You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘business ideas’ category.
Twitter has been around for a few years now and I have to admit it isn’t something I have really been bothered about. Things might be about to change for me after I read this article over at TechCrunch.
You see Twitter is like your Facebook profile status comment gone mad. Twitter users constantly tweet, they always have something to say about what is going on in their day. This could be anything from how they are feeling right this very second to complaining or complimenting a service or product they just received.
Until today I hadn’t realised Twitter was searchable via its own search engine. For your product marketers this could be gold dust as you can find out inside info on what your customers think of not just your products but also competitors products. Your campaign can then be immediately tailored to suit.
It also give companies direct communication with people who actively complain when they receive a bad product or service but only complain indirectly. It is an opportunity to rectify the wrongs.
The possibilities could be endless.
You may even see a Marton House Twitter appearing here soon as it would give myself or the other people who write on this blog the chance to keep the readers updated when we aren’t able to write a full post. Something which I for one feel bad about, particularly if we are away on a film shoot for more than a few days.
The economic world is in tatters, your business is failing and your bank manager is knocking on the door asking for the banks money back.
What do you do?
One entrepreneurial London restaurant owner thinks he has the answer, by asking his customers to pay what they feel the meal was worth. His reasoning behind this is that like so many top London restaurants his own are very pricey and attracted accordingly top business execs, with their top all-expenses paid tabs. In a recession company expenses are the first thing to get monitored and shelved and as a result lunch is now more likely to be a sandwich than lobster thermidor.
At the end of their meal Peter Ilic’s diners are now presented with a bill showing zero, and if they so desire they can get a free lunch. Already though the idea seems to be paying off with many customers paying 10-20% over what would be the asking price.
Could this be because us Brits would be too embarrassed to pay to little? Would this idea only work in England?
This business model has already been applied to films, theatre and music (Radiohead’s last album was Peter’s inspiration). Could it be applied elsewhere? If so are we really brave enough to ask million dollar customers to pay what they think a project or product is worth?
More importantly in a time of monetary desperation would your customers be honest enough to pay the right amount?
Full story here.
What does your organization do when it wants to hire or promote the best person for a specific job or leadership position? The traditional answer is to test people for their IQ, technical skills to do the job, their personality or just by looking at their CV.
The late David McClelland, an American psychological theorist, identified a better way. He proposed that an organization should first study employees who are already top performers in that role, and systematically compare them with those who are just average performers.
What McClelland found was that a set of distinguishing competencies emerged: competencies that the top performers exhibited and the average performers did not.
Once you have identified those distinguished competencies, you can use those as a basis to hire or promote people who have the basic competencies to do the job plus the distinguishing competencies or help your people develop those strengths.
Using this methodology will help you develop a competency model that you can use to identify, train, and promote the next generation of top performers in your organization.
On my daily visit to Shorpy’s Blog I found this image of an Oldsmobile shop window taken in 1922:
How often in today’s world do you see such an interesting display for a car showroom?
Though surely in a modern society where we are seeing more competition, fewer customers and tighter purse strings we all need to be doing that one little extra thing that makes us stand out from the crowd.
Putting your product on a podium is no longer enough, it’s the bling you display around it that gets the customers through the door.
This could be a psychological memory recall which links back to childhood feelings of the toy in the shop window that was just out of reach but you’d still go and look at it every day nonetheless.
Reminding your punters of the good things is the oldest trick in the book but it still works. Did you manage to ignore the smell and walk past the bakers this morning without going in to buy?
image courtesy of www.shorpy.com
Do you find yourself slipping into an obscure job role? Does your opinion just seem insignificant when offered?
We often get complacent in our jobs, it is human nature after all to get your feet under the table and get comfy.
If you want to be less of a passenger and climb into the spotlight here are 10 tips to put you on the right track.
- Increase your visibility. Make a concerted effort to visit others in your office. Use the first coffee in the morning productively and take it on a tour of the office everyday. By doing this you can see what others are working on, see where you can offer help and just simply have a chat about stuff. It doesn’t have to be the first coffee and you don’t need an excuse to walk around.
- Dress the part. Getting noticed can be as simple as adjusting the way we dress. This can have both a negative impact and a positive one. Think for a minute about your office. Who is the scruffiest? Who is the smartest? Does it have an impact on their role and how it is perceived? Do you go to the scruffy person for creativity and the sharp one for marketing? More on this here.
- Give your reputation a kick. Your name needs to be seen and heard. Try to start putting your name to more stuff. Does your company have a blog or a forum? If so start posting regularly. If your company is large enough to have an internal publication start offering stories for it. Get in touch with marketing and offer some hot stories for external press releases.
- Step up to the plate. If an opportunity is offered and you have the ability to get the job done then raise your hand high.
- Learn to learn. The world is in information overload, if you don’t know how to do something it is now as easy as opening up a new browser window on your computer and searching for the answer. We should all be striving to learn something new every day no matter how small or big it is. The opportunity is there.
- Keep in tune with the world at large. Know exactly what your company’s competitors are doing. Are you reading the right blogs? Do some market research. What opportunities are out there? Is there a gap that could be filled? When an opinion is asked for you may be just the person to supply the answer.
- Show respect of others. If somebody is doing a good job tell them. Also mention this to people higher up the chain. Being fair and showing you care is a great way to set an example.
- Be a mentor. Don’t be selfish with your own knowledge. Sharing is a great way to be noticed. Sharing regularly with the same people may not have immediate benefits but in the long-term you will reap the rewards and so will they.
