By Richard Francis, Right People, Right Businesses, Right Reasons, Owner at Boardroom Breakthrough
“Do one thing every day that scares you” (Eleanor Roosevelt). Or if that’s too unpalatable – just ‘tweak for value’. Take the elements of what you already know and are already doing and change them about a bit. Bolt-on something related and add-in more flavor.
Recently – for the Smart Boardroom service – I saw a program on British TV about a go-kart track struggling in the economic downturn. Their corporate business (which was most of their income) was in the tank. No-one wants to be seen to party in corporations in the UK right now – they’re all under far too much scrutiny – both externally in the media and internally with their senior management. I saw this program and was driving past it one day. (Of all the go-kart tracks in Great Britain, this one is under 5 miles from my front door.) I met the owner who’d been on TV and suggested that we investigate combining my Smart Boardroom service, where people have to run around a failing ‘virtual company’ with a series of team building challenges on the go-karts. Presto – exit the ‘corporate jolly’ and enter ‘the team building challenge that develops leadership and management skilling’. Of course, the winners get to do some go-karting, but no-one can hurl rocks at them anymore right?
One thing to remember about ‘tweaking’ is combine it with ‘timing’. At a recent convention, I met a man who had in 1999 invented and marketed a fabulous online and offline picture sharing package on a PC. It was brilliant and reasonably priced. People could share (and find) photos on the internet with it. Sadly – in the UK in 1999 – not many people had PC’s connected to the internet, and still more of them were reluctant to give up film cameras. Digital was nowhere as cheap, as good quality, or available as it is now. The product bombed. A few years later, a free service called ‘Flickr’ did exactly the same job with a slightly different model. It was sold not so long ago for millions of dollars.
Tweaking, Timing, Testing and Refining
Also, use the tools that can make you look bigger than you are. A lot of fluff has been made of social media tools. But whilst I abhor most of these ‘destiny changing programs’ – some of which are re-packaged common sense with a large price ticket on them – there are some things you really can do to ‘punch above your weight’. Top of the heap is 1) Learn the tools – without doing that you are not going to get anywhere. Twitter, Facebook, Blogging on Wordpress are not excessively complicated and they are free. 2) Use them, and put out a LONG TAIL of user-generated content. U.G.C will be your differentiator in the years to come.
It doesn’t matter if your website blog is targeted by loonies and spammers – keep blogging! Use meta-tags so that the search engines can find it, again and again. Remember the web is BARELY out of NAPPIES – it’s hardly more than 5000 days old. If you REALLY want to know why this is so phenomenally important, search for ‘Kevin Kelly’ on Google and go listen to his talks on TED.com. In brief, by 2040, the web will have more collective ‘artificial intelligence and computing power’ than the WHOLE OF HUMANITY. Information will be ubiquitous – so I’d suggest you let go of hoarding your knowledge and rationing it out – and GET SEEN. Trust me, you’ll receive more than you give. IQ + EQ + SQ = Business prosperity.
So in summary, lay on a spread. Try some new ingredients – or at least fiddle about with those you have – and then be prepared to change your recipes. If we didn’t do that – we’d still be eating raw meat off the end of a spear!
Richard Francis has spent over two decades selling, marketing, building channels and relationships with people to forge significant and sustainable results. He uses this knowledge to help others find their breakthrough formulas to success. Richard is a lifelong devotee of crafting and refining knowledge and is always looking for useful connections that allow better application of learning into action. He has worked for and with many companies, including Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Sony. He has also managed a small but complex overseas property business. So, he has empathy with entrepreneurs at all levels of business – and not just in boardrooms but also at all levels right down to the shop floor. Richard likes to see the right people in the right businesses for the right reasons. This generally tends to make for better results and happier people driving them. To receive a free copy of You don’t need three years in catering college to cook good food! Learn about IQ, EQ, SQ and Other Key Ingredients for Business Success (in e-book format), visit http://boardroombreakthrough.com/lets-talk/come-on-board/ (Available for free until Friday, November 5th, 2010.)
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International speaker, co-author, writer
Ottawa, ON, Canada
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