Showing posts tagged tumblrize

What Makes Your Business Unique?

What Makes Your Business Unique?

Some always asks this question, it’s a way of measuring whether that someone should do business with you or not. I was on a Forum this week and someone posted the thread title exactly as this post.

Let’s do this, let’s say you own a business with a saturated market, you and thousands like you sell and support the exact same product & service. You have the same inventory, you have almost identical costs. You can’t just say you have the world’s best support and get away with it. So what is more important, uniqueness, or solving a problem? Do people do business with you because you are different (unique), or because you actually solve a problem?

Is it a chicken & egg thing? I frequent a restaurant here in my community, it’s unique only in that they do something to the food. They have tables, waiters & waitresses, menu’s, alcohol, friendly staff, and good service. How do they make it? I mean there are literally hundreds of restaurants in my community, why should I eat at this location? Because they are unique? I don’t go there because they are different.

They do solve a problem for me, but I can get my problem solved anywhere, so why do I keep going back to this establishment. It’s simple really, and it should be for you. The common denominator for me is not uniqueness or a problem being solved, it’s because of the relationship I have with the owners. Ya, the food they serve is different, it’s an acquired taste for this old man, the food is fabulous. I know we don’t think of hunger as a problem that needs to be solved in this country, but if we were in a 3rd world country with a food shortage, that would be different. They would be solving my problem of hunger…if I could get in, or could afford to eat there.

All businesses should do one thing extremely well, and that is to make sure, not matter what the cost, your customers don’t have a reason to speak poorly about you and your business. How are you doing with that, and how do you measure your success & failure, better yet, how quickly do you fix the brokenness?

While sifting through the Forums posts on this topic, someone posted a funny, in reference to the question of uniqueness. They said, we’ve got a dragon : ) that is kinda cool isn’t it. I would probably come see you if you had a dragon.

So, is it more important to be different, does being different bring you business? It might if you solve a problem in a cool unique way, in a way no one has ever done before. But it still has to solve a problem, it can’t just be a novelty, or an amusing thing.

I do believe it’s a combination of being unique, solving a problem, while maintaining and or building on the relationship with your clients. It’s a small town rule thing, everyone wants to be treated special, with respect, and most of all, they want to know you care before they do. So which is it, uniqueness, solving a problem, or is it the relationship? By today’s standards, not yesterdays. And just what are those standards anyway?

What do you think is more important, uniqueness or solving a problem?

 

 

 

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TweetUp In Abbotsford - Bring A Non-Perishable Food Item

The story of a 9 year old boy collecting food for the Kamloops Food Bank because someone burned the storage facility to the ground, is a Noble work, admirable even, but why hasn’t the city and or the community stepped up? Why should a 9 year old have to show the rest of the town what should be done by us grown ups?

If we all believe we are supposed help your neighbor, feed & clothe the poor, what are we waiting for, a 9 year old to step up? As you can sense by my language I’m a little annoyed that no one else has come forward to help the Kamloops Food Bank.

So with that in mind, I’m going to invite you to support your local food bank. On August 31st, I am holding a TweetUp at the Roasted Grape in Abbotsford from 4PM - 7PM. This will be a fund raiser in the form of food, so bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Abbotsford Food Bank. So if you’re local to Abbotsford (less than 2 hours away) stop in and meet great people, and help those in need.

I hope you will step up and support those in need by supporting your local food bank, next time you are shopping for food, buy something extra and take it to your local food bank. It’s, a small thing, but you will make the world a better place for someone struggling to find a meal.

MARK IT IN YOUR CALENDAR:!

On August 31st, the TweetUp is at the Roasted Grape in Abbotsford from 4PM - 7PM. The Roasted Grape is located on the corner of Montrose & Fraser Way in the OLD Bank Of Montreal building in Abbotsford.

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The Future Of Business - One Thing You Must Eliminate

The Future Of Business - One Thing You Must Eliminate. I was working with a client this week, and a common problem almost every business suffers from arises. It’s human nature of course, but it inevitably shows up on some level. It’s the one thing you must eliminate if you plan to survive the future of business, the business world of tomorrow. There’s very little room for it.

