The Lean Startup

Business Quote of the Day: Eric Ries on Competitive Advantage

Today’s business quote of the day comes from one of the best books I’ve ever read on innovation and entrepreneurship. Even though the quote is widely applicable regardless of the context, I’ll provide you some. Author Eric Ries is discussing businesses and entrepreneurs who spend their time keeping their strengths, discoveries, and prototypes behind a curtain, making tweaks based on speculation and delaying going to market. Ries explicitly states that in today’s business world, this will not give you the competitive advantage you’re looking for. The only way be a market leader is to learn faster than your competition. The best way to do this is to go to market, get feedback, and make rapid improvements.

leanstartupcover

Full Quote:  “A head start is rarely large enough to matter, and time spent in stealth mode-away from customers-is unlikely to provide a head start. The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.” – Eric Ries

Where to Learn: Photoshop, Coding, Everything

chalkboard

At Strategy Lab, we strive to educate every client on how to eventually manage their own website and create their own content. While we give you the tools to do this, your website’s performance will be enhanced by teaching yourself how to create dynamic content. For this reason (and because we love learning so much) here are three of my favourite places to learn online.

Code.org
Created by Hadi Partovi and backed by many big names like Gates, Zuck (yeah, we’re on a nickname basis), and Dorsey, Code.org tackles the challenge of improving computer science education. Even if you don’t plan on creating the next Facebook, Code.org will put you on a path to understanding coding basics while changing the way you look at the internet.

KhanAcademy.org
Salman Khan began by making extremely simple videos to help his family learn basic math concepts. His pleasant voice and knack for explaining things in easy to understand ways led to his creation of the Khan Academy. It’s an amazing place to learn or refresh your skills in the areas of algebra, world history, or anything between.

Lynda.com
Started by self-taught computer expert Lynda Weinman, Lynda.com is an amazing place to learn the basics and the intricacies of everything from Photoshop, to AutoCAD, to everything Apple.

Have a favourite place to learn online? Please share!

thumbs up if you like fun-stratlab stock photos downloadable

Networking? Get Outta Here

shutterstock_94209826

Almost exactly five years ago, I was playing cards with some friends and talking about business school, careers, and how to be successful (according to one of its many definitions). One of the friends in attendance, already a successful businessman (or as Jay-Z would say, a successful business, man), decided to chime in when someone mentioned their plan to accomplish their business goals and land the job of their dreams by “networking”.

Having already made his first move toward the door, on his way to conduct a 12:00am conference call, his voice of reason exclaimed:

“No, no. Networking is nothing. It’s about building relationships. Networking will result in you possessing a network that’s an inch deep and a mile wide. Relationship-building, which takes more time and genuine interest in others, will give you a circle that’s an inch wide and a mile deep. And that’s where things happen.”

This simple explanation made sense to me and I knew it complied with what I truly believed. I was forced to eat some earlier words and was provided with a new perspective. Since then, I’ve swung almost completely to the relationship-building side of things to the point where uttering the word “networking” leaves a foul taste in my mouth. Now, five years later, it’s plain to see that the vast majority of valuable friendships, mutually-beneficial business deals, and  progressive idea sharing partnerships have come from relationships built on trust and shared value rather than from shallow networking touch-points.

I don’t doubt that you have had a similar revelation; instantaneous or gradual. I think many people have and I think that this is great and a rite of passage of sorts.

But now there’s a problem.

The same businesses and careers that were built by relationships are now turning to social media and online strategies to create loosely connected networks and flimsy touch-points. A person sending an email to a business or business professional is met with a reply from the business or professional asking them to contact them via a website or preferred social networking platform. Requests to a small retail store for more information on the sizing of a clothing item are left unanswered. Words of thanks go unnoticed or simply feed a business’ ego.

The worst mistake a business or professional can make is taking the social media/online plunge and forgetting that everyone touched is a real person.

Instead of spreading yourself thin and neglecting real people in order to adopt an outside-in promotional/customer recruitment approach, blow those closest to you out of the water with your service, your level of care, and your product. Adopt on inside-out approach, wow those around you, and then look outward.

These are my thoughts. I’d love to hear yours.

 

Professional Stock Photos-the we can make a mobile and a desktop website

My Birthday Wish For You….

…is to inspire someone to do better. To achieve more. To aim higher. We love to undercut ourselves, underestimate our abilities, and set underwhelming goals. Stop it. It’s not fair to yourself.

It’s not hard to inspire someone. All it takes is any random act of kindness.

Buy the first round.
Send a text to someone you haven’t talked to in a while.
Give someone a bag full of candy. (Who doesn’t like candy?)
Give a stranger $5 and tell them the bill fell out of their pocket.
Hold the door open for someone.
Do more than is requested.
Tell someone you love them.
Tell that person who smiles too much how beautiful it looks on them.
Give someone a chocolate bar for no reason at all.
Buy breakfast.
Leave your waitress/waiter a $20 bill and write on it “pass on the love”.
Tell an elderly lady her hair looks gorgeous.
Pay for someones’ coffee in line behind you.
Leave $20 in the bathroom and wait till the next person goes in, which for their smile when they come out.
Fill someones’ parking meter.
Actually give something to the guy who plays guitar at the liquor store.
Make cookies for your significant other.
Say yes the next time someone asks a favor of you.
Buy someone at your office a coffee, someone who you’d never buy coffee for.

