Monthly Archives: May 2012

5 Business Conversations to Have Today | Entrepreneur.com

Americans for decades have talked about, “Me, me, me.” And look at where it got us economically.

The Ego Economy is dead. Welcome to the We Economy.

It’s time to check your ego at the door and stop thinking about who or what you can control and manipulate with your business. The We Economy is instead about asking how you can navigate change and create a positive work environment where everyone works as a team to achieve goals.

The U.S. companies emerging as post-recession superstars are the ones that embrace the We Economy versus the old Gordon Gekko-type ways.

Facebook, which recently undertook a historic IPO, continually uses “we” in the description of its company culture:

“We encourage people to be bold. The phrase ‘this journey is 1% finished’ is posted on our walls, reminding us that we’ve only begun to fulfill our mission to make the world more open and connected.”

As business owners, we all have a choice. We can get on board the We Economy and embrace this way of thinking as our companies are lifted on waves of profits. Or we can capsize by trying to go it all on our own.

How do you navigate the change and succeed at work? Here are five ways to change the way you think and talk when it comes to doing business:

1. “I did it” becomes “We did it.” This is about creating partner relationships with everyone who touches the business: employees, customers/clients, vendors/suppliers and others. It means you ask an employee on the front lines, “How would you build a better business?” And then you listen deeply, tap their wisdom, and quickly implement. You ask customers or clients, “How could we serve you better?” You listen deeply, find themes in what they are saying, and act immediately. Same goes with vendors and suppliers. Ask about best practices they see out there, consult with employees, and then act on what makes sense.

2. “I already know that” becomes “Please show me how.” Back when information trickled in through conversations, printed materials and television, business owners were usually right when they said, “I already know that.” But now that the Internet and social media have opened up a fire hose of information, we all need to get used to saying, “Please show me how.” Be teachable, and have the confidence to hire people who are smarter than you in certain areas — and tap their brains. In doing so, you can turn your enterprise into your one where you can learn with your employees, finding out those things that are going to make your business more profitable.

3. “I’m a failure” becomes “Let us try again.” The recent multibillion-dollar investment loss at J.P. Morgan shows that reputation lacks the ability to insulate one from spectacular setbacks. “I’m a failure,” becomes a phrase heard all too often. It used to be a business could build a mystique around itself and go it alone as though it was the Lone Ranger. If your original horse Dusty was killed, who would ever know? But the masks are off in the We Economy. Transparency is the new game with information flowing flat across most industries. Since the masks are off, we see other business leaders and owners for who they are — people just like us who are finding ways to make a profit in this different economy. Stop worrying about failure, and find some Tontos to help you out. It’s time to say, “Let’s try again.”

4. “My business will be better when…” becomes “Let’s do what we can today.” In the Ego Economy, when business is down, you push responsibility onto outside factors. You say, “Business will better when…I get some new employees” or “…I move to a new location” or “…I renegotiate my supplier contracts” or “…I cut out my distributor and sell direct.” In the We Economy, rather than pushing responsible action to a perfect tomorrow, we pursue the practical right now and say, “Let’s do what we can today.” The We Economy is short on tomorrows. We do what we can right now to grow our business.

5. “I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps” becomes “We wear loafers.” In the Ego Economy, we all wore boots and bragged about pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps. As self-made men and women, we created it all. In the We Economy, we wear loafers. Loafers are actually innovative — more comfortable, easier to pull on and off, with no socks. In the We Economy, you’re comfortable in responding to the changing demands of your partners and learning as you go. You pull your workers onto and off of teams according to project needs, and avoid leaving them in siloed departments. And who needs socks anyway?

Relating with everyone who interacts with your business and creating new learning generates creative innovation. It takes everyone in your company to greater profits and higher margins.

So welcome to the We Economy — and remember to wear loafers.

via 5 Business Conversations to Have Today | Entrepreneur.com.

