Tips for Professionals in the Construction Industry

Preparing a resume that is organized, succinct, and eye-catching is one of the best ways for construction professionals to launch a fruitful job search. Eye-catching resumes typically feature highly desired skill sets, relevant certifications, and impressive projects that were completed ahead of schedule and within budget. Below are ten simple resume writing tips that everyone in the construction industry should follow.

1) Tailor your resume to the type of position you are seeking. Employers are often searching for candidates with a specific set of skills. Review commonly required skills for the type of position that you are seeking and be sure to include references to your skills in those areas. Examples of specific skills that are frequently sought in the construction industry include:

Expertise in construction law
Incorporation of sustainable design strategies
Equal Employment Opportunity Employment expertise

2) Include the number of people you managed. It is particularly important to mention work experience that involved supervision of multiple teams of people or a large number of workers. Hiring managers recognize that there is usually a big difference between a candidate who has managed a team of 15 laborers and a candidate who has overseen 150 laborers.

3) Highlight relevant certifications. Industry certifications set professionally trained candidates apart from the pack and often instill confidence in recruiters and hiring managers. Examples of key certifications to consider including are as follows:

Certified Construction Manager (CCM)
Construction Safety Certification
OSHA Hazardous Waste Operations & Emergency Response (HAZWOPER)
Any CPR or First Aid related certifications

4) Highlight three or four of your most notable projects. Be sure to reference the budgets associated with each project to provide hiring executives with an idea of the magnitude of the ventures that you have overseen. You can also showcase your flexibility and breadth of experience by including a diverse collection of projects within the public, commercial, and residential construction arenas.

5) Showcase successful projects that were completed ahead of time or under budget. Continued construction labor shortages are leading to an increase in project delays and overspending. Completing projects ahead of time or under budget is more impressive now than ever, so construction professionals should not be shy about highlighting their ability to exceed client expectations.

6) Reference familiarity with special tools or software. Remaining competitive in the construction industry requires a commitment to learning the latest cutting-edge

Building Information Modeling (BIM) software
Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software
Familiarity with 3D visualization and architectural animation

7) Prepare an impressive portfolio of references. Include people who can provide feedback regarding your skills and aptitudes. Additionally, if a specific skill is required for a position you are actively pursuing, be sure to include references who can discuss your achievements in that area. For instance, if a position requires a candidate with a history of supervising 100+ workers, make sure that the references you include can speak about your ability to oversee multiple teams of workers.

8) Include your LinkedIn URL. A growing number of hiring managers and recruiters are looking at LinkedIn profiles to confirm candidates’ legitimacy and industry connections. Make sure that your profile is up to date and that there are not any consistencies between information on your LinkedIn profile and your resume.

9) Reference any awards or special recognition you have received. Awards that are relevant to the company or position for which you are applying are especially helpful. Examples of relevant awards include the following:

Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc (ABC) awards for excellence in construction
Construction Industry Safety Excellence (CISE) awards for safety improvements
Any local or state awards received for outstanding achievements in the construction industry

10) Seek the input of an expert staffing professional. Enlisting the assistance of a staffing agency is one of the best ways to ensure that your resume is professional and complete. A dedicated agency representative can also provide assistance with career coaching and other job-related activities. Ideally, the agency you choose should have decades of experience providing guidance to professionals within the construction industry.

The role of a well-organized resume should not be understated. By following the tips above, construction professionals can enhance their chances of grabbing the attention of hiring managers.

Make More Sales By Being Contrary

Here’s something I’ve been playing with, and my results have been pretty good, too.

A few months ago a friend was launching a big product with lots of cash prizes for the top affiliates. I knew there would be tons of affiliate competition, with every affiliate trying to out-do the others with bigger and better bonuses.

How to compete?

I decided not to.

Instead, I thought about what every affiliate’s bonus pages would look like: Highly polished, slick, professional, lots of graphics, videos, etc.

Odds are they would all start to look very much alike, right?

So I thought… what if I did something different?

What if my page looked like something you might get in the mail – black and white sales letter, using the Courier typewriter font, very old-school looking…

And what if, instead of a highly polished professional photo of myself, I used one where I just woke up? Or one where I just finished exercising, or just finished the yard work?

