Posts Tagged creativity

A Sense of Belonging

Which would you rather have, a team that turns up because they have to or because they want to? The latter right… Why? Because they don’t have to be there, their mindset is different, they might shy away from a challenge if they think their mortgage is on the line, but they will put in for the greater good of the team simply for one reason, a strong sense of belonging. 

Image courtesy of Stuart miles from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

Not just any sense of belonging, no no, as I eluded to in the opening paragraph, there are more reasons to want to do something, than if you have to do something.

Sounds easy, if I was talking about a club or group people belong to, people would soon get that stronger connection. However I am talking about a business, an organisation that people mainly get paid to work for, an organisation where the numbers often seem to be king, no profit no go…

So how do you as the business owner/manager cause this sense of belonging to go beyond the basics of need and get to a top class “one in, all in” situation where you know the people want to be there?

Connect, find ways to cause people to be part of a greater cause, ways to be aligned with the heart and soul of the business. Ways to communicate that they will benefit, just as deeply as you do by doing more, being more they will in return get more.

Perhaps the more they ‘get’ will be satisfaction, a warm sense of “I am part of something worthwhile”, the concept that the money is there but there is more to the equation.

Sounds far fetched perhaps, but in reality there are organisations where people willingly put in, willingly go the extra mile and hang in there to do it all again. Why? A sense of belonging, belonging in such a way they realise that the sum of the parts is greater than the value of the individual parts. As a team they can do more, as a connected and active team with a shared sense of belonging they can evolve to do MUCH more.

How then do we connect these ‘disparate parts’ to become cohesive, to join as one and be a truly mighty force?  Language… It’s what sets humans apart from other animals, it’s what ensures we can, discuss, plan, explore, find answers and ensure a higher sense of belonging can take place.

If you have ever noticed that people who use casual language, slang and the like to get through their daily routines, you will have probably noted their position in life is not one which often inspires. These people often seem to lead lives of deep desperation, working on minimum wages and struggling at every turn. While others with more developed language find ways to forge forward, to explore better options in life, to find depth and more profitable outcomes, and I don’t just mean financially.

Language

  • It helps us express the values we want our teams to align to
  • It gives us the chance to influence people to do great things
  • It assists us to lead
  • It provides opportunities to learn more, explore and pursue our dreams

How are you using language to better your teams, lead, influence and explore better ways to live and be a positive part of this world? Hopefully you will start with the positive values your organisation stands for and ensure your people are with you every step of your value motivated life. Without language we have little to commend us.

Regards

Steve Gray

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The ideal business

Sounds like a great title huh, you probably thought, oh is it one that makes great $$ (yeah) and does it have incredible profits (well YEAH!) and does it mean I have to hardly run it… and don’t have to have many skills???? umm probably not.

What I’m thinking of here is the structural side of the business idea, rather than the sort of business it might be. So no it’s not the far out super freaky pizza business that serves east west Tex-Mex surprises with a Thai influence.

Imagine a business, where you have made things tick over nicely the staff are stable (and happy), your customers like what you provide and the way forward looks good. Income and profitability tick over nicely and you wonder about the bigger picture now you have more time to, you replaced yourself multiple times with great people and can sit back and “enjoy the view”. Now it’s time to look that bit further, or perhaps differently to cause your business to do more of what you want it to.

You know when to put on new staff, knowing when the rest of the team are pushing the limits, and you can handle the ‘lag time’ until they are ‘up to speed’ in the role. You have great measurement tools in place to know what’s working and what’s not. You know what the profit margin is and where it goes to.

What next? Is this it, is this the holy grail of your business goal/s? Are  your challenges at an end? Do you simply sell it off and retire (early?) or do you go for the thrill of the chase… the adrenaline injecting process of doing more, and creating anew to push yourself that bit further.

Let’s go for the latter… Lets explore how you can replicate the process to explore success in business and do more, be more have more. After all we live in a world of abundance and by the sound of things if you have read this far you have probably said to yourself yes I do all these things and I am in that lovely lofty position to be able to do more.

You have created an ‘organism’ which grows, it’s more than just sustainable and you can stand back and enjoy the benefits of it’s growth. Now take out a pen and pad and jot down the mechanics of the business, what makes it tick, what makes it profitable? What sets it apart from your competition to the point where you don’t have to even be there anymore to enjoy it.

Take that list and ask, Can I develop a formula from our current successes to be able to reproduce that in other businesses… short answer will probably be yes.

I suggest at this stage  you take a look at the list in a way which deals with the essence of the success and not just trying to think about other businesses you might like to try out or test. Look at the structure, how information flows, the team and culture, the values and beliefs, all the things which can cause the internal structures to remain steadfast and provide the right sort of support for growth.

Now you know what makes your current business tick and the building blocks for ANY new business, it’s up to you to act on the information.

