Virtual Assistants Are Ideal For Solopreneurs

Solopreneurs like to work alone, enjoy learning new things themselves and distrust group work because it usually means they have to pick up the slack.  All fine except what happens when you really can’t do something yourself; or, the very process of learning how to do it would slow you down dramatically?  Try virtual assistants. 

Virtual assistants are basically solopreneurs who are listed on one of the various virtual assistant websites.  You hire them based on their body of work as well as either a prearranged price (e.g. $5 in Fiverr) or they bid on the project (e.g. Elance).  I’ve spoken before about my love for Fiverr and the ability to get lots of great stuff done for $5.  I’ve recently used…

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4 Reasons To Launch Your Company At A Trade Show

I went to an old time “show” this weekend, the Toronto Outdoor and Adventure Show, where I was testing out a new company of mine called Suriname Trails.  Suriname Trails is a travel retailer focused only on Suriname, a country at the top of South America that pretty well no one in North America has ever head of!  The show wasn’t initially on my radar and it certainly was not part of the overall marketing strategy for the company, but I saw the ad at the…

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Strategic planning for not-for-profit organizations: don't over-complicate it. 

My simple definition of strategic planning is: “A systematic determination of goals and the plans to achieve them.” My approach consists of three stages 1) strategic analysis (where are we) 2) determining a strategic direction (where do we want to go) and 3) operational planning (how do we get there).

1) Where are we? Strategic analysis is the research work you need to do so that your plans are based on facts and not merely perceptions and guesses. Part of this work is sometimes referred to as “external and internal scans.” Sometimes a "SWOT Analysis" 2x2 matrix is used to frame this information: Strengths/Weakness (internal) and Opportunities/Threats (external). Typically, an organization needs to…

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Big business rarely has a vision and never values.  Small businesses can have both. Important to write it down and for everyone, including the boss, to walk the talk.

They talk a good game but large businesses rarely have a “vision” and they certainly don’t have any “values.”  In most cases their “vision statement” and any values they mention are simply marketing blather for their customers or employees.   They want money.  That is their vision and if history is any indication then that is also what they value.  For publicly held companies it is even truer because they are legally bound to act in the fiduciary interests of their shareholders.  That’s fancy talk for making them money.  If you need a good example there is none better…

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Conversations are interesting things. In a recent blog, I explored what having different conversations might mean for churches. When we engage with one another, sometimes we realize that if we keep doing the same things we’ve always done, we are likely to end up with what we already have. Rituals that offer a sense – perhaps even illusion – of stability, therefore, may not be that helpful as churches, or other organizations, navigate these times of change.

It’s one thing to name this, it might be another to answer, "so what?" Or – perhaps – what are our alternatives? I do not claim that there’s a cookie-cutter solution, but I thought I would offer one possible resource. In this…

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The Hedgehog Principle

Just shortly after Diana Butler Bass had published her book The Practicing Congregation I was sitting beside her at dinner and I asked her if she was familiar with Jim Collins's classic business text Good to Great. Funny you should ask, she said. And she went on to say that when she was researching her latest book, and had selected the ten thriving congregations that had become the focus of that book, she asked the clergy in those congregations "What have been the two most influential books that you feel have benefited your leadership?" Nine of…

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