In other words, I looked like the guy next door and not some slick marketer.

Taking this thinking to the next level, I decided I didn’t want to spend time or money on creating a bonus. Everyone else was doing that, so why should I?

Instead, I would hold a live class. The homework would be to go over the program before class. Then in class we would implement, step-by-step, what was in the program. And I would record the whole thing, so people could just follow along.

In case you’re wondering – it worked beautifully. My sales were a very decent 5 figure number, and my commissions were half that plus bonuses.

And one more thing – I cheated, too. I had my virtual assistant run the class for me. She got to learn some great new skills, and I put less than 2 hours into the entire project.

The takeaway: When you have a lot of competition, it’s time to stop directly competing and find another way.

If they are using tons of graphics and slick videos, you go with a 1980’s black and white typewriter look.

If they are offering bonus packages filled with 5, 10 or 20 products, you offer no products (I offered hold-your-hand training, which in my opinion is worth far more anyway.)

You get the idea.

Do you know what would work even better than that?

MAILING the actual letter. Yup. Talk about old school. If you collect real addresses of your BUYERS, you might consider doing this on big ticket items.

I know marketers who do this. They are few and far between, and they are KILLING it. They only mail to buyers, which greatly improves their conversions. They use a service to send out the mailers for them. And they make more on one of these mailings than most successful marketers earn in 6 months.

Which brings me to my second idea… if you don’t already have the mailing addresses for your buyers, start collecting those now.

When you have a sizable portion of them (at least 200, preferably 500) approach a marketer with a product your list would love. Make sure there is plenty of profit in that product. Take the sales letter, adapt it to a black and white mailer (cheap to produce) and send it to your buyers.

See what happens. Tweak, rinse and repeat.

You can easily DOUBLE your income using this method.

Know why? Again, because it’s contrary. It’s different. Almost no one is doing it.

Your customer gets maybe a half dozen pieces of mail in a day. Two are bills. Two are sales flyers from local businesses. One is a catalog.

And then there’s that mysterious white envelope. Yeah, it’s going to get opened. Yes, it’s going to get read.

Maximize the Potential of Your Business Presentation

Business presentations are a collateral reflection of who you are. A glimpse of your personality could be seen in the ways and the content of your presentation.

The way you carry yourself, the way you speak, deliver your sentences, tackle tricky questions with confidence and successfully convey your message, speak volumes about your personality.

Still, there are much more ways in which you can support your business presentation to reach its maximum potential.

HIGHLIGHT YOUR SUPERPOWER

A positive way to keep your audience attentive to you is to show them that you are worth their time and trust. Rather than speaking about your achievements and future goals, speak about your credibility because if even little points will exist with which the crowd will not feel connected to then the tables will instantly turn.

Talk about your goals within the first few minutes of the presentation

Choose your presentation design which corresponds with your goals, which should be introduced to your audience as early as possible. This will help your audience to correlate what you are expressing with the ‘why’ and ‘what’ you want to achieve.

Never underestimate the impact of a powerful image/quote

A business presentation is usually a collection of fertile ideas, knit together as one to illustrate a larger picture. So, the smart use of different images/quotes to introduce different ideas will supply more power to your presentation. Vocalizing the quotes or speaking few important words out loud will bring your presentation to life, especially if the presentation has numerous bar graphs, bullet points, and pie charts.

GIVE YOUR AUDIENCE THE POWER TO BRAINSTORM OVER YOUR QUESTIONS

One of the unbeatable ways to make your presentation more interactive is to begin it with a question which you, yourself will answer. Like you can start with “I asked myself what all can my team will be able to do and contribution for making this project a success?”. So, based on this question you can build up your presentation. Be alert to all the questions from your audience as they are icebergs of curiosity. The more you will suffice your audience, the stronger their trust will grow in you.

Be ready to tackle tough questions

Always be confident and logical at answering the questions from the audience. There will always be questions whose responses if given without solid facts and coherence, will put your image down in your crowd’s eyes. If you know your topic as well as you’re your audience, then always keep your business binary clean and do not ever shelve any question from the audience.

