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Right-Sizing Innovation for the Small Business Owner

Increasingly our world favors BIG. BIG Companies. BIG Stars. The next BIG thing. Big business seems to favor other BIG businesses, like during Christmas when ABC’s GMA seemingly supported only the online BIG Box stores, leaving small online entrepreneurs in the dust as reported in our December 8th blog, “Scrooge Strikes e-Commerce Small Business.”Big and small

What is the key to small businesses getting ahead? Many believe it is innovation. But it’s not that simple. Innovation tailored to the unique position and qualities of a small business propel it forward. Small business owners have certain advantages over their BIG business counterparts. They spend up to 80-90% of their days working directly with their customers, discovering their needs, solving their problems, finding the things that make them truly happy, and things, that no matter what, leave suppliers or service providers coming up short.

These insights from first-hand knowledge are the competitive edge of a small business.  BIG business might have the resources to implement innovation, but often they are so far removed from this fundamental information that they are not able to “see the forest for the trees”

In the article, “Think Small Innovations to Get Big” the author, Darrell Zahorsky describes the advantages of smaller incremental innovations found in the food industry. Small businesses that actively applied small innovations had better performance and competitive advantages over its two competing larger corporations.

How should your small business innovate? Perhaps they are things you already do. In a connected blog, Mr Zahorsky went on to list the “7 Principles of Small Innovations.” They are good tips all small business owners can benefit from.

In summary they are:

Free Time: Work smarter, not harder. Use new technology and outsource to work efficiently.

Collect Ideas: Carry around a small notebook to capture ideas throughout the day.

Look Outside: Look to other resources to succeed.

Be Customer Centric: If the innovation makes you feel uncomfortable but delights the customer, you are probably on the right track. Oh, and always consider your customer’s customer.

Use All Types of Innovation: Be alert for ALL innovation. Sometimes innovation occurs unexpectedly.

Ask The Right Questions: When talking with customers, ask about the experience, instead of the product or service.

Make a Daily Habit: Innovation can occur at any time and any place. Embracing daily innovation tactics into your lifestyle instead of as a main event will allow you to implement your best ideas.

Many of today’s leaders say the Small Business sector is likely to lead America to its next step in economic recovery. Learning the art of innovation within small businesses provides owners another competitive advantage needed to compete against all things ‘BIG’.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you.

Top Three Trends Likely to Upset Your Social Media World

Start OverWhat’s going on?! Lately, it seems like the whole world is in a state of flux. First, countries like Eqypt and Libya are deciding to start over -or die trying. Then Wisconsin decides to do much the same thing… start over -or die trying. With this much upheaval in the world, it leads one to reflect on what’s happening and attempt to look into the future.

I can’t do much about these events, but they made me consider what will most likely impact the world ‘you and I’ live in, a world that increasingly depends on, and is driven by, the Internet, social media, and new media. What trends will arise, perhaps even merge, and continue to change and then further impact our lives?

Trend One

The first trend isn’t much of a departure from my lede. It’s the speed that news is bombarding us. Our ability to grasp and understand it before it has again evolved into a new story is creating an information-overloaded society. NPR recently published an insightful article on this topic called “Media Black Hole: So Much News That We’ll Implode?

Trend Two

Just as we’ve started to understand our communities, I find that they’ve moved and changed! Chris Brogan presents a nice update on how social media communities are evolving, and why, in “The Future of Community“.

Trend Three

Over half of all Americans will have smart phones by the end of 2011. Do you think this might impact marketing in America, just a little bit? Seriously, if there is so much news that we might implode, don’t you suppose that the same could be said of technology trends? Our marketing systems that just recently aligned to embrace Internet technologies must now evolve and align with mobile technology. Lucky for us, the B2C Marketing Insider has some tips in their article “Data-Driven Marketing: Mobile by the Numbers“.

Undoubtedly, right this minute, there is another new technology or trend on its way. What do you think will be the next mainstream trend? And how will we dodge, embrace or benefit from it?

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you.

Chris Brogans- What is the Focus and Purpose of Your Blog

I was digging through some of my archives and came across this article from Chris Brogan, one of my favorite thought leaders in the social media arena. It is about the focus and purpose of your blog.

Chris starts by suggesting that you, “Ask yourself that question: what is the focus and the purpose of my blog? Is the purpose of your blog easy to define? What are you aiming towards accomplishing with it? How are you testing whether or not you’re reaching your desired effect?”

