The Basics of Talking to Strangers: ‘…and Death Came Third!’ 10th Anniversary Celebration

Ten years ago, in 2006, Peter Roper and Andy Lopata published the first edition of ‘…and Death Came Third! The Definitive Guide to Networking and Speaking in Public’ on Bookshaker. The book was a big success with over 2,000 copies sold in the first 48 hours alone. Panoma Press published the second edition in 2011 and negotiated a separate edition published in Malaysia and Singapore.

We have consistently been amazed by the affection held for ‘…and Death Came Third!’ by many readers, reflected by the emails and comments we have received from people from a range of backgrounds. The book focuses on the basics of networking and presentation skills, giving readers simple approaches to working the room at networking events or giving their first talk.

To celebrate this, we have got together with our network to provide a series of short ‘Basics’ blogs. Over the month of September Andy, Peter and Panoma Press owner Mindy Gibbins-Klein will share a guest blog every day exploring the basics of business, from the basics of confidence and attitude to negotiation and strategy. We have also made the Kindle edition of this excellent book just £1.99 or $2.99 throughout September, so if you haven’t read it yet, get your copy now!

In our final blog of the series, co-author of ‘…and Death Came Third!’, Andy Lopata, explores the fear of approaching strangers.

So many of us suffer from it. Even after over 17 years of attending, speaking at, speaking about and writing about networking events, I still get butterflies before I walk into a room full of strangers.

The title of the book we’ve been celebrating over the last month was inspired by a 1984 New York Times survey on social anxiety where people were asked what they were most frightened of. Death, of course, came third. The top two fears in the survey were speaking in public in second and, top of the list, walking into a room full of strangers.

So what can you do to overcome that fear if you are a fellow sufferer. Here are some quick and simple tricks that have worked for me time and time again.

1 Rationalise your fear

The fears that hold us back so much are not based on realistic scenarios. Childhood warnings of ‘stranger danger’ mix with the desire to look good among our peers, a concern about being rejected or being made to look the fool.

In what way are any of those relevant to the modern day networking event? As long as you know you are in the right place, an environment where people have come along to build their networks and develop new relationships; as long as you are well presented, sober and hygenic; as long as you can bring something of relevant to the conversation (if you genuinely can’t, why are you there?), then you van put those fears to one side.

2. Get there early

The second person to arrive at an event almost inevitably talks to the first. Early arrivals rarely have to face that awkward moment when walking into a room full of people already deep in conversation and trying to find somewhere to fit.

Get there early and you’ll be drawn straight into the initial conversations, letting the event then build up around you.

3. Set yourself an objective

If you know why you are doing something that you find uncomfortable, it’s much easier to take the requisite action. If you’re goal is to meet new people, establish a target for how many conversations you will have with people you haven’t met before. Start with a low target, just to ease yourself out of your comfort zone but gradually increase it.

By the way, setting targets for numbers of people to talk to is only designed to help overcome nerves and laziness. It’s not an effective networking strategy in itself!

4. Ease your way in

If the water in a bath is too hot, you don’t just jump right in. Instead you dip your toe in first and then gradually allow your body to become accustomed to the temperature before completely immersing yourself.

It’s the same with a networking event. Chat to people you know and in whose company you’re comfortable when you first get there to allow yourself to become used to the environment. Just don’t spend the whole of the event with them.

5. Get Introduced

Have you noticed how we don’t have the same fear of meeting strangers when they are introduced to us by someone else? We have permission to interact with them at that point so our butterflies disappear.

Let the event hosts, the people you already know or the person you are in conversation with introduce you to your next conversation.

And my number one tip of all? No excuses! As Susan Jeffers eloquently said in her 1987 book title, ‘Feel the fear….and do it anyway’.

The co-author of ‘…and Death Came Third!’, Andy Lopata is the author of two other books on networking. He was labeled ‘one of Europe’s leading business networking strategists’ by The Financial Times’ and ‘a true master of networking’ by The Independent.

Find out more at www.lopata.co.uk

Don’t forget: the Kindle edition of ‘…and Death Came Third!’ is available for just £1.99 or $2.99 throughout September. Get your copy now!

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The Basics of Writing Your Business Book: ‘…and Death Came Third! 10th Anniversary Celebration

Ten years ago, in 2006, Peter Roper and Andy Lopata published the first edition of ‘…and Death Came Third! The Definitive Guide to Networking and Speaking in Public’ on Bookshaker. The book was a big success with over 2,000 copies sold in the first 48 hours alone. Panoma Press published the second edition in 2011 and negotiated a separate edition published in Malaysia and Singapore.

We have consistently been amazed by the affection held for ‘…and Death Came Third!’ by many readers, reflected by the emails and comments we have received from people from a range of backgrounds. The book focuses on the basics of networking and presentation skills, giving readers simple approaches to working the room at networking events or giving their first talk.