Wilson in Washington: Lessons Entrepreneurs can Learn from Twitter and Founder Biz Stone – Entrepreneurs.my

Biz Stone, Co-Founder of Twitter, one of the panelists, sees failure as the way to find an answer. “The real world does have a marking scheme, you have to try, get closer and closer to what is good.” He further elaborated that leader should not be afraid to show failure, instead use mistake as a great opportunity to show charisma and character.

In order to succeed spectacularly, you need to be ready to fail spectacularly,” he said and adding that thinking of the worst possible outcome helps in tackling failure. In business, it is MVP – minimum viable product. The concept works the same in any decision making. Apart from that, arm yourself with the ability to say “HELP” at the same time believing in yourself even everyone tells you to stop and accuse you as “CRAZY”.

When you fail, face it honestly, listen to feedbacks and move on.

via Wilson in Washington: Lessons Entrepreneurs can Learn from Twitter and Founder Biz Stone – Entrepreneurs.my.

How to Get Customers Using Your Online Rewards | Video | Entrepreneur.com

http://www.entrepreneur.com/video/223485#ooid=lnMm5mNDrhqkC6zjVUI5pp1elS-5CA6V

Think simply offering loyal customers deals such as “buy 10, get one free” are the best way to give rewards? Gamification expert Gabe Zichermann suggests that the rewards customers really want are made up of the following four elements, which can be fulfilled through gaming elements:

Status: Benefits exclusive to loyal customers.
Access: Making available things customer otherwise couldn’t get.
Power: A certain level of control over other people in the real and virtual worlds.
Stuff: Free and discounted products and services

via How to Get Customers Using Your Online Rewards | Video | Entrepreneur.com.

3 Steps to be Gloriously Successful – How to lose $30 Million and then Make $300 Million in 30 Months

Here’s the story of Viddy, the fastest growing iPhone & Facebook App today – What would you do if the company you sweated over for 6 years and sold for $30 million gets closed down by the buyer less than 3 years later? Start a new business, with the aim to grow to 30x the size at 30x the speed, of course…

Brett O’Brien is a marketer at heart. He set up his PR company, Murphy O’Brien in 1989, working with traditional companies like hotels, property companies and restaurants. As the Internet took off in the 1990s, Brett got a nagging feeling he was missing out on a big wave. With no tech experience, he dived in and in 1999 started his first tech company.

STEP 1: CONNECT WITH GREAT MENTOR

Brett connected with David Bohnett in 1999, after David sold his company, GeoCities (remember that?) to Yahoo for $300 million. He saw the coming need for people to store data online – and started xDrive as a ‘virtual harddrive in 1999 (These were in the days before anyone was talking about a ‘cloud’). In 2000, the Internet bubble popped and Brett panicked. He recalls “I was scared. All of a sudden people weren’t that enthusiastic about Internet stocks,” I called David and said, ‘What’s going on here?’ He said, ‘Don’t worry.”

Brett kept focused at building xDrive, and six years later, in 2005, AOL bought xDrive for $30 million. Then the likes of box.net and dropbox came along and AOL closed xDrive just 3 short years later, in 2008.

STEP 2: CONNECT WITH A GREAT PARTNER

Sore with the way AOL mishandled xDrive. Brett turned to JJ Aguhob (in the photo), the technical brains who had been Chief Product Officer at xDrive and worked as Product Manager with AOL until xDrive closed down. JJ also co-founded PluggedIn with Brett, a site reviewing movies and videos. and after xDrive closed had taken on a job at Live Nation Entertainment. With xDrive gone, what new tech business could they start that would use JJ’s passion for video and Brett’s desire to start the next big thing?

JJ came up with the idea of Viddy – the Instagram of Video, with users shooting, editing and uploading 15 second video clips via their iPhones. The two launched Viddy at the very same time that Cisco shut down the Flip Camera, in April 2011, just one year ago.

STEP 3: CONNECT WITH GREAT ADVOCATES

This is where Brett’s marketing expertise came in. Seeing how Twitter grew based on nowing that Viddy would be successful based on who used it. As Brett said this week “We have a big vision, big ambitions. And to accomplish… those things more quickly, and manage growth, it made sense to take on additional partners.”

