7 Misconceptions about Innovation

Although many large companies pride themselves on their innovation, small businesses often struggle with this concept because they do not understand it. Here are six commonly misconceived notions about innovation:

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Innovation Is Too Costly
Contrary to popular belief, innovation does not have to be complicated or time-consuming. It can create a huge return for your company and should always be encouraged. Creativity is an office culture essential to breeding an innovative work environment.

My Company Is Not Big Enough
When we think of innovative companies, we often think of big names like Apple, Microsoft, etc. However, small businesses can actually innovate more efficiently. This is because they are generally more flexible, so implementing change is easier.

Innovation Isn’t Relevant to My Company
First of all, innovation is not exclusive to technology companies. Any type of business can benefit from innovation. Every company has a need for creativity. This is what keeps companies adaptable and relevant to the modern day and age.

There Is No System for Innovation
False! In fact, most businesses have a system for identifying creative ideas. Opportunity breeds innovation and the need for creative solutions.

Innovation Does Not Require Evaluation
When brainstorming creative ideas, you must evaluate each one and only take action on the best ones. It is also a good idea to obtain input from other departments to get an outside perspective, as well as a well-rounded collection of ideas.

Innovation Does Not Call For Celebration
Innovation can be fun! Celebrate creativity in the workplace. The more you celebrate thinking outside the box, the more innovative your company will be.

“If you look at history, innovation doesn’t come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.” – Steven Johnson

The Top 5 Reasons Why Entrepreneurship Is Awesome

“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.” – Unknown

Here are just five of the many reasons why being an entrepreneur is awesome:

  1. You Have Full Control of Your Destiny
  • You are the boss so you call the shots.
  • You make the decisions that determine your success or failure.
  1. Entrepreneurs Are Innovators
  • When you think about all the great ideas that have come to life over the past years, you have to remember that they were only ideas at one point.
  • Great entrepreneurs are the ones who bring great ideas to life.
  1. You Are Part of a Family
  • There is no better advice than that of a fellow entrepreneur.
  • The entrepreneur’s network is like one big family. Everyone is there to help and support each other.
  1. You Control Who Represents You and Your Brand
  • Your team largely determines your success.
  • Enroll people who have the same drive and passion as you do and together you will succeed as a team.
  1. No Dress Code!
  • You make the rules!
  • You can wear whatever you want because you run the place. You can create whatever culture you choose.

If you are cut out for the work it takes to be an entrepreneur, you are awesome. There are so many perks to being the boss that most people don’t think about. If you are confident and have a vision, then you can be an entrepreneur.

Mindsets for Success

 

Courage over Fear

You must not be afraid to take risks and do courageous things. Go beyond what you think your boundaries are and you will find that you can do more than you thought. Success comes from success-secret.jpghaving the courage to push ourselves and not be afraid of the outcome.

Believe In Yourself

When you have a negative attitude, it hinders your potential success. You must believe in yourself and your abilities because it is confidence that pushes you forward on the path to success.

Choose Your Friends Wisely

Who you choose to surround yourself with is of the utmost importance to your success. If there are naysayers and doubters in your life, you have to get rid of them because they are toxic and will put a ditch in your road to success.

Be a Goal-Setter

If you set your own goals as opposed to letting someone set them for you, you will be more motivated to achieve them. Having goals gives you clarity on where you want to go and betters your chances of success.

Have a Vision

Goals that you keep in your head are just wishes for the future. It is essential that you make your goals visual. Creating a vision board is a great way to do this. Writing your goal down and making it tangible is important. Actions follow thoughts.

Step Up To the Challenge

Climbing the path to success is an uphill battle. It is hard and you will face obstacles, however, with every obstacle you face, an opportunity presents itself.

Be Selective

When deciding who will fill each role in your business, be selective. Being selective in your decision making will help you to avoid messes you’ll have to clean up later.

Take Risks

To put it simply, if you are afraid of taking risks, you are limiting your ability to succeed. Every entrepreneur must risk rejection if they are ever going to get what they want.

Do What You Love

There is no better motivation to succeed than when your passion is invested. You are more likely to succeed doing what you love than doing something you hate.

Success is never out of reach if you have the drive to simply reach for it. These mindsets will help to guide you in the right direction. Don’t get discouraged. After all, it is as Sir Winston Churchill said, “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”

Is Starting a Business For You? Find Out in 3 Easy Steps!