To celebrate this, we have got together with our network to provide a series of short ‘Basics’ blogs. Over the month of September Andy, Peter and Panoma Press owner Mindy Gibbins-Klein will share a guest blog every day exploring the basics of business, from the basics of confidence and attitude to negotiation and strategy. We have also made the Kindle edition of this excellent book just £1.99 or $2.99 throughout September, so if you haven’t read it yet, get your copy now!

In our latest blog, publisher of the second edition of  ‘…and Death Came Third!’ (just five years ago!),  Mindy Gibbins-Klein, explores the basics of writing your business book.

The Basics of Writing Your Business Book!

It is said that everyone has a book in them. Whether or not that statement is true, it is certainly becoming more popular than ever to write a book, and for an entrepreneur who wants to share his or her expertise or wisdom, writing a book is a project well worth considering.

Why Write a Business Book?

People are still impressed by published authors and the book can open many, many doors. I’ve seen my author clients win lots of new business, raise their fees, become attractive to the media and conference organisers, and turn their ideas, experience and wisdom into a legacy.

When potential clients read your book, they can get to know you and your ideas in a non-threatening environment, in their own space and in their own time. They can sell themselves on the idea of working with you and come to you ready to work with you.

Of course, all this assumes you start and finish writing the book, that it gets published and that it is the best book it can be. Otherwise, many of the benefits may not materialize.

Starting to Write Your Business Book

Before you even start writing, you need a robust plan, not only for the content, but exactly how you plan to use the book, where and how you want to sell it, where you want it to lead etc. I’ve met a lot of experts over the years who thought they knew their subject so well that they could just ‘wing it’ and skip the boring planning…

There are many kinds of business books, and in this article I’m talking about a book that showcases a business or business owner while educating and perhaps entertaining the reader. So, a book about someone’s business that helps someone else in life and business!

You. Need. A. Plan.

Think about all the different ways such a book could turn out. Is it going to be a How To book, or mostly a story? Is it going to reference your story and experience or that of others? Or will it be a combination, and if so, what proportions should it be? What length should it be? What style and tone? A lot of this will depend on who you are trying to influence, and what you want the book to achieve for you (see above). You may be very clear already, but if any of this seems overwhelming or you would like help and guidance to figure it out and make some decisions and plans, please get in touch. This is exactly what we do at The Book Midwife®!

Publishing for Entrepreneurs and Thought Leaders

There are many ways to get published these days, but if you are looking to impress and influence people with your book, it needs to exude quality and professionalism. I see a lot of entrepreneurs self-publishing their books because it’s easy and quick and relatively inexpensive to do so. I’m not a big fan of self-publishing because there are a lot of pitfalls if you don’t know what you are doing. There is nothing worse than a business book that looks ‘homemade’. All your hard work and potentially great content could be undermined by a product that looks unprofessional.

You. Need. A. Publisher.

I believe entrepreneurs and thought leaders should partner with a publisher to ensure the best possible result. This does not mean you need to go to a big publishing house, get a traditional book deal or even spend a lot of money. You simply need a solid team of people experienced in editing, designing, formatting, launching, promoting, selling, and distributing books! Simple. The benefit of using a publisher of any kind over self-publishing is that the team is already there and proven. Often they have worked on several books in the same category as yours, so they know how to work with yours to get the best results.

OK, this was not meant to be a sales pitch but I can’t help it. I get very, very upset when I see business professionals making mistakes that damage their credibility. We have all worked very hard to get where we are today, and we need to be putting out books that make us look great.

Mindy Gibbins-Klein is a speaker and consultant focused on business owners and subject matter experts who need to build their credibility. Mindy’s mission is to discover and expose REAL Thought Leaders and show them how to position themselves as the true authorities in their field by writing and publishing the best quality books, ebooks, articles and blogs, and by developing powerful speaking content.

 


 

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The Basics of Business Plans (and why they are dead):‘…and Death Came Third!’ 10th Anniversary Celebrations

Ten years ago, in 2006, Peter Roper and Andy Lopata published the first edition of ‘…and Death Came Third! The Definitive Guide to Networking and Speaking in Public’ on Bookshaker. The book was a big success with over 2,000 copies sold in the first 48 hours alone. Panoma Press published the second edition in 2011 and negotiated a separate edition published in Malaysia and Singapore.

We have consistently been amazed by the affection held for ‘…and Death Came Third!’ by many readers, reflected by the emails and comments we have received from people from a range of backgrounds. The book focuses on the basics of networking and presentation skills, giving readers simple approaches to working the room at networking events or giving their first talk.

To celebrate this, we have got together with our network to provide a series of short ‘Basics’ blogs. Over the month of September Andy, Peter and Panoma Press owner Mindy Gibbins-Klein will share a guest blog every day exploring the basics of business, from the basics of confidence and attitude to negotiation and strategy. We have also made the Kindle edition of this excellent book just £1.99 or $2.99 throughout September, so if you haven’t read it yet, get your copy now!

Today Strategy Man Deri Llewellyn-Davies shares The Basics Of Business Plans (and why they are dead:

Do you have a business plan?

Does the mere thought send a shiver of fear through you?

