Discover Benelux, Issue 31, July 2016

Page 98

Discover Benelux | Business | Column

How to make your first (quarter? half?) million TEXT & PHOTO: STEVE FLINDERS

Sex apart, I suspect that many daydreamers come up with the same fantasies at one time or another – about writing a book, learning to play a musical instrument and (for monolingual Brits) learning a foreign language. I’m also guessing that most salaried adults at some particularly awful time in their professional lives think about setting up their own business, especially after being made redundant. Here are my four commandments for aspiring business owners. They may seem blindingly obvious to you, but I can assure you that they are not always clear to many would-be freelancers. 1. Tell me what you do. I, and a million other potential customers, need to understand this in a sentence or less. You can then also have it on your business card, if you still use those. If what you do is really complicated and technical, then you might be allowed two sentences.

2. Sell me what you do. This is your elevator pitch and is a bit longer. You have 30 seconds to wow me with what you do as we go up in the metaphorical lift together. It contains your USP (Unique Sales Proposition) which tells me what makes you different from every other provider; and you know it so well you can do it effortlessly and by heart. Practise it many times before you take it on its first outing. 3. Check that your website tells me what you do too. I must know within five seconds or less of accessing it what you do and what makes you great. I want a wow factor again – something original and creative that I have never seen before and that catches my attention. Do not give me vague blather about quality solutions and the like. Make it clear straight away. The opacity of some corporate websites is amazing. 4. Vlog (video blog). The future is visual. Keep text to a minimum. You may not be a natural on screen but practice will make you

Steve Flinders is a freelance trainer, writer and coach, now based in Malta, who helps people develop their communication and leadership skills for working internationally:

better. I have absolutely no interest in sewing, but watching the young entrepreneur who runs Sew Over It ( providing ideas, enthusiasm, colour, and energy is for me just the way to build up a business and a loyal customer following. Good luck making your first million, and have fun doing it!

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