KEEP YOUR OWN QUESTIONS READY IF NOBODY ASKS YOU ANY

It could be a possibility that your audience is shy or somewhat hesitant to ask you questions about your presentations. Always remember, if you face this kind of a situation, then always compose a question to yourself because ‘zero curiosity’ turns into ‘zero interest’ overnight.

Take your crowd on a final journey

Always take your crowd on a final journey before you wrap up the presentation. Highlight all the important points and tell the crowd how they will be productive if given proper attention by the appropriate crowd.

Keeping the immense support in mind which we get from the PowerPoint presentations, one should also be able to support her/himself equally well during the closing moments of the presentation because humans invented the PowerPoint and not vice versa.

Win the Interview

Some people think that preparing for a job interview is fairly simple. Once you get the call to come in for one you essentially have the job unless you blow the interview. This is not to disrespect Walmart or McDonald’s but unless you are applying for a company like that, the interview process is not easy at all. In fact, getting the interview more times than not is easier than the actual interview itself. This pillar post is going to be for my viewers that are looking for a full-time job and hopefully it’s a highly looked at company.

The first step is having a great resume. There are plenty of good examples on the internet for samples but those are also mixed in with bad ones. Some keys things that you want in your resume are; having as many numbers as possible. It’s much more eye opening for an employer to see you raised over $10,000 in revenue during your 8 week internship than saying you raised a lot of money. Another thing is to make sure the formatting is done correctly. Make sure that everything lines up nicely and that you stay consistent on your word usage such as tenses. Also make sure to use a different starting word for the description of your prior positions. Then there are the more basic things such as make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes because that can instantly lose you an interview chance. LinkedIn is similar to your resume but where your resume should only include your most important and relevant things since it should only be a single full page, your LinkedIn page should include everything you’ve done. It should be a page that an employer can visit and see where you went to school, what you did there, how you did there, strengths, weaknesses, and any jobs you had up to this point.

Now if a company has asked you to come in for an interview, this is where you start researching that company. Everyone has many strengths and weaknesses, but this is where you need to see the companies values and what not and tie your best strengths to those values. It’s also where if you have a weakness of time management and their biggest thing is to have great time management, that’s a weakness you shouldn’t bring up. This next part isn’t always possible but now a days companies will let you know who you are interviewing with or it is the HR recruiter who told you that you have an interview. This is where you should look up the interviewer on LinkedIn, connect with them and learn some things about them. That way you can ask them questions more directed at them at the end of the interview. You should also ask your recruiter what specific position you are interviewing for so that you can plan accordingly for that one. Now it’s time for the dress code during an interview. Almost every job will want you to come in dressed business professional.

Even if they don’t say it, a common saying in business is that it is better to be overdressed than under dressed. For those who don’t know, business professional is a suit collared button down shirt with a suit jacket that matches the dress pants and a tie. I understand you might not already have a suit or that you don’t have the money to buy one. Some companies might understand and in that case you can just come in business casual which is business professional but without the suit jacket. If the company insists you be business professional which is understandable as you might need a suit during your job, such as if you’re visiting a client or on a company dinner. Then a possible substitute is to get one from Goodwill as they usually have an okay selection of them and can actually still be in pretty good condition. This is of course like a flat tire where it should only last you until you have the money to replace it with a real suit.

Now before the interview you should know exactly where the interview is happening at and any more specifics like if it’s in a specific room. If you are supposed to arrive at 10:00AM, leave so that you get there anytime from 8:00AM – 9:00AM. This will leave you plenty of time in case you get stuck in traffic, lost, or need to stop for something. The great part about getting there early is that you can continue to practice for the interview. One way of practicing is by looking up common asked interview questions so that you can be more confident going into the interview.

