Tag Archives: innovate

Think Inside the Box

think-inside-the-box

Think Inside the Box – Where is your Food Coming From?

Strolling the many beautiful aisles of BiG (Ben’s Independent Grocer) in Kuala Lumpur earlier in the year with an awesome Aussie food client I was suddenly struck by one product that jumped right off the shelf and slammed me in the face!  Amongst a sea of 50,000+ products (the average number of skus in a supermarket) and BiG is one of the best supermarkets I have ever visited and that’s quite a few in quite a few countries.

What captured my attention from One Degree Organic Foods was firstly a QR code front and centre of pack with a call to action to discover the ingredient story and what’s actually inside the box!  Funny you would think you could just read the ingredients panel for that information wouldn’t you?  You might also expect to see the usual blah blah blah statements that hide the truth on that same ingredient panel. Statements like “made from local and imported ingredients”, “sourced locally where possible”,…etc etc.  Not here, the family who own and operate One Degree Organic Foods are farmers themselves or as I like to call them farmpreneurs – the new breed of farmers who are entrepreneurs taking their value added brands and food products directly to consumers and baring their all in the name of authenticity and pride and passion!

We can not say it better than the owners so I will just quote what they say on their website: “We’re not a conglomerate, nor a big-box retailer, nor a chemical company with a food division. We’re a family who cares deeply about family farmers and the integrity of your food.” Does that resonate with you? It did with me in a busy brilliant independent grocer in KL, Malaysia in a cereals aisle that had local and imported options from the 4 corners of the globe to choose from.  I ended up standing at the shelf scanning QR codes and watching engaging YouTube videos of Pecan farmers in Peru, Buckwheat growers in central Canada and connecting with the passion these farmers showed to their land and the ingredients inside the box!

This is example is not only good social business its smart business and its smart marketing.  The best of the best in my mind.  Brilliantly efficient and transparent in a modern age where BIG is bad – who trusts large Multinational Profit Shifting Corporations anymore these days?  In fact in food, many have resorted to ‘faux branding’ creating cottage brands and hiding behind PO Box or Head Office Addresses with ABC Pty Ltd passing off a mass produced food item as something akin to a cottage industry startup family food brand.  If they are not creating ‘faux brands’ they are buying the genuine article and bringing them into their fold – founders and all to run alongside their mainstream food brands.  I have spoken  and written about this recent trend at Food&DrinkLive! in Sydney, Australia 2015 and in an earlier CreatoBlog Think, Act, Adapt and Innovate like a Startup!

Shoppers and consumers are asking nowadays – where is my money going? When I shop whether locally at an independent grocery store or with a major national supermarket chain they are already making a decision as to where they invest their hard earned $$$.  After get to the supermarket shelves or jump online you faced with 100s upon 100s of brands to chose from before you make another decision as to which company will you support. That support is being consciously or unconsciously driven more towards small, independent, family owned businesses more than ever before and there are many reasons for those choices.

Think about your own shopping decisions you take.  Of course price is important and as the famous jingle goes “everyone loves a bargain! ”  However do you also think of the following factors in your decisions at the shelf or when shopping online?

  • How is this food grown? How are the animals treated? Is it sustainably farmed?
  • Is this a genuine real article?  How much has my food been processed, added to, tampered with and packaged up?
  • Where is this food from? What about the ingredients that go into making it? Is it safe to eat and feed to my family?
  • Who am I supporting here? A large multinational or a family owned or small business?

Brands BIG and small need to start to think! act…and adapt to these fast changing times.  Technology is making it practical and cost effective for small to meet BIG and beat them on the playing field. Why? Because they come from a place of realness and not marketing puffery. Consumers connect with founders and their startup stories cooking on the stovetop, growing and processing their own farm produce and packaging up and telling their story in a way that is authentic and real.  You can not copy that if you are a large Corporate and it outpositions BIG as BAD and small is GOOD!

