Posts tagged "visionary"

Fixing What Isn’t Broken

September 14th, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, Entrepreneur, Inspiration 0 thoughts on “Fixing What Isn’t Broken”
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Photo courtesy gratisography.com

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Practical advice? Or famous last words?

Many have argued for a long time that if something is working the way it is, you shouldn’t mess with it. The reasoning is that you might make it worse, rather than better. By experimenting, pushing through boundaries, or trying something new, it’s possible that you will break the very thing you were trying to make better.

But visionary entrepreneurs have shown time and again that great ideas don’t just come from fixing broken things. They come from making an existing idea even better.

That’s great for them, but not so good for the current businesses in the industry. If you’re not evolving and trying to make your current system better, you are increasingly at risk of losing ground to a competitor.

Trust me, someone is out there, looking at what you’re doing and trying improve on it. It’s only a matter of time before they succeed. Unless, of course, you keep ahead of them. To do that…

You Need to Fix What’s Not Broken

Hopefully, you’re utilizing proper metrics and tracking KPIs. If you’re not, you definitely should be.

Typically, that information is used to find what’s not working so well and adjust accordingly. But you shouldn’t just focus on the weak areas. You need to improve your strengths as well. If a quarterback is great at long passes, but weak on shorter passes, would they put a bigger emphasis on practicing their short game?

Your initial inclination may be to say, “Yes! Of course,” but I would disagree. Sure, work to improve weaknesses, play to your strengths. Develop your strengths even further. Use those strengths to create whole new skills or opportunities.

There’s Opportunity in Improving the Areas No One Else is Focusing On

In any industry, especially saturated or competitive ones, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of the niche. A lot of businesses focus on the big-ticket items and pain points. Improvements tend to be incremental and similar to what everyone else is doing.

By targeting an area everyone has taken for granted, you just might be able give your customers something they didn’t even know they wanted. You truly fix something that wasn’t broken.

That’s a little confusing, so let’s look at an example in the tech industry.

Since the release of the iPhone and the waves of similar styled Android and Windows phones that followed, the smartphone industry became a game of numbers and style. How much power does it have? How sleek and thin is it? How long does the battery last?

Everyone was trying to cram more into less.

Enter Samsung in 2011 where they introduced a phone called the Galaxy Note. In many ways, it felt like it was going the opposite direction of other smartphones.

First off, it wasn’t small and sleek. It was huge. But the craziest thing was it brought back the stylus, something that Steve Jobs had unofficially “killed” when he introduced the first iPhone four years earlier.

If there was one area where the smartphone didn’t need to be “fixed”, it was its touch screen capabilities, right?

Apparently not. Though initially mocked by many, the Note was a surprise success, and the product line would end up becoming one of the most popular in all of smartphones. Every major company would eventually release large screen devices (known as phablets) to compete. Even Apple.

The stylus also came back in a big way afterwards, appearing in other phones and major tablets. Even Apple now has a stylus for their iPad Pro.

Who Knew?

It turned out, people actually wanted bigger screens and the ability to write on those screens. But no one knew that until Samsung tried to fix something that wasn’t broken. Samsung is officially the most popular phone manufacturer now in both the US and the world.

Will they remain #1 or will someone leapfrog their position? That may very well depend on who has the best camera capability. Who knew that we all had to (repeat…had to) have high quality cameras on our person at all times? Another great example of fixing what was not broken.

When you reexamine the areas that appear to be working just fine, you might be surprised what ideas you’ll come up with. And those ideas just might be the game changer your business needs.

How to Take Your Business Vision from Initial Ideas to Success

January 13th, 2016 Posted by Business Plan, CEO, Entrepreneur, Goal, Inspiration, Objective, Vision 0 thoughts on “How to Take Your Business Vision from Initial Ideas to Success”
Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

Paying Homage to a Visionary

Earlier this week, music icon David Bowie died. The news and social media have rightfully been running all kinds of stories and tributes to him, and he was indeed influential in my life as well. Beginning in high school, I sang in bands but it wasn’t until a few years later I came in to my own as a vocalist. I distinctly remember it was in the middle of our cover of Bowie’s “Suffragette City”.

I was wearing these ridiculous all chrome glasses. Even the lenses were chrome so no one could see my eyes. We’re doing the song and I feel someone removing them from my face. That’s when I realized I’d had my eyes closed and was no longer seeing the crowd. I was just completely in to the song. I had zero thought nor care as to whether anyone was enjoying it or not. It simply didn’t matter because I was completely immersed in it…until that fan took off my glasses and momentarily brought me back to Earth.

It forever changed how I approached things. Fully immersing myself, not caring about what critics had to say.

People often mistook Bowie’s eyes for being of two different colors, but actually, they were the same color. One eye, however, was permanently dilated due to an injury from a punch to the face when he was a kid. This made it appear that his eyes were of two different colors, but it was just an optical illusion (every pun intended). Bowie actually used this distinct look to his advantage, recognizing that it gave him a certain visual mystique.

I think of it as giving him a unique view as a visionary, because whether you like his music and art or not, he was undeniably a visionary.

That’s a long lead in to this blog, but it felt right to pay some homage to one of the great artists of our time. Now let’s get down to the business of YOUR vision.

A Vision without a Plan

A company with a vision but no identifiable business plan is like a classic car without an engine. Sure, it’s beautiful to look at and sit in, and you can even imagine how fast it will go while racing down the highway, but once you turn that key to start the ignition, you’ll find that you are going nowhere pretty fast.

Without the building blocks to make it move, a car is really just a pretty hunk of metal.

This is how a lot of businesses start out: a vision is created, goals are set and the company decides on how to define success in their industry. This is a great start, but once the initial planning is over, too many businesses fail within the first few years. This is because defining success and formulating a plan to achieve that success are two very different things.

Make a Vision, Then Make a Business Plan

Your vision is what you want to achieve in your industry. Do you want to focus on innovation, customer service or quality products? Ask yourself how you want your company to be defined in the industry and what you want to do for your clients? This is your vision.

Your business plan is how you intend to achieve this vision.

Every company needs direction. Even the most talented team of experts needs direction, and you are just the person to lead that team.

Create a Strategic Plan

One of the things that the Business is ART book talks about is the one page strategic plan. This is a simple way to articulate and define the business objectives that you need to meet in order to achieve your vision.

Don’t know how to create a one page strategic plan? You’re in luck, there is a downloadable version of the template located in the “Freebies” section of this website. You can use this to plan, organize and track the progress that you are making on your business objectives.

Speaking of Tracking

How do you know if you are on the right path to achieving your vision? You track your performance results, of course.

Every business leader knows the benefits of tracking the company’s performance metrics. Without this crucial step in the process, you will never know in what areas you need to improve and where you should be staying the course.

The Next Steps

Achieving a vision is not a straight path, but a winding journey with many twists and turns. You have to be able to learn your industry and what it takes to run your business successfully. These lessons can be learned over time, and many of them are contained within the Business is ART book.

For more information, or to download the free templates, go to the Resources section of the website.

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