When Jim Craig left the security of a corporate career to launch a consulting business at the end of last year, he had the expertise in his field – corporate social responsibility (CSR) – and all the drive any start-up business owner needs to achieve his goal of running a sustainable business but what he lacked was a cost-effective and practical way to reach his target fast.
That’s why he joined Digital Lighthouse’s Business Development Programme – it promised to teach him proven business building and marketing techniques and to provide him with the practical tools he needed to accelerate his company’s growth. He learnt that the Digital Lighthouse team would write and print a tips booklet for him and create a professional client-attracting website for him. Even better, Jim would receive monthly mentoring from a business growth expert.
“I joined because I need a structure,” recalls Jim. “I had an idea for a business. I had a blog but it had no real offer. At that time, I was wrestling with building my own website. I knew that getting a book written and published was key. The Digital Lighthouse programme on offer dealt with all those things which were very timely but also there was a whole heap of value added content as well, including monthly mentoring.”
Fast forward several months and Jim’s tips booklet “5 Steps To Corporate Social Responsibility” has been written, designed and printed and is now available as a downloadable pdf and a paperback. Already he’s had prospects from afar afield as Fiji and the Maldives request copies of his booklet.
“I’m getting some positive responses about the book,” says Jim. “We are sending out physical copies of the book and people are downloading copies of it too.” He’s now writing a series of high value special reports, “Vision”, “Values” and “Voice” that will be available as part of an automated series of follow up emails (autoresponders) to his subscribers. “My plan is that after somebody downloads the book, they will receive the first report a week later, then the second a week after that and then the third. Those reports will reinforce my message.”
Digital Lighthouse has also helped Jim to take his online presence from a blog to a professional website.
The monthly mentoring calls he’s had since joining the Business Development Programme have helped him to make use of the techniques he’s learnt from Digital Lighthouse seminars.
“The mentoring has been incredibly valuable.it has been a real benefit, to be mentored rather than coached. It sounds like I’ve kind of abdicated responsibility having somebody to tell me what to do, but what I was looking for was advice about how to get up and running as quickly as possible as cost effectively as possible. I just don’t have the time or the inclination to go away and contemplate what to do next. So that’s been a real boon for me.
“I think I would have just floundered around if I hadn’t the mentoring. The great thing with the programme is that it takes you from either improving the way you operate your business or building a business from scratch.
“I’m not particularly structured so I think what I would have done if not for Digital Lighthouse was to go about things in a very unstructured way and deal with a little bit here and a little bit there. I know with a reasonable amount of certainty that I just would not have got the business off the ground because I would not have had the structure, the rigour and the Digital Lighthouse team to help me sort out the different elements of what’s needed to keep this thing moving along.”
At times, it has seemed quite a steep learning curve, he says. “I’m used to doing marketing for a large company but marketing your own material is very different. You come from a very different angle and you’re far more attached to it and I supposed to a certain degree, you want to show people how clever you are rather than what you can do for them. My mentor has constantly refocused me onto the outcomes that I want to achieve and that’s been really beneficial.
“I try to keep everything I do now outcome focused. If I start writing something, I make myself stop and question who it’s for. I think, ‘Who is this going to provide value for? What are the outcomes they are looking for?’”
For the next few months, Jim says he’ll be focused on creating more content to offer prospects, including audio recordings, videos, and DVDs and promoting his consulting services to companies keen to learn how they and their staff will benefit from corporate social responsibility.