Articles Tagged ‘Small business advice’

How to Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Life and Business

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

I’m often asked, “How do we come up with new ideas to grow our organization?” This is an interesting question and a simple one line answer cannot do it justice. There’s really no simple answer, but let me use this time together to share why I believe innovation combined with implementation is the best course of action.

Having gone back through my third book recently, I was struck once again by chapter six titled, Innovation Trumps Mediocrity and how it addresses the power of ideas and harnessing them to your advantage.

Here’s a partial excerpt from the chapter with a helpful list of twelve strategies to help inspire and motivate you to ignite the power of innovation in your own life, business, or career!

The World Needs You to Step Up
and Take Action

No one can save you but yourself. You must reengage your talents, ideas, habits, knowledge base, associations and dreams to turn things around in your own life. The bailout mentality is a short term illusion that does not solve long-term problems.

If we’re to turn the economy around it will require you to move past the status quo thinking of “security” to a new paradigm of trusting in your own God-given abilities and working on them relentlessly. My friend Patrick Snow describes this process as “creating your own destiny” and he’s spot on with his assessment.

Great ideas and solutions are always present. The challenge for most of us is to capture them when they strike and act on them. There’s no shortage of ideas. The world has millions of great ideas floating around looking for the right person to seize and mold them into physical form. The real challenge is a shortage of belief in the ideas, and an even greater shortage of those who act on them.

12 great ways to “Capture” the power of innovation and take more positive action within your life:

1. Study and read in multiple disciplines
2. Always maintain curiosity as to why things are the way they are
3, Listen for problems in your market or industry and create or find ways to solve them
4. Learn how great organizations get ahead and model their success within your business
5. Always capture and record great ideas immediately when they strike by having a pen and paper ready
6. Bounce new ideas off of key associates, customers, and those you network with online and offline
7. Circulate by attending new events
8. Hang around successful people and soak in their wisdom and ideas
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Eliminating “Bad Days” and the bubble that will never burst!

Friday, September 9th, 2011

ScottManning

Recently I stayed at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville…which happens to be very similar to one big giant bubble, all-encompassing with everything you need to enjoy a full experience under one roof, or in this case, under 3 greenhouse style atriums.

Simply driving into the Gaylord you immediately feel moved to a place separate from everywhere else. And inside, you enter a refreshing natural environment in their amazing atriums that captivates you and removes you from the “outside” that you came
in from.

I just love “destination” locations, especially when they get it right.

While at the Gaylord the service was incredible, more than adequate staff, always
helpful, and taking great pride in their work. In the resort everything is
self-contained inside of the “bubble”.

You can take leisurely walks, float down their river in a little boat, take in the waterfalls and enjoy many more relaxing things. One of my favorites was watching the “dancing fountain” that put on an incredible display themed to different music and it was fun.

Of course, we ate at their top of the line restaurant, which was magnificent and an
investment valued more than the one night stay…I’m happy to report we filled every
corner of the table with different desserts, (my idea) and yes, it was just enough
for the two of us to enjoy!
(we are both still skinny – Maddy made me insert this)

The waiter was superb, and in less than 3 minutes at the table, I’d already decided
that this will be one of the locations for our Traveling National Mastermind Group
next year…and an experience it will be. Same waiter will be essential.

Anyhow, a couple quick things, every word out of every employees’ mouth was
scripted, no time to explain, or go through details, but believe me, I ask
questions, I push them, I see what they’re made of and reward them for the show.

From the hostess to the valet to the maids and maintenance, it was all planned out
and executed beautifully.

We ate breakfast the next morning at the waterfalls and just to sum it up, I ordered
(didn’t eat, but ordered) the $23 pastry basket simply to set on the table and look
at – everything was THAT good.

Another thing I’ll point out, and then I will tell you why it’s so important for you…
I asked many employees how long they had been there and what position they started
in. 4 out of 5 were more than 5 years, one just over a year, even that one, started
somewhere simple and moved up.

They have a delicate and deliberate process for grooming people and giving them room
to grow.

Finally, when I asked the waiter of 9 years (who also had a little side business of playing Jazz at some local clubs downtown), why 9 years, here…what’s the big deal about the Gaylord?

He responded immediately, stepped back from the table looked up at the ‘artificial’
stars and the real moonlight through the atrium glass, he gazed around, he looked
back and said, “what’s better than the Gaylord…you can’t have bad days inside
here!”

