Monday, 17 September 2012

Web wonders, networking, time management & SEO review

21 Ways to Manage the Stuff that Sucks up your Time

Making the most of the web & networking 
I spent the evening of my birthday giving a talk entitled The internet doesn't byte: from virtual reality to practicality (click on the title to download it). This talk is general in scope to accommodate a wide audience, but you will find some business stuff thrown in, here and there. And there is a section on social media with the tagline: addictive but full of goodness.

I'm online seven days a week, so why make an exception on my big day? Prior to the talk I went to Camjelly to hear business mentor Ann Hawkins discuss social media and networking, so I could say that I gave myself the gift of the web and shared it.

Time management: Grace's way
A while ago I signed up to receive Grace's motivating newsletters, so I was delighted to hear that she has condensed and refined her wisdom into a book called 21 Ways to Manage the Stuff that Sucks up your Time. Available from Amazon at $5.97, it offers, as the title suggests, 21 practical tips to organise your time, which is particularly tricky if you have family and/or other commitments. 

There is a "curious" section on how to beat perfectionism, not usually considered a flaw in business, but for a nit-picker like me (born pedant and graduated with honours from the pedant school of subeditors), it could yield several handy tips. The same goes for procrastination - I'm not a natural procrastinator with my troubleshooting and problem-solving nature, but there are chores that get pushed down the list of priorities because of their innate tediousness. 

According to Amazon, customers who ordered this book also bought a guide on recruiting, one on making money speaking and the Barefoot Executive.

SEO article reviews
I went for a two-week holiday in August and due to an Italian pesky hill, our dongle failed to pick up any signal. I had internet access only on the road at various hotels offering wifi, on the way to and back from Italy, but zilch in Italy. So it was with trepidation that I logged into my work email account and found over 600 emails. As I got back, my clients "pounced on me" so I didn't have much time to read all the very useful articles I was sent, which I usually share on Twitter. So here is a selected bunch published from August to early September:

I'm off to deal with my mountain of emails - I'm still far from the top! If you want to recommend any interesting article you have come across, please leave a comment alongside the link.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Finding new clients: Mountain Comes to Mohammad Moments

 Creative Commons

Yesterday I found a discussion on LinkedIn on how to approach potential clients. Some commenters believed in cold calling, others in networking, others again in "business stalking" (you find out where your "target" is going and then show up at the event/conference) while most used their little black book to engineer introductions.

I'm sure most of us tried them all (except perhaps for the business stalking), but have you ever experienced business serendipity? Forget the romcom, I'm talking about having a goal, deploying all your business wiles, failing and then an unconnected opportunity comes out of the blue to work for that client or in that sector. 

I call it business karma or the Mountain Comes to Mohammad Moment. It is a nirvana moment, pure business bliss... Of course some degree of work is entailed, you need an optimized website, a decent social media strategy - nobody comes to a desert to drink, you need to build that oasis first. 

Reflecting on my 18 years plus' career, I have experienced many of these moments. As I commented in that online discussion, fate must have a sense of humour because I'm the most anal, perfectionist and organised person - going with the flow is not in my genetic make-up. Fate is definitely having a laugh at my expenses, so I have decided that I should stop trying too hard. I do the preparatory work and have faith. I won't stop slaving over my website and devise new social media strategies, but I will certainly go with the flow. I won't beat myself up if I lose a pitch for whatever reason, I will accept the unthinkable for somebody like me: "When a door closes, a window opens." 

But let's move on from this flowery language to rational business logic. Out of curiosity I did a search on Google and the concept "business karma" does exist. It is used in the realm of corporate social responsibility, which for me is a must for any business, big or small. I'm only a sole trader but I do dedicate time to local charity causes. I enjoy the feeling of being helpful, I experience an internal glow, a great personal satisfaction in making even a tiny difference. This voluntary work has however helped me out professionally in many ways, from confidence building for public speaking to expertise gained in a variety of fields. 

Moving from the individual (moi) to the general, recent research shows that enterprises engaging in corporate social responsibility do have a competitive advantage. So while it's skills and new experiences for me, the payoff for corporations is higher sales. 

What do you think? Feel free to diss, tut, nod and share. If you are interested in the CSR angle, click here for an interesting article about karma capitalism.