What Do You Consider Innovative? Ideas, Thoughts and Questions
Over the past year, I have been posting stories of innovation in business as well as my own tips. If I had a great idea for a project or some thoughts on better utilizing space or software, I would post. I am constantly looking at different ways to do business and brainstorming marketing techniques that are just a little different. Many people tend to just look straight ahead and never look at life in a few different ways.
Innovation for me also means coming up with or researching new methods of being productive. For example, I can show people dozens of different methods of saving time in their day using new software or mobile applications. I am crazy about automation and so if I can find a way to do things that don’t require a lot of handholding, then I am going to jump onboard. An example of that might be how I sort and manage emails that come in. Using 3 different tools, I can sort the 800+ emails I get a day in mere minutes. Using custom scripts (available free on the net), I can separate all my newsletters I get sent to me as well as client emails. If I get spammed, I can filter my spam using a service that is almost 99.5% accurate.
One of my personal goals is to be able to share what I have learned or discovered with others. I would think if someone came along with 25-30 years experience with computers and marketing, I would be interested in hearing what they had to say. Save me 1-2 hrs of tedious work a day? That concept appeals to me.
My method of sharing will hopefully be of interest to people. I can record simple podcasts and upload them on the Internet or publish my own e-books and either give them away or sell them for a small fee. But I truly want to get that information out to the general public. I tried posting tips and ideas on Facebook but many people don’t read Facebook for that sort of thing. I also found that if people are given FREE information, they don’t always appreciate it. Now if they pay, they then feel its of value.
SPECIAL NOTE: I use Facebook as much for entertainment and communication with friends and family. I joke, make fun of myself, post pictures of things I find cool and a whole bunch of other stuff. I don’t know if I get any serious business from it but I think if people read my posts, they will realize I am highly motivated, have a bizarre sense of humour, have lots of interests, appreciate my family and generally (I use this term loosely) am a well adjusted guy!
One topic that excites me is Small Business Coaching. I like the idea of sharing information with others and giving them some perspective on what they are wanting to accomplish. Can you image someone coming into your business and saying “Hey, I have 30 years of marketing experience working from my home, with clients ranging from small 1-2 person businesses to multimillion businesses. I can show you insider secrets that range from Search Engine Optimization for your website, to dozens of marketing techniques (that all work). I can show you how I made mistakes over 30 years and what I learned from each of them. Oh, and I can show you how to reduce marketing costs and double or triple your profits in a business!” Does the above sound like BS or black magic? It really is not that complicated.
Now the challenge with Small Business Coaching is this…..you have to deal with some hurdles. They can include:
- Clients not wanting to spend any money for good advice
- Clients who are embarrassed to share their past losses or mistakes
- Getting people to see the value in listening to someone who has run into the same challenges or worked with others who face your problems in business.
- Experimenting with new techniques and taking a little risk
I do find it frustrating sometimes when I present coaching services locally, and the reception is lukewarm or low. And yet, I get daily business requests from companies all over the US and eastern Canada. They will ask me why I work so far away from home, are others in my community not interested in my services. Now I certainly do NOT want to sound egotistical. I think many Canadians are very conservative and it takes some getting used to accept new ideas or directions for a business. Taking risks, innovating and trying new things scares the crap out of a lot of people. But in today’s economy, its critical that we diversify and separate ourselves and our businesses from everyone else. Its simply the only option for many.
On a more personal note, I am finding that since I suffered my stroke, I had to find a way to do business without driving to clients businesses and working with limited vision. The direction I have taken has been to offer services that few offer, to use technology like remotely logging into other peoples computers and fixing problems. Using Skype (with video), Evernote, my iPad and dozens of other apps and programs, I can do some amazing things. But…..its different and many clients struggle with this method of reaching consultants like myself. Regardless of how long I have worked or whatever magical technology tools I use.
A few years ago….in fact around the time the World Wide Web was beginning, I learned a valuable lesson. If I picked up a phone and called someone in California and bid work or helped clients, it was just as easy to work with people in my own town. And vice versa. Imagine for a moment your business offering advice on Social Media Marketing for small business. You can email a potential client in Dawson Creek and work with their business offering advice and services. Or email a client in Italy or Malaysia and offer exactly the same service. The costs…..the same. But my community has 15,000 people. And Malaysia has millions of people and businesses. I might be inclined to target larger centres. And that lead me to another lesson… watching my world open up around me with the Internet. A marketplace filled with hundreds of millions of customers. Its breathtaking when you imagine it.
So some people I have shared my innovation ideas with have asked me why if there is so much opportunity, that I am not a millionaire or living in some warmer climate. Its really quite simple. Money is not my biggest motivator. I would rather spend time with my wife and kids, walk around town without getting shot or stabbed, read a good booking or take classes online. I always valued my family and friends but I seemed to be in a real rat race trying to get ahead. The stroke I suffered and the weeks /months I spent recovering reminded me how much opportunity there was and that having lots of money in the bank was not a big deal. Seeing my family grow up and sitting having a relaxing coffee in my favourite coffee shop was more important. Sitting down and writing a book or listening to new music while I research castles and lost civilizations brings me a lot of joy.
I have jumped around and touched on a number of topics in this blog post. Its probably a bit confusing. But I got thinking about innovation and was compelled to ramble on a bit. So I promise, my next topic / post will be a little more planned and organized.
If there are topics like Productivity, Innovation, Creative Ideas, Brainstorming, Home Based Business, Technology and other fun stuff that you would like to hear about, drop me a note, share one of my posts or write my directly at firstname.lastname@example.org . I will answer or bring up one of these topics in a future post and address your questions.
Have a great day!