Have You Ever Wanted To Do Something Different?

Maybe you are tired of your nine to five job or maybe you want to make more money, or perhaps you just need to make a change in your life. Starting a business can be the perfect solution to all of these things. Anyone can start a business if they are prepared to do so. These are the three steps you need to consider before beginning a new business venture:

  1. Try Out Being “Fun-Employed”
  • “Fun-employed” people are not making the best of being laid off. They hold several oddball jobs doing what they love.
  • Ask yourself what you are passionate about. If you have a “real” job then explore your passion on a part-time basis.
  • Try a few things out before you go all in.

Remember those Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books we had as kids? That is what being “fun-employed” is about.

  1. Ask Yourself If You Are REALLY Ready.

The first thing people think of when embarking on a new adventure is money. You should have at least 6-9 months’ worth of expenses saved up before you go jump into uncharted waters.

  • Have you done your research on your new profession? Identify who your competitors are and what is different about you.
  • Do you have a business plan? You can’t venture out without a map.
  • Make sure you have a killer resume with reputable references.
  • Most importantly, what is your safety net? If you fail, do you have a plan B?

These are the questions you must ask yourself in order to assess how ready you are to start your own business. You wouldn’t go on a camping trip without preparing the necessary survival supplies, and you shouldn’t embark on a new entrepreneurial adventure without making the necessary preparations.

  1. You Are Going to Suck At First, Accept it
  • Have low expectations, because you can always exceed them.
  • Delegating is crucial but you also have to do some of the dirty work. It is your business and it’s up to you to make it happen.

You know that saying, “If you are the smartest one in the room, you are in the wrong room”? Well it is absolutely true. You know a good deal, but you can always learn more and the only way to do that is to surround yourself with people who are smarter and more experienced than you.

As Dr. Seuss said, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose”.

Nice Guys Don’t Have To Finish Last

Everyone Has Heard The Saying, “Nice Guys Finish Last.”

The fact is, that doesn’t have to be true. According to Professor Adam Grant, there are three types of people in the business world: Takers, Matchers and Givers.

Takers

  • Takers are people who strive to gain as much as possible while giving little to nothing in return.
  • These people are the top predators of the Givers and have very little regard for others’ well-being or success.

Matchers

  • Matchers are people who want everything to be fair and square. They have an “I help you, you help me” mentality.
  • These people make up the majority of people. They also strongly dislike Takers and will often try to get rid of them by spreading negativity about them.

Givers

  • Givers give as much as they can with little regard to what they will gain in return.
  • If you are a Giver, chances are you are the nice guy everyone loves, but if you aren’t careful you could get treated as a doormat.

There are three qualities that will make or break the Giver in the business world:

Lack of Assertiveness

  • Shy communicators get taken advantage of and they sacrifice their own values and expectations.

Solution: Become more assertive by negotiating and representing others’ interests. When you act on the behalf of another you can stand your ground.

Lack of Boundaries

  • People who can’t say no burn out.

Solution: Instead of taking everything on yourself, work collaboratively. By working with others everyone is contributing and bearing the load together. You must be able to distinguish boundaries between individual and collaborative work.

Lack of Perspective and Too Much Pity

  • People who lack the ability to take the perspective of others and pity them as opposed to empathizing with them will end up being exploited.

Solution: Be able to read others’ emotions by empathizing with them. This will prevent you from being exploited. You must be able to empathize with others to be a successful Giver. Be selfless not self-sacrificing.
Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” You have to find that balance of giving selflessly and giving self-sacrificingly. You can be nice without neglecting yourself. Nice guys can finish first if they are smart.

 

Make the Most of Your Time

Most Of Us Go Through Life Complaining That There Are Not Enough Hours In The Day Or That We Never Have Enough Time.

What if I told you that there ARE enough hours in the day, you just need to make the most of them? These three strategies will help you make the most of your time:

Have a Purpose

When you have a purpose, it gives you clarity on where you are going and keeps you on track. When you look at your daily “To-Dos”, do your “Have-Tos” align with your “Want-Tos”? If not, then it might be to realign.

Make Two Lists

At first, this might seem like you are wasting time. However, it will give you more perspective. In one column list the things that are important to you to get done. Leave the second column blank because this is where you will list any urgencies that come up. Evaluate the urgent matters and then deal with them as needed. Your “Important” column should always be prioritized.