Now during the interview you’re going to want to shake every persons hand in the room whether there are two people or twenty. With the handshake make sure to have a firm grasp and go directly in, not from an upper angle or lower angle. Seems petty but some people think if you are coming in for the handshake from an upper angle, it’s you trying to show dominance. When shaking hands make sure to look the person in the eyes and introduce yourself. Then when you begin your interview make sure to calm yourself down. This will help you not to ramble on answers and or forget answers. If the interviewer asks a tough question, you don’t have to respond right away. Ask them if you can take a second to think about the answer. Most interviewers will like that you are willing to think first instead of going right into the answer. After the interview, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. NEVER SAY NO! That can ruin your entire interview because most interviewers are waiting for questions and asking none can leave them with a bad taste in their mouth. Make sure to have 2-3 pre-planned questions and then try to think of 2-3 questions during the interview. That way you can easily ask three or four questions. After you’re done with questions make sure to shake everyone’s hand again and thank them for their time. If you do all of these things correctly, there shouldn’t be a single employer who won’t hire you.

Bring Your App Business on the Right Track

Every entrepreneur seeks to know the secret recipe for success. What strategies are made to increase the conversion rate? What are the exciting ideas that can be implemented to make the company grow? It is super strategies that create opportunities for a company. There are always some brand new ideas that you can implement to grow your business. However, not all the existing tricks will give your business a boost. It is only when the right strategies are followed at the right time and the right place that you end up having a revenue-generating business.

If you have an app business, here are 5 strategies you can follow to make sure that your business climbs the ladder of success. Let’s take a closer look:

1. Know the Purpose

To start with, in your mobile app business, it is vital to know the purpose behind the creation of an app and the audience for whom the app is created. The advantages and the true value of the app shall not be confined to the number of features it has and rather on how the user experience is. One of the most significant factors in creating compelling apps is close collaboration among developers, the quality analysis team, and designers.

2. All About Planning

It is the business plans that earn you profits. Only with clear objectives can you come up with the most suitable solutions required by customers. When it comes to creating successful apps, it definitely requires sharp focus. The complexity of a mobile app can be huge but fundamentally, an app must be designed by having an understanding of the real world. Moreover, to come up with engaging apps, it is also important to identify the exact expectations of users. So you see that accurate planning is vital for creating successful apps.

3. Choose Your Platforms Wisely

A significant part of sales depends on how you reach out to your target audience and you basically have to connect with them in the best way possible. Unlike websites, mobile applications are designed for various platforms. These days, there are multiple devices and multiple vendors. For instance, most smartphone users make use of iOS devices and others go for iPhones. Thus, the process of app development completely depends on how customer engagement can be carried out on different platforms.

4. Cross-Check the Intuitiveness of the App

Do you think that the app that you design will help in making your client’s life easier and happier? Once you design an instinctive app, it can end up giving an amazing experience to its users. Apart from integrating notable UX designs and streamlined functions, it is equally important to check whether an app is responsive enough and provides suitable performance to cater to the needs of the user. Also, ensure that the app is free from bugs.

5. Promote Your App

Promotion plays an integral role in boosting your app business. One of the most significant factors behind the popularity of an app is the way it is promoted. Adequate promotion of an app through reviews, ratings, video teasers, recordings, and social media posts helps to create a buzz among the target audience.

When it comes to the app business, the competition is stiff and if you fail to follow the right strategies, you may end up causing your app to lose its visibility among an extensive range of audience. So, follow the sure-shot strategies stated above and ensure the success of your app.

Cutting Costs Without Reducing Your Team

One of the things that many businesses around the world are notorious for is layoffs of their workers when they have to cut costs. It appears as though the least required asset for these companies is their workers. As brutal as it may sound, many businesses reduce their team sizes to reduce their costs every day. It is quite surprising because there are in fact dozens of different ways for businesses, especially small ones, to cut their costs without sending their employees home. Not to mention, small businesses aren’t in the best position to terminate their employees when they are already struggling with growth and expansion.

Let us first look at the circumstances and reasons why small businesses resort to firing their employees and terminating their contracts.

Reasons Why Businesses Terminate Their Employees

Your Employee’s Performance is below Requirements

The biggest and probably the most valid reason for firing an employee is when they are not able to perform according to the set targets. Despite this being a valid reason, you should always follow the complete procedure and let go of your employee most ethically and professionally possible. Tell them that they also have the right to quit a company when a company does not pay them as promised and vice versa.