If you create a new business or five, hold this thought in your mind… “in war success has never come to those who fought on more than three fronts” (go on prove me wrong…) it’s said this was Hitlers downfall in the end. So how will you as a business owner develop more businesses without this happening.

Firstly you will be mindful of it, secondly you will probably recognise that each business will not be run by you, you simply provide the ‘right structure and resources’ then step back and advise on ways to tweak the enterprise to generate greater success.

Go on, give it a go, if things go well through great planning you will end up with a site of businesses making good profits you will be able to share around with others, therefore creating more positive abundance in the world.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Your Brilliant Business

Your brilliant business is caused by people doing more of the right things – Thinking – Adding value – Loving what they do – Taking initiative – Exploring options and providing great service to name a few.

Well that’s my view.

Image courtesy of Stock Images http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Image courtesy of Stock Images http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

We could spend ages debating the issue, what a brilliant business is, how it’s measured and the results it provides. But I want to focus on the ethereal things which caused it to be a brilliant business. The initial points I put up are a big part of that.

Let’s go back to the start, your business started with an idea, you could see what you wanted, probably saw yourself running it, and could proabaly see how things would turn out. In your minds eye you saw a plan of action coming to reality and all the key pointers I started this article with are what bought the dream to reality.

It was you in the beginning who put in the effort, you did the thinking, the planning, took initiative, explored options and provided great service to ensure prospects and customers would come back for more.

The next step in your business was a big one, you took on staff, partners and or associates who could see what you saw, felt what you felt and heard the positive accolades for the products and service you provided for customers. You managed to  encourage your ‘team’, they got motivated, excited and became driven to follow in your footsteps.

The results spoke for themselves, happy customers, great products and services and the bottom line reflects the top level positive work everyone puts in.

There it is, your brilliant business, brilliantly utilising your ‘soft resources’ to ensure the ‘hard resources’, products and services, are in the right place at the right time for your ideal prospects and customers.

Sadly all of this is not a common occurrence, in fact it’s a rare situation, in a world where hope, excitement and the ‘thrill of the chase’ has been eclipsed by businesses which start up and fade, some fast, some slow.

All of the main points mentioned and so much more information is available to those who want to ensure their ‘business idea’ is given the best chance of survival in the ‘formative part of the business process’ and thriving in the maturing part of the process, yet too many fail fast.

All that was required was the right sort of research, a solid plan of action and the ability to cause people to follow your brilliant lead. Alas too many businesses do not have that and what could be a great start soon becomes millstone.

Let’s ask then, what sort of business do you want to have? One with brilliant prospects and outcomes or one doomed to failing fast? Now ask what will you do to make sure it’s not the latter!

Regards

Steve Gray

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Innovation how does it work?

Some recent findings on innovation by Dr Ralph Kerle raised a few questions about the state of innovation in business. Let’s take a look at what he found after running a workshop with world leading organisations His workshop was titled Understanding the Discipline of Innovation in Organizations

Four interesting findings about innovation emerged from his workshop.

  1. Most large organizations have or have had innovation processes in the form of idea programmes in place. They work to varying degrees, none appear highly successful.
  2. Most organizational innovation produces isolated successes, yet does not sustain organizationally over long periods. I used a case study with a 6 year life cycle and that represented a lengthy period according to the participants.
  3. None of the innovation programmes discussed had benchmarking or on-going measurement associated with them enabling decision makers to value organizational innovation. Once the innovation had been implemented, it was regarded simply as a part of the business regardless of its impact. As a result, it appears decision makers in organizations are not able to meaningfully assess over time the value of innovation programmes or processes.
  4. Whilst innovation programmes might be considered part of an organization’s core values. if they don’t have senior leadership driving them in a coherent and disciplined manner, they have little chance of being considered truly strategic and are likely to die if there is a change in leadership.

Dr.Ralph Kerle

 

Let’s start with what innovation is, it’s either a quantum leap or incremental process, either way it’s about finding ways forward to produce an organisation which can function more effectively.

The big thing, it’s often about using creative thinking processes to spark the change, however most business processes follow logic and are not often linked to creativity even though they look to innovation for a “way forward”.

There’s the challenge, to take a logical organism (business) and marry it with creative thinking (ideas and processes which may have only a few logical processes as part of them). Especially if there are few examples of creativity making big inroads into business development. (Some would argue market leaders like apple computers fly against this).

