It’s OK to change direction

As I say to my children, “Go with what you DON’T know”

So many people start a business and continue with the same proposition, despite changes in the market and what their customers are telling them.

As the old adage says, there are two things which are certain in life. Death and Taxes. I’d like to add a third and that is Change.

Change is all around us and it’s a good thing. If your consulting business doesn’t adapt and change it won’t grow. If your consulting business doesn’t grow, it’s dead. That’s a proven fact.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, as one of my businesses, The 8.45 Club turns 3 in September and it’s come a long way since the outset and the original concept.

It was always going to be about video and then initially training. The original idea was a course on 100 video lessons to change your business. That was it. Nothing more, nothing less.

I then listened to feedback and decided that it was too bigger production task… I hadn’t tested the market and that smaller courses would be a better way to start. So that’s what I did.

I then listened to feedback and decided that getting traffic to those courses was going to be hard. I sold a few – but testing and gut instinct told me there was a better way.

So I started to partner with subject matter experts who already had audiences. They needed content and production skills and we were gaining those – but they already had an audience, so a partner programme began.

The 8.45 Club

The 8.45 Club – our first website and proposition

I then listened to feedback and decided that the techniques we were getting good at with green screen video production could apply in many different ways and so the focus of the marketing site and proposition wasn’t about selling training courses, but instead providing online video production services.

I then listened to feedback and decided that if we were to stand out from the crowd, to brand ourselves as a ‘bog-standard’ video production agency wouldn’t be the way to go, so we continued with the brand and adapted it, identifying 6 key propositions which our audiences can relate to. We changed the strap from “Learn from the experts… in 10 mins” to

“Bite-sized online video from experts”

…and I hope you get the double meaning there.

Things look and feel quite different now.

The 8.45 Club today

The 8.45 Club today – green screen video and training video production

Our core ideas – bite sized chunks of video (because no one has time any more) and high production values (because people need to be engaged) have remained throughout. Our proposition to the market has grown and changed dramatically. And do you know what? Google UK gave us a pilot Business TV programme last week – so it must be working…

Are you changing your business? Let us know what you think below.

Richard Branson talks about being an entrepreneur

The awesome folks at the I Love Marketing podcast team have managed to record this excellent video with Sir Richard. They film him on his Necker Island retreat and ask him a whole bunch of different questions.

One of my favourites is at 3’48” – What advice do you wish you had when you were starting your first business?

It’s 40 mins. There are some real gems in here.

Coffee time…

The most magnificent collection of FREE, awesome WordPress Themes

I’m constantly surprised at the number of consultants who still use Gmail / Ymail addresses, don’t own their own domain and in so many cases, still don’t even have their own website.

If they do have their own website, often it’s a shocker – it would be wrong to post examples here, but I’m sure you know what I mean.

The thing that makes me mad is that THERE IS NO EXCUSE!

I can see why people struggle with creating great content, although there’s plenty of ways to get help on that front. However in today’s day and age, things also need to look good. People do not buy stuff from people when they don’t present themselves well. Would you?

3 years ago, you needed a designer to help create you a website. Today, you simply do not.

Learn how to use WordPress, figure out what it is you want to say, develop a structure and then choose a great looking FREE theme to put on it.

If you’re unsure of how to put your toe in the water, start by creating a two page site, – a home page, links to stuff and an About page, perhaps like this one. You could use a theme as simple as this one or this one.

If you want a placeholder theme to get you started, why not choose something like this? As soon as you have a domain – get something on it – don’t just leave it with the webhost’s advertising on – that’s verging on criminal!

If you are looking  to be truly inspired, Smashing Magazine have just released their 2011 list of free WordPress themes and it’s incredible the way things have moved on from the 2010 list. Be inspired here. And get building!