Recognizing ‘Innovativity’

This is the final guest blog in the three-part series featuring Frank DeRaffele’s article, “Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity.'” To read the beginning and the middle of the article, please CLICK HERE for Part 1 and CLICK HERE for Part 2.

“Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity'” by Frank J. DeRaffele Jr. ( . . . Continued)

Recognizing ‘Innovativity’

Innovation in our businesses is extremely important. New ideas help us to run our businesses more efficiently, market more effectively, sell with greater success, satisfy customers at higher levels and lead us to greater overall results–if we have a method to put them in place and the discipline to follow through with them.  Innovation gives us competitive advantage in many cases.  We just need to make sure we are not being deceived; we need to understand how to recognize the difference between Innovation and its evil twin, Creativity.

Quick steps to recognize  ‘Innovativity’ over Creativity in a great new idea:

1. Know what your current problem is and what you want as the end result in solving that problem.

2. Confirm that your new idea will help solve that problem DIRECTLY.  Don’t justify that it is a distant cause and effect relationship (e.g., “If I bring in a new target market they will buy more and I will increase my average dollar transaction.” — This simply justifies a non-direct creative idea).

3. It can be executed simply.  The best solutions usually are not complex.  Many times, the most complex problems have simple solutions.  As a Small Business Entrepreneur (SBE), it is rare that you have a complex problem.  It may be inconvenient, bad timing, a pain, or unexpected, but rarely so complex that it takes a complex solution.  Most very effective innovations are simple solutions.

My last words of advice on this topic: Don’t stop being creative!  Always be creative, just know how to use your creativity in the most effective and profitable manner.  Make your creativity spark your innovations so you may continue to build a very profitable and sustaining business.

This wraps up the final part of Frank’s article, “Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity'” and I hope you have all found it to be as enjoyable and beneficial as I found it to be.  Any comments you leave about the article, I’ll be sure to pass on to Frank so please don’t be shy–tell us what you think!

The ‘Profitability Ninja’ & The ‘Samurai of Innovation’

Last week I posted the first part of a series of guest blogs sharing the article “Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity'” by Frank DeRaffele.  Below is the continuation of where the article left off last week.

“Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity'” by Frank J. DeRaffele Jr. ( . . . Continued — CLICK here to read Part 1)

So how do we save ourselves from this Ninja?  Enter the Samurai of Innovation. This Innovative Samurai (dressed in white, by the way) cuts through the creativity and reveals Innovative Thought, Innovative Ideas, Innovative Profitability.

Innovation is the good twin of creativity.  Innovation is creativity with focused and applied business value.  It knows how to see, analyze, evaluate, measure, and decide if this creative thought is able to become Business Innovation or if it will stay as Creative Waste.

As creativity is both a strength and a weakness to us as small business entrepreneurs, we must learn and develop the skill of how to take our creative thoughts and see if they can become innovative bottom line value.

A creative thought may be a wonderful idea but it has no direct relation to a solution.  Not that it is not of value, because it may have great value, but it may not be of value NOW.  When it is not of direct value, we open the gate for our Profitability Ninja to enter.  The question is, how do we define value? In its most simple form, we can answer this question by asking — Does this creative idea relate directly to a current problem that we have and will it help us solve the problem in the way we would like?

For example, let’s say you own a retail store.  You measure your success by the number of transactions you do on a daily basis and by the dollar volume of each transaction.  Currently you are very happy with the number of transactions but you would like to increase your average dollar per transaction.  Most customers that purchase from you spend an average of $55.00 (USD) per transaction.  You would really like to get that number up to $65.00 (USD) per transaction.  This means we need to look at up-selling, cross-selling, and the packaging of products.  As you start to think about this, you come across an idea of a great new way to do a direct mail piece to a new target market.  You know that if this new direct mail piece works, you will attract a new client base to your store.  This new client base is exciting because you haven’t focused on new target markets for quite a while and by expanding into . . . WAIT A MINUTE! What does this have to do with increasing your average dollar per transaction?!  The answer is . . . NOTHING.

What just happened here?  Yes, it was the Profitability Ninja. He snuck in and started you thinking down a new path.  He got you to come up with a great new idea and while getting excited about that idea, he made you forget that your real problem is Average $/Transaction . . . NOT Number of Transactions.  Do you see what I mean?  This new idea may not be a bad idea–in fact, it may be a good idea . . . however, it is not helping to solve the current problem at hand.  By not keeping your focus on Direct Resolutions to your problem, your profits will go into the red.

Come back next week to read the final installment of Franks article, “Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity,” and learn how to recognize ‘innovativity’ to maximize benefits from creativity and help your business soar. As always, if you have a comment to share, I’d love to read it so please leave your thoughts in the comment section.

The Referral Process–Step 8

Today is the day big day that those of you who’ve been following my blog series on the referral process have been waiting for . . . the day I’m going to talk about the final step–the step we all anticipate most:  Step 8–Closing the Deal.

By the way, feel free to catch up on the previous steps in the easy, eight-step referral process at any time by reading my blog entries about steps 1 & 2; step 3; step 4; and steps 5, 6, & 7.

