Is It Time For a Change? (NEW!)
It’s just a fact of life that we sometimes allow ourselves to get boxed into doing something we are really not passionate about. But for one reason or another (often financial, sometimes simply fear of the unknown, etc.) we stay in that box. We keep doing what we are comfortable with. Customers find us. Clients hire us. Time marches on... <<<Read more>>>.
As an early-stage company, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day chaos of starting a company. Things must be done on-the-fly. Decisions must be made quickly. We try many tactics in our quest for new customers or site visitors. After all, that’s what it takes to get a successful new venture off the ground. But, it’s also important to make decisions that don’t compromise your long-term success... <<<Read more>>>.
I was talking with a business associate this morning about how often startups and early-stage companies talk about exit strategies. This is often the advice they are given: “early-stage investors are looking to exit in a reasonable amount of time (at a reasonable profit), so you better tell them what that payday might look like”... <<<Read more>>>.
Why do you use Facebook or Twitter or Foursquare or LinkedIn or Q&A forums or read/write/comment on blogs? Do you have a goal in mind? And I don’t mean goals like “2,000 Twitter followers” or “1000 Facebook likes”. They are just measures. I mean do you know what are you trying to achieve by involving yourself in social media? Often it’s one of these (and I’m sure there are others)... <<<Read more>>>.
Think about it. What if you called with a question and someone made you wait forever? What if you requested info or contact via a website and no one responded? What if the product you received did not match the product you were ordered?... <<<Read more>>>.
I frequently get calls from people who have a business concept and have no idea how to get it off the ground. This is the first of several posts I plan to help people get their business idea out of their head and into the marketplace... <<<Read more>>>.
Dell, Palm (Pilot), Sony (Walkman, maybe the Wii), MySpace, Creative (Zen), Blackberry. What do these names have in common? In one way or another they all broke the mold by creating innovative new products, categories of products, and/or business models…and then they struggled. Maintaining leadership in innovation after creating a breakthrough product is extremely difficult. Companies often seem to miss the point at which they cease to be the market leader – sort of a reverse “tipping point” if you will... <<<Read more>>>
When we think about marketing communications we speak so often about communicating with audiences – making sure that we deliver our message to the appropriate audience(s). This is an inherently one-way communication – YOU talking to THEM. You define a message, decide who you want to hear it, identify ways to deliver that message (what do they read, listen to, etc.), and drop your message into that stream... <<<Read more>>>.
In a recent conversation with one of my clients he recounted how in a recent session with his staff they had done a little role playing. He proposed a variety of situations and then asked his staff how they would handle them. He was impressed with their ability to respond and respond quickly. My firm had recently taken them through a process to ensure that the organization truly understood their brand and were supporting that brand by the actions that they took every day – a combination of vision, strategy, and operational thinking... <<<Read more>>>.
As a business advisor there’s one piece of advice I find myself giving almost all of my clients at one point or another: “Go with your gut”. In an era of constant inputs – surveys, social media, management consultants, competitive and market analyses, etc., it’s easy to get caught up in a sort of paralysis... <<<Read more>>>.
I was thinking this morning – as aI battled Vanessa A. for Foursquare mayoral supremacy at the local park where I run – about how maybe, just maybe, location-based services like Foursquare or Gowalla can actually be a force for good... <<<Read more>>>.
I love technology – software, social media, hardware, gadgets, you name it. I say that up front because to some this blog post may sound a little…ummmm…anti-technology. Actually, it’s probably not so much “anti-technology” as it is “pro-people”. My challenge is this: Is your company relying too much on technology, possibly even as a replacement for actual human interaction and contact? In recent years I’ve observed that many companies seem to wear their lack of human interaction as a badge of honor... <<<Read more>>>.
December always gets me thinking. How has this year gone? What do I want to get done next year? What do I need to do to get ready for next year? How am I going to get where I want to be? Here are some things I always try to do before the year ends to get me ready to hit the ground running next year.... <<<Read more>>>.
So, your business has been successful and you want it to continue growing. Who doesn’t? But you should know that there are a number of pitfalls most growing businesses run up against. Some are things you can foresee and some are not. And many of them can be significant enough to derail your company’s growth – or even kill it completely. Here are just a few of the challenges you will probably face as your organization grows... <<<Read more>>>.
Brand strategy. Sigh. That oh-so-important initiative that you back away from every time you take a run at it – once you realize the commitment of time, money, and other resources that are involved. But you know that you need to move your organization’s brand closer to where you want it to be. Well, how about knocking down some actions in the next few months that will really make an impact on how your brand is defined?... <<<Read more>>>.
Have you ever stopped to think about where the best ideas for new products, new services, new markets, new ways to do things, come from? I submit that your company’s next great idea already exists within your company. You just simply need to learn how to tap into that stream of ideas that are already floating around in someone’s head – and be ready to cultivate it... <<<Read more>>>.
Are you listening to your customers? I mean REALLY listening? No, I don’t mean that bland, generic annual survey you do – and then quickly ignore. I mean have you truly built customer-listening into your organization’s way of doing business? <<<Read more>>>.
The short answer? Unless you are trying to line up outside investment capital, the answer is probably not. For most people it just is not an important document – and probably not worth your time to create. Let’s face it, the business plan is often just your best guess of what will happen when you enter a business. Is it ever right? No, usually not. Do things happen in the marketplace that you didn’t contemplate in the business plan? Absolutely! As a practical matter, the actual business plan is just not that important to running your organization. However... <<<Read more>>>.
Competition sucks, right? Well, I’ll argue just the opposite. Competition is healthy and will make your organization stronger and more attractive... <<<Read more>>>.
Compare these two stories…Which story do you find more engaging? The story of trouble, woe, and pity? Or the story of success and achievement?... <<<Read more>>>.