Most of us move forward by feeling, we tend to allow our emotions to make decisions for us, not really a good idea. I’m not suggesting you eliminate it completely, intuition is important. Gut feeling saves us from our selves sometimes too, we need to have that instinctive sense. But that’s not the thing, it’s bigger than intuition or instincts.

Almost everyone I know suffers from fear, that’s easy peasy, it’s not the fear that’s the problem, it’s the worry that something bad might happen. It never does, well, 90% of the time it doesn’t.

No, the thing to eliminate is the fear attached to risk, the word risk is a bigger issue. It’s a double-edged sword isn’t it, damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. There is always going to be some level of risk in business, it’s the engine that drives success really. We all make decisions based on this fear, big and small, the fear of things not working out and so on. Calculated risk is the best place to be, as long as you have good perspective, all the information you need, and everything has been well thought out. Then everything comes down to one question:

Can I survive the worst case scenario?

The hidden question is, What’s the level of risk?

You see, the price of doing nothing is much higher than doing something, there is always going to be risk, so embrace it. There is always going to be failure, so embrace it, it’s how we learn.

Eliminate risk, risk tends to mean there will be a winner and a loser, don’t do that, fear will handle that for you….move forward always, don’t look back.

The reason most people don’t do something significant in their lives, is because they won’t pay the price of taking a chance, taking a risk. It feels painful, and we tend to stay away from anything that makes us feel bad. These people don’t learn, and they don’t tend to change the world, and we all want a better world.

Risk is good, but it’s only good if you have done the hard work to assess it, so make it a calculated risk. Once you have done the hard work, execute! You must eliminate the fear of taking risks, your businesses future depends on your taking risks to move forward, in order to make it more profitable.

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When The Dog Days Of Summer Hit Your Business

So summer finally arrived, now it’s the dog days of July & August, and business has dropped off right? It happens every year, but most business owners don’t plan for the drop off. So when the drop hits, you start to panic, you make offers you normally wouldn’t make, you do things you normally wouldn’t do.

I too have the same problem, in fact, we all have the same problem, it’s called needing more clients / customers every month. We all at some point experience the dog days of summer drop off in business, or maybe it’s attendance for your workshop and so on. Why are we so shocked or suddenly surprised when it happens?

One of the best tips I can give you is this, find like-minded partners in your business community. Why not get together with 2 or 3 other businesses and work together for the common good of your businesses. Help each other get through the summer months by building a promotion that involves all of you, and share the costs evenly if at all possible. This is very common in the online world of doing business on the Internet, it just makes sense. The MLM businesses call this having the best interest in your success, why, because everyone wins.

Brainstorm ideas together, work the details out and promote it like it you would the Olympics, invest in it. This is not a new concept, it’s just one we tend to over look or blow off, mostly because it seems like it’s too much work. Well, welcome to the world of being in business, work is part of the deal when you started your business.

The work is actually the easy part of solving your problem, the real issue is foresight. Taking the time to stop and look ahead 3 – 6 months can help prevent these down turns in July & August. It takes effort, you may want to bring someone in to help look at your situation from the outside looking in, they will see things you can’t. Why? Because you are too close to the problem.

This all sounds so simple doesn’t it, if it was these short-term struggles wouldn’t happen to most businesses. So keep it simple, because simple is hard enough.

So, find some partners going through the same struggle in your area, make sure they are not competition : ) Pose the question of doing a promotion together, and get creative. Do something significant, not the usual giveaways and 10% discounts, do something special for your business communities / tribes. Make your clients/customers want to get involved, they have the money, give them a reason to buy. Your customers are worth it.

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The Future Of Business - Homeplus Virtual Subway Store

Progress is being made in shopping virtually, shopping using your smartphone is the future for sure, here is a short video showing you how it is being done in Korea:

The Future Of Business - The Chamber Of Commerce & The Tribe

Most of us have routines, I have a regular habit of stopping into the same place for my morning coffee, no it’s not Starbucks or Tim Horton’s. It’s the Roasted Grape, the coffee is amazing and the food is even better. People think I own the place I’m there so often, or have shares in the business….I don’t.