Now, let’s be clear, it really is comparable to Disney, to Vegas, just not as grand
a scale; it’s for different people. I love them all, same concepts apply to all
three…this just a DIFFERENT experience, different ENVIRONMENT.
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Social Media & Face to Face Networking – 5 Reasons to Blend Them

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

No, social media is not going to replace face to face networking, but it is having a dramatic impact on it. How we build relationships is changing and Social Media is moving that change forward. Here are five reasons that you should be blending the two.

Social Media allows you to move your relationship forward before you even meet the person face to face. Relationships take time, using tools like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin allow you move those relationships forward before you even sit down over a cup of coffee with them.

Social Media allows you to enrich your relationships. I do not have time to meet with or call all of the people I have relationships with or whom I want to advance an relationship with. By being connected with them on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin I am able to keep up with what is important in their lives and their business. Next time I see them I can pick up the conversation.

Social Media allows me to pass referrals to other members of my network. There was a big storm in my community and many people were posting and commenting on the damage that they experienced. It was not hard to recommend to them someone else in my network who could help them with their problems.

Social Media allows me to build my credibility as a connector, someone who can be trusted. Building relationships requires that I share myself as well and I can do that not only as my business but as an individual. People do business with people, they do not care about the company you work for if they trust you.

Social Media allows me to educate my network. When I meet them face to face we can have a deeper conversation about what I do or what they do. It is not possible to educate a person completely about my business and frankly that is not the way that I want to spend my time when I am with someone. By linking my bolgs or having meaningful conversation on my Social Media sites I have the opportunity to educate and connect.

Frankly, most of us are not going to refer our best customers or closest friends and family to people we have not met, a stranger on Facebook is still a stranger until I meet them. After all, we can be anyone we choose to be online, but once I have met my online friends offline, I am able to continue to build a quality relationship. Even if you are using online dating services, you are not going to marry someone and never meet them face to face, those meetings are important to move things forward.

If you are not using Social Media to enhance and enrich your face to face networking you are missing out on a great many rich relationships and possible opportunities.

Hazel Walker
Referral Institute, llc
BNI
hazel@bni.com

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Partner vs. Vendor

Monday, September 5th, 2011

5 Tips on Becoming a Partner Rather than a Vendor

1. Be a Good Partner – create obtainable standards

2. Know What it Means to Be a Good Partner – develop a profile that fits culturally and economically
3. Share your Vision, Goals and Standards – define your goals, help your client’s execute theirs and share standards
4. Candor and Conclusion – show commitment with candid conversations that result in action plans and specific deliverables
5. Review, Adjust and Celebrate – review shared goals, company vision, adjust the plan if necessary and celebrate the wins quarterly

1. Be a Good Partner:

Elevate the conversation. In order to be a good partner, you need to know where you are going and why you want to go there. You need to recognize and define your vision so you can clearly choose the right partners to help you along the way. More specifically, which customers align with your goals and will commit to you on a higher level?

Many business relationships begin and end because neither organization leveraged the other’s assets. Innovations lost. Cost savings lost. New clients lost. Millions of dollars lost because neither organization took the time to have an “everything on the table” type of conversation. They avoid the possible risk and end up abandoning the huge reward. It doesn’t matter how big the company or the amount of employees; the company is made up of people who have dreams, agendas, needs and wants. If you never have an elevated conversation reaching beyond product benefits, specs and RFP’s – you will never become more than a vendor.

2. Know What it Means to Be a Good Partner:

Profile, profile and profile again. Every time you have a “Ah ha moment” or you have a huge win and get that itch to write a case study – you just uncovered clues about the characteristics of your best type of clients. Pay attention. Evaluate. If you get a clear understanding of the “who” you are looking for, then you can spend more time and energy going after real relationships and less time wasted on relationships that never grow; relationships where you end up as only a vendor.

Build a profile that allows you to spend quality time pursuing quality relationships. The BIG lesson – not all client relationships are created equal. Similarly, the time, money and energy you spend – should not be created equal.

3. Share your Vision, Goals and Standards:

Everybody that draws a breath makes decisions either with logic or emotion. The only difference is ratio and justification. In a low margin environment, 1 to 2 percent can drive the decision one way or another. As a partner, you have the relationship where the price to win the business is openly discussed. Otherwise, as a vendor, you’ll spend months cutting your price multiple times only to end up losing the business.

The problem – vendors listen to what the potential client is saying (their perception, justification for a decision) instead of truly understanding the company’s vision, goals and standards.

Despite the current selling atmosphere, sales people and employees who share their visions and goals figure out how to win together. They make the numbers work. Shared goals and visions can be the biggest competitive sales advantage an organization has. Price, service levels and product capabilities are mere tactics to execute the common vision.
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