This is a Blog Post is in part about my new book I’m currently writing called, ” The Open & Free Business Model – The Future of Business”. This Blog Posts is also a bit longer than my usual blog posts : )
In fact, I held a workshop for some local business owners and walked them through the process of figuring out what this model might look like for them and their business. One of the harder exercises was looking at their current business and asking a simple question, what is your CORE business about? If I was to ask you, what does your business do, you would most likely tell me the the easiest answer, I’m a…. the highest level snap shot what YOU do, not your business. I’m a technology company might be my answer, that doesn’t really say anything other than I’m into technology. I might ask what that means, I would volunteer a more descriptive answer but still not touching on the core. By the third or fourth time of asking what your business does, I might get to the core of what your business really is about, and what it does day in and day out.
Once I uncovered what your core business is, I might ask what your vision is for your business, and then I most likely would want to know what your mission statement is, and does your staff know it. Much of this is traditional in nature, but it is still important to your online presence as well. The next step most likely would be to ask for the results of a S.W.O.T. Analysis, I think that’s useful information. At this point we could start talking about what kind of content your Blog should consider, after all we know what your core business is now, we can start to build on something here.
Once we’ve gotten this far, we can start listening. Listening for what you might ask, well, we want to know who is talking about your business, if they are talking about your business, and what exactly are they saying. I would recommend spending a considerable amount of time here if your getting alot results in your searches. I would be listening in multiple Social Media Networks, other search engines and so on, you’ll be amazed what you find out.
Another fun project is determining revenue streams, pick the highest-margin, low-investment streams (the low hanging fruit). Then advertise your chosen stream to your captive audience, it’s important to have a captive audience, you want generate much revenue without one. In the end you’ll collect money, deliver the goods, and keep your customers happy. Advertising not @vertising, did you catch that? This topic has many levels and many more choices, but you will have to choose more than one to get attention amongst all the noise.
Distribution is key but has already been taken care of by the Internet, what about mobile apps, iPads, iPhones as a way to get your content out there. iTunes Connect is an option, apply and hold your breath, it takes awhile to get approved.
One of the stumbling blocks is, determining what content should be paid for and what should be free to download or read. I too wrestled with this question, but I found giving away good content created readership and eventually revenue and the bigger more important currency, attention. The world isn’t ready for this shift, in fact, the world hasn’t really arrived online yet! The world we know is willing to pay upfront for the most part, but the world yet to come will not be forced into paying upfront for most information and even some products. I’ve said it here on this blog many times, people will keep looking until they can find what you offer for free. If they don’t find it, then maybe they’ll come back and buy it, but they look first before making that purchase. The term PFE, Proudly Found Elsewhere, coined by Gerd Leonhard, is as real as the nose on your face, so get ready.
Another looming problem is the plethora of bad content, we will have to find better ways of filtering before the bad stuff gets out of the way. Eventually, someone will come up with a great way to filter and even curate your social network meta data, then we’ll have something to really sell. There are a couple of websites that take your Twitter stream and make a daily newspaper out of the hot stuff or trends within your stream. One is called Paper.li and another is The Twitter Tim.es, they look neat but you still can’t do much with it once it’s completed. It would be good if we could customize these newspapers a bit and make them work for us in a commerce kind of way.
The primary purpose of giving away content should be to get attention, build relationships, build trust, and then maybe you can sell something. But be careful, you might get what you wish for, it might not be the kind of attention you were hoping for. The truth is, we all want to be recognized, affirmed and we all want to generate revenue, we want to make money here online so we can do the things our hearts desire keeps searching for. We want to have freedom of choice in a more relevant way, where we get to choose, not what the industrial age has conditioned us into responding to.
The Open & Free Business Model is misunderstood for the most part, it is the future of business, most business owners are not ready for it. Being Open instead of closed is scary for business owners and people in general, we just need more practice before fully embracing it. Using Open Systems like FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on are just the beginning to being open, it’s not a place or a thing, it’s a mindset. Being open also means being transparent, willing to let users see and hear more than you have been willing to share in the past. It’s really how you view Open, it’s how you view Free, it’s about how you see what an Open & Free Business Model might look like for you and your business. You may or may not need help with it, there are many around that can help, but very few truly understand what Open & Free Business Model is.