One morning I stopped in for coffee, there was a networking group meeting at the time, I knew at least half of the people there. I sat off to the side drinking my coffee when I heard my name, they asked me to join them, I asked…are you sure? I know me, I’ll talk if you give me the floor : )

After the session was over, a number of people approached me to chat, that’s why we go to these types of events right? I tend to ask more question when I sit at these round tables, mostly to make people think, because that’s what I do. Much of my work is reviewing business plans, asking a thousand questions, consulting, and public speaking. Sometimes, 4 - 5 times a year I will hold a workshop on the future of business - the open and free business model.

After chatting with a number of people, I posed the concept of, I think your local Chamber of Commerce should adopt the Tribe Model. I was asked the big question of course, what would that would that look like to you? I had to stop myself, I didn’t want to just blurt out a bunch of thoughts without actually thinking it through more. I’m not even sure I have it clear in my head right now, but I want to get it down and ask you what you think of the idea?

The biggest difference between a tribe and a community is….PASSION! The leaders and the members of the tribe have a high level of passion for something, it could be anything, as long as it benefits the tribe. It could even be a cause. Communities are more of a “gathering place”, they’re kind of stagnant and are formed from common interests of community members, or the squeaky wheels. Great tribes are always in motion, communities are not, they tend to be pretty static and have a hierarchy that operates from the top down.

Communities are like churches to me, they think in terms of programs and projects rather than being in a constant state of flux. Flux merely means flow, and that flow is always forward thinking.

We should look for tribes within communities, but don’t assume the community is a tribe. Great tribes tend to be formed by people with expertise, desire and passion, but don’t put to much emphasis on expertise.

These are a few initial thoughts, it’s very high level, but you know who the people are within your communities that are passionate about something in the business community. The Chamber should let these passionate people build, rather than try to control them. But that would mean chaos, and very few are willing to let chaos happen, why, it feels to out of control.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this concept, or your ideas on how your local chamber could adopt a more open and free model, one where the members are in a constant state of flux. It would mean a radical new way of thinking about chamber.

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The Future Of Business - The World Population

The Future Of Business - The World Population. As each hour, day, month, and year passes, the world population continues to grow at an exponential rate. That rate is made even more alarming when you consider the amount of land used to grow food for this growing population. It is even more alarming when you consider the amount of water needed to sustain the population in the next 20 years.

This illustration should also make you think about your business community, how do you become part of the solution, how do stop consuming and start providing. Your personal survival and your businesses survival will look the same in many ways. We should be helping each other, rather than trying to get as much as we can from each other.

Here is an interesting video to help you see the population growing before your eyes:

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What I Believe

What I believe. Has anyone asked you that question before? Have you struggled to answer it? This blog post is my attempt at answering the question of what I believe. This is not an exhaustive list but here is my list anyway:

1.) I believe there is a God

2.) I believe Jesus is Lord & Saviour

3.) I believe the Bible is the inherit word of God

4.) I believe we all were created

5.) I believe we were designed for a purpose here on earth

6.) I believe you are special

7.) I believe you have something to offer…always

8.) I believe we are all sinners

9.) I believe its harder to do the right thing and it’s never convenient

10.) I believe human evil comes from humans

11.) I believe hunger can be a thing of the past

12.) I believe we don’t treat one another very well, we kill each other, come on!

13.) I believe marriage should be between a man & a woman

14.) I believe we give money too much power over our lives

15.) I believe that when you do what you were meant & designed to do, you make the world a better place

16.) I believe the future does not belong to us

17.) I believe we lie to protect ourselves from the truth

18.) I believe we are stewart’s of the planet, not owners of it

19.) I believe Baseball is the greatest sport in the world

20.) I believe chocolate is over rated ;-)

21.) I believe we are to serve on another

22.) I believe we should treat each other the same way in which you wish to be treated

23.) I believe we should respect each other

24.) I believe we don’t have to like each other, but we should care enough to love each other

25.) I believe we should always help each other

26.) I believe in the 90/10 rule - give away 90% and charge for 10%

27.) I believe in the Open & Free Business Model

28.) I believe the Internet is the door way to the future of business

29.) I believe in honesty

30.) I believe in love

31.) I believe we should keep life simple, because simple is hard enough

32.) I believe life was never meant to be easy, it was meant to challenge us

33.) I believe we can always learn from each other

34.) I believe in the value of a human life

35.) I believe the world needs more and better leaders, so step up

36.) I believe technology is driving us indoors and away from each others face-to-face moments

37.) I believe technology is leading us to an unhealthy place

38.) I believe technology can also be used for good

39.) I believe swearing is rude and degrading

40.) I believe porn is a lie and unhealthy, it makes us believe that’s how sex should be…NOT!