The examples we can list of brands that are doing this well is long and numerous but the list of brands NOT doing this is 100+ times longer.  Why not, take the opportunity to use technology to connect with consumers and customers and share your story? The time is now – there has never been a better time to be a farmpreneur or a small food producer. Here is a few other great examples you might like to explore and if you are interested in taking your own business to the next level of consumer connectivity give us a call or drop us a line.

We love working with independent family owned fast growth businesses @Creatovate.  In fact, we have by accident or choice managed to specialise in it with a focus on the twin pillars of sustainable (profitable) growth – Innovation and International Business – what are you waiting for? Get out and tell your story – its real, it’s authentic and consumers and customers want to hear from you!

If you are interested to come and hear Dermott talk about creating value for consumers and customers in consumer packaged goods you might like to come to Changing the Landscape – The Flexible Packaging & Label Makers Association on 10-11 November 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.  Dermott will give a keynote talk on 11 November titled – Creating Value for your customers in the 21st Century for FMCG’s

Dermott Dowling is Managing Director @Creatovate, Innovation & International Business consultancy. Creatovate help businesses create, innovate and growth through sustainable innovation processes and spreading their wings outside their home base.

Bibliography & Additional Sources:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/03/too-many-product-choices-in-supermarkets/index.htm viewed on 16/9/2016

The Big Group: http://thebiggroup.co/BIG/?p=about

Transperant Supply Chain https://www.onedegreeorganics.com/transparent-supply-chain and our team https://www.onedegreeorganics.com/our-team

 

 

 

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How to start a beautiful organisation

Lessons and confessions of a serial innovator @EvanThornley #ACBC12

The 4 sides to a Beautiful Organisation

Evan Thornley, former CEO of Better Place Australia is a successful entrepreneur who has also served in public office.  Prior to that, Evan co-founded and served as chairman and CEO of Look Smart Ltd. (NASD: LOOK), an Internet search advertising company that remains one of the few Australian technology companies to be taken public on the NASDAQ  and to have delivered a 100x return to venture capital investors.   Evan was also a Founding Director of GetUp!, Online activist network with over 400,000 members.

Evan shared some of his wisdom with the readers of Anthill post his address to the Australian Chambers Business Congress titled ‘confessions of a serial innovator’.  In opening his address Evan noted how the first 6 years of a child’s life are fundamental to his/her success as an adult, not unlike a Start-up!  Here is some of the key out-takes from Evan’s address that hopefully help you start a beautiful organisation or continue to build a beautiful organisation.

Great Idea

Great Idea

Long Side #1: Great Idea

Every business starts with a ‘great idea however, Evan shared too many entrepreneurs rush to execution without thoroughly thinking through that idea, testing it, sharing it with others for builds and feedback and miss the two fundamental determinants of a good idea.  Does your idea meet a core set of unmet needs for a group of customers, or solve some problems they never knew they had?  Does your idea measure up on fundamental economics?  It is not enough to have great technology and hope that customers and profitability comes post commercialisation of the idea.  Technology is important but it is only a means to an end and the fundamentals of your idea must stand up to the two tests of a great idea.  Evan shared the example of Better Place founder Shai Agassi who spent two years thinking through, working on his idea and sharing it in a white paper for builds from his government, businesses, investors and the community.  Sir Michael Young who founded the Open University and many other social businesses noted that the true test of a ‘great idea’ is whether it can sustain a team and organisation around itself within the first few years.

Team

Team

Long Side #2: Team

Great ideas that are good from a business and social sense will attract a team.  Evan noted he is approached frequently by passionate creative entrepreneurs’ who he described as ‘lone rangers’.  Great creativity and passion for their idea but without a team around them they will not go onto great success.   Evan’s feedback to these ‘lone ranger’s’ is ‘go away and come back when you have a team of 3 or 4 people around you’.  In filling your team the tips are look for people with strengths and skills that complement the founder.  How good are they?  How passionate are they about bringing your now ‘shared’ idea to reality?  When asked how do you recruit people from paid secure employment into your start-up Evan was quick to point out entrepreneurs have a responsibility not to take people out of paid employment and put them in a high risk start up without explaining the risks associated with a start-up.  People need to self-select if they want to leave the safety net of secure employment for the risk and rewards of a start-up.  Evan also pointed out the only thing worse than not having a great team member join your team is having them join and then freak out when the going gets tough and have them worrying about meeting the mortgage or paying the kids school fees.