 

Some thoughts

  • Use innovation
  • Value innovation
  • Push to innovate
  • Explore it!
  • The board should be creative junkies
  • The board should be implementing it at every level
  • The team don’t get it because they are following the lead (fail on creativity guys)
  • Forget JUST innovation go for creativity and see what happens (does it lead to innovation, usually yes).
  • Measurement, take a look at the bottom line, are there more dollars, is there greater retention of staff (therefore some reduced costs), are staff happier? You get the idea make a big list and see if the creative invasion has made a difference
  • Ask your team to brainstorm the difference innovation and creative approaches might make, then measure that
  • Does your organisation have a culture which can handle creative approaches, if not why not and how might you alter that?
  • How does the main team get to value creativity and innovation?
  • Do your team say “Oh no another silly thingy we have to deal with from ‘upstairs’” or do they look on with interest.
  • Plan do check act – try – do check act plan…
  • Improvise adapt overcome – try – adapt overcome improvise…
  • Replace “They won’t go for that” with “Go for that it might just make a BIG difference”
  • Replace “do it now” thinking with “do it yesterday?”
  • Think save the world with our actions because we can, via innovation
  • Think… explore… create… and or ANY combination of those
  • Ask, is the ball rolling effectively or are there any obstacles in it’s way? Now innovate that for results. BIG results
  • Pose creative questions at all levels, all the time
  • Ask for creative responses to challenges (you shouldn’t have to after a while)
  • Ask, what creative process do I not know about that we can use now…
  • Hire for creativity first skills, passion and abilities second…
  • Hire based strongly on “What creative or innovative thing propelled you in your last role?” (even if they are applying for a menial role)

Enough, either see the road blocks or create the road ahead, make it a golden one with all the trimmings thanks.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Rushing headlong to “who knows where”.

Lately I have had a few reminders of what I am about to chat about. It’s a bit unnerving when people ask “When are you planning to retire?” and I answer with “I’ll never retire, I like work too much!” that covers the fact I probably won’t be able to retire financially. But I guess it makes light of a serious subject and one I have to try hard not to think about too much.

Like a lot of people I didn’t worry much about retirement, putting cash away and anyway I keep hearing stories of people losing money overnight on the stock market and their portfolio value plummets again…

The reminder for this post, listening to people in business chatter away about how things have gone, what they will do when the time comes to retire, how they might sell their asset and in one case a lady who had sold her business, watched it fade fast into obscurity so she bought it back and is building it up again.

So what will you do, sell the business, put a Manager in to run it, expand it, resize it etc? All with the aim of having a nest egg to retire on.

If you do sell, will what you have the cash ‘invested’ in provide for your needs in retirement? How much will you need?

If you build up the business and put in a Manager how will that work out? Will the amount you need to take out hurt the business? Will it be run as you set it up or better? Will things fall in a heap and you need to rescue it… will you want to rescue it!

Lots of great questions in need of great answers. Hopefully your Accountant can set you straight, or at worst your own figures will project a rosy future for you. Lets face it, in the current economic situation there is little to smile about when the notion of retirement looms large in our thoughts. Unless of course you have an asset which keeps on giving.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Retail therapy…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles freedigital photos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles freedigital photos.net

As we come into winter in Australia there are going to be plenty of businesses finding their retail stores are not full of people and hope they can make it through the leaner times with the profits they (hopefully) made during the peak summer months.

On many occasions I have spoken to retailers who say “Oh well what can you do, it gets quieter and you hope for the best, you get on the phone and have a chat to friends, get the juniors to clean up a bit and even open a bit later.”

I have seen many retailers in shopping strips sitting waiting and hoping… some survive some fade away.

How do you get around this issue and ensure your business can make it through tough times and perhaps thrive even though the temperature outside is telling you this really is “the winter of our discontent”.

Add to and ‘milk’ your database – If your business is interesting and has had customers come to your store for those one of a kind items you are known for, then you probably have a database of interested persons. If not then start building one! Make contact and start inviting them in for a fantastic shopping experience. Email and snail mail them AT LEAST 4 times a year (although you can readily do more with Email). Add a subscription service to your website, blog and online store then do everything you can to get people signed up and steadily build your numbers.

Shopping experience – You have a shop… what’s the ‘experience’ like… Do people love your service, your personality, the extras you add on, the items you sell? Or do they just come in because they have to and hate every minute of it. My view… Go for a stunning experience. Figure out how to do that with some brainstorming, internet research and KICK BUTT! – BRILLIANT service should be the first step, great displays, fast transactions, wonderful Staff, acknowledge all people who enter the store with a solid heart felt “Hello!”

Use your time – When it’s quiet in the store, develop your marketing plan and act on it. Devise a HEAP of ways to contact your database, build your database and keep them coming back for as little cost as you can. Email and facebook pages are one way, tweaking your informative and engaging website is another, adding to your web blog is yet another. Oh and here’s a critical one… do not vacuum the floor when people are in the store or anywhere near the store and see you  (or any staff) doing it, I hate it with a vengeance and will avoid the store at all costs (the noise is one thing, the tripping hazard of the cord is another and it’s just plain poor form!)