Be Predictable

The best thing you can do to maximize your time is to create a schedule that is predictable. The more routine and predictable your schedule is, the easier it will be to deal with unexpected urgent matters as they come up.

By implementing these strategies you will begin to regain control of your life and ultimately have more time for what is important to you.

You Can Be a Pro Scheduler Without Being a Zombie!

I Think It’s Safe To Say That Most Of Us Are Of
The Opinion That There Are Just Not Enough Hours In The Day.

There are two ways to get more hours: never sleep, or become a scheduling pro. Sleeping is a must, so you need to become a scheduling pro. Here are four tips that will make you more productive without needing to become a zombie:

  1. Reschedule Cancelled Events

Your schedule should not be so tight that things can’t be shuffled around. If something was important enough to put on your schedule in the first place, then you should find time to reschedule it. This allows for flexibility in your schedule without risking dropping the ball somewhere.

  1. Prioritize

Knowing how to prioritize calendar items is key. Higher priority items go first and then let the lower priority items fill in the gaps. Don’t auto-schedule anything. Even if something is a weekly occurrence, make sure to schedule it with intent each time. If it isn’t important then don’t add it to your calendar.

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  1. Leave a Buffer Between Appointments

As professionals, we often try to do too much and overbook our schedules. Often our appointments are back to back leaving no time to prepare in between. Rushing to appointments without allowing yourself time to prepare is like running into a test without studying. You may barely squeak by, but you could have nailed it had you studied. Meetings are no different. Get the most from your appointments by blocking out time between them to prepare.

  1. Don’t Forget to Breathe

When we go nonstop, we run the risk of burning out. As busy as you are, it is important to allow yourself time to breathe. In fact, taking breaks is so important that you should actually schedule them. This way you are less tempted to fill the time slot. Make time to refresh, re-energize and refocus!

I know you are busy, but take these tips to heart. There is a difference between being busy and being productive. These tips will help you to optimize your calendar & become a pro scheduler.

 

Everything You Say Does NOT Need to Be a Sales Pitch

Enough Already.

For the sake of all that is holy, we need a “Come to Jesus” discussion right now about marketing, the ever-important “call to action”, and our perverted insistence on non-stop sales messaging.

Why does every email, text message, voicemail, tweet, video, newsletter, webinar, online bootcamp, social upload, LinkedIn post, or training session need to include a “marketing hook”?

Instead of just “Happy Holidays” and meaning it, we somehow feel the need to include a “one time exclusive discount” or a download link for a super-amazing PDF ebook of wonderments.

Nope.  That can’t happen.

We can’t just act like humans and treat people like human beings.  We can’t say “Hi”, “Hey” or “How are you doing?”.

Apparently that would be a waste of our sales automation tools.  After all, who would ever think about buying powerful tools like Hubspot, Eloqua, Marketo, or Pardot and then waste all the link-tracking-email-awesomeness technology by sending a genuine email with a little tender loving care.

That would be a waste of lots and lots of money.

So instead of being empathetic and insightful and emotionally intelligent, we fall back into sales pitch mode attaching “buy one get one free” wording to everything but the kitchen sink.

And it makes everything stink.

It stinks of selfishness and greed and insincerity. It stinks of insecurity and out-dated business philosophies.

>And for some reason, we can’t figure out why our email “open rates” and “click-through rates” are impossible to improve.  We’re confused why leads don’t message us back.  Even outraged.

And, of course, it can’t be the complete lack of human interest from us.  It can’t be the fact that every time we interact with anyone we ever meet we are shoving our sales pitch down their throat.

Or maybe that’s exactly the problem.

Maybe that’s why your business is broken.

Because your marketing stinks.  You don’t know how to behave like a normal human being.

And unfortunately for you, people with money tend to spend it with other people who treat them with respect and dignity and emotional intelligence.

So maybe it’s time you stopped making everything a damn sales pitch.

Dan Waldschmidt is an international business strategist, speaker, author, and extreme athlete.  His consulting firm solves complex marketing and business strategy problems for savvy companies all over the world. Dow Jones calls his Edgy Conversations blog one of the top sales sites on the internet. He’s been profiled in Business Week, INC Magazine, BBC, Fox News, The Today Show, and Business Insider, has been the featured guest on dozens of radio programs, and has published hundreds of articles on progressive business strategy. He is author of Edgy Conversations: How Ordinary People Achieve Outrageous Success.