- Find your niche. What are you really good at? Find out and make yourself the expert on the subject. Become the “go to” person in the office for that particular thing.
- There is no try only do. Just like Yoda said in his syntax error filled Jedi speak, there is no 2nd best. It’s no good moaning to your colleagues about not being noticed unless you are prepared to work hard at your job and be the absolute best you can be.
When talking with many of our customers the answer would appear to be a resounding yes. Employees of companies that have adopted Blackberry technology tend to feel trapped, on one hand they hate their Blackberries but on the other feel they can’t live without them.
The big question is why?
I personally see a Blackberry as a more advanced version of a pager. They feel more like a way of the company communicating to/at you rather than a tool to help you do your job better and more efficiently.
We’ve had so many reports of people not even able to get a full nights sleep because an email or a message will come through and they can’t resist reading it and responding to it.
So how do companies make a Blackberry more attractive to its employees? How could it be more of a useful tool?
As an employee how would you feel if instead of a Blackberry you were offered a learning device which would not only send you corporate communications but also offer you a complete multimedia training solution? Maybe a tool that could help you perform research for that important meeting you are on your way to? A tool that is constantly connected to the company and the world at large but also has the ability to disconnect from work out of hours and offer social entertainment?
When the iPhone was first launched in late 2007 it was just a small object of desire, a phone with entertainment and web browsing as standard. The problem was it had limited business use. That has changed with version 2 though and Apple are now tackling Blackberry head-on with full support for Microsoft Exchange and push emails.
Blackberries would appear to be optimised for email first, iPhone for web. In this information hungry world surely a phone that is optimised for the internet has far greater potential as a business tool?
Now that Apple have included 3rd party application support it has opened up a whole new world of possibility for the iPhone and its users. Apps like Salesforce Mobile, a tool for organising and referencing prospect information and data or Lion Clock, an app that lets you keep track of project billing on the go.
As a company you also have the benefit with the iPhone of rolling out training to each and every handset no matter of the end users location. Whether it’s a video message from the CEO or a Flash-based training exercise the iPhone can handle it no problem and report back to base when the results from the training are in.
This morning over on Jay Cross’s Informal Learning blog there is a video he filmed yesterday at the Future of Media Summit ’08 featuring Robert Scoble talking about where he feels learning will be in the immediate future. For me the interesting point he made around his baby boy growing up in the world that is always connected seemed completely logical. The ability to research absolutely anything right now is going to be vital going forwards, not just for businesses but also for individuals and life in general. You can watch the whole video below.
So how would you feel if your company was to give you an iPhone instead of Blackberry? Would it inspire you, motivate you or still weigh you down?
Are we enterprising enough? Do we see an opportunity and really take advantage of the chances we are given?
I’ve just returned from spending 3 weeks in Peru, a country where you can bet if an opportunity arises somebody will come along and claim it for their own.
Making money is very difficult for the people of Peru. In fact just simply earning a living is hard enough with the average wage being 200 Nuevo Soles per month (around £40 or $75).
This chap however earns that in ten minutes. How? He offers a service which ships tourists between reed islands on Lake Titicaca. It’s optional for the tourists to get on his boat as they could just get back on the tour ship but who in their right mind would want to miss out on such a once in a lifetime trip? He charges just 10 soles (£2), for the privilege and he can fit 20 people on his boat. One months wage in ten minutes.
Then there are the early bird tourists who want to catch the first bus up to Machu Picchu at 5:30am. These people have left their hotels too early to get breakfast so a couple of enterprising ladies walk up and down the queue selling breads, pastries and hot drinks. It’s a captive market again, the success rate is about 1 in 10 and the queue is about 400 people long. Pretty good going for a business before 6am!
Finally there are the sales people who hang around the water tower where both the Puno to Cuzco train and the return journey stop to cross and to get water. These people who normally work in the fields know the exact time of day these trains pass through and make sure they are ready to sell their local produce and gifts to their captive audience aboard the train.
These kind of opportunities happen for a reason – without them these people could not survive.
Opportunities don’t tend to present themselves to us in the same manner, at least that is to say we often have a choice to either follow them up or let them pass us by. Sometimes we simply let things slip because they are too much hassle to follow up.
What if the next opportunity you see has the potential to earn you a months salary in 10 minutes? Would you let it pass you by then?
It’s a well known fact that commercial broadcasters the world over are struggling the reap the rewards they once did from advertisers, in fact these days the profit margin is getting very narrow indeed.
That’s why many broadcasters are trying new techniques like themed ad slots and dedicated single product commercial breaks. UK broadcast Channel 4 have gone one step further however, for tonight at 8:10pm they have teamed up with Honda to run their first ever live commercial.
It features sky divers jumping out of an aircraft attempting to form the word Honda in under 3 minutes 20 seconds. If they compete the task it will be exciting for the viewers, if they don’t complete the task it will also be exciting for the viewers. If the viewers tune in, which they are being encouraged to do it will be a win-win.
Channel 4 are making big claims though about it being the first live TV adverts, whereas the slightly more skeptical of us may be thinking back to the days of the 1950′s TV studio ads where all TV was live and the only way to advertise a product was to feature it in the studio with the presenter.
No one has ever tried to perform such a stunt as skydiving live in an advert though, so hats off to them for that one.
Are you going to be watching tonight?
or if we’ve gone forwards in time…
Did you watch it? Did you tune in specially?