In our continuing series on how to Get Famous, I interviewed Jim Horan, the bestselling author of “The One Page Business Plan.” He shares details about how he took his idea and built it into a publishing empire as well as creating a high demand for him to speak to international audiences.
For those seeking success in their businesses, you’ll want to pay special attention to Jim’s advice to not be afraid to ask for help and to get out and meet people.
Describe what you do.
My specialty is taking the fluff, filler, and b.s. out of business plans!
How and why did you get to be well known?
It started back in 1994 when I took a mockup of “The One Page Business Plan” to an entrepreneurial support group I belonged to. I told them I had a wild and crazy idea: one page business plans. I asked them for their honest feedback.
They said, “Jim, you have created something very unique and very powerful!”
I asked, “what do I do with it?”
They advised that I should begin sharing it with anybody and everybody! How? Public speaking! I told them that I am terrified of public speaking.
They said, “get over it, just go do it. You will get better!”
Where did you speak?
I began to speak at chambers of commerce, churches, professional organizations, junior colleges, MBA programs and then graduated to national and international associations.
Audiences almost immediately asked if I had a book. I knew I was in trouble. I got Cs and Ds in English. I asked my entrepreneurial support group what I should do. They recommended that I go to the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association, because they help everyday people write and publish books. They helped me. Three years later I self-published my book.
How did you get famous?
It started by writing an email to business author, Tom Peters. I told him I did something incredibly brilliant or outrageously stupid. I simplified the business plan to a single page. I also said most business plans are pure fluff, filler, and b.s. I asked him if he would like a copy. He immediately responded back, YES!
After reviewing the book he responded, “Jim, ‘The One Page Business Plan’ is an out and out WINNER! “‘The One Page Business Plan’ = proverbial better mousetrap!”
Tom not only offered to write a testimonial, he wrote the foreword to my book. His endorsement gave me visibility and credibility! My book became an instant Amazon bestseller. Invitations to speak came at a faster and faster pace from more and more national and international associations!
What are the benefits of being well known?
Instant credibility! People want to meet and talk with successful authors! I don’t look for clients, they come looking for me. The quality of clients has gone up dramatically over the years. One of the biggest benefits is I get to meet some of the most interesting people on this planet, and they invite me to work with them and their teams.
What is your advice for people starting out?
Don’t play it safe! Don’t hide in your cave! Go share your wild product or service ideas to as many people as you can and ask them for their feedback! Don’t try to sell them anything. Ask for their feedback. Starting out, you need other people’s feedback. The idea for every single product or service I have created in the last 25 years came from other people. I did what they told me to, because most of their suggestions were winners!
What is the key to becoming famous?
The key to becoming famous is share your ideas, ask for feedback, and as my fellow best-selling author, Joanne Black says, “Pick up the Damn Phone!”
And, maybe the most important thing is to continuously ask this question, “How can I be of service to you today?” Help as many people as you can, as often as you can! Ask for help! Give help! People never forget who helped them when they needed help in the worst way.
Is there a downside to being well known?
NO! Being well known brings responsibility and opportunity! Use your famous-ness to help others! Be generous with your time and your expertise. It always comes back, quite frequently in magical ways! Go make magic happen!
Are you famous in your industry, business, or community? Share your story with us, and we’ll contact you to schedule an interview. Simply tell us a little about yourself by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more in our Get Famous Series: Steve Rousso, Hospital and Clinic Finance Expert.