Biz Stone, Shakira, Will Smith and Jay-Z are now all investors. Rihanna, Snoop Dogg, Justin Bieber and now Mark Zuckerberg (who joined this week) are all users. In April, users have been growing by about 500,000 new users every day, which means this week Viddy will hit 30 million users. Today, Viddy is the fastest growing app on both the Apple store and Facebook – all of this within one year of launch.

This week, Brett has also just closed a $30 million financing round, with a group of VCs joining the celebrity backers. This puts the valuation of the one year start-up at over $300 million.

YOUR TURN: THE POWER OF ZERO

We’ve all heard the quote “All good things come in 3’s”. This is a story about all good things coming in 30’s. All entrepreneurs who achieve hyper-growth understand the power of zero – When you add a zero to your question, and ask ‘How can I achieve this at 30x the speed” instead of 3x the speed, or 30x the size, 30x the quality, 30x the impact, you force yourself (and your team) to transform the level of your question – and the resulting level of your answer.

Brett added a zero to xDrive to achieve $30 million. He’s added another zero to Viddy to achieve $300 million. All the entrepreneurs success stories I have been writing about recently, like Brett, feature the power of zero.

Zero is the most powerful thing when added to a question. It’s nothing, and everything. What happens when you add a zero to your question?

And the next time you hear a successful leader say about their success “It’s nothing, really”, there may be something in that…

via 3 Steps to be Gloriously Successful – How to lose $30 Million and then Make $300 Million in 30 Months.

Trends of Futuristic Consumers – The Tech-Equipped and Digitally Savvy will Rule the Marketspace

The tech-equipped digitally-savvy consumer of the future is the key to a smarter tomorrow

First day of Mobile Marketing Association Forum Singapore 2012 reflects new understanding of the importance of mobile, the central position of the consumer, and use of mobile for brand-building

Singapore, April 2012 – The tech-equipped digitally-savvy consumer and the future of mobile marketing against the changing digital media landscape were the central topics on the first day of the Mobile Marketing Association Forum Singapore 2012 (MMAF). Closely focused on evolving consumer behaviour in the current technological environment and how brands and marketers can engage, inform and influence them, the first day of MMAF offered industry the chance to identify market trends that will shape a smarter future.

Nearly three hundred delegates and speakers were present at the event held at the Grand Hyatt earlier today, featuring presentations from industry and media leaders such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Google and Nokia. Themed ‘A Smarter Tomorrow’, the MMAF highlighted how the development of the mobile marketing and advertising industry is contingent on a deeper understanding of tech-equipped digitally-aware consumers, who have come to understand and shape the new emerging media.

Consumers will be less concerned about the distinctions between mobile and digital and Internet, but will simply operate within a converged space, Guest-of-Honour, Mr Michael Yap told the delegates at the Forum when he opened with his Keynote Address. Mr Michael Yap is Deputy CEO, Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA).

His talk set the stage for the day’s discussions as he explained Singapore’s world-leading efforts to encourage the development of the interactive digital media sector, including MDA’s international research network, collaboration with industry (including test-bedding programs with a mobile marketing focus) and other progressive programmes.

The nation’s focus on the tech-equipped digitally-savvy consumer mirrored exactly the next talk by Marcel Fenez, Global Leader Entertainment & Media, PricewaterhouseCoopers, who eschewed a discussion of technology in favour of talking about what consumers want in terms of content and how they behave. Against the backdrop of an informative video that included candid comments from consumers from all over the world, Fenez explained that consumers take technology as a given, and that they are more interested in content than in channels.

“The tech-equipped digitally-savvy consumer of the future is the clear focus, as they use their mobile devices in ways that brands and marketers could never imagine,” said Rohit Dadwal, Managing Director, APAC. “This year we’ve had more of everything – more brands, more delegates, more insights. This is a reflection of reality. Mobile is so much a part of everyday life that now it’s the consumers who are shaping the landscape of this new media.”