Your Employee Isn’t Honest

You have noticed that your employee is not honest. They try to spend time doing nothing behind your back and are interested in things that they should not be concerned with. It is a risk to have such a worker working at the company.

Your Employee Is Having a Hard Time Assimilating

One of the reasons why many employees are not able to give their best is because they can’t fit in the culture of your workplace. It’s either their religious, personal or moral beliefs that don’t let them feel being a part of the team.

Your Employee Doesn’t Care

Believe it or not, some employees don’t care about the rules and regulations of your workplace and being at a professional place. They bully people around them, try to act pretentious, are not punctual and do not pay any attention to the dress code policy.

Your Employees Cost You Too Much

This is quite an oxymoronic situation where the people who bring you business are the ones costing you money. Sometimes, companies become financially weak, and the only way they have to reduce their costs is firing employees. This helps them save money on employee compensation, bonuses, and incentives.

Is Employee Termination the Only Way to Cut Costs?

Not at all! There are many other ways for companies to reduce their costs without letting go of their employees. Here are some.

Negotiations with Vendors and Suppliers

You can look into your current list of suppliers and vendors and look for opportunities to reduce costs. You have to realize that there are group purchasing organizations developed specifically for this purpose. Furthermore, there are online search engines designed specifically for businesses where you can find other businesses that can help you reduce your costs.

Buy in Bulk

One simple way to reduce your costs is to purchase in bulk. Whether you are buying products or subscribing to software or online platform services, bulk purchases will always help you reduce your costs. As a business, you are subscribed to dozens of different online services and buy various items on a monthly or weekly basis. Buy them for several months or a complete year to save your costs.

Reduce Lavish Expenses for Now

It is amazing that businesses offer their employees with refreshments, coffee, and teas for free, but there is a time when you can do this with ease. Until and unless you have reached a point where affording such luxuries do not bother you at all, do not introduce them.

Invest in the Right Technology

Whether you are buying an electric generator for your office, bulbs and lights, ceiling fans, air conditioning units or machinery, you must invest in latest and energy-efficient technology.

Market Wisely

Marketing can suck a lot of your capital out of business depending on the type of marketing you are doing. However, it will be rewarding for you if you use analytical data to narrow down only the marketing campaigns that are lucrative for your business. Spend on them and keep away from spending on marketing efforts that have not yielded any good results.

Similarly, you can find many other ways to reduce your costs without sending your employees home.

Risks Associated with Firing Your Employees

While firing your employees should be the last thing on your list of methods to cut costs, you must also know the many risks that come with employee termination. Here are a few.

Sharing of Company Secrets with Competitors

When employees are not happy with your decision of firing them, they may not care about what action you can take against them. They may go for interviews with your competitors and share your trade secrets. This can be a big set-back for you if your competitor decides to take advantage of the situation.

Lawsuits

When employees believe they have been fired based on unreasonable grounds, they may try to take you to court. If any wrongful termination is proved, it can be expensive for your company. Always be sure to complete the procedure of termination or make sure the termination is justified.

Attack on Brand Image through Social Media

Today, people have a voice, and some people are ready to listen to their voice. Social networking platforms are great places for employees to discredit your brand and slander your image if they believe they were terminated by you wrongfully.

Bad Performance of Existing Employees

It does not matter how much you care about your employees. They may have a stronger connection among themselves than they have with you. Therefore, when you terminate an employee and cause some dissention among the ranks.

So, it is highly recommended that you consider the many other ways of cutting costs for your small business before choosing to terminate your employees.

Writing For Professionals

Having a great resume is the first step to landing that ideal job. Resume writing can be the most stressful part of the job search. But it is also the most effective way to share your experience and qualifications. The purpose of your resume is to create enough interest that the employer will want to see you for a more in-depth face to face interview. Those resumes receiving the most attention are structured with the following components:

Value Proposition Statement

This section should state to the employer the immediate value you will bring to their organization. If you are a business development professional with successful experience working with companies in the medical industry you should have this listed in this section. An example of this statement would be “an experienced business development professional with established existing relationships in place with key regional medical equipment companies. These established relationships will allow me to gain immediate access to key decision makers early within the sales cycle”. The value proposition statement allows the employer to visualize you in this position and as an immediate contributor to their organization.