Get Excited! – If you are running a boring ‘old fart store’ with little life, a gruff disposition and a cold shoulder, prospects will find it hard to want to become customers, let alone repeat shoppers (clients). The more you can add excitement to cause people to want to shop in your store, more the more value you can get from them.

Cause people to take action – Ok so it’s quieter at certain times of the day. Can you run an event (an in-store demonstration or special display) or sponsor a catch up for a small group. Or perhaps you offer great package options you can make happen only at special times, to cause people to come in and stay there for a while. Or what about an in store treasure hunt… each day you could give people clues about where to find the treasure, perhaps online.

Give simple and effective reminders – Promo products can do this, drop a printed pen into their bag of purchases, give then an imprinted gift for purchases over $x. Chat to your friendly branding expert to get more ideas and ways to engage them more often. Add business cards in the bags each time (about 3 each time) people soon keep them for friends if the service is sensational and the experience and products are good.

Create an online shop – People like to buy, so sell to them in a way which fits for them, at home, anywhere in the world! Make it an easy to navigate online shop with Pay Pal as the payment device. And put on those things people can’t really get anywhere else. Avoid discounting the prices, buying is buying! then promote it on your FB page, twit about it, email people overseas and interstate (try to keep your locals shopping LIVE… They will find the online shop soon enough! are there other online or local shops you can connect with? Perhaps they can link to your shop too, you could have a whole community of connected businesses all working together feeding each other leads.

Get out there! – Sitting in your shop will cause  you to go nuts. Get you and your staff out in front and hand out goodies to prospective customers, give business cards,  chocolates “With the compliments of shop X”, a flier, an invitation to an event. (You can have them excited before they even enter the store!)

All of these tips are simply about loving people so they can love you back, and if you love your staff they will love you and the customers, Go on explore ways to give UNCONDITIONAL love to everyone you come into contact with. I think in an ideal world you could get so busy you would have to hire someone to keep this list of innovative connection options happening, as you could be too busy manning the till! Now that would be nice…

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Creative marketing for 2011, will your business win this year?

Its a tough time to be in business, GFC might be over to a degree, but buyers are holding back on spending, the following ideas are sure to get your friendly branding expert chatting and I am sure you will find ways to connect better with existing customers and excite new ones in the process.

Content creation on your website etc is one thing, but getting your target to see it is another. here are a few ways to explore a few pieces of the puzzle and develop a few answers. If nothing else this should be a spring board for your people to come up with some new options, share those in the comments!

  • Build digital communities people want to go to and stay at…. Give them reasons to stay, a gift, a prize and offer, an alliance, a chance to get tokens to build towards a bigger gift. along the way, they get your message.
  • Word Of Mouth as a way to get people to check out your social media information, blogs etc… so make a  you tube video of some people telling each other about your service. Imagine an office where two people are filmed by an apparently “sneaky camera” they talk about some of the benefits of using your biz, they say the biz name poorly at first (so you can’t quite hear it) then it gets clearer over time. have an anonymous you tube acct so it’s not your biz acct, then as they walk off the camera sneaks up and your biz card features on a desk..
  • Hand out your branded gear in an area where you are more likely to get to the sorts of companies which might use your services. Chat to your friendly branding expert for ideas and options.
  • Link a series of approaches together, your linked in group, with your face book page, with your blog, with your website, with your email’s and links on faxes out and adverts with QR codes to a starting point on your website.
  • Have fun doing suitable “stunts” and get media attention which features your website, a “mob event” for example try a creative dance group for some ideas.
  • Provide a suitable enticement via a promotion to get people to head over to your blog and sign up… If they are your target market then great! if not just give them the thing and move on… its a number game.
  • Create a PDF of value to your target market, they can only get after signing up to your blog. advertise it on  your facebook page and linked in group, while twittering about it a few times.
  • Create self qualifying adverts, “When you want what we have go here…” then lead them to your website and give them a reward for doing so.
  • Fortune cookies with a pr code in it to link to a specific page on your website.
  • Create a you tube video with your website featured in it, make it interesting, like have a home movie, or show  a calm and beautiful scene of rolling waves make it short and to the point, heck make a bunch of them, then send links to them via your email list, of course the videos have your website details across the bottom.
  • Load your autoresponder email outs with great tips, hints, ideas and links to your various resources. keep adding to it with brilliant information so they want to stay subscribed.
  • Develop strategic digital partnerships with others who can link to your target market, this way you can get more leverage and be seen as a go to person for resources and ideas.
  • Repetition, repetition,REPETITION!, some things just don’t change! Your adverts need to be seen by people multiple times to be effective… So will it be a branded product, a link to your site, PR codes (more linking…) emails to your targets or all of them! yep do the lot, one of them will be the one which connects!

More ideas you want to share? Use the comments section in the  header for this post to let us know..

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

error: Content is protected !!