Consumers continued to dominate the conversation for the rest of the day. Srikanth Raju, Head, Ecosystem, APAC, Nokia explained at one point that there may be low-end devices, but there are no low-end consumers (meaning that consumers all want compelling experiences, regardless of the device). Even when the conference split into two tracks (one on mobile as The New Media and the other on Audience and Data), consumer behaviour was still the centre of attention, no matter the subject, from social TV to media consumption, from cross media communication to mobile commerce.

The discussion of digitally-aware consumer of today and the future of mobile marketing continues tomorrow, as the Mobile Marketing Association Forum Singapore 2012 enters its second day.

The Mobile Marketing Association Forum Singapore 2012 is proudly sponsored by Amobee, BuzzCity, The Coca-Cola Company, Gemalto, Google Inc., mediba Inc., Microsoft Advertising, Millennial Media, m-Stars, Nokia, Poynt Corp., and supported by Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) and Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF).

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About the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA)

The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) is the premier global non-profit trade association representing all players in the mobile marketing value chain. With more than 700 member companies, the MMA is an action-oriented organization with global focus, regional actions and local relevance. The MMA’s primary focus is to establish mobile as an indispensable part of the marketing mix. The MMA works to promote, educate, measure, guide and protect the mobile marketing industry worldwide. The MMA’s global headquarters are located in the United States and it has regional chapters including North America (NA), Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Latin America (LATAM) and Asia Pacific (APAC) branches. For more information, please visit http://www.mmaglobal.com.

via Trends of Futuristic Consumers – The Tech-Equipped and Digitally Savvy will Rule the Marketspace.

A Wise Advice for Entrepreneurs to Double their Successes – Moments with Mike Hancock #2

World award-winning business coach, Mike Hancock shares about a simple advice that businesses should give themselves and their employees on doubling their successes. From sales, to marketing, to internal operations, these tips can prove to be most valuable to entrepreneurs who are just starting out.

After almost ten years in a high profile role in a major corporate I am convinced there is a significant contributing factor that delineates a highly successful business from a mediocre one and that factor my friends is the knowledge of the cleaner.

Most companies have a mission statement and a vision. It is generally conveyed to staff at a strategy meeting. Often it is sent to all staff in a nice glossy brochure or in one case I saw, put on the back of a beer coaster of which supplies were given to the staff. The fact is a lot of businesses spend a lot of money and time and miss the whole point.

If you or I can walk into any business and find the cleaner and ask him or her what the mission and values of that business are and how their job contributes to those values we have found a truly awesome company.

I learned that conveying the message to the most junior of staff and having them understand how their job contributes to the greater whole is a key contributing factor to doubling the success of the business overall. However, there is a second part to this strategy. Don’t just do it once. I have seen dozens of companies pour money into the void of management retreats, glossy brochures, mission statements in gold frames, not to mention the beer coasters. If you as the owner of your business are not living and re inforcing the values and mission on a regular basis (weekly is good) then you are running the risk of the message not being lived by your staff.

So how do you go about this? The retreats, t-shirts, screen savers and all the rest are good ideas, but firstly you must meet with all staff and let them know what your values are and how they can live them and contribute to them throughout their role. Then you must put some incentives in place to ensure people are rewarded for living the values. This could be as little as an employee of the month, a chocolate bar or even just mentions in the company magazine. There are many ways to recognise staff without spending the GDP of a small nation doing so.

Every month for at least 6 months and then at least quarterly there after you need to have organised department meetings regards your mission and values and how the business relates to them. Never fall into the trap of thinking everyone knows what you stand for and how they contribute. This is not a process that like an injection. This is a regular treatment. If you are a small business, even one person, relate your mission to clients, a virtual board, suppliers and other stakeholders. At the very least it will help you stick to your core values.

In the early 1970’s global giant Johnson & Johnson recalled tens of millions of dollars of product because the quality conflicted with their mission. The cost was incredible. The feedback and press from their decision led them to a period of unprecedented growth that returned their decision exponentially.

Review your mission and values today, set a program to ensure everyone is constantly aware of how they add value to and support them, recognise and reward support and watch your profits grow.

via A Wise Advice for Entrepreneurs to Double their Successes – Moments with Mike Hancock #2.