Culture & Values

Culture & Values

Short Side #3: Culture & Values

The first of two short sides to a beautiful organisation Culture & Values are the important ‘glue’ or ‘anchor’ that will hold the start-up together and guide it through troubled waters.  The beauty of a start-up is that the founder(s) get to set the culture and values for the organisation.  How those founders treat their people will be fundamental to how that start up performs and is perceived by its customers and stakeholders.  For more on the importance of culture and values in start-ups and organisations see Lesson #3 and Bonus Tip #2 in Are you a winner or a loser?

Governance

Governance

Short Side #4: Governance

The second of the two long sides of a beautiful organisation Governance is often overlooked by founders early in their ventures to their detriment down the line.  Second only to running out of financial runway in terms of problems for start-ups and entrepreneurs’ are problems caused by a lack of Governance.  Fights between founders, between founders and investors, and issues of Governance only get worse the more successful a business becomes as everyone seeks to claim ownership of the entity.  A clear shareholders agreement, a Board of Advisors and if possible a Board of Directors are some of the Governance tools an entrepreneur should not gloss over or leave to later on down the track when starting a beautiful organisation.

For a short video share on the 4 sides to a beautiful organisation go to…

For an in-depth insight from serial innovator and entrepreneur Evan Thornley you can watch his Tedx Talk linked to here…

Dermott Dowling is founding Director @Creatovate Innovation & International Business Consultancy.  Dermott is a strategic, innovative, business professional with a passion for building great brands, businesses and teams with experience and achievements across companies, countries and cultures.


What is your ‘no skirt’ Start-Up Smart story?

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Amanda Gome, founder and former CEO of Private Media had a bad start to a brilliant day.  Getting up pre-dawn to fly to Sydney on the red eye to sell sell sell all day in back to back meetings, she pulled up her tights, grabbed a warm jacket and headed out the door to the waiting taxi only to get out at Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne and think ‘it’s a cold day today’!  Oh, no! I forgot my skirt!!!  Never mind, push on, the plane is about to leave and the shops will be open in Sydney at 8am won’t they? Oh, no, nevermnd, first meeting at 8:30am – Sell! Sell! Sell! And so she did all day in fishnet tights, a short jacket and without her skirt, and her ‘no skirt’ start-up story lives on…do you have your own start up story?

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Gome at age 45, had interviewed plenty of successful business people and entrepreneurs in her life as editor of BRW but when she put down the phone after talking to Matt Rockman, co-founder of Seek, she thought ‘it’s time’.  Now years down the track with a host of successful online media titles established under the Private Media umbrella including Smart Company, Crikey, Property Observer, The Power Index, Leading Company, Start Up Smart, Tech Company and Women’s Agenda, Amanda Gome found some time to share her insights on starting up smart with the VECCI HR breakfast in Melbourne.

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Seek had a better product for job seekers and recruiters and Gome acknowledged that to Rockman.  Gome was not going to give Seek a profile in BRW, a Fairfax publication no less, until it had a couple of key clients and some runs on the board but when she put the phone back down and sat back in her chair it was blatantly apparent to her that advertising dollars were about to walk out the door and it was time to jump in and get her feet wet in digital media.

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Tip #1 – Don’t miss an opportunity

Having spent plenty of time towelling business leaders for missing the Internet revolution, making mistakes or missing opportunity, Gome knew it was time to get out from behind the comfort of the keyboard and plunge into her own start up.  A few calls and $400K fundraising later and Private Media was up and running.

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Tip #2 – Trust your gut

The early signs were there that media would migrate from print to online but the data and facts had not caught up with the trends.  Gome insisted it was time and knew it in her gut to get out there and have a go at a new business media model.

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Tip #3 – Don’t stuff up your message – stories matter in start-ups!

Having interviewed countless founders before Gome noticed how they used the power of ‘storytelling’ constantly to answer questions, during interviews and made sure they were there to interview new starters and share their founder(s) stories.