  • Step 8.  Close the Deal

Now that you have your proposal done and you know all the details, go back to the prospect and close that deal! Once that’s done, don’t forget to implement your referral thank-you program to inspire your source to continue referring business to you.

You’ve probably been told that you have to contact most prospects 20 times or more before they will buy.  That may be true in ordinary marketing strategies, but in the eight-step referral process, the sale happens in as few as two calls.  Didn’t close on step 8?  No sweat . . . just repeat steps 5 through 7 until it’s a done deal.

The eight-step referral process is a formal procedure that is simple and comprehensive at the same time.  It includes every single step you might need to take in order to fully and properly develop a first-time referral. Keep in mind, many referrals, especially those you make with established contacts, are much simpler; for example, some don’t involve a referral source and thus require only a couple steps.

Have you tried any of the steps in the referral process yet?  If so, I’d love to hear about your experience and the results you’re getting.  Please feel free to comment!

Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity’

My friend Frank DeRaffele Jr., whom is also one of the co-authors of my upcoming book Business Networking and Sex, shared with me a great article he recently wrote called “Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity'” and I’d like to share it with all of you who read this blog.

Frank makes some very interesting points about the importance of balancing creativity and innovation in regard to small business and I think small business owners and entrepreneurs everywhere will benefit from reading this article.  Since the article is quite lengthy, I’m going to divide it into a few different guest blogs so, if you like what you read in the remainder of this blog entry, be sure to stay tuned for the follow up guest blogs featuring Frank’s article.

“Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity'” by Frank J. DeRaffele Jr.

As Small Business Entrepreneurs (SBEs), one of our greatest strengths is our creativity.  Coming up with new ideas . . . ALL THE TIME.  However, one of our greatest weaknesses is our creativity.  Coming up with new ideas . . . ALL THE TIME.  For most of us, we have too many ideas, too often.  Oh, the paradox!  We tend to like the new idea, the new concept, the new Ah-ha!  The problem with this creativity and these great ideas is that we tend to be great out of the gate but lose power on the follow through.  I am not saying that we should not be creative.  I am not saying that creativity is a bad thing.  I AM saying that creativity can be a time stealer, distraction, justification, and crutch.

Ninja vs. Samurai

Most of us SBEs love the freedom that we have to come up with new ideas and then implement them as quickly or as slowly as we like.  We love the fact that if and when we get bored with this new idea or we feel it is not panning out as we hoped, we can just drop it and move on.  After all, we have no one to answer to.  “I can do what I want, when I want to, and no one can tell me otherwise” we think to ourselves.  This is true.  Very true.  In fact, TOO TRUE.  This freedom we have ends up becoming our Profitability Ninja.  This Ninja disguises himself as strength and confidence, happiness and joy.  Yet, behind his mask is the true assassin.  The Ninja who will kill our profits.  He begins to steal our profits and we don’t notice it.  We may not notice it for weeks, months, or years.  We mostly don’t notice it because either he is too close to us or we just refuse to see him.

This Ninja steals by keeping us focused on new projects that really haven’t been well thought out.  Investing time, energy, man hours, relationships, and money, with little to no return.  This is when the Dark Ninja turns into the Red Ninja.  We are metaphorically bleeding.  We are now going from profitability to loss (Black Ink to Red Ink).

So how do we save ourselves from this Ninja?  Enter the Samurai of Innovation . . .

Come back next week to read more of Frank’s article and learn about the “Samurai of Innovation.” In the meantime, if you have any comments to share about this first article installment, please feel free to share them here.

The Referral Process–Steps 5, 6, and 7

In my last blog, I discussed step 4 of the eight-step referral process and in the weeks prior to that, I went over steps 1, 2, and 3 Today I’m going to cover steps 5, 6, and 7.

  • Step 5.  Report Back to Your Source

Report back to your referral source and let her know the outcome of your meeting (unless, of course, she went along with you).  Ask her to follow up with the prospect to find out about his impression of you.  Let her know how important it is for you to make her look good to the prospect.

  • Step 6.  Your Source Gets Feedback from the Referral

The referral source calls your prospect on your behalf to get information that you can use to address any concerns for your next meeting.  Since the prospect is likely to tell your source of any concerns that he may not have expressed to you, this is the best way to find out what your prospect is thinking.

  • Step 7.  Your Source Reports Back to You

Your source reports back to you with more information about the prospect. This increases your chances of closing the sale on the next call or, if the prospect is already under contract or not currently in the market, perhaps at the next available opportunity.  With this information, you can contact the prospect at a more appropriate time and be first in line with a proposal and sales plan ready to go.

If you would like to find out about the last step in the easy, eight-step referral process, be sure to come back next week.  Step 8 is usually most people’s favorite step and it’ll probably be yours too because it’s all about closing the deal.

“Sales Success Now”

My friend, sales expert Dr. Donna Ligda, has just released a new e-book called Sales Success Now which features 10-minute interviews with leading experts who spell out their single best sales strategy or tactic and explain how to easily implement it.