Do you love writing them, only to find they don’t really get read or implemented?

Let’s talk about the basics, why the traditional business plan is dead, and why one page methodologies are the new business planning tools for the new age of business. After all, if we’re honest, the executive summary is the only page people read anyway.

And before you cry, “But surely Deri, you still need them for banks!”

Nope. I’ve raised millions over the last decade using presentation decks (PowerPoint or equivalent presentations)  accompanied by the numbers (i.e., excel spreadsheets). They are efficient, effective and much more palatable.

So here are the top 6 basics on why writing a business plan is dead.

1. The Speed of Business: The moment you write a business plan it is out of date. The world and industries around us are changing. Fast. We need an agile tool, one that can adapt to the consistently changing environment.

2. Business plans are not executed: Having seen thousands of business plans while advising clients who are trying to raise investment funds, people just don’t do what they laboriously wrote about. Sadly, most of the great ideas don’t move into execution. If the plan doesn’t have execution built into it the whole thing becomes an intellectual exercise. Instead, I choose execution.

3. It’s not part of the culture: Business plans very often forget the people, the very culture that they are meant to function within. Without culture woven into the fabric of the plan I believe we miss one of the most important assets and also our biggest competitive advantage. It can also lead to making decisions without considering the impact on culture, short term decision making is done in sacrifice of long term culture.

4. They miss the WHY: Business Plans very rarely get to the core purpose that will keep people motivated and inspired. I won’t start or support any new venture without the WHY being defined and included in the plan. Most business plans are predominantly about the WHAT.

5. They also miss the NOW: Across all areas of business, the execution should be brought from year, to quarter, to month, to this present moment. It is essential to create a plan that explains how to execute but what to do right now.

6. Business plans tend to be one-dimensional: It is rare for a business plan to cover all areas of the spectrum of strategy—Marketing, Sales, Operations, Cash and Talent—they are usually biased toward the specialty area the author is biased in. This is usually operations since most businesses are run by technician business owners.

The good news is you don’t need them any more. Instead you can use one page methodologies which encompass all of the above.

One of which is Strategy on a PageTM.

All dimensions of strategy, purpose, vision and values are covered, whilst also taking strategy through long term, medium term  and short term objectives and the all important numbers to execute on and measure them by are followed every single month.

This is the new tool for the new age of business. Get your entire organization onto the same page, literally, and watch how your culture and bottom line are transformed.

You are invited to download the best selling book, Strategy on a Page, for free at www.bgistrategy.com

Deri Llewellyn-Davies is an internationally acclaimed TEDx speaker, author, adventurer and entrepreneur who is transforming lives around the world with his core message of No Regrets. He uses his signature Strategy on a PageTM methodology to demystify strategic concepts and enable audiences to leave with valuable, practical and actionable principles they can  apply immediately.


 

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The Basics of Knowing What You Really Want: ‘…and Death Came Third!’ 10th Anniversary Celebrations

Ten years ago, in 2006, Peter Roper and Andy Lopata published the first edition of ‘…and Death Came Third! The Definitive Guide to Networking and Speaking in Public’ on Bookshaker. The book was a big success with over 2,000 copies sold in the first 48 hours alone. Panoma Press published the second edition in 2011 and negotiated a separate edition published in Malaysia and Singapore.

We have consistently been amazed by the affection held for ‘…and Death Came Third!’ by many readers, reflected by the emails and comments we have received from people from a range of backgrounds. The book focuses on the basics of networking and presentation skills, giving readers simple approaches to working the room at networking events or giving their first talk.

To celebrate this, we have got together with our network to provide a series of short ‘Basics’ blogs. Over the month of September Andy, Peter and Panoma Press owner Mindy Gibbins-Klein will share a guest blog every day exploring the basics of business, from the basics of confidence and attitude to negotiation and strategy. We have also made the Kindle edition of this excellent book just £1.99 or $2.99 throughout September, so if you haven’t read it yet, get your copy now!

Today, expert Jo Simpson shares The Basics of Knowing What You Really Want:

Do you ever get restless? Have the same recurring thought or nudge that won’t go away?, yet you dismiss it because it either doesn’t make any logical sense or it feels too difficult to make the changes required.

There is a part of us that always knows what the truth is about what we want and it continues to make us restless until we listen, embrace it and have the courage to act on it.

Most people don’t take the time to do the inner work to discover what is truly most important to them, so subsequently are unable to know what it is they really want and can go from one thing to the next and never achieve fulfillment.

For example, you may think that Achievement or Recognition is important to you and you strive to for this, only when you get there, you feel numb or “OK, done that, what’s next?” and the cycle continues…

The key to knowing that you want is to spend the time discovering, defining and igniting your core values.

Your core values are at the heart of every decision you ever make, every relationship you encounter and every goal you achieve whether you are consciously aware of it or not.

Lip service is often paid to core values work and people think Honesty, Trust, Respect and Integrity are their values and they may well be – Yet this is not the full picture.  The key is to truly know your values, define what they mean to you and understand the power of the priority order (which is often not what you think it is)

As a starting point, here are 3 Powerful questions to help you discover your core values.