So You Want To be A Professional Speaker

5 Proven Tips to Ramp Up Your Speaking Career

I decided to write this article as I have found that so many of the authors I meet want to become professional speakers. I have been studying this craft for the past 8 years and have invested over $30,000 into learning the art. As I think about you, I firstly want you to know that I believe that you CAN be a professional speaker. That is not being said as part of a terrible attempt at trying to motivate you, but rather as an honest piece of unsolicited feedback on where you are right now. I’m hoping that you may find a minute to read through this post and take the advice contained within.

I remember the early days of speaking publicly. I had this crazy idea that everyone wanted to hear my story and that my story was remarkably different. What I quickly learned was that there were hundreds of stories just like mine and that people really didn’t give a crap about my personal story. People who sit in audiences paying money for the right to listen to 1 person speak on a stage are looking to be entertained. They are also interested in the mind and thoughts of the person who is doing the orating.

Back in 2006, a friend of mine was watching me speak one day and had the guts to give me some feedback. Luckily, I trusted the man and was able to take the feedback the right way. He told me the following things:

  1. TAKE A COURSE: Sure, I get it. You’ve been speaking your whole life. People laugh when you tell jokes. You have interesting things to say. Why would you need a course? The simple reason is that you sound and look completely different on a stage. When you are speaking for free to friends or people who work for you, they look past the imperfections because they either love you or they get paid by you, but when you are getting paid to speak, all of your little quirks are magnified. People who are paying money don’t often have the patience for imperfect vernacular. Excessive use of “Um’s”, “Ah’s” and other little quirky noises or pauses can quickly ruin any chance you have of being a professional. Your friends and family will not likely have the guts to help you fix the quirks, but a professional speaking coach or teacher will. You are paying them to do that. Also, there are secret techniques to connecting with large audiences from a stage that I didn’t even know before I took my first course. You probably won’t know them either.
  1. STOP TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF: I once had the same challenge that so many new speakers have. I really thought that I was adding value by spending the first 5 minutes of my speeches talking about myself. Now, I will say that little stories of your experiences do belong in keynotes, but they shouldn’t consume the first 5-7 minutes of a 40-minute speech. If you take the time to study the videos of any of the world’s greatest speakers (and you should), you will see that they are all properly introduced and spend no time whatsoever talking about themselves. They are given their credibility by the mere fact that they have been invited to speak on the stage, and they are preceded by slides and explanations of their experiences that are properly administered by a host who introduces them. One of the biggest challenges that new speakers have is they kill their audience by spending too much time re-introducing themselves. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the time, these long-winded introductions are taken wrongly, and the audience is left tuned out with the opinion that this is a speaker who just wants to toot their own horn. Save your best stories for later in the speech.
  1. YOU CAN’T TELL EVERYBODY EVERYTHING IN 40 MINUTES: I didn’t realize it but I guess I was trying to tell my audiences everything that I knew about sales in 45 minutes. I could never squeeze it all in. I was always finishing late. I didn’t even realize that it was hurting me. Over the years I have realized that a 40-minute keynote gives you just enough time to: 1. Say hello, 2. Tell a joke, 3. Introduce a point, 4. Tell a story, 5. Prove a point and 6. Say thank you. It is called a “key-note” speech for a reason. Your keynote should be compact and exciting. You are better to finish 2 minutes early than 6 minutes late. You should keep your keynote speech to 1 or 2 points at the most. Why would you give away all of your techniques in 1 presentation? You want them to bring you back. I guess in the early days, I would jam 6 stories, 2-3 teaching points and 10 bad jokes into 45 minutes. I was also constantly moving around the stage the entire time, which didn’t give anyone a chance to actually connect.
  1. STAND STILL: My friend told me that when I was on stage speaking, I had a nervous habit that was driving him crazy. He told me that I could not stay still. He said that I would move around so much that he inevitably would stop paying attention. He quickly explained to me that the greatest speaker he had ever watched still moved around the stage but had this incredible ability to stay still for long periods of time and engage the audience. Imagine if people needed to physically see your lips in order to hear you. How many people would not be heard at all from stage with their current habits? I am not saying that you need to stay still, after all, one of the greatest speakers out there is Anthony Robbins, and he seems to have Mexican jumping beans in his pants; but you and I are not Tony Robbins. If you feel it is your style to move around the stage, then practice saving your best points for when you are standing still.
  1. PRACTICE: I walked away from my brief encounter with my friend feeling very deflated. I didn’t know how to receive what he had said. Over the next couple of days I digested his advice and turned to videos of the greatest speakers I could think of (at the time they were Jim Rohn, Les Brown, Og Mandino & John Maxwell). I was fascinated by what I was seeing as I watched them! I resolved that day to take speaking seriously and to put in my 10,000 hours. I started by Googling keynote speeches and learned 3-4 experts’ opinions on how to craft a good keynote. I put together 4 key speeches that focused on the 4 main points of my sales training platform. Then I crafted them into 45-minute speeches in which I focused on being straightforward and concise, keeping with the flow that I mentioned above. After I had written the 4 speeches, I started practicing on my wife and kids. Boy, did they get sick of them! Then I started offering to do the speeches for anyone who would listen, for free. Today, I rely on these same 4 speeches most of the time and they never get old. It’s always a new audience. Now I am working on new content, but it will be months and months before I go to a public audience with that.

