Saturday, 31 July 2010

Keep it simple

Innovation is often very simple.

You will have seen LED lights - strong light but a bit harsh. Philips has gor round this probem (of harshness) by painting the inside of lightbulbs with yellow paint to soften the light.  Cheap, effective ,,, and (pardon the pun) brilliant!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Poor returns

I recently read some research which suggests (not surprisingly) that 58% of shoppers will abandon an online retailer if they suffer a bad experience with deliveries or returns. After all they get little direct pleasure from the purchasing process (though they do get the sense of anticipation) ... so delivery is a major part of the overall transaction.

Get it wrong and this research says you're half way to losing a customer ... and you might have had to work very hard on marketing and promotion to get that customer in the first place!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Don't be surprised by surprises

I was reading through some press releases recently (yes, I know I have a sad life) and came across one that referred to Dolly Parton ... pointing out that a particular air cargo handler had secured the contract to move books for her charity which distributes books to libraries and to kids.  The juxtaposition of 'Dolly Parton', 'books' and 'charity' almost surprised me .. but I've learnt to expect the unexpected.  Its how you spot opportunities!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

When did you last go to a conference?

Entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses do not attend conferences ... for one thing, they are usually too busy to take a few consecutive days out of their schedule.  However they do have to keep up with new developments, new technologies, new products, new competitors, new ways of thinking and so on.  How do they do that?

A lot of them simply rely on 'having my ear to the ground' believing that in their day-to-day activity they will come across most relevant news. A risky approach?

Luckily there are new avenues available. LinkedIn offers a range of services ... though many people think its some kind of advanced recruitment agency - a job shop.

The groups, on LinkedIn, however offer a great way of peer-based learning ... and since you can ask questions and start discussions, you can direct your focus to topics of particular interest. Look through the list of groups and find one that (almost) matches your area of interest.  'Almost' is better than 'perfectly' since you need new ideas coming from off the agenda, from left-field.  Its your job to absorb and then to identify opportunities - and to do it faster than others!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Simple problem, no easy solution

I am a director of Juice e-Learning - a new, very small company. As such we have the same problems as other small companies ... we are so busy 'getting the job done' that we don't have the time or resource to do the marketing necessary to secure the next job (and the one after that).

Of course, the web helps. Our web presence serves as showcase and promotional 'stand'. But we have to ensure that people visit our website ... and we have some ideas for that!

We have been looking for e-Learning materials that might help us move to the next level ... after all we should practice what we preach ... but most of them are 'get rich quick' promotions or 'academic' courses. 

So, there is a gap in the market ... which we could fill ... on behalf of ourselves and other small companies. But we need to identify those companies ... and we're back in our quandary .. in our vicious circle.

As with all such problems, there is no point waiting to find an escape route.  As a small company, you have to take the time and energy to build one yourself.  Don't push your problems away - tackle them ... now!