Keywords In Resume Writing

Effective resume writing should be done in a way that allows you to stand out from the crowd. One of the most effective ways to do this is to make sure you use the appropriate keyword (s) for the job posting. So we know that most companies are using parsing software in reviewing resumes. This software is designed to filter for keywords from the resumes they receive. This software will look through resumes for these keywords.

So simply put keywords are those words that easily describes the position you are applying for. In the example above the position is business development professional. So what words immediately come to mind with this position? Correct, business development. Therefore you will want the keywords to be the words business development. To tell your story you should use these keywords in a natural story telling manner.

Highlight Your Experience

Many professionals have a wealth of valuable relevant experience to share. The key is how much of this experience should you share on your resume? Resumes are parsed and if selected will be reviewed by the employer for about 20 seconds or less. In resume writing it is totally acceptable to construct a 2-3 page resume if you are applying for an executive level position. All other positions 1-2 pages are common. Remember most employers know that the average job seeker has three plus jobs in their career. The length of the resume is not as important as the use of keywords and highlighting your relevant experience and qualifications. The only experience you should highlight are those experiences that apply to the job. As mentioned above you should naturally tell your story using keyword and relevant job experience.

Having a great resume is easily accomplished and doesn’t require fancy words, design or layout. There are many free resume writing templates on the internet that can help you with layout etc. Because this document is so important in getting you closer to your new job we encourage you to devote the necessary time to get it right. Most importantly before you send your resume to a perspective employer you should have a trusted person review it and provide feedback. Be sure to use spellcheck and look for grammatical errors etc. Remember you only get one chance to make a great first impression.

Resume Writing Made Affordable

Many professionals choose to write their resumes and with tremendous results. But if you feel the need to use a professional service know that these companies and professionals fees range in price from $300-$1500 based on the required technical copy writing skills. In other words if you are applying for an IT or Medical position you would want a resume writer with that level of experience to write impact copy or content on your behalf.

You are now closer to securing that position that most fits your skills and qualifications. Wishing you the very best

We hope this article clarifies some of the confusion in the use of keywords and value proposition statements. Resumes are designed to gain the attention of the prospective employer. Take some time in listing your qualifications and skills. With this article you are now equipped to tell a great story about your qualifications and experiences.

Business Growth Leveraging Your Personal Brand

Marketing is like sex. Everyone thinks they’re good at it.

– Steve Tobak

We are in a golden age of solopreneurs: independent, innovative experts who are turning the traditional working model on its head. No longer content with working under layers of organizational management, workers around the globe are increasingly making the decision to take full control of their careers. To carve their own niche and capitalize on their skills. To join the solo revolution.

And you are one of them. A revolutionary!

Creating your own brand has never been easier. With the explosion of social media, solopreneurs have immediate access to billions of people around the world. You can speak directly to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Likewise, the number of services and products consumers have instant access to is infinite. Neither business nor buyer is bound by location anymore.

It is an incredibly liberating age. But it’s also one that some entrepreneurs and businesses find overwhelming.

We’re Living in a Digital-First World

In his book Ctrl Alt Delete, Mitch Joel discusses the term “digital first”. He reveals the five key movements that organizations must embrace to future-proof themselves – or go out of business. One of these shifts is the fact that now, the first place your brand and business are validated is online. Essentially, the internet and social media have the power to make or break your chances of success.

Serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk is a great example of how to cultivate a successful business by leveraging digital media. Born in the Soviet Union in 1975, Vaynerchuk immigrated to the United States in 1978. From humble beginnings, his father went on to own a liquor store in New Jersey. In the early days of the digital-first world, Vaynerchuk could see the burning potential of his father’s business. After graduating from college, Vaynerchuk transformed the liquor shop into a retail wine store, which he named the Wine Library. In 2006, he started a daily video blog, Wine Library TV. This hugely popular webcast turned him into an internet celebrity. It attracted 90,000 viewers a day and led to a flurry of TV and speaking engagements. In just six years, Vaynerchuk grew the family business from $1 million a year to a whopping $50 million a year.

