Business in the United States 2011
Big changes are underway in how America works right now. The financial threats of lower-priced competition from overseas, the strengthened effectiveness of a virtual business model and a fresh American desire for greater quality of life have caused the radical work shift. Virtual business, remote work, telework, distributed work, virtual staff like executive assistants, virtual teams– call them what you want– are now part of the corporate lexicon.
I spoke with Alan Blume, author of Your Virtual Success: Finding Profitability in an Online World. Alan’s take is t that virtual work is changing the very heart of cities and urban centers, how we live and aggregate as people. As more business is done from remote locations, cities are quickly becoming cultural centers where you find more entertainment than business. We just don’t need to be “at the office” like we used to. Look no further than the commercial office space real estate debacle in recent years and you’ll get the point. Companies who don’t adapt won’t be able to entice the best employees or survive financially, and may soon end up like the newspaper industry. Alan brings out more points and subtleties in his video interview.
Small businesses in the virtual world
If you run a virtual business like I do, or are considering one, Your Virtual Success is a tool you should pick up. It offers an easy to read, yet content-filled set of actions for you to take to…
- Change to a virtual business from your normal job
- Launch a virtual business quickly
- Establish niche branding and image
- Sell and market your business virtually
- Meet and employ virtual talent– from anywhere!
- Test and expand your business
The author Alan Blume “eats his own dog food” as he told me once, in that all the recipes in this book he uses for his own business. I was most captivated by some of the non-traditional resources to find freelance workers; for example, Craig’s List. I thought Craig’s List was a refuge for con artists, criminals and the occasional murderer, and no doubt those folks are out looking for the unprepared. There’s a lot of talent on Craig’s List too, which I found out. I located my graphic designer for this business’ logo and found my web designer via carefully specified advertisements on Craig’s List. Lots of other freelance sites are out there as well like Odesk and Elance.
There are always diamonds in the rough that exists online and the instructions in the staffing chapter of how to separate the good from the bad are by themselves worth reading this book.
There are many resources in this work for small business owners to consider, whether it’s the use of online video that you can now promote your business much more affordably than ever before, or ways to test new products and services and adapt to the suggestions you receive on the fly, modifying as you go. So many things exist today for you to benefit from so as to compete with larger companies and lower-priced competitors, and you may soon be forced to.
When you read a book like this, you begin thinking about work differently. The author tells his Tale of Two Nephews and allows the reader decide which version of success he’d like to have; the overworked, overstressed 9 to 7er or the guy working his bathrobe. When I read how the author runs his own business I was envious, because I’m not there yet, but I am on my way. This book has many of the same qualities as the Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris, without the focus on world travel and focused a little more on developing your own virtual enterprise from a sensible standpoint.
You can get through this book in one sitting, but you should return with a highlighter or ball point pen to some of the principal sections and references Alan gives.
Bookmark the appendix Rolling Pipeline Report, Prospect Scorecard and Sample Order Confirmations as documents that can form a basis for tracking and managing your virtual business.
Is your business giving you the profits and passion you want? You can use virtual technologies to supercharge your results in a Virtual Mastermind Group forming now and learn more about the Mastermind Process in this FREE Video. Karl Walinskas is the CEO of Smart Company Growth, a business development firm that helps small to mid-size professional service firms build competitive advantage in an online world of sameness. He is author of numerous articles and the Smart Blog on leadership, business communication, sales & service, public speaking and virtual business, and Getting Connected Through Exceptional Leadership, available in the SmartShop.
Image: Tom Raftery / Flickr