Write it down

Write it Down

Working with a marketing expert and web designer has been a very productive experience for me.  In particular, it has reinforced the value of “writing it down”. The agreement we signed called for me to “provide website content”.  How tough can that be?  Should be no big deal.

It was a big deal – it forced me to properly articulate what McVane Consulting is all about and what it attempts to do. It has been a real-enough business for years, but all done on a pretty informal basis, built around marketing message consisting solely of an elevator speech about how I can help small business owners cut through their clutter, workload, and conflicting priorities to help them clarify what they’re trying to accomplish, assess how they (and their business) are doing, and then define the best 2-3 “next steps” to tackle in moving their business forward (and giving them personal confidence that they’re on the right path). With that marketing pitch, I’ve taken on clients and charged them by the hour for my time.

One of my best next steps has been (for awhile now) to set up a website for referring small business owners to find out more about what I can do for them. After the elevator speech, the usual next question is “do you have a website?” I finally got tired of feeling like a dinosaur, so here I am – with a website to call my own – and to send prospects to.

The process of Getting here – writing it down – forced me to clarify and articulate:

  • what it is I really offer
  • what I think you need as a small business owner – while recognizing that I probably won’t really know until we’ve spent some time together
  • how to structure my services
  • how to structure my pricing – as most small business owners will be put off by being charged by the hour (potentially with no end in sight!)

An incredibly healthy exercise.

I also see the value of “writing it down” in one of my favorite business tools that I use with clients – the Business Model Canvas. This is a “simple” one-page business model format that I came across in a book Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur. The Canvas is a visual format consisting of boxes representing nine key elements of a business model.

The power of this format is also “writing it down”. Thinking and talking your way through all the boxes – and writing it down – forces clarity, highlights strengths, and exposes both performance gaps and improvement opportunities.  Every time I use this tool, I get reactions like:

  • “gee, I haven’t thought of it  that way”
  • “so that’s why I’m struggling!”
  • “wow, I can’t wait to tackle that!”

I recommend this format.  Go buy the book.  Or better yet, call me and let’s tackle it together.

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"I have known Dan McVane for 14 years. Dan is one of those rare individuals who really listens. He is highly ethical, rationally direct, and brings his formidable intelligence and vast experience to helping his clients. Dan helped us see through perceived obstacles, he helped us focus on our core strengths, and he helped resolve specific organizational challenges."
George R. Collett, President
Your Source Financial, P.L.C.

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