Create compelling content, give some of it away, then look for ways to monetize around that free content. It sounds simple but it’s not, because you have to deliver the goods in such a way it’s brain dead easy for your visitors to get and or buy. If not already, in the future when the other 3 billion people get here, you’ll want to already be in a position of having they’re attention, then it will be a little easier, but just a little. That’s enough for now, go practice, give yourself away and watch your world change before you, eventually it will click with you and you will see a future you haven’t seen before, ever!
If you are doing it, I would love to chat with you and maybe even use your business as an example in my book. You can be a part of my book, go here.
I’ll be up front, I am not a fan of sales people and or books on sales, I’m not comfortable there and I’m sure many others feel the same way. Keep in mind, I am a former Sales Manager from my Radio Broadcast days and I have held what feels like hundreds of sales jobs, so I know what I’m talking about, and I can spot a fraud most of the time. That’s my disclaimer. Before I ask you to read on, I want you to know I endorse this book, I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of reading it, and there are some incredible nuggets buried in this gem for you to use. One more thing, I personally think the book is more about Leadership than Sales, that’s the head fake to watch for, but you won’t know it till after you have read it. One other disclaimer to you & Ron, I don’t write reviews in a fashion you expect, but I’ll let you decide whether this type of review helped you or not. Let’s get on with it.
I was recently asked by a friend on Twitter if I would be interested in reviewing a book, I didn’t know what kind of book or the topic, but I said yes anyway because Leaders are readers, and I trusted her. Now you know what I am. Some time passed by and I never heard anything back on the topic, so I hailed my friend and she said hold your horses. Shortly thereafter, a courier showed up with a package containing the book, I opened it and shrugged my shoulders in disgust. A sales book! I don’t want to review a sales book or anything close to the topic of sales, I want to learn something new, something I haven’t done before. As you can see, I have a bad taste and attitude on the topic. But I said I would, and I am a man of my word, so I dived in and started reading my new sales book. But first, let me share the full title of this book, Lead, Sell, or Get Out of the Way: The 7 Traits of Great Sellers
Here is the BIO as taken from Ron’s book, Ron Karr is a popular public speaker and in demand business consultant known internationally as a business development expert. As President of Karr Associates, Inc., he specializes in helping organizations and professionals generate remarkable sales and operational results. His client list includes such companies as Agfa, Morgan Stanley, MetLife, Wright Medical, and UPS.
Now I’m not going to go on and on because frankly I can’t do the book justice, I highly recommend you get the book and pass your own judgment, rather than take my word for it. There are 10 chapters so it’s not a long endeavor, checkout the table of contents:
1.) The Case For Leadership
2.) The Five Beliefs of Effective Leaders
3.) The 7 Traits of Great Leaders
6.) Building Alliances
7.) Asking Good Questions
8.) Creating Powerful Value Propositions
9.) Communication Persuasively
10.) Holding Yourself Accountable
You can tell by the Table of Contents it’s not your typical book on Sales, some of it’s standard but there is much that is different. Why? Because I think Ron makes it real, he makes it so that your sales success is you the person. At the out set of this book Ron makes what I consider three profound statements, You Can Lead, You Can Sell, You Can Get Out of The Way! In his words, this book is designed to help you make the first two a reality and avoid the third altogether.
My favorite chapters are 4 & 5, Visualizing and Positioning, I think most of us are really bad at understanding these two critical areas. We tend to visualize the wrong things and that leads down the wrong road, we then find ourselves in the wrong position. I’m not here to tell you all that is in the book, otherwise I would just cut & paste and let you read it, I can’t for many reasons.
In visualizing you have to see things most others in your line of work don’t and frankly can’t. Ron lays out 7 Elements of a Clear Vision which reduces the vision to 7 steps, when it’s all said and done, you’ll have a better understanding of you why, and where you’re going. After all, it’s a journey right?
