Archive for the 'Blog' Category

Entrepreneurship is Marketing

Ok stay with me for a minute.

Marketing traditionally has meant to you, putting some advertising out, get your message in front of enough people, you convert a few to sales.  The return used to be enough to justify it.

However in a market where people are counting their pennies, you just aren’t getting the same return you used to.

Now organisations are going hey time to try something new.

Word of Mouth is on the tip of everyones tongue.

How do you stimulate word of mouth? Through action.  Actions that are worth talking about.  

Right so we have gone from advertising to action in all of 30 seconds.

Now how can you stimulate action? Through entrepreneurship.

Stimulate entrepreneurial traits in your employees, to try something new, perhaps it will make you a few more dollars but also send a message to the market.

Innovation, sales & marketing? Entrepreneurship is marketing. (And always has been).

March 31st, 2009

Viral Momentum

Viral activities are a dime a dozen.  Everyone giving it a go.  And that is great because they longer they keep at it the better they will get.

Often you will see a somewhat lame initiative go viral, or at least succeed in your perspective, you think hey i had a better idea.

But guess what?

They have much more momentum.  When Nike or Skittles does something cool, it is more likely to spread due to their momentum.

If I announce a project it has a higher chance of spreading than a blogger just starting out even if it is the same initiative.

Viral success = Momentum + Remarkability

If you don’t have momentum you need to really push the remarkability side.  You need to be doubly, triply, quadruply remarkable.

So don’t be disheartened if you haven’t had success the first time, keep giving it a go and remember the formula.

March 30th, 2009

Establishing Filters

Filters can come in the form of networks, relationships, applications, physical filters.

  • TechCrunch is a filter of tech news, in amongst all the news, they filter the good stuff out.
  • Our Twitter networks are our own filter, filter of timely and relevant conversations to us.
  • Traditionally Newspapers & the evening news have been filters.
  • Seth Godins Triiibes is a filter in itself, a private group of people with a common interest.
  • Google Alerts setup for your niche, emails you when stories appear of interest.

How can you develop a filter for your passion? or your industry?

By providing a filter you create a barrier between the signal and the noise.  You will be rewarded for that.

Maybe even you are the filter? 

Have a think about it, create one if necessary, the best thing about it? You are helping others, of which you can build a business out of, or just build your own brand.

March 29th, 2009

Remarkable Content is like a drug

Why do people keep coming back for more on Twitter? Blogs? Podcasts?

It is like a drug, getting great content is like the mouse in the cocaine experiment, he can press a lever for a pellet of cocaine or sugar.  Inevitably he keeps pressing cocaine, as he likes the feeling.

I have absolutely no scientific proof but I suspect that is why once your in, your in.

You keep coming back to twitter for the great content & people you meet, the same with your favourite blogs they write in a fashion you understand, is relevant and what you demand.  Podcasts the same.

You keep chasing that experience….

March 26th, 2009

Risk is….

Risk is fun

Rick is rewarding

Risk is challenging

Risk is different

Risk is worth it

Risk is visionary

Risk is risky

Risk is the best dam thing I learned to do growing up.

March 26th, 2009

McGregors Pies

As a young boy McGregors Pies were famous (locally) for their mutton pies.

They were disgustingly unhealthy, you had to bite the side of it to drain out the fat, yuck.

But boy were they yummy.

Health aside, they still sold well, people would still stop in for a McGregors pie – even if it wasn’t the mutton pie.

You see that talking point was enough for them to stand out.

March 25th, 2009

It's all about permission

The world is full of interruptions, facebook, email, twitter, mobile, mail, tv.

They all rely on one thing that we give them.  Attention.

We can also take that away.

Attention is at the consumers disposal.  It always has been.  In the 21st century our attention is becoming increasingly scarce.

So you need to get permission.  Permission to send us a txt, permission to be in my twitter network, permission to send me an email.  

Guess what? I will only give you long term permission if you send me personalised and relevant experiences.

March 24th, 2009

I tip my hat to you all

I have great news to share the NzHerald approached me a while back to republish the blog a few times a week.

Today the first post went live! The 12 Hour Startup.

I just want to tip my hat to you all for your readership, your ideas, your support.  It wouldn’t have gotten this far without it.


March 23rd, 2009

A Kiva story to share

I wanted to share with you an update I got on my loan I made via Kiva to a group of Bolivians, they were creating a small group to reloan the funds to other entrepreneurs.

I got this update November 20th last year:

“This is an update on your loan to MARANATHA 2 Group in Bolivia. I visited Lucy and her next-door neighbor Felipa, both members of the Maranatha group, one Friday afternoon in Montero, a small city of 100,000 in eastern Bolivia. Lucy was at the market when we arrived, so we sat under the shade of her mango tree to enjoy some homegrown
tamarinds with her husband while we waited. Lucy soon returned with bags full of produce to cook the night’s dinner.

