Roy's Blog: Entrepreneurs

April 23, 2018

Spectacular new ideas have a strong social purpose

The entrepreneur’s dream is to launch THE new product idea that will “change the world”.

Aspirations, however, must be tempered by the reality that less than half of startups survive five years — the kill rate is high.

At the heart of whether or not the entrepreneur survives is the nature of the idea itself, the problem it solves and how it compares to other ideas and solutions in the market.

Successful new ideas must serve a compelling purpose and be different

The success of a new idea starts with the purpose it serves and ends with it’s uniqueness . The mind blowing new idea has to serve a relevant, compelling, easily understandable purpose and it needs to be different from competitive alternatives.

And, on the other hand, a new idea that is simply different won’t necessarily be a winner if it doesn’t easily resonate with people as having huge benefits that could be realized by many people.

There are two bookends that describe new ideas: one is an idea that addresses a narrow specific need. These tend to be innovations targeted at a small specific application. Go to the App Store to see some examples — different types of keyboards, music apps, photo apps and a plethora of others targeted at niche demand.

At the other end of the spectrum is an idea that addresses a broad purpose and is often driven by societal problems.

Ebrake

eBrake is an example of a new idea that is a unique solution to the distracted driving problem where drivers use their mobile devices to text, email, watch videos, post on social media and engage with practically every other app that takes their mind off the road.

Both niche and broad spectrum new ideas are valid, but eBrake is likely to outperform the more micro specialized solutions for these reasons.

Distracted driving kills people

It addresses a broad compelling need. It’s common knowledge that distracted driving causes more traffic accidents and deaths than any other cause. Worldwide media are constantly reporting on the problem and what governments are doing to solve it. Social media as well keeps the topic alive.

eBrake talks to many people

It resonates with multiple market segments; it’s a special solution for many types of applications.
eBrake’s flexibility to deal with many segments needing a distracted driving solution is appealing, whether you are a parent concerned about your new driver or an organization with a substantial fleet operation.

A 10 year old could explain it

It’s easy to explain. Everyone knows what the distracted driving problem is all about and how the problem can be solved by locking out the driver’s phone while they are driving. eBrake does this while allowing passengers the use of their phones.
In less than a minute eBrake can be explained in simple terms that people understand and, what’s even more important, they can explain it to their friends and family in the same way.

EBrake only

It’s the only real distracted driving solution

It’s the only solution that does what it does. There is no other solution that does what eBrake does.
In fact eBrake is the only REAL solution to distracted driving because, unlike other solutions in the market, the app can’t be turned off by the driver. People get that if the driver can turn the app off, it provides no solution at all as the driver can simply text away to their heart’s content.

New niche oriented ideas that can be clearly differentiated from a competitive product can be successful but the energy and resources to turn them into profitable businesses is significant. And the investment required could exceed the time one has available to “stay alive”.

Find an idea with HUGE social appeal

In these cases the key to success is not simply being different; rather it’s about simplicity of the value proposition and the social narrative it serves.

Better to find an idea that has HUGE social appeal — large potential market available — and can be explained by a 10 year old.
And one where the cool technology isn’t relied on to sell it; rather the technology merely sits in the background doing what it should do — making the new idea work.

Serve a compelling social need in a way that is different than any other solution and you will indeed have a big idea that could — but not guarantee — win you the lottery.

But it has a better chance than a new niche idea that may be cool but doesn’t have the emotional appeal and potential critical mass to attract massive interest.

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 4.23.18 at 04:07 am by Roy Osing
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March 5, 2018

Why do people on the frontline make you successful?


Fast forward — because successful strategies involve doing stuff for people WITH people (technology can support, but will never be the complete solution).

Ok. Now the narrative.

Every organization is looking for the ingredient that will give them a competitive advantage; make them standout among their competitors.

Frontline defenders

In my experience most organizations turn to what the prevailing strategy development theory says, which often promulgates these types of ways to outpace “the bad guys”:
— introduce a disruptive technology
— achieve cost leadership
— lead in product or service quality
— differentiate products or services
— form an alliance with another company
— leadership in new product development
— expand markets
— offer low prices
— achieve economies of scale and scope
— focus on a product or market sector

These are all valid ways of looking at competitive advantage, but beating the competition in the long term isn’t about the brilliance of a strategy; it’s not about whether or not a strategic plan conforms to strategic planning methodology as espoused by the experts.

Competitive advantage is derived largely from not from WHAT you aspire to achieve but HOW you actually achieve it in the real world where organizations are challenged by unpredictability, uncertainly and constantly changing conditions.

If, for example, your strategic intent is to outdo the bad dudes by providing excellent service quality, your success will be determined by HOW you execute on this goal. Actions such as providing customer-friendly rules and policies, recruiting people who have an innate desire to serve others, empowering employees to make decisions in favour of a customer and compensating teams on the level of customer service provided will enable the service quality goal to be achieved.

Help desk

The common element to most of these tactics is people.

Successful strategies typically get executed on the frontline at “the coal face” between the customer and the company — the territory normally occupied by employees in sales, banking, coffee bistros, call centers, repair service centers, retail outlets and on receptionist desks. The people who control every customer moment of truth.

Frontline people live your brand. They invest their emotional energy to keep customers loyal.

It’s one thing to send prospective customers to your website to learn about new products and buy them; but it’s quite another to make the engagement process so enjoyable and painless that the new product flows off the shelf and continues to provide value to the customer over the life of their purchase.

The frontline fills a critical void in business today.

Organizations are morphing to an operations topology devoid of humans. Online research, purchase, chat and warranty claim tasks are more and more being performed by the customer themselves. And new self checkout technologies are being tested to further remove people from the cost equation and provide consumers more speed and convenience of DIY.