1. What’s IMPORTANT to you?

Let’s say the answer is Family, you then need to take it further and ask…

What does Family give me?

The answer may be love, connection, support, fun, belonging  (it is these words that are likely to be your values and you will notice that they are transferable into other areas of your life i.e. If Support and Connection are important at home, then I would bet they are also important to you in your professional life too).

2. What do you ENJOY?

Let’s say it’s Skiing and you ask…What does skiing give me?

Adventure, Discovery, Connection, Energy

Again, I would guess these are important to you in other areas of your life too.

3. What FRUSTRATES you?

The answer could be deceit – now, this is not the core value – with anything that frustrates us or makes us angry, we need to find the opposite of it, which is the value, the core driver.  So, in this example, the value could be Truth or Honesty.

Once you have Discovered your Values, take the time to Define what they mean to you and then Ignite them in all that you do and notice that restless feeling turn to one of fulfillment.

To find out more and continue your values discovery journey,  you can order Jo’s book – The Restless Executive

Jo Simpson – Keynote Speaker, Executive Leadership Coach and Author of ‘The Restless Executive – Reclaim your values, Love what you do and Lead with Purpose”



 

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The Basics of Wealth Building: ‘…and Death Came Third!’ 10th Anniversary Celebrations

Ten years ago, in 2006, Peter Roper and Andy Lopata published the first edition of ‘…and Death Came Third! The Definitive Guide to Networking and Speaking in Public’ on Bookshaker. The book was a big success with over 2,000 copies sold in the first 48 hours alone. Panoma Press published the second edition in 2011 and negotiated a separate edition published in Malaysia and Singapore.

We have consistently been amazed by the affection held for ‘…and Death Came Third!’ by many readers, reflected by the emails and comments we have received from people from a range of backgrounds. The book focuses on the basics of networking and presentation skills, giving readers simple approaches to working the room at networking events or giving their first talk.

To celebrate this, we have got together with our network to provide a series of short ‘Basics’ blogs. Over the month of September Andy, Peter and Panoma Press owner Mindy Gibbins-Klein will share a guest blog every day exploring the basics of business, from the basics of confidence and attitude to negotiation and strategy. We have also made the Kindle edition of this excellent book just £1.99 or $2.99 throughout September, so if you haven’t read it yet, get your copy now!

Today property investment expert Simon Zutshi shares The Basics of Wealth Building

There are three basic steps to wealth building. These are:

1) Learn how to make money

2) Learn how to keep your money

3) Learn how to grow your money

Most people believe that all you need to do, to become wealthy, is learn how to make money. However, there are many people who know how to make plenty of money but they don’t become wealthy because they spend all the money they make.

Step number 2, learning how to keep your money, is critical in building your wealth. This involves learning how to legally minimise the tax you pay on the money you make, and also introducing good habits of saving some of your income by spending less than you earn.

Once you have surplus cash, Step 3 is learning how to grow your pot of money by investing it. The 3 main assets to invest in are Property, Business and the Stock Market. I have personally invested in all three of these assets and have made money from all of them and also lost money in all of them. However, my favourite asset is property because you can achieve all three steps in one go. As long as you know what you are doing, and always do your research, you can invest in property which will make you money, there are some excellent tax benefits and your asset will also grow in value in the long term. I love property because you can work once and get paid forever in that you make money every month from your property for as long as you hold it.

Whilst you can make great money from property, it is possible to lose money if you don’t know what you are doing. In my book Property Magic, I explain how to minimise the risk of investing and maximise your return by using the 5 Golden Rules. These are:

1)    Always buy from motivated sellers: This is someone who needs to sell and so will be flexible on price and or the terms of the sale

2)    Buy in an area with strong rental demand: You need to make sure you easily rent the property out

3)    Always buy for Cash flow: Your property must make profit every month after covering all the costs

4)    Buy for the long term: The real value is in long term buy and hold due to the capital growth over time

5)    Have a cash buffer: have some money set aside to cover unexpected expenses to make sure you can.

Good luck on your wealth building journey. Invest with knowledge, Invest with skill.

Simon Zutshi, who is widely recognised as one of the top wealth creation speakers in the uk, is the author of the amazon No 1 best seller, Property, founder of the property investors network (www.pinMeeting.co.uk), and founder of Crowdproperty.com.

Don’t forget: the Kindle edition of ‘…and Death Came Third!’ is available for just £1.99 or $2.99 throughout September. Get your copy now!


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The Basics of Business Strategy: ‘…and Death Came Third 10th Anniversary Celebration

Ten years ago, in 2006, Peter Roper and Andy Lopata published the first edition of ‘…and Death Came Third! The Definitive Guide to Networking and Speaking in Public’ on Bookshaker. The book was a big success with over 2,000 copies sold in the first 48 hours alone. Panoma Press published the second edition in 2011 and negotiated a separate edition published in Malaysia and Singapore.

