When I first had the idea about publishing our Essential Business Guide, all those years ago, it was as a result of my own experience of starting and running businesses. Although technically skilled in the various ventures, I was definitely not skilled at business. That came later.
In the meantime, whilst struggling to get out of the trap of working ridiculous hours simply to make a living, I knew I had to learn to work smarter, not harder. (That old chestnut.)
The ‘business’ business
Once the marketing penny dropped, and I started to get on top of this whole ‘business’ business, by setting up systems, managing the cash, and targeting our marketing effort more carefully, we started to make more money. And it was at that point I decided that I wanted to help other people avoid making my early mistakes. Mistakes which as so common they are almost part of the business start-up story. Hence the Guide. At that time (ten years ago) there was very little information out there. Certainly nothing which had been specifically designed to be readable, and written in clear, plain language.
Since then there’s been a veritable explosion of business information in the UK. Business is now the buzz word. (Sorry, not business … the buzz word of the moment is ‘entrepreneur’!) You can’t turn on the TV, or download your emails without being deluged by people publishing e-books telling you how to do it, launching new website bristling with ads, telling you about new magazines full of advertorials, with invitations to yet another networking event which will transform your business life…
Never mind the quality, it’s by a celebrity
So am I not delighted that there is so much information available now?
Because so much of it is so poor. Badly written, badly designed. Just a thinly disguised attempt to get you to buy their book (and then use their foolproof — but expensive — system), use their website (so that they get more advertising money), read their ebook (which they’ve spent a few weeks writing and for which you pay through the nose), and so on.
Don’t get me wrong. I know these people are in business to make money. And if the product or service they offer is excellent and worth paying for, then fine. But it’s the ‘jump on the bandwagon, knock the ebook out it a week’ brigade that infuriate me. Our ‘Before You Begin’ ebook took over three months to produce, and another four weeks to get it tested in the market. And it’s free for you to download.
So, a small plea from me. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. And if, when you’ve paid for that ‘brilliant e-book that will solve all your business problems’, you find out it’s just a lacklustre Word file with a few limp hyperlinks in it, then get angry, send it back, and demand a refund!
You know you’re worth it.