Not too bad for a small family business, right?

So, as you can see, traditional marketing has been blown out of the water. We’re no longer restricted to cold calling and setting up meeting after meeting to generate leads and sales. Digital marketing has opened an array of cost-effective avenues for self-promotion and lead generation. Sales are now about leveraging your social networks, engaging with people online and educating.

This is, essentially, the social sales model: (see link below)

Today, the businesses and entrepreneurs that make the most impact on their audiences are role models. They’re trusted advisers who create tribes – powerful online communities that help their brands grow. They educate and provide solutions. They’ve jumped on board the social sales train and embrace the connection economy whole-heartedly. Because if you don’t, you get left behind.

But we can’t rest on our laurels. We must build on this massive sales reform and look to the future. We must become industry ambassadors. We must become thought leaders who engage meaningfully with our followers, share generously of our expertise and regard our audiences not just as leads or dollar signs, but as lifetime partnerships.

Why Stand Out from the Crowd

Solopreneurs are the way of the future. They account for 61% of Australian businesses[1]. And with the advent of freelance sites such as Upwork, 99designs, Freelancer and Airtasker, an increasing number of Australians are freelancing. According to freelance marketplace Elance-oDesk, 30% of the Australian workforce – or 3.7 million people – undertake some sort of freelance work[2].

Digital marketing presents an enormous opportunity for solopreneurs. According to Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange, the average person spends two hours a day on the internet. Furthermore, IBM’s Global CEO Study found that CEOs believe social media utilization for customer engagement will increase by 256% over five years. This means social media will become the second-most popular way to engage customers after face-to-face communication.

Social media has created a level playing field. It’s cheap and readily available. You don’t need large amounts of money to build a business. You don’t even need an existing client base – you can start one from scratch online. The internet has given everyone the potential to create a successful solo business.

But there’s a downside to this equal opportunity. Despite the accessibility of social media, one of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs continue to face is finding leads and retaining clients.

The digital marketplace means you’re competing against everyone else with a business like yours. You can’t simply create a LinkedIn or Facebook account and expect clients to come to you. How will they know you’re there? What makes you stand out? When everyone else is pushing their own unique selling point, what will make people choose you?

In a world where customers have immediate access to information on every kind of business around the world, it’s hard to cut through the noise. To gain that competitive edge, you must create a connection.

Being a solopreneur is not enough. You must bond with your audience by offering more than your products and services alone. You need to educate, lead and gain trust. You need to make a real difference to the lives of your clients.

Position, Position, Position

Positioning is fundamental to creating trust and having influence. It’s more than just creating an image. It’s about owning your space in your industry. It’s about flexing your expertise, starting conversations, changing the game, creating engaging content and enlightening others. It’s about being the go-to expert for peers and clients needing guidance.

And it’s what leads to sales.

When you have a rock-solid positioning, your return on investment is second to none. Digital media and technology company Burst Media’s 2014 Influencer Marketing Benchmarks Report found that on average, marketers who implemented an Influencer marketing program in 2014 received $6.85 in earned media value for every $1 of paid media.[3] The primary tools used in Influencer marketing were:

Blog posts
Social syndication and branded content distribution
Influencers and influential content

Blogs. Content. Social media. These are indispensable, cost-effective tools if you want to elevate your positioning from business owner to leading industry expert. And they are what will build your audience’s trust in you.

Build A Business From Scratch

My passions have always been gardening and painting. The two seem to go together and this was born out when starting a business in landscaping. It was natural to paint a picture of the finished design in my head. This led me to undertake counseling for those who could not imagine what a garden should look like. My long-standing interest in the outdoors held me in good stead as my little fingers were always in dirt from the time I could toddle.

Once advertising started and my first consulting job came to me it led to other things. The lady was so impressed with what she was offered that she paid me $400 to draw a plan of it. This was something right up my ally.

Putting my imagination to work the plan was a great success and before long there were some 2-3 per week along with consulting jobs. The main requiring for doing something like this is confidence. If one shows that they know what they are talking about and can satisfy their client with quality work, then it has to be a success.

