Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and ninety-fourth, is of business tutor and non-fiction author John Watson. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
John Watson has analyzed business models of many of the world’s most successful enterprises (large and comparatively small) over his two-decade career as an international investment analyst with major multi-national investment management firms, including State Street Global Advisors and INVESCO where he was responsible for committing several billions of dollars of client moneys to equity investments in businesses. As well as his professional experience analysing business models; John is an experienced teacher of business education and a qualified workplace trainer and assessor. John founded Margate Financial Research Solutions, a specialist business to business consulting practice that offers financial market research, marketing and business development services to his client businesses ranging from micro-cap start-ups to firms managing up to $1Billion of client assets
John wrote his book, “The Ultimate Guide to Consulting in the Networked Age – a step by step guide to starting your own consulting business” to assist emerging entrepreneurs apply world class business success strategies to their own small and medium sized businesses. With rapid technological change including the rise of social media, disrupter technologies like new payments systems (Baidu Wallet, Google-Wallet, Apple-Pay) and global e-commerce platforms like Alibaba and advances in website design and development transforming websites from e-brochures into automated interactive lead generating sales funnels; it is now becoming commonplace for small businesses – even ones initially run out of home offices – to have global reach not just in terms of sourcing supplies but also in terms of servicing international clients – both firms and individuals.
John sees consulting as an innovative and flexible career opportunity that with the right guidance can be pursued by substantial numbers of workers that have found themselves facing limited career opportunities due to the sluggish employment growth in many labor markets across the globe in the post Global Financial Crisis economic environment. John has encountered many highly experienced and or highly qualified workers – both young and older – who are finding limited career prospects in traditional employment sectors both public and private. Large industrial companies, banks, hospitals, colleges, government departments are now hyper-focused on their cost-lines to the detriment of hiring and training budgets. Observing that many people have the operational skills to strike out on their own as a consultant either in the B2B or B2C space, John found that while being experienced in, for example, landscape design or formulating financial plans for individual advice-seeking clients this is not enough to enable many of these prospective entrepreneurs to take the leap into establishing their own consulting practice. As well as excellent operational knowledge in a particular field, John identified that guidance is often needed to:
- Write an effective business plan.
- Know how to finance a start-up.
- Determine how to position and price services, and how to make sure that you get paid on time.
- Write effective consulting proposals to close deals and avoid future client disputes.
- Negotiate win / win outcomes.
- Build emotional connections with prospects.
- Segment markets and know when to fire clients.
- Quickly establish a credible presence and brand online and offline – webinars, e-books, networking events.
- Establish an effective lead generating and qualifying, scalable, interactive, automated website.
- Leverage the brand-building features of social media sites.
- Develop a thought-leadership demonstrating blog and develop sufficient content in-house and/or via alliances and outsourcing to meet an effective publishing schedule.
- Build marketing campaigns around effective trigger points.
- Effectively identify prospective clients’ pain points and present solutions that resolve client problems.
- Seek out alliance partners that complement and enhance service offerings.
- Gather performance metrics to improve the outcomes of marketing efforts.
- Build an effective referral network, rather than rely on ineffective cold calling.
- Implement effective, personalised lead generating campaigns using emails, advertising, trade shows.
- Establish links with suppliers
- Outsource and delegate effectively.
- Upgrade leadership and organizational skills so that entrepreneurs can be successful in both their business and personal / family lives.
John, who believes that if his ship does not come in, then he needs to swim out to it, wrote his book as a step-by-step guide to assist prospective entrepreneurs in completing all of the above steps and turning their dreams of establishing successful consulting practices into reality.
And now from the author himself…
I have always enjoyed writing and it has come naturally to me. While my undergraduate and post-graduate academic studies were primarily in the fields of applied finance, business studies and economics I also completed post-graduate studies in education including studying several units of literature. Throughout my varied career spanning investment management, teaching and financial markets consulting, I have always ensured that writing has been an important function of all of my job roles. My writing has never been confined to a particular genre or readership.
As an English teacher in both junior and secondary schools, I have taught creative writing including animal fantasy and short-story genres. I often wrote example stories for my students with titles such as; “The Magic Coin”,” Leopold the Mouse”, “Sammy the Seal and the Eskimos”, and “Ivan the Fighting Cossack”. As a financial analyst I wrote on such exciting topics as “How to interpret financial statements” and countless investment market outlook commentaries for investors. As a financial markets consultant I have written lengthy submissions to government inquiries on riveting topics such as market failure in the banking system and the flaws in the business models of credit rating agencies. My consulting work also enabled me to dabble in business journalism writing and researching a series of articles for http://www.BankingDay.com with titles such as: “Do the major banks need to change their reporting of international capital comparisons?”; “Banks under-capitalised and overleveraged”; “Australian bank capital less than claimed”; “Major banks using capital valuation as a marketing tool”; “Major banks ignore regulators on capital comparisons”; and “Banks capital uplift questioned.”
When I teach business classes I like to write my own case studies; despite the derisions from other educators who prefer to use their stock in trade textbooks. One case study of mine that is always popular is a business plan for a skate and live music entertainment business with entrepreneurs named after some of my favourite authors such as Graham Greene, Somerset Maugham, Malcolm Muggeridge, E.M Forster, and Ernest Hemingway.
When I decided to strike out on my own as a self-employed consultant I found that there was no comprehensive go to source of relevant and up-to-date information on how to establish, finance or market my business. Rapid advances in technology, social media, referral-based selling, consultative selling, big data, thought-leadership demonstrating online contextualised content, webinars, spam filters, search engine optimization, 30 second elevator pitches, pricing models etc. meant that I needed to research dozens of web-sites to determine how best to structure and grow my B2B consulting practice, Margate Financial Research Solutions.
I was cognizant of three important objectives when writing my first book –
- Firstly, I wanted my book to be in the form of a comprehensive manual with a logical flow. Recognizing that I it is important to present different perspectives, I am grateful to my contributors to my book, Kendra Lee (award winning author of “The Sales Magnet”, Richard DiPilla, Berkshire Hathaway Media Group marketing expert; Robert Klaric, the property expert and Steve Klaric, the oil and gas consulting expert for the extra insights that their world-class articles provide.
- Secondly, I wanted to avoid jargon and to aim for clarity of meaning.
- Thirdly I wanted the content to be timely in terms of being current and relevant.
I am pleased that reviewers of my book agree that I have achieved my objectives. I am somewhat less pleased that my wife and my physiotherapist also concur that I completed my task with great rapidity by spending 12 hours per day at my computer for a month! A week snorkeling in the Whitsunday Islands on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef with my wife, Marilyn and daughter, Brooke has provided the inspiration for my next book or two focusing on the topics of “The sharing economy” and “Social business – beyond social selling”.
Thank you, John. You can find more about John Watson and his work at http://consultinginthenetworkedage.com.
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