Next, he tells the story of his blog history and brings you up to date.Chris Brogan

“When I started my blog many years ago (it skittered across several domains before I landed in “real” blog software), it was for fiction. I wrote stories. Then, I wrote about fitness and nutrition. Then, I wrote about self-improvement. Then, I wrote about new media. I went from that into writing about social networks and social media, and then eventually, I moved into how businesses could use social media to improve.

What am I writing about these days? Human business. It’s essentially the idea that relationships and human-shaped experiences serve business much better than cold marketing and afterthought customer service.”

Human business, now that’s an idea that can catch on. At Social Energizer, our philosophy is based on this same principle. Finally, Chris helps you define what it is that you need to do.

“Your blog is a media property. It’s also a tool that allows you to build relationships (should that be of interest), to notify and inform (if you like telling the news), to reflect and react (if you like being a commentator), to report (if that’s something you enjoy doing), or a tool to educate, instruct, or establish thought leadership. It can be a call to action, a lead generator, a showcase for your talents, and many other things.

But your community (or your audience, if you’re not as close to them) is there with an expectation. They are seeking whatever it is you’ve been offering along the way. They want your best, and they want your material to enlighten, entertain, inform, inspire, or any of several other functions.”

One thing Chris doesn’t mention in his article is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Sometimes gaining better SEO can be the main purpose for writing a blog. Consistently changing content on your website will affect your search rankings with the major search engines like Google, Yahoo! And Bing. Initially, I think small business owners care more that customers find their websites, then that they are ‘engaging’ with them. It’s sort of the chicken and the egg thing.

What is the focus and purpose of your blog? If you need help defining it and applying it? Give Social Energizer a call. Our focus is on small businesses. Our purpose is to help integrate inbound marketing techniques into our clients’ current marketing plans.

Merry Christmas, What’s Your Social Message?

The Holidays are here! A busy time of year, full of shopping, gifting, celebrating and gathering. It is also a time of reflection. Time to ask yourself. What’s important? Am I doing the right thing? With social media impacting our lives more and more daily, it’s a good idea to dig deep to be sure you’re well grounded. To be sure that your social message is the message you can live by. A social message that you want to live with.

One of the best reads can be found by following the link below. This is a good time of year to take an accounting on your actions, including your online persona. Is it one you’re proud of? Are you doing the right things, both on and offline?

Merry Christmas, everyone. May the New Year bring peace and happiness for all. 

-Lynn

Fireplace

NADINE STAIR

An 85 year-old woman wrote this by the name of Nadine Stair. Some of you may have come across it before.

She writes:

“If I had my life to live over again, I’d dare to make more mistakes the next time.

I’d relax, I’d limber up, I’d be sillier than I had been this time, I’d take fewer things seriously, I’d take more chances and I’d take more trips.

I’d climb more mountains and I’d swim more rivers.

I’d eat more ice cream and eat less beans.

I might have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.

I’m one of those people who lives sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day.

Oh, I’ve had my moments, but if I had to do over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else, just moments one after the other instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t go anywhere without a thermometer, hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute.  If I had it to do over again, I’d travel lighter than I have.

If I had to live over, I’d start barefoot earlier in the Spring, I’d stay that way later in the Fall.  I’d go to more dances, ride more merry-go-rounds and pick more daisies.”

That’s the way it was said by Nadine Stair.

Don’t wait until you’re 85 years old.

Here’s a few more things to think/ponder about:

Trust people. Trust wasn’t put in your heart to stay, trust is only trust when you give it away.

Forget injuries, but never forget kindness.

Remember that nice guys don’t finish last. Nice guys finish best.

Practice the Golden Rule (and the Golden Rule doesn’t mean that the people that have all the money, make all the rules).

The most effective relationship with any person is an honest relationship.

‘Please’ and Thank you’ are the most powerful tools you have – you don’t have to wear a skirt to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.

Nobody ever failed by being decent – and you grow taller when you stretch to help the other guy.

Love life and use processes – don’t love processes and use life.

Don’t worry about failing. Failure is the fertilizer for success and success is really failure turned inside out. Even the best hitter in baseball fails seven times out of 10. Thomas Edison failed 12,000 times before he invented the light bulb. You learn more when you lose than when you win.

Don’t quit. You’re not finished when you lose, you’re only finished when you quit – you cannot fail without your consent.

Remember SW, (Sometimes you win, sometimes you won’t, so what!) A winning attitude is far more important than winning – winning is fleeting and fickle – but a winning attitude endures.

When you’ve done your level best, you’re a champion – and you really learn more when you lose than when you win.

Be enthusiastic, persevere, be passionate in task, bounce back and I’ll see you at the top.

Hang on to your dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that can’t fly.

And finally, love what you do and love what you are.

(Edited and reposted – Dec 2014)