Tag Archives: ideas

The ideas manifesto. What makes a good idea? #1

April 18th, 2010

What makes a good idea?

Simple.  It’s not complex.  It’s easy to build and execute.  If I was to make it out of lego it would probably only involve two or three parts.  When it’s lego technics… probably too far.

It’s been done before.  Maybe not in the same context.  But the same framework.  Calcium enriched Milk.  Calcium enriched Yoghurt.  Framework taking an increasingly perceived commodity and providing a value add.  What is that value add? Whatever the consumer will pay.

It won last time.  Or you know why it failed last time.

Someones already doing it, and you can do a million times better at a bigger margin.

Your idea is expensive. Expensive in time, money, commitment or attention.

You haven’t coated a simple idea with three or four layers of complexity (like an onion).  When you bite into it, it’s sour, take the layers away expose the core idea.  If it’s too weak it’s not good enough.

Like the onion example, compromise isn’t your friend.  The more compromise the more boring and average it is.  Take out the added widget, stick to the core idea without compromise.

Make sure someones already buying it.  Whether it’s a replacement technology OR they’re demonstrating behaviour which proves the pain.  Unless you have a global platform to launch on like Steve Jobs, it’s dam hard to create totally new behaviour.

Profit from day one or very very early on.  Sales speak louder than any pitch, don’t forget the dollars.

What makes an idea worth sharing?

March 1st, 2010

What makes an idea worth sharing? The fact that you’re asking the question.

Collect -> Expose -> Spread

January 28th, 2010

These were the three words I jotted down in forming the basis of a new strategy.

Sounds super simple and relatively easy to execute.

The problem is whilst easy to understand the devils in the details.

What are we collecting? How do we collect? What do we expose? What’s the story? How do we get it to spread? What mechanisms are there?….

You can use a simple phrase to sell something.  Inevitably though you need to back it up with the execution of the details – and that is exactly where people tend to fall down.

Remember the details.

Recession Busting Business Tactics for 2010

January 14th, 2010

So we had a bit of a bumpy road in 2009, here’s 25 recession busting tactics to help you break through in 2010.

  1. Start a side business. In addition to your job look at supplementing your income by starting a hobby business that can add a few dollars here or there.
  2. Create a job! Maybe hire the next door neighbour to do your lawns, or someone to do your cleaning. If you have some spare cash, why not improve your life a little and help out your community.
  3. Invest locally! Sure leaving money in the bank is fine and dandy but it’s not helping out as much as it could be. Use a portion of it to invest in local business – maybe even form a micro loan club to help support local entrepreneurs.
  4. Volunteer. Volunteers contribute hugely to the nation as a whole and have taken a heavy hit in the last 18 months. Get back on the bandwagon and support a local charity; lend a hand, have some fun, it’ll probably be the most rewarding experience you can have.
  5. Educate! You know something – share it with the world or teach it to others.
  6. Connect. Business is all driven by connections, actively take stock of your connections and see where you can make some introductions that could stimulate business or potential partnerships.
  7. Seek for global business opportunities and pair them with local business.
  8. Unleash the online world to your business. Whether it’s creating attention, developing business or engaging with customers digital engagement is here to stay.
  9. Grow your business, chop it up, reinvent it make it much more streamlined. Look at squeezing efficiencies out of it to maximise profitability.
  10. Get not one but several mentors. Leverage others experience to avoid pitfalls.
  11. Mentor someone else. Lend a hand to people that can use your skills.
  12. Actively outsource & automate the parts of your business that need it. We all know we need to develop the systems & processes that empower the growth of our business. What better time to do it (on the cusp of a recovery).
  13. Write & share with the world your experiences. Start a blog (like #5 Educate) unlock your knowledge for others benefits. You never know what may happen or who will read it.
  14. Invest in yourself, learn some new skills, take an extra course. Identify skill gaps you have and how to fill them.
  15. Take time off! Time to rest/rejuvenate is just as important as the doing.
  16. Increase productivity with online tools. Read David Allens Getting Things Done – implement this in your personal and business worlds. Better productivity helps everyone.
  17. Set aside review & reflection time (blogging is a great way to do this).
  18. Read books. Books are the best investment, they give you some downtime AND present you with new ideas that can dramatically change your business. All $20! #Best investment.
  19. Explore franchising or partnerships. How can you strategically expand your companies reach with little capital outlay.
  20. Test the waters. Now’s the time to try out those new products and services that have been sitting in the closet. Give them a try.
  21. Invest in Adwords. Capture motivated leads in an automated fashion – hard to beat.
  22. Networking – get yourself out there active in the market place. When things get busy you want to the guy (or gal) they call straight away.
  23. Map out your reach into market, how do you market your company? What does that look like? And how can you improve it?
  24. Buy an iPhone. Why? It will pretty much allow you to make your business mobile instantly. Whatever you want chances are it can do it OR someone can develop it for you.
  25. Telecommute. Work from home one day a week and encourage your staff to do so as well. This lowers costs, can boost morale and productivity.