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Tip #4 – Recruit on attitude

Ever been to an interview where the founder(s) pre-empt the interview with a preliminary chat?  Then proceed to share stories, ask about family (probe for loyalty), check in if you have failed before and how you bounced back (resilience & learning) and then proceeded or not proceeded with the more formal ‘interview’?  Given you are going to be a part of a small team, experience failure, learn and need to be resilient the attitude you bring to the start-up is important.

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Tip #5 – Recruit for diversity – sex, age and race

Balance is important in the workplace and so is diversity for creativity.  Too many men and its ‘blokey’.  Too many ladies and its ‘bitchy’.  Young workers can bring lots of technology and attitude, older workers can bring a lot of wisdom and knowledge – combine all these things together and you create a powerful combination to create and innovate.

Bonus tips:

Get a board of mentors – start-ups are lonely for the founders and odds are someone has been there before you and can help give you some advice to help you navigate the tough decisions.  Gome used past contacts to sound out and bounce and build her thoughts as she went through the inevitable crisis’s of growth and leadership all founders face to help her make up her mind what to do in difficult situations.

You’re a tech company first, a media or XYZ company second.  Bring IT in house and make IT’s mission training everyone how to use the latest technology to perform their work more effectively and more efficiently.  Don’t hate the nerds – embrace them and make it their mission to bring everyone forward with them including your older employees.

Stay on focus and innovate.  Sounds easy to say but when everything is going on and there is more to do than time to do it you need to constantly delegate to spend time on strategy.   You also need to protect your business models by building moats around them e.g. Leading Company & Start-up Smart are moats to protect the mainstay of Smart Company. 

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There are always opportunities and ideas so keep your ears and eyes open next time you take a call or have a conversation with someone in your industry that makes you sit back and think afterwards – Wow! That is going to disrupt me and my industry.  It might just be the opportunity you do not want to miss for your Smart Start-Up!

Dermott Dowling is founding Director of @Creatovate, an Innovation & International Business Consultancy.


Are you a winner or a loser?

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Here are some lessons learned from time spent listening to and talking to @RosabethKanter @ #ACBC12.  For those readers who have not heard of Rosabeth Kanter, she a renowned Harvard Business Professor who has inspired cutting-edge innovation, strategy, leadership and culture. She has worked a broad spectrum of for-profit and non-profit industries, including celebrated corporations like IBM, Proctor & Gamble and Verizon. I spent some time interviewing Rosabeth at #ACBC12 on behalf of Anthill Magazine and here is a summary of here are 5 key lessons learned from Kanter.

Her advice is equally applicable for new businesses as it is to established businesses.

Lesson # 1) Good moods, stickiness & parties!

When people in business are winning they are in a good mood and its contagious infecting others with more energy, there is less absenteeism, and people turn up even when they do not have to and take initiative rather than waiting for instruction.  Winners get invited to the best parties and thus, the opportunity to network with more successful organisations. Losers are left out.  Networks are vital and why many small companies flourish and grow.

Winner tip: Act bigger than you are if you are small and network with successful companies. Start-ups that dominate their industries usually had better partners early in their start up life.

Lesson #2) Warning! Winning can be boring! It’s hard work.

Just like an Olympian you need to practice every day and not become complacent.The people who make up teams in winning organisations may change but, the culture that perpetrates the organisation keeps the team winning.

Likewise, the complete opposite can occur for losers. There’s a U.S. college football team that lost every game of for nine years! The members of the football team changed, but the culture and attitude didn’t, so the team kept losing.

Winners monitor and measure their performance. They live by the saying ‘what gets measured gets done’

Winner tip: Use key success indicators with precision meticulously, to get things done.

Lesson #3) Winners are leaders who take responsibility.

Winners are leaders who take responsibility. Winning companies are run by people who are not afraid to say the three hardest words to say in business: ‘I was wrong.’

Losers love cover ups and do not say these words.

Winning businesses have a strong set of values and core purpose. P&G, founded in 1837, codified its values 20 years ago when it acquired Richardson Vicks.

