Innovations for Maximum Opportunities: What is lacking to make effective what is already possible?

Excerpt from The Daily Drucker written by Peter F. Drucker

The characteristic of the innovator is the ability to envisage as a system what to others are unrelated, separate elements. It is the successful attempt to find and to provide the smallest missing part that will convert already existing elements. To find areas where innovations would create maximum opportunities, one asks: “What is lacking to make effective what is already possible? What one small step would transform our economic results? What small change would alter the capacity of the whole of our resources?”

To describe the need is not to satisfy it. But describing the need gives a specification for the desirable results. Whether they are likely to be obtained can be decided. Innovation is applicable to finding business potential and to making the future.

Action Point: Ask yourself the three questions above.

Jump-Start Your Start-up. Strapped for cash? Consider these approaches.

written by Rich Sloan of StartupNation.com and highlighted in Costco Connection Magazine June 2018

For all the talk of tech-savvy, independent-minded millennials embracing entrepreneurship, statistics show that many of them aren’t. The US Small Business Administration (sba.gov) reported that in 2014 fewer than 2 percent of millennials were self-employed, compared with 7.6 percent of Generation X and 8.3 percent for the baby boomer generation.

High student loan debt and other economic issues may be contributing factors, making it challenging for many 20 and 30-somethings to start companies.

If you are among the cash-strapped millennials who could use use some street smarts and jolt of inspiration, here are a few options to get you going.

Bootstrap your idea

If your’re low on cash, consider pursuing a business idea that doesn’t require a large amount of upfront capital.

Plenty of successful startups get off the ground without big infusions of cash. For example, Hannah Lavon, the 33-year-old co-founder of Hooray Hoopla, which sells and manufacturers quirky mismatched socks, called Pals Socks (palssocks.com), started up at the end of 2015 with just $600 for prototypes. Now, Hooray Hoopla‘s Pals Socks product line is sold in over 300 stores nationally. That’s a full-fledged business started with less than $1,000.

Start a side hustle

Working on your startup while still employed is a great way to advance your business idea, giving you firm footing while you confirm some key assumptions and generally de-risk the opportunity.

Let’s say you’re planning to create an ACT counseling business. You could start as a part-time tutor for kids in their early teens. This ideally would not only generate incremental income, but would help you build your brand in our community, give you experience and insights, and, most importantly, develop a prospective client list, all of which you could parlay into momentum for your startup.

Consider crowdfunding

If you have an idea for a product and a knack for getting people excited about it, crowdfunding through a site like Indiegogo or Kickstarter could be another viable way to solve your capital needs. Crowdfunding can come in the form of actual investment and ownership in your company or – amazingly – in the form of prepayment by customers who want first dibs on your cool product. Yes, people will park their money with you even though you’re not even in production yet.

Article notes:

Crowdfunding:

To be a successful crowdfunding campaigner, you’ll have to demonstrate your marketing savvy and know-how.

Online marketing plays to millennials’ strengths as, relatively speaking, they tend to be well connected on social media, which is ground zero for crowdfunding campaigns.

The challenge in the crowd-funding landscape is to break through the noise by telling a compelling story and demonstrating the irresistible nature of your product-to-be.

You need great images and video, as well as editorial content that showcases the product and your know-how, so people will naturally want to pass them along to their own networks.

Tunnel-Vision Innovation

Excerpt from The Daily Drucker written by Peter Drucker

Often a prescription drug designed for a specific ailment sometimes ends up being used for some other quite different ailment.

When a new venture does succeed, more often than not it is in a market other than the one it was originally intended to serve, with products or services not quite those with which it had set out, bought in large part by customers it did not even think of when it started, and used for a host of purposes besides the ones for which the products were first designed. If a new venture does not anticipate this, organizing itself to take advantage of the unexpected and unseen markets; if it is not totally market-focused, if not market-driven, then it will succeed only in creating an opportunity for a competitor.

The new venture therefore needs to start out with the assumption that its product or service may find customers in markets no one thought of, for uses no one envisaged when the product or service was designed, and that it will be bought by customers outside its field of vision and even unknown to the new venture. If the new venture does not have such a market focus from the very beginning, all it is likely to create is the market for a competitor.

Action Point: When innovating, go with the market response, not with your preconceived ideas. Don’t marry your pet ideas about a new venture.

Social Studies: Being socially responsible is a key element of running a small business

Written by Rhonda Abrams, featured on Costco Connection Magazine

Small businesses have long been the backbone of their communities. Small businesses support local charities, Little League, food drives, school fundraisers and more. Most small-business owners don’t have to be told to be charitable-they already are. But being charitable is just one part of the wave of interest and increasing demand for businesses to be socially responsible.