It’s the compounding effect of small changes that break the biggest barriers so pick one, knock it, pick another.  Go for it!

(Add your own in the comments below).

12 Hour Startup: Creating significant change

November 12th, 2009


I was quite a curious kid, always asking questions, the ever curious question of WHY?  My first job was classic of this, it was assisting the local fire wood producer, chop up and distribute firewood.

My boss was an aging man, putting in the last few years before retirement, and it was his little one man band.  Our first job was to go out and collect the firewood, he would use the chainsaw to cut trees brought down by flooding.  Firstly he would cut the trees into rounds, my job was to then grab the rounds, put them in a pile.

We would then split the rounds in half, load them on the back of the flatbed truck and take them back to his wood yard.  Back at the yard, unload all the wood, put it in a pile.   The next step was to cut the wood with a log splitter, stack in another pile.

Finally we were ready for orders! Orders were by the cubic metre, and so a certain amount of barrow loads was a cubic metre.  We would then load the truck up an order at a time and deliver it.

It took me all of one day to speak up and go, hang on we are double, triple handling this wood.  Why don’t we split the back of the flatdeck truck in half, then into little stalls, the horizontal sides of the stall being such we could pull them out.

Then we could cut the firewood, split it on location, throw it into the stalls (which could be measured out on a cubic metre basis) then deliver straight to the customer.  We could save sooo much time.  “No Ben, this is the way I do it”.

This frustrated me to no end, but hey I got $10 for a mornings work and that bought me basketball cards.  I hung in there annoyed at partaking in such an inefficient process, as soon as the opportunity came up I quit my job and moved on.

What I rapidly learned was the concept of idea development, failing fast, modifying and moving on.  It’s no big secret, smart people understand it and embrace it.  Fail fast.  However whilst there is understanding – we fall short of having a mechanism for it.

That’s what the 12 Hour Startup (my first idea in The Best Ideas are Free) is about – formalising a mechanism that allows for remarkable ideas to be shared, tested, proven and ultimately to create significant change.

The reality gap between an idea and implementation

October 26th, 2009

The reality gap is huge.

In writing my previous post, From living a nightmare to living the dream, when you look at the steps.  They read quite easily, simple basic steps to implement.  And they are.

Often [with an idea] you find the problems and solutions to overcome the barriers to implementation – however the timing between each step can be vast.

They all involve steps from A to B.  The problem can be the this huge gap – the void in between these steps.

What you have to realise is that whilst it has taken someone else 3 months to conquer it, it may take you much longer, or even shorter.

In reviewing often I find I struggle majorly with a few crucial steps, then blitz through others.  Talking to others you find that they struggle with different steps.

This isn’t really groundbreaking but is more a tap on the shoulder to say, hey, don’t stress, these things take time…

An idea alone isn't a business

September 13th, 2009

I just want to clarify (since I share ideas each and every day) an idea alone isn’t a business.