P&G created its PVP (Purpose, Values, and Principles) to guide and unify the company with a common cause. It helped to create the company’s growth strategy of ‘improving more consumers’ lives in small but, meaningful ways, each day’. The PVP inspires P&G people to make a positive contribution every day.

These lessons are highly applicable to start ups, many of which are now writing and codifying values and purpose. Kanter pointed out a growing recognition that people cannot share in something they do not create. A PVP is a core part of a business, any business, that can be created by the whole team, not just the Founder.

Winner tip: Know what you stand for. Make sure your team does, too.

Lesson #4) Winners think small as well as big

Winners focus on small wins and one step at a time.  They get right back to work the day after a success.  If all you have is a big vision for your business then you will get demotivated  This is because the gap between the now and the vision, is too big.  Toyota changed from five year plans to five week plans. If you have a five year plan you will only start working on it in the 11th month of the 4th year!

Winners use open brainstorming, their initiative and feel everyone can make a difference to the business.  Losers go it alone, set unreasonable goals and, think no one else has valuable input.

Kanter’s advice is to focus on ‘small wins’, especially in tough times. Winning companies will provide teams with tasks and goals they can achieve.

Winner tip: Break it down; project by project. Focus on achievable components to build on success.

Lesson #5) the real difference is how winners handle losing

Winners like to get together with other winners, and share their experience. They are more likely to share mistakes and take on board feedback and, tips to improve.  Losing becomes an opportunity to learn for a winner.

Losers, by contrast, need to improve but, are less likely to heed conversations about losing. Nor do they take on board feedback to improve.

All winners have bad patches, or products or services that do not go well. They make changes, learn and stay focused and resilient.

Businesses that are resilient can always come back. McKinsey & Company gave free consulting to U.S. businesses post the GFC in the knowledge those companies would bounce back and appreciate their help in tough times. Then, when the opportunity arose for the company to engage a consultancy, McKinsey would be at the top of the list.

Winner tip: Remember Kanter’s law: Everything can look like a failure in the middle. Refocus, redirect and you can become a winner.

So, those are the five key lessons to help you and your company, be a winner and not a loser.

But wait! There’s more!

Bonus Tip #1: Innovation – be courageous but not stupid!

Kanter recalled how businesses often call her asking how they can be more innovative and immediately follow up with: ‘what are other businesses doing?’

It takes an innovator with courage to bring out something radically different and, not just something incremental. I mean, really, how many different varieties of toothpaste do we need? Do something different!

Incremental strategies reach a peak. In order to get more success, you need to have more failures. You need to try more ideas, more often, before you find the one that works.

Bonus Tip #2: Values matter! Your business is bigger than you!

Kanter points to a greater need today for openness in organisations today.  Founder-led companies can fall into bad habits because the founders can think they know everything. However, an autocracy cannot flourish.

Founders need to be surrounded by great teams. They also need to accept that they may not stay on as the CEO forever.

Bonus Tip #3: Partnering skills matter most!

Business alliances come and go and, they are really difficult to do well. Take Verizon and Google, for example. These two huge companies partnered to create the Android phone but, that alliance no longer stands.

The best alliances have a very specific outcome and an end. It needs to be recognised that the interests of the companies in the alliance can, and will, change.

What every start-up needs is the skills and knowledge to identify and make alliances with the best, and most suitable, partners.

If you are interested to read more on the differences between winners and losers, go to Kanter’s blog.

This article was published on http://anthillonline.com/are-you-a-winner-or-a-loser/ on 14 Sep 2012.

Dermott Dowling is an Innovation & International Business Consultant with a passion for building great brands, businesses and teams. He is the founding Director @Creatovate.


Aim, Fire! Adjust :-) Lead, Learn & Innovate like an entrepreneurial startup

You don’t have to be a start-up to learn, lead and innovate like one…

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1. Entrepreneurs are built, not born 

By correlation we can imply all businesses have innovative capacity and building that capability can be through strategy, resource allocation, process, culture and leadership.  Most importantly having a go!  After all is not the best form of learning the practical as opposed to the theory.