We have consistently been amazed by the affection held for ‘…and Death Came Third!’ by many readers, reflected by the emails and comments we have received from people from a range of backgrounds. The book focuses on the basics of networking and presentation skills, giving readers simple approaches to working the room at networking events or giving their first talk.

To celebrate this, we have got together with our network to provide a series of short ‘Basics’ blogs. Over the month of September Andy, Peter and Panoma Press owner Mindy Gibbins-Klein will share a guest blog every day exploring the basics of business, from the basics of confidence and attitude to negotiation and strategy. We have also made the Kindle edition of this excellent book just £1.99 or $2.99 throughout September, so if you haven’t read it yet, get your copy now!

Today our very own Peter Roper shares The Basics of Business Strategy:

There are many books on business strategy and there is rarely a week goes by in the business press without someone discussing latest strategies and techniques.

My point is a strategy for the business can be dependent upon so many things and in my experience can be divided into two distinct camps;

Those strategies that work

Those that don’t

In most cases, those that don’t in my experience are because they are ill thought through, with little time taken to really analyse what’s trying to be achieved. I have sat at many a meeting, particularly in my corporate life, where a strategy meeting consisted of a cup of coffee, a quick chat and a flip chart – and then frantic action followed.

Funnily enough, they failed!

I’ve also known some organisations spend months on strategies for their business…

And they have failed too!

In short, strategies work when a reasonable amount of time is given to strategic planning, however, there are no guarantees, after all, a strategy is simply that: a strategy, and it may or may not work.

However, in my experience the three vital keys to successful strategy planning are:

Be clear on the vision of the business

Be clear what you are trying to achieve

Then think of strategies to achieve the above

Then test and measure.

But whilst taking time is essential don’t take forever or else life and business will have moved on….

PR FBM


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The Basics of Engaging and Entertaining Presentations: ‘…and Death Came Third! 10th Anniversary Celebrations

Ten years ago, in 2006, Peter Roper and Andy Lopata published the first edition of ‘…and Death Came Third! The Definitive Guide to Networking and Speaking in Public’ on Bookshaker. The book was a big success with over 2,000 copies sold in the first 48 hours alone. Panoma Press published the second edition in 2011 and negotiated a separate edition published in Malaysia and Singapore.

We have consistently been amazed by the affection held for ‘…and Death Came Third!’ by many readers, reflected by the emails and comments we have received from people from a range of backgrounds. The book focuses on the basics of networking and presentation skills, giving readers simple approaches to working the room at networking events or giving their first talk.

To celebrate this, we have got together with our network to provide a series of short ‘Basics’ blogs. Over the month of September Andy, Peter and Panoma Press owner Mindy Gibbins-Klein will share a guest blog every day exploring the basics of business, from the basics of confidence and attitude to negotiation and strategy. We have also made the Kindle edition of this excellent book just £1.99 or $2.99 throughout September, so if you haven’t read it yet, get your copy now!

Today writer and broadcaster Jeremy Nicholas shares The Basics of Engaging and Entertaining Presentations

I’ve sat through an awful lot of presentations over the years.

And I’ve sat through a lot of awful presentations.

I started in professional speaking as an MC. As a broadcaster I was asked to compere events. It amazed me how much companies would spend on conferences, yet so little effort went into making the presentations interesting.

It’s considered bad form to fall asleep when you’re the MC, so I kept alert by devising the Talking Toolbox system to make presentations engaging and entertaining.

I grew up at the BBC whose values are to inform, educate and entertain. Too many speakers concentrate on informing and educating and forget about entertaining. That’s a shame. If you entertain your audience you’ll hold their attention.

Here’s some of my ideas to grab the audience and hold onto them (although organisers have asked me to restrain from physically touching the audience):

  • Show a short video – moving pictures and music can be so inspiring.
  • An audience interaction – get them to do something that challenges them.
  • Ask a question – anything that makes them think
  • Give them a short task to do in pairs – it gives them a chance to talk.
  • Get them to vote with a show of hands – it changes them from passive to active.
  • Tell a funny story – use humour to engage them.
  • Tell an inspiring story – make them feel something.
  • Use a killer fact – the more incredible the better.
  • Deliver a ‘wow’ moment – something that they’ll be talking about the next day.
  • Bring on a prop – appeal to the visual learners in the room.

All of the above help keep you audience’s attention.

I like to add humour to my talks. My maxim is ‘If they’re laughing, they’re listening’.

If you’re not naturally funny then find someone who is and get them to write you some lines. I offer a ‘Tickle My Keynote’ service where I ‘gag up’ talks for high profile speakers.

If humour doesn’t fit with you, then pick one of the others, but you must do something. Audiences are easily distracted. We fight a battle to keep their interest when they have so many handheld gadgets they can play with.

If you don’t give them a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, don’t be surprised if they get out their tablets.

Jeremy Nicholas is the director of Talking Toolbox coaching presenters to be more entertaining and engaging.

He specialises in adding humour to keynotes for professional and public speakers.