DIY

But even in the face of a migration to DIY, successful organizations keep a strong people element in their sales and service operations to simply be there to help a customer when they don’t get satisfaction from a technology face.
Let’s face it, precise and accurate algorithms for every customer need can’t be formulated so if a “backup” person isn’t there to deal with hiccups and follow up questions, the customer is not only pissed, they leave telling their friends and family how crummy your service is.

My experience is that the frontline is rarely viewed as a critical element of strategy.

The focus and attention always seems to be on the brilliance and cleverness of the grand plan and the importance of execution is given second shrift and is taken for granted.
In fact most organizations assume that the people piece will naturally understand what needs to be done (rarely happens without the leader’s translation of what it means to various functions) and will willingly devote themselves to executing it effectively (never happens without leadership convincing them of its importance and supporting them to get it done).

The frontline of any organization is THE key to a successful strategy and yet they “get no respect”.

Don’t be a member of the herd that doesn’t get it; honour them, help them and reap the rewards of long lasting competitive advantage.

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 3.5.18 at 03:07 am by Roy Osing
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February 12, 2018

What to do when you are the new leader

As the new leader, the first 90 days is your “get ready” period when employee fears are assuaged, your values are declared and the picture of the journey you intend to take the organization on is painted for everyone.

It’s a vital time for you to get traction.

Here are some waypoints to guide you.

Be seen.

Your office time should be no more than 25-30% of the time you have available. Employee expectations of you are high; they will have trepidations of how well you will fulfill your role.
You have to be on stage; you need to make an appearance. You don’t have to be perfect and have it all figured out. Just show up; be forthright and honest.

Be seen

Spend a disproportionate amount of time with the frontline.

They are the experts on customer service issues, product defects, broken brand promises and systems problems that prevent customers from being delighted with the organization.
Their feedback should guide you in the priorities you set.

Hold as many employee communications sessions as you are able.

Make it a HUGE priority. Have a conversation about your leadership plan for the organization.
Get feedback; listen and take notes.
“Fingerprint” the values you hold sacred; leave no doubt in anyone’s mind who you are and what you stand for.

Go it alone.

This is 90 days in the trenches to reach your own conclusions, not conducting state visits. Leave your entourage with their biases at home. You can’t afford to have them around you.
Empower people to tell you the way it is without existing management being an influencing factor.

Audit

Conduct your own informal audit on how your strategy is being executed.

Review the current strategic plan of the organization and conduct your own informal audit on how effectively it is being executed in the field.
Where are the weaknesses? Where is performance lacking? Your leadership will be judged on how well you advance the strategic intent of the organization, so get data that will point you in the right direction.

Analyze how top line revenue is trending.

Revenue is a market indicator of how customers value your products and services. Revenue trends tell whether you are growing or declining in customer relevance.
Take the analysis to a detailed level in order to have a firm understanding of opportunities and vulnerabilities.

At the end of the 90-day period, announce your intention to formally review the current strategic game plan of the organization.

Base your decision on the feedback you have received from employees and other performance diagnostics you uncovered. Make the review theme a response to what you’ve learned during the 90 days and employee feedback; the challenges THEY have expressed.

As the new leader you will never get your first 90 days back.

Make them count.

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 2.12.18 at 02:56 am by Roy Osing
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February 10, 2018

How to create a website that stands out — guest post

There are more than 1 billion websites on the internet, according to Business 2 Community. That’s right. One. Billion. Because of all the noise out there, the chances of someone randomly finding your organization’s site is very, very low, which means you need to stand out. Here’s how:

Develop Your Branding

You know what the “C” in Coca-Cola or the “G” in Google look like without seeing the rest of the world. You also know the red and white bullseye of Target and the four-colored window of Microsoft. These companies have nailed their branding guidelines to the point that there is no mistaking who they are.

This is what you should aim for with your company’s branding as well. When you’re developing your website, make sure to stick to your specific business colors, logo, wording, imagery, voice, and tone. Your customers should immediately recognize your website as an extension of your business — no ifs, ands, or buts.

Break out

Break out of the Standard Layout

The two- and three-column webpage design is so been there, done that. If you want your website to stand out, you need to break out of this standard layout. Create a look that is unique to your business and suits the content you want to display. For example, if you’re mostly text based, try breaking it up in new ways with textboxes, bullets, numbers, or infographics. If you’re more image based, move your photos, videos, and animation around to create different types of collages, orders, columns, and rows.

You don’t have to teach yourself code to do this, though, so don’t stress. You can still take advantage of easy-to-use tools, like those listed on Best10WebsiteBuilders, to drag and drop, input text, and create the site you’re imagining.

Make Your Own Images

You will not and cannot stand out from the crowd with stock photos. Period. Hire a photographer for the day to take photos of your business, including candids of your employees, and post them to your site.

Make your own videos to post on your website and social media to help your customers get to know you better. You should show off your personality, beliefs, and values through your imagery — and stock photos just can’t do that.

Unique content

Create Unique Content

Just like your images, your content needs to speak to who you are as an organization. Don’t be afraid to find your own style, voice, tone, and wording in your content. Be creative when it comes to the type of content you publish (it doesn’t just have to be blog articles). Every word should help tell your story, so don’t waste it with blase content.

Your website should be just as unique as your company. Show your customers (and potential customers) who you are and what you stand for. Dare to stand out and be different because that’s what it’s all about.

Cherie Wicks is a content provider for Best10WebsiteBuilders

  • Posted 2.10.18 at 02:13 am by Roy Osing
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