A business is a collection of ideas, executed in a fashion that generates profit.

An amazing idea helps a business spread, it forms the messages, builds the word of mouth but it is the collection of ideas and systems executed that make the business.  In essence an amazing idea provides a wave for the business to ride but that wave is short lived unless you have something behind it…

You need to take your amazing idea and mix it up with some others (usually standardised ideas) to turn it into a business.  Then you have something of amazing value.

Just Ask (for what you want)

August 2nd, 2009

You never know you may just get it.

I am the eldest of five kids, so in our household it was very much first in first served, if you wanted something you had to ask for it.

The analogy draws true for business, you are one of many, first in first served, if you don’t ask someone else will.

You’d be surprised at what happens just by asking, hey can I buy you a coffee? I have some neat ideas I’d like to run past you? or blatant I’d like your business what can I do to get it? Worst case you get a ‘no’.  Best case you get what you want.

So remember sometimes all you have to do is ask.

The Listening Assumption

July 28th, 2009

Just because you’re talking doesn’t mean I’m listening.

It’s easy to make the assumption that people are.

Question it.

Go back and check, is your market really listening? Or just brushing you aside?

Get it started!

July 26th, 2009

Like fridays post – it has been said before…. but if you have an idea sitting in the back of your mind, irritating you – get it started!

What are the next steps? Write them down and TAKE THEM

Why am I bringing this up today? Well this week marks another huge week for me:

  • Shipping my pre-orders of the The Best Ideas are Free.
  • Wrapping up videos for the book (huge undertaking).
  • Speaking on marketing (Topic: Why marketing just got small….real small) this friday (should have a video to share from it).
  • Getting someone onboard part time to assist with some of my marketing activities.

If I hadn’t chased ideas and put them into action none of this would be happening, now, today.

Quantifying Word of Mouth

May 25th, 2009

Easy – remember the adage that 64 people hear about a bad experience.

If you can go to the exact opposite emotive state but through a positive experience.  You are going to cut through the clutter to the same amount of people.

An example would be the Burger King Flame, $3.99 for a Whopper smelling perfume.  Sold out instantly.  Remarkable enough to cut the clutter.

So remember this, you are looking to leverage word of mouth to get this spread.  Each and every person has the potential to spread it indirectly to 64 people.  Now that’s why word of mouth can spread like fire.

Viral Momentum

March 30th, 2009

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.

bwagy marketing manifesto

March 19th, 2009

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.

Lead Generation

February 26th, 2009

We all need leads.

Qualified prospects whom we can do business with.

Consumers also need leads, leads to valuable, reputable and passionate companies.

The question is how can you put yourself within this wedge and help both parties.

If you have an answer to that in your niche chances are you have a business in the waiting.

Start a Blog Today

February 1st, 2009

Taking Monday off for a little R & R I listened to a few podcasts, one of which was Duct Tape Marketing  Podcast talking to Seth Godin which gave me inspiration for this Monday Ideas Post.

Discussing blogging, Seth had this to say:

“Start a blog even if no one reads it, and this is what people are missing on this whole blogging thing, there are people that are saying its too late, no ones goind to read my blog, Im afraid of writing.

My argument is if you force write yourself to one cogent, intelligent thing every single day that may or may not be written by the public, it will change you, it will make you more analytical, it will make you smarter, it will make you kinder, it will make you more transparent, because you will notice things all day long looking for something to write about next, you will understand the underpinnings of systems, you will be able to see what people are afraid of, because you know your going to write about it, and its hard for me to imagine me to imagine someone who is so busy that they don’t have eight minutes everyday to get those benefits.”

Start a Blog TODAY! 

Seth describes almost definitively what I have experienced since starting this blog so I can doubly vouch for the quote.

So go ahead, start it, see what happens.  I dare you to do so and come back in 6 months and say its hasn’t been for the best.

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