Lucy sells meals from her home in the evenings, and she used her Kiva loan of 4,000 bolivianos (US $557) to buy a refrigerator and some ingredients to make her specialties: tripe and pig’s stomach. She also sells chicha and somó, a
popular drink made with boiled corn, sugar, cinnamon and clove. Her cooking must have quite a reputation, because her customers come from near and far just to get their hands on a plate. Sales are good, she tells me, and she’s planning to stick with the group for its next loan cycle (its fifth).

The smell of freshly baked bread wafts into Lucy’s yard. I follow my nose next door, where Felipa and her granddaughters are hard at work baking today’s batch of bread. Felipa, like Lucy, is a founding member of the Maranatha group and has participated in all four if its loan cycles. She started her business selling donuts and pan de arroz (bread made with rice flour and mashed yucca). Then she started making regular bread, and today she sells
several varieties of rolls, some sweet and some savory. I can’t resist trying one of her piping hot rolls, which is rich, white and fluffy with a sugary topping—very delicious.

Felipa used her Kiva loan of 1,800 bolivianos (US$257) to buy flour, lard, cheese and other ingredients to make bread. She works seven days a week and sells about 230 bolivianos’ (US$33) worth of bread each day, earning 60 bolivianos (US$8) in profits. She says she enjoys working with the group, since the women all know one another very well and everyone is responsible and punctual. She has taken out individual loans before, she tells me, but prefers the
group loan because it doesn’t involve so much paperwork. Like Lucy, Felipa plans to continue working with Maranatha in future loan cycles. Out of curiosity, I ask Felipa what Maranatha means, and she shrugs and laughs—neither she nor her loan officer, Julio Cesar, can remember who thought up the name or why. “

This made my week! 

I printed it off, emailed to my friends and reread over and over.

Not only had I been to Bolivia to La Paz (near Montero) but the average income is $1,100 usd/year (Source: World Bank, 2006) and…

Felipa is now making about 350 days * $8 = $2800 a year! In a country where 40% of the population ~ 3.7 million people live in extreme poverty providing entrepreneurs with micro loans enables them to excel.  

What really really gets me excited is the flow on affects, Felipa can employee, invest, increase consumption thus reinvesting in the local economy.  

In developing countries income can flow through the economy many times in a year (adding up to potentially $10,000/year to the GDP).  

Most importantly micro loans provide capability to those willing to give it a go who in turn inspire others around them.   

Given not all Kiva loans have updates, the ones that do are worth it, and best yet I got all my money back! (reinvested in other loans).  If your still here and haven’t loaned, why not? Hop over to Kiva.

March 23rd, 2009

Information flows in a Knowledge Economy

I am a huge Kiva evangelist, enabling anybody anywhere to provide micro loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries.  The capital flows are very neat.

Imagine though getting knowledge flowing in a Kiva like system.

You match up entrepreneurs in developing countries with entrepreneurs in the western world.

For sure there are barriers such as language, technology use (at the other end), lack of context by information providers.

However these aside I think there is a real need.  The cross pollination would benefit both parties.

Imagine dedicating an hour a week to work with or chat with an entrepreneur on the other side of the world.  That would be a real dream.

Oh also it would enhance the catch up effect of developing countries.  Just a thought.

March 22nd, 2009

bwagy marketing manifesto

This is all about you, you are doing what you do, you know you can do better, but need some ideas that you can take the ball and run with.  

This is what I do all the time, it is second nature, it is automatic, so it’s my pleasure to share it with you.

(Note since this is possibly my longest post ever! I have got a pdf download so you can print it out)

