Monday, March 31, 2014

Clarity precedes everything else

This weeks sparkenation.

This week before you open your mouth, type, or doing anything, take a moment to get clear.

“Success depends on where intention is” said Gita Bellin.

The clearer we are, the more solid our intention, our purpose, our reason, the better life turns out.

"Look before you leap" has always been good advice.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Ian

More sparkenations here.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fulfilling Lives - worldwide online summit

I am thrilled and honoured to be one of the people interviewed for this summit which will be hosted by Alicia Curtis 6 - 10 May 2014.


Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Ian

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Find Small Innovations That Make a Big Difference

Most innovation doesn't come from major breakthroughs; it comes from looking at things slightly differently and making small - but significant - changes.

Here's an example ...

I recently had dinner at the Red Opium restaurant in Perth. It's fairly new, is in a very quiet part of town, and offers an unusual style of food (tapas-style Thai!). So they have to do things differently to get noticed and talked about.

And they do. First, the food is good (very good!), and that's an essential first step.

Second, the service is good as well: friendly, professional and reasonably fast for a busy night.

And, of course, in Perth's highly competitive restaurant market, value for money is important as well. And they get a tick on that score as well.

But quality, service and price alone aren't enough anymore. After all, every other restaurant would also claim to offer all three.

The difference has to come in the customer experience.

And here's one thing the Red Opium does differently ... When we arrived, our table was reserved for us with a handwritten card with my name on it:

red-opium-table-reservation

This added a beautiful personal touch to the experience. We weren't "Table 17", nor did we have a table with a cheap metal "Reserved" sign. No, we had Gihan's table!

This doesn't take much to do (they had my name when I made the booking, and it only takes a few seconds to write it on a card), but it makes a big difference.

What small innovations can you make in your business?

Innovation doesn't mean you have to find big breakthroughs. In fact, sometimes searching for The Next Big Thing can distract you and drain your resources. Instead, turn your attention to the little things.

If you're not sure where to start looking, here are three questions to ask:

  1. What is everybody in our industry doing in exactly the same way?
  2. What are we doing that doesn't delight our customers?
  3. (Best of all) what is everybody in our industry doing that doesn't delight our customers?

Whatever your business, I'm sure you can find examples of answers to these three questions. Then consider how you could change this - to be different from your competition and to improve your customer experience. You might be surprised to find how easy it is to do - but how big a difference it makes.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Happiness is

This weeks sparkenation.


Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Ian

More sparkenations here. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Of the 5 basic ways we communicate, 1 matters the most

This weeks sparkenation.

We communicate largely through cliches, sharing facts as we see them, sharing opinions, sharing feelings, and optimum where we don’t need words e.g. How do I know that my wife is ready to go home even though she is on the other side of the room? A. It’s just a look!

The writer of ‘Do’ Kevin Kelly says that “authentic attention is the most sought after intangible in an attention deficit world.” I couldn’t agree more.

Spend more time this week sharing your feelings and really paying attention to others expressing their feelings. Your life and work will be better when you do.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Ian

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Think Digital, Go Global

Think Digital, Go GlobalEvery business should be thinking about "going global".

That doesn't necessarily mean you need to start selling online or try to reach the entire world. But it does mean using the power of the Internet to reach further than ever before. Almost every business can take advantage of this in some way, and if you're a speaker, trainer, coach, consultant or other thought leader, it's essential, not just optional.

You might think "going global" means reaching out to the entire world, but that's (ironically!) a limited mindset. Instead, think of this as taking advantage of the digital (online) world. For example, running a training course by webinar potentially gives you global reach, but it's valuable even if it saves you from domestic travel.

Here are five things you can do to take advantage of the digital world.

1. Buy global.

Online shopping - both at a national and international level - has grown dramatically in the last few years (about $15 billion in Australia last year). Of course, this puts pressure on bricks-and-mortar retailers, but it's a boon for consumers. If you haven't started buying online, you don't know what you're missing! It's efficient, convenient, reliable, and very affordable.

Buying online can also mean switching to digital goods rather than physical goods: Kindle e-books rather than printed books, MP3 music rather than CDs, online subscriptions rather than physical boxes.

2. Hire global.

You probably won't move entire departments offshore like large organisations do, but you can take advantage of outsourcing to do this at a smaller scale. Sites like Elance, oDesk and Fiverr (called "talent markets") make it easy for you to get specialised work done by experienced professionals around the world. Don't start with mission-critical, difficult, or highly sensitive tasks. Start small to dip your toes in the water, and you'll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is.

More about outsourcing here ....

3. Sell global.

If you sell any products directly to clients, also promote them on your Web site and make them available for sale there. Even if you never make any online sales, it helps position you as an expert, and provides a starting point for negotiating sales with your corporate clients.

You don't need a fancy (and expensive) shopping cart and payment system to take the orders. Just use PayPal to get started, and you can replace that with a more sophisticated system later if needed.

4. Serve global.

Your core business might be delivering your material in person - at a training course, in a seminar, as a conference keynote presenter, or at a coaching session. Keep doing that, but also consider how you could make some of this material available online. This will supplement the work you're already doing for clients, and might eventually turn into a completely independent online product.

For example, many infopreneurs and thought leaders are now building a "membership site": a resource centre full of downloadable products and digital services in their area of expertise. If you have a membership site, you can offer it to your existing clients or sell it as a stand-alone product to others.

5. Live global.

You can't succeed online without spending some time there. That doesn't mean you have to spend every waking minute on Facebook and Twitter. But you should be familiar and comfortable with the sort of technology your clients and audiences use - Facebook, smartphones, webinars, video conferencing, LinkedIn, whatever. Even if you're not using these tools to promote or sell, at least understand them from a user's perspective.

So ... Attend more webinars. Buy and read e-books. Spend some time on Facebook. Start a mastermind group that meets by video conference. Whatever.

What are YOU doing to go global?

Which of these ideas could you use in your business? I hope you can use all five to some extent, and some more than others. Don't hold back because you don't know how! Instead, start small to get the experience, and then expand as needed.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The purpose of your business is the bedrock of its success

This weeks sparkenation.

My heroes are mavericks – rebels, radicals, dissenters, disrupters, heretics, non-conformists, contrarians, the label doesn’t matter. I am particularly passionate about maverick thinking and action that leads to radical transformation of the way we work because much of the way we work isn’t working.

Dee Hock the founder and first CEO of Visa International embodies maverick thinking.

In this Fast Company article published way back in October 1996! Mr Hock is quoted as saying:

"Unless we can define a purpose for this organization that we can all believe in, we might as well go home." That's "purpose" as in, "We the people of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect union .... " The purpose has to be an authentic statement of what the organization is about, not some platitude cooked up by a consultant."

What’s the purpose of your business?

and remember this: Profit is not a reason for being in business, rather a result of being good at business.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Ian

More sparkenations here.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Are you giving people exactly what they want?

This weeks sparkenation.

Is your business about making money or is it about delivering value?

A business is a person or a group of people giving other people the value that they demand, desire, and feel that they deserve.

Are you giving people the value that they want? Making money is a consequence of doing so.

If you have employees, are you giving them the value that they want? The most successful businesses serve employees first and customers second. Profit follows.

Are people your priority or is profit your priority? Your answer to this question will tell you a lot about why your business is where it is today.

Profit is not a reason for being in business. Profit is a result of being good at business.

What’s your reason for being in business?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Ian

More sparkenations.