To download a free copy of his book ‘A Million Tips on Public Speaking – Volume 1’ just visit www.JeremyNicholas.co.uk

Don’t forget: the Kindle edition of ‘…and Death Came Third!’ is available for just £1.99 or $2.99 throughout September. Get your copy now!

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The Basics of Business Elevation: ‘…and Death Came Third 10th Anniversary Celebration

Ten years ago, in 2006, Peter Roper and Andy Lopata published the first edition of ‘…and Death Came Third! The Definitive Guide to Networking and Speaking in Public’ on Bookshaker. The book was a big success with over 2,000 copies sold in the first 48 hours alone. Panoma Press published the second edition in 2011 and negotiated a separate edition published in Malaysia and Singapore.

We have consistently been amazed by the affection held for ‘…and Death Came Third!’ by many readers, reflected by the emails and comments we have received from people from a range of backgrounds. The book focuses on the basics of networking and presentation skills, giving readers simple approaches to working the room at networking events or giving their first talk.

To celebrate this, we have got together with our network to provide a series of short ‘Basics’ blogs. Over the month of September Andy, Peter and Panoma Press owner Mindy Gibbins-Klein will share a guest blog every day exploring the basics of business, from the basics of confidence and attitude to negotiation and strategy. We have also made the Kindle edition of this excellent book just £1.99 or $2.99 throughout September, so if you haven’t read it yet, get your copy now!

Today Chris Cooper shares The Basics of Business Elevation:

Planning to elevate your business to the next level? Let’s consider one of the most newsworthy success stories of the last year. During the 2015/16 Premier League football season, title no-hopers Leicester City overcame 5000/1 odds to win. As a season ticket holder my eldest son and I still wake up with huge smiles each day, inspired by our teams meteoric rise. Such has been the waves from that success that while working in Kenya recently, I met two Masai warriors eager to understand ‘how did Leicester do it’? So what are the basics of business elevation and what can we learn from Leicester City?

1. Clarity of Vision

Behind the veneer of Leicester’s goal to stay in the Premier League was a clear vision amongst the owners, management and team to one day top the Premier League. Absolute clarity about where you are heading is essential. Otherwise how will you or your people know where you are going?

2. Engaging Leadership

Leicester’s Thai owners have instilled a calm, engaging and high performing culture. When relegation looked inevitable in 2014/15 they even invited a renowned Buddhist monk and his team from Thailand to bring reflection and calmness to the club. They taught meditation and blessed the entire building (excluding the away teams changing room)! Incredibly, they then began to win!! With manager Claudio Ranieri’s charismatic ability to take pressure off his players by managing media expectations, a space was created for exceptional calm headed performance on and off the pitch. Their engaging leaders engaged did what they felt was necessary to achieve the results.

3. Build Solid Foundations

Building firm operational foundations in your business is essential. Once you grow those foundations enable effective operations including great customer experience. So think ahead to get ahead.

4. Innovative Marketing and Sales

Sales and cash flow are critical. Marketing quality products and services creatively leads to streams of happy purchasers. Oh how money has flowed from my wallet due to creative marketing, product delivery and team performance as my family have been swept up in the clubs success.

5. Attract and Develop Great Talent

Of course growth cannot be delivered without quality team players. Attract and develop great talent and give them the direction, freedom and inspiration to perform. Create an environment such that when opportunity’s to leave occur, your people would rather stay with you!

Chris Cooper is the founder of Chris Cooper, Business Elevation, co-author of The Power To Get Things Done (Whether You Feel Like It Or Not) (Penguin Random House USA) and for 5 years host of The Business Elevation Show on Voice America.


 

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The Basics Of Selling Your Business: ‘…and Death Came Third 10th Anniversary Celebration

Ten years ago, in 2006, Peter Roper and Andy Lopata published the first edition of ‘…and Death Came Third! The Definitive Guide to Networking and Speaking in Public’ on Bookshaker. The book was a big success with over 2,000 copies sold in the first 48 hours alone.Panoma Press published the second edition in 2011 and negotiated a separate edition published in Malaysia and Singapore.

We have consistently been amazed by the affection held for ‘…and Death Came Third!’ by many readers, reflected by the emails and comments we have received from people from a range of backgrounds. The book focuses on the basics of networking and presentation skills, giving readers simple approaches to working the room at networking events or giving their first talk.

To celebrate this, we have got together with our network to provide a series of short ‘Basics’ blogs. Over the month of September Andy, Peter and Panoma Press owner Mindy Gibbins-Klein will share a guest blog every day exploring the basics of business, from the basics of confidence and attitude to negotiation and strategy. We have also made the Kindle edition of this excellent book just £1.99 or $2.99 throughout September, so if you haven’t read it yet, get your copy now!

Today Media Coach Lara Morgan shares The Basics of Selling Your Business:

Having failed to sell, (when I actively tried), been distracted time and time again by people interested in buying my company and then managing to sell I have learnt many lessons I consider priceless in maximizing exit value.