I’m interviewed in the book about how I’ve leveraged trusted relationships to open over 5,000 chapters of my organization worldwide and, because of my contribution to the book, Donna has offered to make a free copy of the book available to my blog readers!

To get your free copy of the book, simply send an e-mail to DonnaLigda@ComCast.Net requesting the free e-mail version of Sales Success Now which was mentioned on Dr. Ivan Misner’s blog.

The book includes interviews with:

  • Chris Lytle, President of Sparque, Inc.
  • Mike Bosworth, best-selling sales and marketing author
  • Keith Eades and Robert Kear, international marketing experts
  • and many more . . .

After you get your free copy by e-mailing a request to DonnaLigda@ComCast.Net, come back and let me know what you think of the book.  I think you’ll be impressed!

The Referral Process–Step 4

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been explaining the easy, eight-step referral process in increments. Today I will be going over step 4 and if you’d like to review the previous steps I’ve already covered, simply click on each of the following links:  step 1, step 2, and step 3.

  • Step 4.  Meet with the Referral

Now comes the move you’ve been waiting for: your first meeting. You might close the deal on your first call, but it’s unlikely.  Instead, you’re probably going to be getting acquainted with your potential new customer and gathering information to help you prepare a proposal. Now, what if you could get your referral source to go along?  That would make it a real powerhouse meeting.  It would add to your credibility and instantly deepen your relationship with the prospect.

If you do close the deal at your first meeting, you might think the referral process is over, but in fact it’s just started. Before you start turning cartwheels on your way out of the building, call your referral source, tell her what a great referral it was, and thank her for it.  Then, when you’re back in your office, set your “thank you for the referral program” in motion.

If you don’t currently have a “thank you for the referral program,” you’ll need to create one right away because thanking your referral sources is extremely important if you want to ensure that they keep sending referrals your way.  To learn more about referral incentives for your sources, you can check out a couple of blogs I wrote on the topic:  “Simple Recognition Is Sometimes the Best Reward” and “A Win-Win Way to Reward Referral Sources.”

If you’re interested in learning  more about the easy, eight-step referral process, be sure to check back next week because I’ll be explaining steps 5, 6, and 7.

Do Men or Women Spend More Time Networking?

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew6Wf9k7dKc[/tube]

Business Networking and Sex is the book that my co-authors (Hazel Walker and Frank DeRaffele) and I have coming out next January and in this short video, we talk about an interesting research finding that will  be published in the book.

There’s one specific question that we are asking BusinessNetworking.com blog readers to weigh in on and it’s this:

Which gender–men or women–do you think spends more time networking, and why is it you think that?

When you watch the video you’ll see that my co-authors each have definite opinions on this, to say the least.  I felt like I was watching a tennis match watching them banter back and forth but, one thing is for sure, I’m never bored around these two and they sure know how to get a lively conversation going!  Now, the three of us want to keep the conversation going and hear opinions from readers all over the globe, so please leave a comment here and let us know what you think!

The Referral Process–Step 3

The referral process (CLICK HERE to read a short overview of the referral process) can be broken down into eight easy steps. In a blog entry I posted last Monday, I explained step 1 (Your Source Discovers a Referral) and step 2 (Research the Referral).  Today, I am going to talk about step 3.

  • Step 3.  Check Back in with Your Referral Source

After learning all you can about the prospect’s company through your outside research, it’s a good idea, especially if the referral appears to be complex or of very high value, to call your referral source back to confirm or refine what you’ve learned about the prospect’s company.

You need to keep your referral source in the loop and out of trouble. Making her look good is a primary objective, perhaps even more important than the immediate sale, because you want this referral relationship to continue and to benefit both of you far into the future.

More important for your approach to the prospect, you need to know more about him personally, which is something you can assume your referral source is particularly well positioned to help you with.

Try to learn about what sort of individual you’ll be dealing with. What’s his personality type?  Is he detail oriented?  If so, he might want to see a lot of collateral material or samples.  Is he hard driving and results oriented?  He might just want to talk about your offerings, see your track record, and make a quick judgment.  Does he like to have fun while he’s doing business?  Perhaps you’ll join him on the golf course.  If he’s all business, the office environment is probably better.

What are the prospect’s goals?  Why is he interested in your products or services?  Is he happy with his current provider or looking for a change?  Is he ready to do business with you immediately based on the referral, or is he sending out requests for proposals to other companies?

What you don’t want to do is charge at the prospect with no idea of what is expected or desired.  Having some certainty about these factors will help you put together a powerful presentation that is tailored to the individual and his company.  This will help you accomplish your two most important objectives: closing the sale quickly and making your referral source look good.

If you have a testimonial you’d like to share about a time you successfully executed step 3 in the referral process and how it made for great results, or a story about how you learned the importance of step 3 after neglecting to complete it and suffering the consequences, please feel free to share by leaving a comment.

Be sure to check back in next week if you want to learn about step 4!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
   Follow Me

Get every new post delivered to your inbox