies, but he also gives examples of how it works in smaller companies too.
So if I was gonna say you need three or four books to make your business succeed, and to give you what I think would be like the equivalent of an MA in Business, I’d start with this one. Playing To Win, Creating a Winning Strategy, I’d go on to Traction by Gino Wickman, and then I would definitely look at Profit First by Michael Michalowicz, I can’t spell it but I can say it. Just about.
So check out those three books, and I think if you get those, and perhaps read The Automatic Customer by John Warrillow, on top of that, then you will be very well-equipped to start a successful business, whether online or offline.
Hope that’s helped. Playing To Win, A.G. Lafley. Speak to you later.
Okay, on the blog and the podcast this week, Episode 181 of OwnItThePodcast.com, Judith and I discuss, we take the themes forward from the event I spoke at last weekend, which was called Dancing In The Future.
We discuss what we think’s going to happen in the near future, for not only coaches, consultants, and trainers, but small businesses too. We extrapolate from the things that are happening now, and what we think will be the implications of those things for all small business owners. So don’t miss that. OwnItThePodcast.com, Episode 181.
If you missed it, Episode 180 of OwnItThePodcast.com was talking about what would we do if we were starting again in business, and we talked about it from the point of view of what would we do if we were starting again in business now at the age we are now, and what we would do, if we were starting again in business when we were young, knowing what we know now. So that’s an interesting episode. Go and check that one out. It’s Episode 180.
VZine 68 last week was going to cover a live presentation from the stage at the International Coach Federation, but my phone ran out of storage space halfway through the demo, so I had to improvise for the middle bit.
Luckily I was going out for lunch with my mate, Pete Jenkins who is a world-renowned expert on gamification, and he is also the Chair of GamFed. He’s also the Entrepreneur in Residence at Brighton University, which is a title I’m very jealous of, and he filled me in on some good speaking tips for you all and he speaks all around the world. He’s flown all over the world, the Far East, the Middle East, and places like Bavaria and places like that So he’s speaking all over the world all the time, and he gives us his best tips for how to be an effective public speaker. So check that out on Episode 68 of the Vzine.
And of course you can catch up with all of these any time at NicolaCairncross.com/Blog. Hope you have a great week and I’ll speak to you again next week. Bye.
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