Most importantly and a benefit I had when exiting Pacific Direct is the timing of an early exit, where there is lots of upside for the new buyer (pay back time) and where also my personal ambitions remained flexible and I did not critically need to sell.

Time does count and the more time from need to exit that anyone plans I suspect the better the exit will be.  The alignment to a possible buyer can add value as perhaps you will make different decisions towards an exit than you would for full steam ahead growth. Think about hat makes a business attractive to another business as the buyer will most certainly want proven repeat revenue streams and some kind of uniqueness if you are expecting to gain a valuation higher than a multiple for your sector. You can get pay more from branding / longer term contracts / blue chip names that you supply but ultimately you have to convince the buyer of your company that the product and service you provide has sustainable revenue streams. You won’t do that as a one-man band benevolent dictator approach, you need a solid management team, most particularly if you want to leave at exit.

You should make time in advance for the right set up for tax planning, data room organisations, having professional paper trails, even knowing where the certificate for a fire hydrant is? Property ownership within a company may be an asset worth consideration, and indeed a myriad of other things including picking the right team to help you exit.

A companies owners aspirational value is often wrong (a business is only worth what someone is prepared and able to pay) the golden upside is rarely going to be seen as delivering when someone else is making decisions is a very different ball game. I believe cash at exit is the key figure to focus on.  Of course thee may be other benefits such as a good will payment, bonus based on hitting new first year targets, plus a strategic deal value upside within a price but often the multiple and a cash sum at exit agreement is the price paid and the rest may never be achieved. (Indeed I have seen times when founders are sued on a warranty post exit which must be utterly miserable.)

Running up to an exit I would suggest your management reporting system is critical showing recurring revenue, consistency of performance against budget, over 5 years gives reality of good will, and recurring revenue is a valuable negotiating point but you have to stay on your numbers whilst you are distracted by the sale. Will your team manage this?

Stages of a deal are many, and varied and can take a great deal of time. Be prepared nothing you have ever done could compare, and whilst you are still “running,” your company , keeping on the numbers, aiming to grow consistently, ad might see change from your own team. To those around you it is business as usual, to you, this could be the biggest and last major deal of your life. Scary.

Prepare the asset well to maximize your value and the process. I would very strongly suggest from 2 years out. There is a kind of process time to private equity so imagine nothing sell in December and lots of deals come to final sell before that start of the next fiscal year April. For many a process starts to the public in September, deal opportunity rush hour?

I cannot express how much learning I have done regarding language in the process, the features and benefits of how to behave, how to convey and sell yourself. The facets are many.

Positioning the niche fit to demonstrate special additional value – expertise, original methods, a niche positioning and services or innovations might all add value? How though do you gain value if you cannot actually present a sell some of these features. You will need smart advisors. Ideally one’s whom have sold companies in your sector as they will have a priceless advantageous knowledge of the market.

There may be strategic buyers – getting management in place  1+1+1 = 6 economies of scale post acquisition, you have to be realistic as to whether your current team will survive an exit. Perhaps this is their time to buy-in shares. There are a myriad of deal structures so stay focused on cash being king.

Ask yourself well before exit, how well have you have sorted out data records where is the proof of value from your registration for the company to every contract, every staff agreement, every IP ownership the list is endless. Download a due diligence checklist years out and start building an organised dataroom in advance.

The exit process sucks time from your focus on the company… things take time and the people and controllers of the buying process, advisors are the professionals in the room. They are not very good at timetables and this is all part of the frustrating process…points of discussion post the beauty parade, having prepared your sale document called and information memorandum may test your patience. Get used to that, and all other endless delays, the pain of the repeated questions and the importance of remaining consistent in your approach and your performance. People who buy want to feel like they look forward to working with you.

The order of events is something like this:

A)   Get your business in order, and a data-room mostly organised…

B)   Write an Information memorandum, perhaps with a short teaser version and be aware the IM adapts according to whom you will be talking selling and presenting to. You need not fear telling all the trade interest all your secrets but there is a balance to be found

C)   A beauty parade to meet the possible buyers whom meet your needs. Your needs may not all be about price

D)   There will be a bid date – mostly ignored but the prices will come in. I think at this stage you will know whether you are really engaged to sell.

E)   Head of terms follow – this is where the legal side comes into play but the more they know about what is of value in your company the better you will be protected

Exclusivity rights are food for thought before this  – there area negotiating tool to speed deal …or to test people’s serious intent and can keep trade more honest.

F)    Costs of protection of professional costs to be negotiated with all your various parties. Remember what gets rewarded gets done.

G)   Realistic timeframes (Ha?) …vary enormously. How well is your house in order, have you tidied up skeletons like nanny fees?

Next in the Process…

Due Diligence begins informational gathering (larger the buyer the more rigour)

Documentation is endless…the questions more so.

Allocation of risk between parties (perceived and to be negotiated) will mean at different stages of the deal consideration you will be releasing more about your business. Stay on budget target numbers throughout or you gift a negotiating stick to the buyer.