I Knew There Was More To Life…

What to Do When It’s Time for a Change

Over the past 30 years I have started businesses from the ground floor, built departments in companies, and have learned the pros and cons of being both self-employed versus working in the corporate world.  My journey began many years ago, with my newest adventure in 2010. That was when I realized I wasn’t on the right path for myself and needed to make a change. The fact I was 55 and not 25 added to the excitement.

What really cemented my need for a change was a conversation I had with a friend. We both had major decisions to make in our lives. She has the perfect relationship at home and needed to make her professional life more meaningful. I was trying to find myself in both my personal and professional life. She made a comment to me that was life changing: “You have everything, and you have nothing”. She was right. You see, I was so focused on my career while making sure my children were okay  that I let “me” slip by. I lost myself.

My business coach asked me, “If there was nothing in my way, and I could do whatever I wanted and I couldn’t fail, what would that look like?” interesting question since that meant I would need to find my passion and then make things happen.

After very little thought my passion was identified but my next challenge was to take 30 years of content and try to organize it into valuable information. Where do you start? That first sentence would hopefully open the flood gates so  that i could formulate this information into a program for others. I also surrounded myself with a mastermind group, networking events  and workshops that I  attended as an attendee, all of which would hopefully help me reach my goals.

I now had a pretty good idea of what I could and couldn’t do myself. Even though I am somewhat of a control “freak” in the most loving terms, I found that I was not as productive if I didn’t have a dream team around me, so delegate I did. I have an attorney, a CPA, a financial planner, a web developer and a social media guru as part of the dream team and have added a PR person as the newest member of this winning combination.

CP Fulfuord Jr. Said“if this were easy, everyone would be doing it. If you are coasting it means you are going downhill.” This quote was instrumental in the creation of my current business—Selling In A Skirt.

I have worked in many different industries all of which have a common thread-Male-dominated industries. As a female, being in the minority had an advantage: standing out in the sea of men. At the same time,  it is also a double-edged sword. I needed to work twice as hard to be successful and I had to mimic successful men. That is not an easy task: trying to make things fit, trying to speak the same language, and at the same time, trying to be yourself and use your own feminine skills to be successful. This can be an overwhelming process. In addition, learning how to sell to the population responsible for over 85% of consumer purchases (women) was another piece of the puzzle that was missing.

The real question is this: what is needed in a market where over 50% of the work force is comprised of women, where more and more women are entering into sales, and where many more women are taking positions in male-dominated industries? The answer is a training program. But not just any training program. What we need is training that can match pace with those rapidly increasing statistics and is contemporary. The training programs written in the 1950’s by men for men served their purpose when the market was different; when the majority of sales people were male and the majority of the clients were also male.

Today’s training programs should embrace the differences between men and women to be most effective. It should also offer concepts that address how to sell to the female market. Moreover, it should use real life experiences as a blue print for the sales process.

That is what the sales world has needed for a long time, and I vowed to fill that void.

Judy Hoberman
President, Selling In A Skirt
http://sellinginaskirt.com/