In addition to focusing on the bottom line, being socially responsible is a smart part of a company’s strategy for success.

Social Steps:

  • Create an inclusive workplace with fair pay.
  • Donate a portion of profits. Choose an organization and make it clear a small percentage of your pre- or post-profit sales will go to that cause.
  • Think and work sustainably. Look for ways your business can reduce waste, consume less energy and lower its carbon footprint.
  • Donate time. A good way to build team morale as well as contribute to your community is to have your employees volunteer-on paid company time-for a good cause.
  • Donate products or services to causes you believe in.

The Mentor Mentee Relationship: A Two-Way Street

Article taken from “Chamber Executive Fall 2018”

This article is written by two chamber executives from the Texas coast who have shared many years together in the same office but now get to share on a different level. The mentee has been at the helm of the Portland Chamber of Commerce (Texas) for a little more than a year. Prior to serving in Portland, she worked at the Rockport-Fulton Chamber (Texas) for 13 years. The mentor has led the Rockport-Fulton Chamber for almost three decades. The two communities are 25 miles apart.

Let’s Negotiate: Switch From an Adversarial to a Collaborative Approach for Best Results

Negotiating is most effective when you build in breaks between sessions and anticipate some back and forth. Pressure can derail the process.

Article by Jessica Notini

Learn to Listen:

To conduct a successful negotiation, don’t launch into a monologue about your business or your budget. Instead, ask the other party open-ended questions about their long-term goals and visions.

The more information you can gather, the better you will understand what motivates them, and the more targeted and effective your negotiations will be.

Listening has another benefit, too: focused, authentic attention builds trust and goodwill, and you’re more likely to want to work out a deal when you feel a genuine connection.

Want to learn more about overcoming customer objections? Register today for our upcoming workshop by clicking here.

Creating Customer Value: There is no loss to the customer by eliminating activities that do not add value

Excerpt from The Daily Drucker by Peter Drucker

Activity-based costing provides the foundation for integrating into one analysis the several procedures required to create customer value. With activity costs as a starting point, the enterprise can seperate activities that add value to customers from those that do not, and eliminate the latter. The chain of value-creating activities uncovered during value analysis is the starting point for analyzing the underlying process of value creation. Process analysis seeks to: improve the features of the product or service, restructure the process while reducing costs, and maintain or improve quality.

Process analysis in an automobile company involves designing and redesigning components and subfunctions in order to carry out each function at predetermined cost targets. For instance, the basic function of an automobile is to provide transportation, but secondary functions include comfort, fuel efficiency, and safety. Each of the functions and subfunctions require components or services that create value for the customer. Each also contributes to the quality of the automobile as well as to the cost. A process team is formed from personnel who perform the value-chain activities. This team often include suppliers and customers. The task of the team is to identify the functions the product or service is to perform and to analyze the components or services that go into each function with the objective of achieving value and quality objectives while meeting cost targets.

Action point: Eliminate activities that do not create value. Analyze the underlying processes of value-creating activities and redesign the processes if necessary to enhance customer value.

Continuous Learning in Knowledge Work: A knowledge organization has to be both a learning organization and a teaching organization

excerpt from “Daily Drucker: 366 Days of Insight and Motivation for Getting the Right Things Done by Peter F. Drucker

Knowledge workers must have continuous learning built into their tasks. And a knowledge organization has to be both a learning organization and a teaching organization. Knowledge today, in all areas, changes so fast that knowledge workers become obsolete pretty soon unless they build continuous learning into their work. And that is not just true of high knowledge such as that of the engineer, the chemist, the biologist, or the accountant. It’s increasingly just as true of the cardiac nurse, the person who handles payroll records, and the computer repair person. But also, a knowledge organization depends on knowledge specialists understanding what their colleagues are doing or trying to do. And each of them has a different specialty. Knowledge workers need, therefore, to hold themselves responsible for educating their colleagues, especially when the knowledge base of their own specialty changes.

This means that knowledge workers are well advised to sit down and answer two questions:

  1. What do I need to learn to keep abreast of the knowledge I am being paid to know?
  2. And what do my associates have to know and understand about my knowledge area and about what I can and should contribute to the organization and to their own work?

Action Point: Answer the two questions at the end of this reading.

Business Ownership Guide for Female Entrepreneurs

Written by Harvard Business Services

Of course, starting a business can still be demanding, and women face a unique set of challenges when doing so that their male counterparts do not. The path to business ownership can be intimidating, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from pursuing your goals. By learning about other female entrepreneurs, the ways they overcame obstacles, and what you need to do to start your own business, you’ll be well-armed with the knowledge necessary to begin a successful career as a female entrepreneur…

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