Ron helps you understand the difference between Personal Vision Versus Customer Vision. The bottom line though, it’s not about you, it’s about where your customer wants to go. Be prepared to walk through the process with Ron, it’s not as simple as I make it sound : )
In Chapter 5, Positioning, Ron really starts to make you think like a leader, most business owners have buying habits they don’t even know they have, that’s an opportunity most sales people miss altogether. You’ve probably heard much of this before, I can tell you this, there are many ways of positioning yourself with a prospect or client, but none can tell you as clearly as Ron does in this book.
Those two chapters caught my attention as being different than most other books written on sales, not to say the other chapters aren’t as solid, they are, they’re top draw so don’t skip any of them. That’s an order! The book is only 250 pages! Well, it’s 230 if you don’t count the Epilogue and Index pages, so no excuses. 🙂
I have to say, after reading his book I felt I was getting a good read on the type of person Ron is, and then after talking with him, Ron is just a down to earth, awesome man. Do your self a good service and get to know him on the many social media networks he is on, I triple dog dare ya.
Now that you’ve read this Blog Post, and I hope it makes you want to buy his book, oh, and you must visit Ron’s site, in fact, tell him Owen sent you: http://www.ronkarr.com/
After great deliberation and deep contemplation, I am going to write a book on the Open & Free Business Model – The Future of Business. I am escaping to the sunny warm, no, HOT climate of the Okanagan in British Columbia for the next 4 days to get started. I don’t know how long it will take but, I would like you to be a part of the journey and my book.
In my mini-workshops I always ask participants what questions haven’t been answered or what else they were hoping to learn. I also have them fill out a Feedback form for the purposes of improving the mini-workshop. Keep in mind, the mini-workshop is only 4 hours long because one can only absorb and retain so much information in one sitting. You do get a workbook to take home, and the content shared is only available via PowerPoint to those who attended the workshops for later review.
Some of the great things I love about holding workshops is, the people’s willingness to dig in, the sharing of ideas, the discussion of possibilities, and the creativity that flows out of each person, it’s far too much excitement to contain. How I’ll be writing this book, I tend to start with the easy stuff first, and then move on to deeper issues and questions, and that’s where you come in. I would like to answer your questions, questions you might have on the Open & Free Business Model, better yet, if you know of good examples of businesses using the model, so I invite you to leave them in the comments for the world to see. OK, you can send your questions via e-mail to if you want to remain anonymous. If you’re not sure what the model is, that’s OK, I’ll be posting more about it as I go along, you can ask me anything related to the topic or what you think the topic is, and I’ll do my best to give you answer.
So what will I cover? Firstly, what the model might look like for you & your business, then I will touch on what I see coming in the next 3 – 5 years, I’ll look at trends and then talk some facts on what’s really going on. Mostly, I will try to give many examples of businesses that are having success with the open & free model, some don’t even know that’s what they are doing! It’s my hope that when you finish reading the book, you will have a better understanding of what the open & free really means, you’ll be able to come up with some creative ideas for your business, and a simple way to implement your ideas. Of course it’s easier said than done, the workshops are the best way to tackle the confusion. So I will try to make the book much like the workshop, so you can do it on your own.
I thank you in advance, please send questions & examples via e-mail at:firstname.lastname@example.org
THANKS FOR YOUR WILLINGNESS TO PARTICIPATE, HEY – I’m Writing A Book, Go Figure EH! (Ya I’m Canadian)
I can’t help myself, I have to promote this book! Gary’s new book hit the shelves today, if you don’t know him, you’re missing on something. This book screams of passion and the message is simple to understand,
Here is a video that sums up why Gary wrote the book, Live Long & Prosper are words that come to mind : )
I heard about Randy awhile back but never heard his story or his lecture until just a few days ago. We all go through life thinking we have a tomorrow and worry about all the wrong things while expecting there is a tomorrow. Randy wrote a book that was directed and for his children, the biggest head fake of all, it wasn’t for us.
We are blessed by Randy’s work and his wisdom each and everyday and I think we miss it without a seconds thought. I hope you will take the time to watch this clip called The Last Lecture, it will put things in perspective while we all hang out here on the Internet.
Watch out for the head fakes.