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2. Start-ups are unique

They are not small versions of large companies and hence traditional business thinking tends to stifle the start-up.  Likewise if a large organisation is looking to innovate and ‘learn by doing’, they need to be open to start up ways of working, managing, funding.  Less ruling by command & control and more by seeking, solving, encouraging and seed funding.

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3. The Search for a Business Model

Under lean start up models the founders search for repeatable and scalable business models, rather than settling on one when the venture is launched.  For larger corporates they tend to apply new ways of doing things through existing business models more often than not as the ‘status quo’ police of middle management apply traditional ways of reaching customers and consumers.  Instead a healthy start point might be a small venture team based diverse group of individuals starting with a blank sheet of paper literally and saying ‘without constraint’ what is the best way we can create value from this idea/insight/trend/unmet need and take our product or service to customers and consumers in new and innovative ways.  Senior leadership should give encouragement for the venture teams to take this approach and be open to growing some babies or children outside the corporate home or traditional business model.

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4. Run Fast

Successful start ups observe when their business model is struggling, respond to new facts, decide which parts of the business model require urgent change, and act.  Less time on detailed business planning and more time on testing in market with real live tests.  How often do you sit in board rooms with your peers either a) presenting or b) picking apart detailed business cases on products or services with 5 year business revenue and profit projections that could be better spent on inquisitive questioning like “how can we test this for small dollars to get large learning”.  What are some creative entrepreneurial ways we can find out if this is going to work before we scale it and go full blown national launch for example?

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5. Pivot and Turn

Pivoting is about iteration, testing and validation, and can be as simple as realising you have priced a product or service incorrectly.  Start up founders realise that several pivots maybe required in the early years to reinvent the venture.  They ensure the culture and staff are flexible enough to turn on a dime if required.  By correlation in many corporate cultures its often launch and leave or launch and run in case things don’t go well.  Culture is an integral part here of creating a testing, learning and adaptive team based culture where the venture teams are kept together post product/service launch and report back in frequently with learning and recommendation to pivot, stop, start again, push harder, invest more/less, etc.  Some large businesses realise that traditional leadership structures or meetings and forums do not allow for this type of learning and iterative process and set up incubators, skunk works, or get senior grey haired veterans to run these entrepreneurial business units.  Cell based structures may also be appropriate and leaders will need to work out how and when the satellite businesses are brought back into the mother ship or scaled and grown by the battalion as opposed to continuing to operate like the special forces.

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6. Lean and Learn 

True learning comes from testing aspects of the business model and market hypothesis early and quickly. Rather than spending months researching start ups get their minimum viable product (MVP) to market quickly and let their customers inform them.  Speed is the imperative and their most precious asset.  In the age of ‘accelerate everything’ where we live by the mantra ‘I want it now!” and I can find it in 7 seconds or less on Google this is a very potent message to large corporations.  Research is often done to reassure internal stakeholders and appease layers of management the homework has been done before the big artillery of $$$ of Advertising and Promotion are spent in the market to support this new product or service.  More thinking can and should be devoted to how multiple controlled live tests can be launched simultaneously for e.g. 7 different products in 7 different states and review and learn after 6 months which 1 or 2 continue and we invest redevelop and roll out.

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7. Feedback Loops 

Start up entrepreneurs create feedback loops to measure customers response to new products, at least at the very start, to decide whether to ‘pivot or perserve’ with their business model.  They constantly source customer feedback and let it  shape their business model.  With the advent of social media this process of continuous feedback loops should arguably be much easier for the larger corporates than the start ups.  They have the millions of likes on Facebook constantly feedback criticism or favourites on new products and prototypes.  Corporates often have very sophisticated customer engagement models and survey tools as well through third party providers.  Turning these tools towards active engagement on product and service beta development, controlled market tests and post launch analysis with equally prompt redesign and redelivery will increase customer and consumer engagement and arguably make the large corporates a more nimble and liked business by their customers.  The challenge is on the big to be ‘small & nimble’ far more so than the other way around in the modern age of instant gratification, response and listening.