Of course my enterprising didn’t stop there. The main point of this article is that people need to step out of their comfort zone and use their hobbies and interests to build a business. They have to start from scratch to do it but if they have enough confidence and knowledge they will success.

Mistakes will happen and that is the learning curve one has to go through. Costs of consulting work doesn’t have to be over the top as there is no outlay to doing it. Start small and build up. For consulting my charge was $75 and that is more than affordable when most landscape designers might charge 10 times that much for the same advice.

Norma Holt has knowledge that enables her to understand many issues. Political, social and behavioral problems are usually on her list for discussion as well as anything to do with the Spirit of the Universe and reincarnation, which she experienced. She is happy to hear from any of her readers.

Plans for Your Business Venture

Whatever the health and condition of your business venture, it will benefit from planning. Business planning of all types provides a road-map that guides the leadership team to successfully achieve business goals.

I’ve taught business plan writing for more than 10 years and I’ve also developed a one-day business plan writing workshop. As I see it, the process of business planning gives company leaders opportunities to see the big picture and remove “magical thinking” from the process. Business planning first reveals if the proposed goals are potentially viable and second, requires that we devise strategies that will make them a reality.

What your team wants to achieve will shape the plan that is written. For example, if the mission is to launch a start-up that will require significant outside investment, then the plan will include detailed financial projections. Additionally, marketing strategies that delve into customer acquisition, the competitive landscape, the logistics of the product or service launch, messaging and sales distribution, along with operational aspects such as manufacturing, staffing and quality control, must be thoroughly detailed.

Solopreneur consultants will focus heavily on marketing, in particular defining the target clients and client acquisition; providing services for which there is adequate demand; and appropriate pricing. Financial planning will focus on allocating the budget to support promotional strategies and marketing campaigns.

Whether the plan will be used to launch a big venture and attract outside investment money or open a boutique-style consulting service, include the following elements:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Present the business mission statement here. Include as well the date the business was formed; the leadership team and other key management personnel; the credentials or experience that make you and the leadership team uniquely qualified to launch and successfully run the venture; the business legal structure (LLC, Sole Proprietor, or Corporation); the products and services; one or two key competitive advantages; a concise overview of sales projections; and the amount of capital needed if recruiting investors or obtaining bank financing is a goal.

BUSINESS DESCRIPTION

It’s traditional to present a brief description of your industry and its outlook, nationally and regionally. Give the details of your products and services and briefly discuss how they’ll be used by target customers. Identify whether the venture is B2B, B2C, or B2G. If the organization holds a patent, review the competitive advantages that it will convey. Have there been any technological advances that will help or hinder the enterprise? Divulge the details here.

MARKETING

This element is a big tent that encompasses sales, product or service distribution, competitors, advertising, social media, PR, networking, branding, customer acquisition and pricing. Plans written for a small organization will spotlight the role of marketing because for Solopreneurs, success hinges on identifying and reaching paying clients, as well as pricing the services advantageously.

FINANCE

Whether you’re wealthy enough to self-finance or the venture is small and not especially demanding of capital investment, the leadership team nevertheless needs to know with a reasonable degree of certainty how much money will be required to achieve important goals.

The plan might be written to support financing for the acquisition of new office space, additional staffing, or manufacturing equipment. Bank loans typically require a business plan to demonstrate how the investment money would be used and how the organization will generate funds for loan repayment.

If the goal is to attract investors, they’ll need to be convinced by the projected sales revenue figures (as will the bank), so they’ll know when their investment will be repaid and when to expect profits if they are made co-owners of the business. A break-even analysis, projected income statement, projected cash-flow statement and projected balance sheet are required by those who will need significant money.

OPERATIONS

How will day-to-day business processes function? Tell it here, along with providing the organizational chart, the business location, the method of producing that which you sell (if you are, for example, a freelance book editor or graphic designer, you produce the service yourself), your usual sub-contractors (if you are a special events organizer, who are your preferred caterer, florist and limo service?) and quality control methods. This element is about logistics.