41.) I believe the Cloud will only serve large corporations (those providing the Cloud)

42.) I believe Silicon Valley is a trap and does not live in the real world

43.) I believe failure is the best thing that can happen to you

44.) I believe a closed mind never learns anything

45.) I believe an open mind can change the world

46.) I believe I love my wife & two sons more than I love myself

47.) I believe I have yet to be used by God, I’m being prepared

48.) I believe the Church is over-rated

49.) I believe in YOU the people, you are awesome

50.) I believe in spending less than you earn

51.) I believe we will endure a global water shortage

52.) I believe you & I will give an accounting of our actions one day

53.) I believe in steak & potatoes : )

54.) I believe High Definition TV is the best

55.) I believe we spend too much money on shoes and clothes

56.) I believe if we didn’t have clothes to wear, and we were all naked, the crime rate would not exist

57.) I believe you are loved by God, all of you

58.) I believe we can all make the world a better place by simply loving each other

59.) I believe in WordPress & Headway Themes

60.) I believe we don’t value human life

61.) I believe this list is long enough, what does your list look like?

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The Future Of Business - Making Money Slow

The Future Of Business - Making Money Slow. What do I mean by this, keep it simple. Most who tackle the online world of making money think in terms of getting rich quick, I would suggest you make money slow. Also, make your money goals achievable, trying to make a million in year one is not realistic. The future of business is about building, it takes time to build something bigger than yourself, start small and start building with the end in mind.

I get asked all the time, how do I make money online? In many ways, it’s not much different than offline, solve a problem, fill a need, provide awesome service, and be honest. Building trust offline is easier than building it online, mostly because it’s easier to hide.

When I started making money online (2007) I started with something I was interested in, something I could manage alone, and knew people need my service. I started with a private webhosting company, I serve clients and friends, it’s grown away from that model, but it’s still a size I can manage on my own. But I started with one question…do you know what it might be?

I asked myself how much I wanted to make per year from my webhosting, just using simple math, I did this:

$30,000 ÷ 365 days per year = $82.19 per day

That number is not only reasonable but achievable, that’s 7 days per week. Keep in mind, this is online hours not traditional business hours. You may have loftier goals, but I felt starting with something achievable was a better goal. It wasn’t about how fast or much, it was a building block, and then I would add another building block.

If you only want to work Monday - Friday, break the math out again:

$30,000 ÷ 312 days per year = $96.15 per day

It takes time and persistence, most people don’t want to wait, making money slow is better for a couple reasons. One, it’s easy to manage, and number two, it pays for itself rather than taking money from your household budget. In other words, I didn’t use my own money, the clients covered costs out of the gate. I still build business that way today.

I share this with you for one reason only, to help you stop making ridiculous goals. Don’t worry, if you stay the course and make money slow, your bigger dream and goals will most likely take care of themselves. It still comes down to simple math, providing incredible service, having a product or service people need, and then provide them with unbelievable support.

The old saying of “Keep It Simple” comes to mind, I once heard some say it differently, “Keep it simple, because simple is hard enough”. I hope this helps when you feel overwelmed, especially when you aren’t meeting your financial goals. This method may seem over simplified, but it works for me, it keeps me from getting out of balance, small moves are easier to overcome when they don’t work out, and sometimes that means investing smaller amounts of money. I always ask myself two questions before spending money or starting something new, what’s the worst thing that could happen, and could I survive it? If the answer is yes, I move forward, if it’s no, wait.

That to me is The Future Of Business - Making Money Slow.