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8. The Critical Formula 

Under lean entrepreneurship thinking, chaos + speed + pivots = success.  Start ups  realise they need to operate in environments of extreme unpredictability (chaos), use great skill to change quickly as circumstances dictate (speed) and reinvent aspects of their business model (pivot) to respond to threats and opportunity.  This seemingly choatic, manic, back flipping or zig zagging appearance will not sit well inside many corporations where the mandate is often 10% topline and 10% bottom line growth year on year.  However, entrepreneurship be that corporate or start up is never 10% steady year on year growth and its up to senior leaders to create ‘gambling funds’, set aside intrapreneurial seed capital and manage their own intracompany adventuring like a venture capitalist.  Not all bets come off and provided the company accepts that some bets and teams are like the house money in the casino but that it could be the next one or the next one that comes off they are on the road to learning and the more they learn by doing the more that appearance of fast, pivoting, chaos will start to feel like the new normal around here and that will be a demonstration that culture has come to match the business innovation strategy, they have succeeded in allocating scarce resources to new ventures and they have a process that is producing results.

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9.  Entrepreneurship is Management 

While it may not sit well with many strong minded entrepreneurs or creative innovators, Ries notes entrepreneurship is essentially another form of management.  The start up management style recognises the uncertainty of entrepreneurship with its increased risk and reward profile and the need to adapt and develop a stream of constant innovation.   For many large corporates like conglomerates who operate across different industries, geographies or have multiple business units they are already a great example of using multiple business models and management styles.  To them entrepreneurship may not be new and maybe something we have been doing for years without the name tag e.g. Wesfarmers, Tata, China Resources Enterprise to name a few.  For other large corporates who have not yet tackled this head on or are thinking about tackling it head on I can recommend a couple of immediate things to do.  Step 1 Pick up a copy of Lean Start Up and note down everything as you read that is interesting and new, anything you learn and lastly but most importanly, what you can take and apply to your own context.  Step 2 immerse yourself in the learning process.  Go and see some start ups in action in your industry or adjacent industries.  Go and seek to understand how large conglomerates can operate with multiple entities and entrepreneurial divisions inside a large business structure.  Step 3 and the most important step.  Get the strategy out, make sure it has an innovation strategy component and invest some ‘gambling chips’ into starting some ventures.  Back those ventures and applaud their bravery across the business until what seems unnerving, unnatural and unreal becomes the new ‘way we do things around here’

It might take a lot of guts, determination and persistence but then again so does starting your own business as any entrepreneur out there will tell you over a coffee or cold beer or glass of wine.

Create Innovate Grow 

Dermott Dowling @Creatovate


7 Steps to Conquer the Web like a Giant Spider Killer!

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In a year where Fairfax announces 1,900 redundancies and News Ltd announces restructures and right sizes (read redundancies) James Tuckerman (founder of anthillonline.com) hosted a series of seminars on conquering the Web with a guest list of Giant Spider Killer entrepreneurs.  Here are their 7 secret steps of web marketing I learned in a day:

1)       Remember the Commanders Intent! (Your Mission Statement)

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Just like when a platoon tries to take an enemy position your business needs a mission statement to guide you when you hit the marketplace and bullets fly in all directions?  In the internet the commander’s intent in the top right box of your mind must always be:

  1. Make it Measurable (if it can’t be measured don’t do it, it’s that simple)
  2. Findable (otherwise your wasting your time)
  3. Shareable (maximise the value of word of mouth and social media)
  4. Manageable (use tools and systems to reduce the workload and focus on value creating activity vs. ‘rinse and repeat’ tasks that can be outsourced)

2)       What’s your Pitch and does it make sense to your 15 year old nephew?

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Anthony Gaddie shared his wisdom on breaking down your business value proposition into simple, easy to understand language your 15 year old nephew understands and your target market.

  • Who is your target market?
  • What we do…
  • Benefits (to target market)
  • Feelings
  • Problems

When you verbalised your ‘elevator pitch’ it should come across like:

You know how…target market & problem

What we do…benefits & feeling

In fact…evidence from past work or client experience (NB: In 30 seconds or less – jargon removed)

Then, Part 2: Set Measurable Goals e.g.