  1. Fundamentally you need to realise (and always focus) it’s all about people.  People like you and me. Telling others and ourselves stories.  
  2. A good story enhances status, creates enjoyment, and benefits both the storyteller and the receiver.  It is not zero sum, a good story everyone benefits.
  3. Word of mouth is the best referral a consumer can get.  No really, the BEST!
  4. You are a storyteller, whether you want to be or not, in what you wear, how you speak, how you walk.  You are communicating to someone at some stage something.  (Stop and reread this).
  5. Forget about parasite marketing, sustainable businesses are built on building products that help the purchaser.  If you can help your clients enough to create a worthy story you have an endless chain of word of mouth.
  6. We have all heard, a bad experience results in 64 people hearing about it, a good experience leads to 8 hearing about it.  Sounds out of whack right? Wrong.  If I have a good experience with you I will repeat my purchase, if you keep looking after me, i will keep telling 8 people forever…. and everytime I make a purchase.  Marketing & Business is all about the long term.  If you can get a customer and keep them forever they will sell your products for you.  Easy.   Never forget this.  A good customer experience compounds over time.
  7. Expecting a sale on the first interaction is short sighted.  Consumers like to wooed, taken for a dance, candlelight dinner.  If you can expose them to your brand several times in different avenues you are more likely to build a satisfied customer.  Remember every exposure is an opportunity to help explain your value proposition.  (Now reread #6).
  8. Put yourself in your customers shoes, what am i gaining from this? what is the story i am telling myself? why am i motived to talk to others about your story? 
  9. If it doesn’t feel right it often isn’t.  If you are too ashamed to tell those around you what you do, or people you admire, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.
  10. People like you, people like the team behind your products, your loyal customers actually want to be their friends (although they realise they can’t) but utilise that.  Get your people to talk with customers, over the phone, twitter, blogs.  Expose the people behind the scenes.  The cross pollination between customers and staff is only going to benefit both parties.  Hint: it also creates a new ‘exclusive’ story for each of those loyal customers.
  11. You are always wrong, you just need to be less wrong than your competitors.
  12. Forget magic answers, they don’t exist, you know what you need to do.  So do it.  Obsess about customers, drive insane value, your marketing is sorted, now collect the cheques.
  13. Cut back, you don’t need 20 channels, cut back to what you do exceedingly well, then get better at it, being the absolute bleeding edge best is far more important than scrapping a few extra dollars.  You will doubt yourself, but hang in there.
  14. Bring the whole team together, encourage diversity, open discussions, new ideas, get them to take listening courses, involve them in strategic visions, they define your company to the outside world, so make sure they know what they are defining.
  15. Mass advertising builds subconscious brand recognition, but word of mouth demands a purchasing decision.
  16. Chase things that scare your organisation, chances are they scare your competitors too, that is signal enough that you at least need to explore it.
March 19th, 2009

Creating a space for ideas

The biggest let down with firms trying to innovate is that they do not create the space for innovation to occur.

What happens when staff have new ideas? Who do they pitch to? Do they know who they should pitch to?

More often than not the ideas get squashed, as they threaten someone else.

To create a culture of innovation, ideas need to be open, shared, spared and rewarded.

Create a space for it to happen, have a Monday Ideas Post, a 12 hour startup day, a huge whiteboard in the middle of headquarters (like Google).

Once you have created that void, people will fill it and surprisingly fast.

March 18th, 2009

Words of the new economy

Given the transitional environment at the moment I thought I would share the words of the new economy.

Obsess, obsession about your customers, how can i help them? how can i deliver insane value, how can i build their business?

Passion, what is my passion? am i fulfilling it? What are my employees passions and how can we utilise that? Do we have a team of passionate people?

Delicious, are your services delicious? are they the nicest in your category, if i was to eat your business would it be delicious?

Agility, we need to be leaner, fitter, agile in every sense.  Leveraging our resources to achieve results that we used to do with twice the resource base.

March 17th, 2009

Manufacturing & Outsourcing

Manufacturing has been predominantly shifting offshore for well over a decade.

We all know this.

Companies know this.

Yet we are still shocked when another company decides to go offshore.

People do lose jobs, which is a hard jolt, ultimately in the long run (in theory) they will fill positions that deliver higher value to the economy.

At the moment jobs are going to go offshore at an alarming rate and it’s not going to stop.  Why? Companies are set up to make a profit for their owners, until that changes, companies will explore the most profitable solutions.

That aside, what I want to touch on is being proactive.

If this has been a trend for so long, why haven’t governments set up proactive departments? That seek out manufacturers, help them go offshore but also help them upskill their workers and maximise the opportunities for them.

This would be the smartest move for all.

Why try and stop the inevitable, be proactive, everyone wins.

March 16th, 2009

Enable your best sales people

I am a fan of the cafe, constantly hold meetings there, nice atmosphere, food, drink.

A strong message at the moment I keep talking about is using your existing organisation to sell yourself.

Cafes are a great example of this, some staff are proactive can recommend something nice to eat, the daily special, maybe they can make you what you want.  Majority of them though, stand behind the food, dish it out, then process your payment.

The difference here is, some staff are sales people, taking initiative to help the business.  The latter are like cogs in a machine, follow the system, collect the paycheck.

I have good news, the latter can be trained! Give them some sales training, reward sales or increases in customer satisfaction.  Your employees know your products / services better than most, remind them that helping produce sales is a win/win for all.  

The same goes for clients & users.  All three should be your top sales channels.  They COULD be selling for you! but only if you help provide the tools for them to do so.

  1. Look at how you generate sales now.
  2. Then look at where you could be selling, give them a test.  

You’d be surprised at how effective alternative channels are.

March 15th, 2009

What are you doing all the way down here? You could:
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