Perhaps keep a secondary in the back pocket. Your second favourite bidder in a fall back position. I did.

Negotiations happen both at the time you agree heads of terms, then it seems we had a silence for the price point was agreed and I made it very clear any chipping was not going to be accepted right up to exit. Remember though negotiations means things alter, emotions come massively into play and the only certainty is the process is every changing, arduous, time consuming and exhausting. At a 39 year old exit with a lot of energy this is the toughest thing I have done mentally and I was pretty fit at the time and used to hideous long hours and lots of demands.

Do not forget behind the scenes most bigger deals are financed by a third party. Financial aspects – all sides…buyers with 3rd party money / bank lending

Sales and Purchase  agreement is a huge document but much of it standard to the other side!

Dealing with employees is a huge task in itself.  You may wish to tie some in, you may wish to have a position where they gain shares as you exit, you may wish to bonus someone to run the paper support and data room so you can focus on the deal meetings. Your books and your knowledge of the financial performance had better be on point, or have those around you whom know and are motivated in some way whilst you may be leaving? Think hard and make lost of times to have these discussions before beginning the process.

All this and the deal has to yet begun?

Lara Morgan, serial entrepreneur and investor extraordinaire.

A regular commentator on current affairs and business issues with Sky and BBC News, Lara has appeared on BBC2’s ‘The Apprentice: You’re Fired’.

Interested?  Find out more at Lara Morgan.co.uk

 

 

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The Basics of Getting Great Media Coverage: ‘…and Death Came Third 10th Anniversary Celebration

Ten years ago, in 2006, Peter Roper and Andy Lopata published the first edition of ‘…and Death Came Third! The Definitive Guide to Networking and Speaking in Public’ on Bookshaker. The book was a big success with over 2,000 copies sold in the first 48 hours alone.Panoma Press published the second edition in 2011 and negotiated a separate edition published in Malaysia and Singapore.

We have consistently been amazed by the affection held for ‘…and Death Came Third!’ by many readers, reflected by the emails and comments we have received from people from a range of backgrounds. The book focuses on the basics of networking and presentation skills, giving readers simple approaches to working the room at networking events or giving their first talk.

To celebrate this, we have got together with our network to provide a series of short ‘Basics’ blogs. Over the month of September Andy, Peter and Panoma Press owner Mindy Gibbins-Klein will share a guest blog every day exploring the basics of business, from the basics of confidence and attitude to negotiation and strategy. We have also made the Kindle edition of this excellent book just £1.99 or $2.99 throughout September, so if you haven’t read it yet, get your copy now!

Today Media Coach Alan Stevens shares his top three tips to get great media coverage

Getting media coverage, whether broadcast, print or online is not that difficult. However, getting good and consistent media coverage requires a plan. A one-off appearance on TV may be food for the ego, but it’s unlikely to have any impact on your business. If you are seen often, talking about the same type of issues, that positions you as an expert with a valuable opinion, which is exactly where you need to be for business to come to you.

So here are three tried and tested steps that, if you apply them consistently, will place you in the category of “you seem to be on the media all the time”.

1.  Show your speciality

All types of media have a hunger for expertise. However, there is little time to find an expert, so you have to become known for your specialism. You can do that in a number of ways – blogs, videos, podcasts etc. You need to be consistent, so that whenever people see your name, they associate it with your specialist subject. Don’t be afraid to be controversial – that’s an asset on the media, provided you don’t offer opinions that are utterly mad. State your view, providing evidence to back it up, and a story to illustrate your point. Don’t be salesy, but just keep putting information out there. You may also wish to join a site like expertsources.co.uk, where reporters look for experts, but there is a cost for that.

 

2.  Keep in touch

Whenever you meet or get in touch with a reporter, make a note of their name, contact details and area of interest. Check out their previous work, and note whenever they have written pieces that relate to your specialist area. If they have a LinkedIn profile, offer to connect. From time to time (maybe every couple of months), get in touch. Don’t pitch a story to them ever time, but send them something that you think may interest them – perhaps a survey or a story that you picked up from a news feed. Don’t pester them, but simply offer help. They will appreciate it.

 

3.  Spot opportunities

Now this is where you become proactive. You may have your own story (and make sure it is a story, not just factual information), but you’re more likely to have success commenting on a story that’s just broken. That means monitoring the news, and picking up on anything that overlaps with your expertise. Online news sites are a great way of getting noticed by commenting on a story (include your contact details of course). You can also call phone-in shows on a topic you’re an expert in – this is one of the easiest ways to get on air, since the number of callers is always low. Opportunities can arise both nationally and locally, and local ones are even easier to get picked up by, especially if you mention that you are living in their region.

In short, become known as an expert, become known to journalists, and take opportunities when they arise. It’s that easy to get great media coverage.

Alan Stevens, The MediaCoach – Building and Protecting your reputation at www.mediacoach.co.uk

Don’t forget: the Kindle edition of ‘…and Death Came Third!’ is available for just £1.99 or $2.99 throughout September. Get your copy now!

 

 

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