1) Get qualified sales leads

2) Sign up for my blog

3) Click and download a shareable piece of knowledge (Product for Prospects) e.g. YouTube video

3)       Who is Wang Xing? He’s China’s Mark Zuckenberg and here is what he wants to tell us?

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Xing says, “Too many entrepreneurs sell vitamins instead of selling headaches. “  What does he mean? Put simply, what is your customers’ pain point? It’s no good selling them benefits when they are healthy.  Be there when they have a migraine with your aspirin (value proposition).  Be top of mind when they type ‘“help me” into Google.  Do this by giving them relevant small doses of business information in advance of the migraine.  For example which of the following two offers is more effective?

1)       20% off Folate Web Ad or,

2)       Ten Things a Pregnant Mother should not eat with a tear off coupon on the bottom (for 20% off Folate)

Market to the ‘headaches’ of your target market and remember the 7 deadly sins or Maslow hierarchy of needs in understanding their migraine points.

4)       Your Website is Your Home Planet – bring them home!

planet

What is your website purpose? If it’s not one of the four below you are wasting your resources:

I.        Sales

II.        Pre-qualified leads

III.        Coupons

IV.        Out-going clicks (advertising)

Use Measurement tools to measure your website effectiveness, for example.  They are widely available and many are FREE! Examples include:

  • Google analytics
  • Crazy Egg
  • Unbounce

5)       Don’t try and bed your customer on the first date.  Charm him/her slowly, Barry White style.  It’s a funnel not a tunnel on the Internet.

sales funnel

  • 1000 visits =>
  • 100 email registrations =>
  • 40 surveys =>
  • 10 sales

6)       Even Dummies can do Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Hire the celebrity chefs and not the lawyers of SEO and by that, they mean do not be fooled by the mystery and mastery of the 142 secret steps you need to get a Google #1 ranking.  Hire the celebrity chefs and pay for their implementation.  Understand how search engines work.

It’s the number of links and the quality of links on your website.

Understand how ‘spiders’ & ‘bots’ work and how they like the size of the site and ease of navigation, plus SPEED & RECENCY count.  Don’t forget Keywords.   Update ‘title tags’ on your page

  • Home page
  • Permanent pages
  • Posts

Use “about 60 characters”, and lead with the Noun for title tags and if you use a Content Management Systems utilise the headings under the paragraph drop down to maximum effect.  Last but not least, create measurable shareable content i.e. ‘retweetable’ headlines that are interesting and sharable.

7)       Facebook: Like us like Lorna Jane and play by the rules.

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It’s a virtuous cycle and it goes like this: Acquire => Engage => Convert => Engage => Acquire…

Some Facebook tips for newbies from Sam Zivot @LornaJane that will help you on your way include:

  • Learn by doing (there are no experts out there, we are all learning social media)
  • One thought per post (reduce redundancy & duplicated links, etc.)
  • Aim for >1% engagement ratings (comments over likes over fans)
  •  People don’t read Facebook posts, they skim, make your post clear, simple and stand-out from the crowd
  • Only 11-23% of your fans on Facebook will actually see your post
  • Use authorised 3rd party apps for competitions or risk being banned from Facebook
  •  Use simple multi-choice options e.g. like A or B or like or dislike this prototype.  Do not ask open ended questions
  • Follow the leaders to learn e.g. George Takei


Bonus Step & Guiding Principle: Consumers only care about themselves and content relevant to them self

Marketing has changed…from… rent the eyeballs…to….own the eyeballs e.g. twitter

eyeballs

How often do we spend all our time trying to convince other people and our customers what we have is of value to them?  When if we step back and think what they care about, what is relevant to them and how can our knowledge and the freely and widely available tools and systems at our disposal enable us to put that aspirin within reach so when their migraine hits and they stay calm and Google it, our business comes up trumps!  Thanks James, Anthony, Sam and Pete for sharing your 7 secrets to personal mastery of the tinternet!  This Luddite is convinced it’s time to start practising what I’ve learned.

Dermott Dowling

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