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A Win Without Pitching Manifesto Kindle Edition
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Pre-order today
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Yes: "The forces of the creative professions are aligned against the artist." However, with this slim, succinct Molotov Cocktail of a book, you can create your own successful revolution, one artist, and one creative firm at a time.
In particular - the fact that you should walk away from RFP processes where you don't have the inside tracks, and that the big "surprise" presentation is a bad idea. Also great is the focus on talking money early to establish value and that change orders and small incremental bills kill the relationship much more than the "big" bills that justify the engagement in the first place.
For all business people, the key insights are to SPECIALIZE and gain expertise in your craft. There is no way to compete as a generalist in an RFP situation except on price and this is the road to the bottom and bankruptcy.
A great book and pithily written and well worth your time. I would pair this with books by Maister on Managing the Professional Service Firm.
Enns writes in a very accessible style, and his insights are bang-on. He identifies with excruciating accuracy challenges, pain points, and outright failures that are very familiar (if your experience is like mine, you'll feel that the book was actually written for you).
His prescriptions are not esoteric. The question is: do we have the guts to try putting his ideas into action and discover the professional and financial success that awaits us?
The message here is for all creative businesses who want to move away from being "order-taker suppliers to expert advisers" and want to forge "a more satisfying and lucrative way of getting and doing business." The transformation begins with a willingness to focus and then articulate that focus through a consistent claim of expertise, working continuously "to add the missing skills, capabilities and processes necessary to support our new claim." Enns first audience is marketing communications firms, yet the fundamental truths and lucid examples he shares are completely applicable to the creative enterprises I am most familiar with, architecture and photography.
Enns is clear about the difficulty of beginning and sustaining the transformation, both personal and business, that is required to move from a commodity provider forced to give away their best thinking for free in order to win new work to to expert adviser whose cost of sales is essentially zero. His insight into the hearts and minds of creatives and the culture in which we are trained and have practiced for so long comes from first hand experience. Sadly, he observes that "not everyone has the heart or stomach for revolution."
The last proclamation, "We Will Hold Our Heads High", is written with the conviction of a prophet, calling to his people at a crossroad: "On the one side, the process of design is finally being seen as the last great differentiator of business and economics; while on the other, the outputs are increasingly seen as commodities". He invites we creatives to accept our unique mission: "We didn't choose our craft; it chose us. And we were never in this for the money. Like all creative people we only seek to create, and in doing so, somehow change the world." This manifesto provides the blueprint for building a sustainable business model that creatives of every type can implement to win the work they want, gain the respect they deserve, make a profit, and have more fun.