Etc.

Get creative, the more you try and help others the more you’ll end up helping yourself. Trust me.

Psst, now pass it along…

management-entitlement-the-actual-problem-at-your-company

Management Entitlement: The Actual Problem At Your Company

Almost everyone I talk to these days who’s over the age of 50 always complains about the The Entitled Managerentitlement of young employees. Some have even gone to say that being “entitled” is the worst characteristic in a young budding employee. I’m not arguing this point, I think it’s valid. What I am seeing more and more of though is management entitlement.

You know these managers. They expect employees to work harder than they do because they’ve been around since the great depression and have more management experience that Drucker himself. The owner who thinks they can run their company in an autocratic style, fast-forward a couple years and this chap can’t figure out why none of his employees have ever invited him out for a pint and turnover is thru the roof.

You can lie to employees for a while and still make money as a business. But sooner or later the market will find out, it always does. Information travels too quickly.

Read More
Google goes rainbow

Why Google is Winning and What This Means for You

GoogleScreenYeah

Why:

Long-term strategy:

In a tech economy with four major players (Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple), Fast Company’s Farhad Manjoo describes what Google has as “a coherent, long-term strategy to fight the tech war on every front.” While the other three are leaders in a specific area, Google’s strategy can prevail on three different time horizons: today, next year, and the far-off future.

Diverse strengths

Amazon has become the online shopping leader, Apple’s iPhone garners 3/4 of the world’s mobile phone profits, and Facebook has, by far, the largest social network. Despite this, as Apple fan and blogger John Gruber puts it, “Google is getting better at what Apple does faster than Apple is getting better at what Google does. Google, despite trailing in mobile profits, Google’s Androids account for nearly 70% of mobile units sold worldwide — a total that has sparked competitive action from Apple in the form of the iPad mini release and talks of a cheaper iPhone. What few may realize is that Google has 330% more ebook titles available than Amazon. Finally, Google crushes Facebook in online ad revenue and, despite possessing a smaller network, collects more data from its users.

Data-mining superiority

How can data-dependent app developers compete with Google? How can other search engines improve at a competitive rate? The fact that Google’s mobile advertising game is unmatched is an indication that, in our increasingly data-driven world, if you’re winning data-mining then you’re well on your way to a sustainable competitive advantage; something hard to come by in a turbulent tech world.

 

What This Means for You:

For the purpose of this post I’m going to focus on business owners. As a business owner, Google’s strength means two things:

Analyze

Google’s data-mining capabilities are reflected in its Google Analytics tool, allowing you to do what they do in a smaller way. Google Analytics should be the backbone of any company’s marketing plan. Educate yourself before you spend a single dollar.

Optimize 

Use tools like SEO-Moz to evaluate and improve your search engine optimization. Google’s success and our increasingly referral-based world will have your business’s success depending on where you come up on Google and what people are saying about you. It’s as easy as our mantra: Create, Engage, Share, Measure.

 

 

 

Cute! - Downloadable smartphone wallpaper

Five Steps In The Ultimate Customer Service Strategy

1. A clear vision of who you are and where you’re going (Westjet)

I don’t care if you’re Bruce Willis in Die Hard 2, if you don’t have a clear vision of who you are and where you are going, you have have no hope in hell of getting anywhere. If you are successful it’s purely out of luck. I love the quote from Alice in Wonderland:

Cheshire Cat - Alice in Wonderland

Read More
Deep practice is built on a paradox struggling in certain targeted ways operating at the edges of your ability where you make mistakes makes you smarter

The Paradox of Work

hard work, A constant up hill battleIf you want something in life you have to work your ass off for it. Anything worth having is worth working for. So to be successful, to get what you want in life, you have to do an unhealthy amount of work for as long as humanly possible. Then you might have a fighting chance.

Whether it be your sports team, your health or your career, it’s difficult to see the results of hard work in the short term. But the only way to guarantee long-term success is to work unbelievably hard in the short-term. Sometimes it’ll feel like an endless upward climb going nowhere.

The harder the squeeze the better the juice.

Here’s the paradox.

When you’re done, when you ship, when it’s all over, no one will recognize the work you put in. No one cares about the amount of hours you’ve put in, the sleepless nights, the psychological battle, nobody cares about it. All we care about is the result.

It’s going to be up to you to determine if the juice is worth the squeeze.

Begin with the end in mind. You must shy away from busy work (this won’t get you anywhere). You can’t just do work for the sake of work and expect to get somewhere.

Doing the difficult work is a recipe for success, but when you get there don’t expect people to be patting you on the back and praising you for how long you’ve been working at it. All they care about is the result.

winning-isnt-everything

Why Every Young Business Person Needs To Coach a Team

You try and you fail.Role models wanted-coaching inspires

You succeed and don’t know why.

You lead when times are tough. You follow when times are great.

You have to be mature in the worst moments possible when you want to fly off the handle and freakout.

You learn what self control actually means.

You learn how to read people emotionally.

You learn how to deal with different types of people and different types of personalities.

You learn to create an over all goal then try and work like hell to achieve it.

You learn to be self aware in emotional situations knowing that for a moment 8 guys lives literally depend on how you approach adversity.

There’s nothing worse than letting down a 14 year old kid.

Read More
Page 14 of 16« First...1213141516