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The Future Of Business - Plumbers To Nano-Plumbers

The Future Of Business - Plumbers To Nano-Plumbers. Hard to believe I’m mentioning plumbers in a blog post, but I have a story to share. On Friday my wife noticed a wet spot in the ceiling down in our wet room area, you know, where we hang our coats and change our boots and such. It didn’t seem that bad but it was now showing itself, so I called a friend who recommended someone, I called them and they didn’t answer their phone. I tried a cell number and left a message. I felt better because I was dealing with the problem in a calm rational manner.

On Saturday we didn’t do much, a little gardening, house cleaning and I watched the Blue Jays Baseball Game, nice relaxing day in my books. My wife was fussing about this leak downstairs, so I went and look at it, it seemed to have stopped leaking as the ceiling was drying out. I called the number for the plumber again but no answer again, I left another message. We carried on with our day, we had a friend over for BBQ and sat back sipping some wine before calling it an evening. We didn’t even mention the plumbing problem to our company because we didn’t feel it was urgent I guess, we should of asked for a referral. It was a very nice evening, we merely took it easy and went to bed as if the world was all is we would have it.

Hee it is Monday morning, I slept in, I guess I was tired. I got up, had a shower, went to the kitchen, had a banana and went downstairs to my office. I have to walk right by the where the leak is so I took a quick peak. I ran for the phone and called my plumber friend again, only this time more frantically, NO ANSWER!!! So I grabbed the phone book and called the first one I saw. I have to say this, the girl on the phone could tell I was a little stressed, I mean it looks like the ceiling is going to crash to the floor because of the weight of the water. She talked to me as if I was calling 911, in a nice calm voice she asked me to describe the situation and then got the plumber on the phone. It turns out he is close by my home and said he would be there in 15 minutes, he arrived in ten minutes.

THE POINT

He walks in, assess the damage, and was able to find the problem I couldn’t find, that’s because it was well hidden and I really didn’t know what I was looking for (other than water) and where I should be looking for it. He knew where to go, and found the problem. It was actually two pipes that were leaking, and the water build up on the ceiling, he said it has been leaking probably for 6 months because the water was turning yellow.

He fixed the problem, now I have some drywalling and painting to do, but the problem has been solved. That’s what we pay people to do right, solve problems. But my point isn’t the leak being fixed, it has more to do with the plumber.

I talk about, you talk about it all the time. We talk about the future of business changing and how it will be done, but how will plumbing be different? How could this plumber fix my problem with his smart phone? How could he fix it remotely? He couldn’t, and I don’t expect that to change in my lifetime.

Some businesses will change very little, someone still has to be the plumber. I’m sure many types of businesses will be able to automate production lines and so on, but how would the plumber take his or business to that automated state? Today, they can’t.

Do you run a business like this? How will your business adopt the future of business? I suspect you will either use smart phones and the Internet on some level, but your work is very hands on.

I would recommend building a network of people, your current and old customers, get them to refer regularly, build a tribe online that is like-minded in the plumbing niche, and share your trade secrets on a blog, teach people how to fix simple plumbing problems. Steal the audience the TV audience by offering better information, even service. You will become the leader of your industry if you stick with it long enough, patience and persistence always prevail.

I’m grateful for traditional industrial age workers like plumbers, but how will that industry change in the new economy? The Future Of Business - Plumbers, how will they survive?

NANO-PLUMBERS

Let’s look ahead to the future where the plumber repair man may be extinct! Imagine this, you are building a house or an office building, it doesn’t matter. You have found a source for pipes or lines that have nanomaterial, so they are self-repairing. As soon as a weakness or the potential for a pin-hole leak to start, the nanotechnology instantly senses it, and repairs it. Or it sends a message to the installer for tracking purposes, that would be a fail safe for followup. The followup would be done remotely, because nanobots are wireless devices, they can be reprogrammed and or data can be downloaded from them.

Nanotechnology could serve in this way, it would revolutionize the plumbing industry, but who will adopt it? Today this type of product and service would be expensive, but in the next decade, it could be reasonably priced and accessible to everyone. Even older homes could be retro-fitted with the newer technology. From Nanosilver Coatings to Nanobots, there are many different types being worked on today, it’s a matter of time before this technology is in the hands of developers. The cost savings over time will out weight the high cost up front. The same arguement can be had with solar panels for your home, but that’s another story for another time.

How does this Nano-Plumbing idea make you feel?

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