This session was presented in October at the 2004 NASAGA Conference in Washington. It is based on a program I presented at the 1996 and 1997 ASTD International Conferences and presented for other organizations worldwide. Its purpose is simply to stimulate your thinking on your current consulting business practices and meant to be a value-driven model for what we have learned and done at Performance Management Company. I have not taken the time to thoroughly update this webpage to add new information. I suggest you scan what you see here and if you like it, click on the link right below and download the pdf file.
Download the pdf file for "Working Home, Selling Globally"
Please recognize that it is not The Answer, just a set of our beliefs and philosophies.
Not to sidetrack you at this point, but our article entitled, "Teaching the Caterpillar to Fly," has what we hope is an educational example of the above -- it is dangerous to have The Answer for a variety of reasons. There will be a hotlink to this article at the end of, "Working Home, Selling Globally."
This article is geared to discussing issues about developing a global business from a "Working at Home" model. The goal is to:
This writing is NOT focused on building a 20-person consulting business but about developing a strategy to develop a sustainable home-based organizational development business. My wife, Joan, and I have run Performance Management Company for the past 15 years. We do not want employees, a fancy office, or other perks of a Big Business but rather prefer a more casual approach that allows us to take time away and do things such as lunch bicycle rides. We are also trying to build a business and products that we might eventually sell, should the right offer occur.
The Ideal Business might:
(Material content is developed from Richard Russell's original thoughts (Dow Theory Letters, P.O. Box 1759, La Jolla, CA 82038 (USA)) and adapted from a CompuServe "Working From Home" Forum (Go Work) posting of Rollyn Trueblood's comments and ideas.)
Today, the Internet offers us many interesting options for business development. I am not referring to some of the "make money at home" type scams but using e-commerce as a way to further your personal development and intellectual contributions to others. At least that is my personal goal, to develop a sustainable international business we will enjoy operating for the next 25 years, one that gives us an opportunity for travel as well as contributing something to others.
At Performance Management Company, we have been slowly transitioning to more and more internet-based business, with a comprehensive website, the new addition of a shopping cart of our products, and a variety of free resources and useful links to others.
Thoughts on Change:
Consider that one's personal Square Wheels® may represent:
Discussion Exercise. Consider:
What may be some of the Square Wheels® that might be operating in the way you do business?
It is essential that we step back from our wagons to identify opportunities for improvement. So it is hoped that your list above, combined with some of the ideas discussed herein, will help you identify some potential Round Wheels in your wagons.
Don't Just Do Something, Stand There!!
"The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that the terror comes from the same thing that leads us to start companies in the first place -- some basic, semiconscious need to make our mark in the world, to leave our footprints in the sands of time. What we really fear, I suspect, is that we might become another member of the herd and pass into oblivion."
From "Entrepreneurial Terror," by Wilson Harrell, Inc. Magazine, February 1987, Pp. 74 - 76.
" The price of greatness is responsibility "
"The world is changing how things work."
Much of the thinking herein goes back to one of my mental models of how to succeed. What I do, conceptually, is "Throw Mud at the Wire Fence." Throwing mud is my concept of generating ideas and tossing them about. By throwing mud at the wire fence, I am not sure what will stick where or how much will stick. I just know that tossing around a lot of good ideas for a period of time WILL eventually build up somewhere. And that then begins to provide shape and direction.
Throwing mud at the fence takes persistence. And one should expect rain, on occasion, that may wash all away. But persistence over time will build a wall -- something solid and visible.
To develop a global business, you've got to have good to excellent products, solid distribution systems and a sense of support from others who understand how things work. There is no sense in "reinventing the wheel." So many people building a company simply repeat the mistakes of others instead of asking for help and finding short-cuts. The path of developing a one-person consulting business, for example, is pretty well-known yet it seems that most people tend to take the long route in this endeavor, making the same mistakes others made and corrected. I hope that these ideas and this information will help somewhat in saving time and moving forward more efficiently.
There are many ways in which you can take the materials you own or develop and create a distribution system for them. Here are a few qualities of achievement that are common to many people who make it.
Gene Calvert was kind enough to share his Risk Attitudes Inventory and Risk Success Surveys with us (from his book, High Wire Management, Jossey-Bass, 1993. Pp. 41 - 46 and 49 - 58). You might find it interesting to link to those pages. Click here to open.
The following list is not complete but may assist your thinking about developing a business and attaining your goals.
1. Do you prefer to work for yourself rather than for others?
2. Can you collaborate with others?
3. Do you take advantage of opportunities when they appear?
4. Can you finish a job even when it is difficult or unpleasant?
5. Are you challenged by problems that need solutions?
6. Do you have a specific goal or goals you want to achieve?
7. Can you bounce back after defeat or self-perceived failure?
8. Can you respond to the needs of others? Can you listen to understand?
9. Do you believe in yourself and your abilities?
10. Can you make your own decisions?
11. Can you stand by your actions in spite of criticism?
12. Do you keep well informed on current business practices?
Some of Scott and Joan's Round Wheel Learnings:
From a simple idea of using cartoons to illustrate key themes in management, we
desktop publishing for customization of materials
toll-free 800 number for domestic (US) calls (that is easily transferable if we move locations) Cell phones now have this same transportability feature, but not landlines with area codes that limit transfer.
dedicated inbound facsimile machine or computer with this service
"Trainer and Training" and "Working From Home" Forums on the internet for networking.
Facebook and other media for promotion
Development of website, learning of software and self-management of the site, allowing for instantaneous changes, additions and a significant savings of money.
"Learning Organization" list serve on the Internet
addition of a Suggestion Card System for generating traffic and exposure
implementation of a Shopping Cart for distribution of new illustrations and products to existing and new customers (being implemented with many Square Wheels as of this week! (5/25/99) ).
Lastly, we're always open to new ideas and potential new ventures with different people or organizations. We've established a global distribution network and are about to co-market a new team building / assessment instrument whose developers share the same basic approach to developing a global business.
After all, if we keep our overhead low, innovate continuously and maintain a niche focus, how does one have competition? We do not feel we compete with any organization, directly. The benefits are in collaboration.
If you are just getting started or even looking for new concepts, the internet offers an unbelievable number of resources and free information. We have tried to keep a series of informative articles on the SquareWheels website. Feel free to use us as resources as your business requires.
And good luck with your ventures!
Download the pdf file for "Working Home, Selling Globally"
Go to Teaching the Caterpillar to Fly and The Answer
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