What principles are underpinning your online business?

I recently read a great article in Freelance Switch called The 7 Principles That Should Underpin Any Successful Online Business. There’s nothing groundbreaking in any of the advice offered, but it’s worth taking a few minutes to read through it all and remind yourself what the majority of your time should be spent doing.

There are only so many hours in a day. Generating sustainable growth without burning out due to fatigue is a challenge that many entrepreneurs don’t anticipate. Avoiding burnout comes from effective strategy and a slavish devotion to time and task management. Adhering to stubborn principles can help you to move forward with your business and your life in a balanced way.

The seven principles mentioned in the article are:

  1. Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition
  2. Focus on the Fundamentals
  3. Embrace Modern Marketing Methods
  4. Don’t Plan For Failure
  5. Be Ruthless
  6. Seek Out Growth
  7. Review Your Business Processes and Workflow Periodically

Click here to read the whole thing.

7 recommended books

These tips dovetail nicely with the strategic guidance in several of the books I usually recommend to entrepreneurs and frustrated e-marketers. If you were looking for seven books to reinforce the seven principles mentioned above, I would recommend the following books, respectively:

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

This book pinpoints the modern marketing dilemma–there’s too much noise out there. When was the last time you clicked on an internet ad? When was the last time you answered a telephone call from an unknown number? When was the last time you paid attention to a TV commercial or a magazine ad? We’ve all become very adept at ignoring the things in life that we find boring or superfluous. In order to break through the clutter, you have to find a way to make your business remarkable in the literal sense. A good corollary to this book is The Big Moo.


Chasing Cool: Standing Out in Today’s Cluttered Marketplace

This book is a little hit-or-miss. Some of the stories are useful, but others are about catching lightning in a bottle—a feat that’s barely manageable, much less plotted. It’s about establishing authenticity and protecting your brand. If your organization targets young influencers, then it’s worth checking out.


Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing

In this day and age, even if you’re selling a product, you’re still selling a service. This book gets to the heart of the challenge of selling an abstract service—most people don’t recognize great service, but they know when it doesn’t meet their expectations. You have to explain your competitive advantage, manage client expectations, and deliver prompt and courteous service if you hope to win and keep their business.


The Thank You Economy

Social media isn’t a fad—it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate. Through technology, social platforms allow us to transition easily and often between the roles of audience, author, expert, and advocate. These communications are having an impact on our lives whether we choose to engage in them or not. This book delves into the world of social media and offers several success stories illustrating why and how you should be engaging online with your customers and prospects.


The Art of War: Sun Tzu’s Ultimate Treatise on Strategy for War, Leadership, and Life

I’ve gotten some pushback from friends and associates who have argued that The Art of War is a poor source of strategic business advice in the modern economy. But numbers 4 and 5 from the list above could have come directly from Sun Tzu’s rules about being unpredictable in battle and not being afraid to put one’s resources on “death ground.”


Integration Marketing: How Small Businesses Become Big Businesses and Big Businesses Become Empires

This is probably the least readable of the books on this list, or at least it was for me. I get bored easily with books. It’s about the art of the upsell and it includes some pretty good examples of companies that have used simple calls to action to generate growth with minimal added cost. We all have a tendency to get complacent, especially when things are going well. This book has some lessons about using experimentation to challenge that tendency.


Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

This is probably the most academic of the books listed here. It’s about forecasting and adapting to change, recognizing competence and incompetence, and identifying what makes some change agents succeed where others fail. The section that compares Walgreens to Eckerd should be passed around the executive offices throughout the entertainment industry. Talk about leaders who are failing to adapt… There’s a companion out there that translates the book’s principles to the nonprofit sector.


Hopefully, these books will provide you with the knowledge necessary to understand why some companies succeed where others fail.

What principles are underpinning your online business?
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