Guest Blog Archives - Page 7 of 7 - Dr. Ivan Misner®

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.

Do You Stand Out in a Crowd?

The following is a guest blog entry written by a friend and colleague of mine, Elaine Betts of Go Far Consulting.

I came across this piece by Elaine through the research I’ve been doing for my upcoming gender book and I wanted to share it with my blog readers because I think her insight into the topic of women in business is excellent and the tips, though written specifically for women in business, can be valuable to men as well.

If you are a woman in business and have advice for other women in business, if you would like to share a particular challenge to invite encouragement from others who may have valuable solutions, or if you would simply like to leave a comment, please drop us a note in the comment section.

“Do You Stand Out in a Crowd?” By Elaine Betts

Julie paused, stood outside the door, took a deep breath, straightened her jacket, and walked into the room where many of her co-workers were.  She looked around to see that, as usual, she was the only female present.  I wish I had a few allies, she thought to herself.

In situations like Julie’s, where the majority of a woman’s co-workers are male, some women tend to feel a certain vulnerability as the gender minority in their working environment.  When women constitute less than 25% of the total number of employees in a given industry, that industry is known as a ‘non traditional occupation’.  There can be many advantages as well as disadvantages for women working in non traditional occupations,  or in environments which, for some reason or another, have a gender imbalance.  However, the main factor in how a woman determines advantages from disadvantages in these situations is her individual outlook or perspective.

For example, sometimes it can seem intimidating or stressful to be the only female present.  On the other hand, the advantage for the woman in this situation is that she is easily remembered because she stands out from the crowd. This means that if one of her goals is to make a difference and bring about positive change, she already has an advantage because she is in a position to be noticed.  Women who confidently embrace the opportunity to stand out from the crowd often wear bright, bold colors and use the fact that people notice them to achieve great things.

Women in the world of business who take the attitude that being in the gender minority can be an advantage have definitely had a positive influence on not only the business world but the economy as well. According to the U.S. National Women’s Business Council, women-owned businesses are responsible for employing 16% of all U.S. jobs with an economic impact of $3 trillion annually.  How’s that for standing out in the crowd and making a difference?

If you are a woman in the working world, ask yourself if you are taking advantage of your opportunity to stand out from the crowd. If the answer is no, I encourage you to take a cue from the women in business who welcome the chance to confidently stand out and be noticed.  Following their lead can bring great rewards in both business and life.

Now, don’t get me wrong . . . I am not saying that being a woman in business is without its challenges. Speaking from my own experiences, as well as from my experience as a consultant to several women in business, I can tell you that women employed by larger business companies often feel encumbered by a seeming lack of opportunity and flexibility.  They can feel more pressure to perform and end up working much harder to prove themselves in their work environment.  However, this type of pressure has often served as the motivation for women to start their own business or make the change to a work environment where results and performance are highly valued and consistently rewarded by more opportunity.

Additional challenges for working women are evidenced by the fact that most of them have several roles to play. On top of the role a woman executes in her job, she often plays one or more roles such as romantic partner, mother, homemaker, student, caretaker, etc.  Each role has unique and very real demands and combining them all together can create significant stress.  This stress brings even more opportunities to stand out and make a difference though, as long as a woman makes a continuous effort to find ways to excel in all her roles.

Here are 10 tips to help women maintain stand-out success in every role:

    • Know your priorities, who and what comes first in your life.
    • Remain focused on what you want to achieve.
    • In each role you play, focus on being present solely in that role while you are executing it.
    • Plan the week ahead by scheduling car pools, kids’ after-school activities, day care, babysitter, etc. in advance.
    • If your job requires continuing education (always a good idea), see if you can get education classes in an audio version or via a podcast–something that can be downloaded and played in the car or on an iPod to and from work.  If this isn’t an option, allocate regular time frames (perhaps 30 minutes, 3 times a week) and plan to learn when you are able to achieve your most focused frame of mind.
    • Invest time in personal development and know who you are.
    • Know your trade and keep up with industry standards.
    • Plan time for yourself, even if it’s just 10-15 minutes for a walk or to sit in a quiet spot reading a book while you drink your morning coffee. This is very important because if you do not take care of yourself, you will not be in good shape to help others effectively in your various roles.
    • When it becomes difficult to know what to do next, enlist a mentor, coach, or colleague.  These people can  hold you accountable, cheer you on, and give you the kind of  ‘tough love’ that will keep you on track.  In short, they can be life savers.

The common thread among women in business who stand out from the crowd is that they are confident about themselves and courageous about what they do, regardless of their environment or its gender ratio. Successful business women stand out from their sea of colleagues by facing challenges head on.

These days we live in a big melting pot where, over the years, transport and the internet have made the world a much smaller place.  As such, the dynamics of how we do business are ever-changing and allow for much greater ease of communication than we’ve ever had before.  This is a perfect time for business women and female entrepreneurs to utilize the advantages available to them in order to stand out,  be heard, and make great things happen.

So what are you waiting for?  Now is the time to become the  stand-out business woman you can most definitely be.


"New Year’s Resolutions and Networking"

A friend of mine, TR Garland (pictured with me in the photo at right), just wrote a great blog entry which contains some very timely information for many people across the globe and I’d like to take the opportunity to share it with you today as a guest blog.  Enjoy . . .

“New Year’s Resolutions and Networking” by TR Garland

In about 30 days, the majority of people around the world are going to be faced with the same thing we’re all faced with once at a certain point every single year.

No, I’m not talking about keeping a smile on your face while spending the holidays with your in-laws (wink-wink).  I’m talking about setting New Year’s Resolutions.

Every year, one of the top resolutions is to “get in shape.”  The truth of the matter is that most of us already know how to get in shape:

1.  Design a nutritional plan and stick to it

2.  Design a workout schedule and stick to it

3.  Track your actions and results daily and recalibrate if needed

The problem is, a large percentage of people don’t reach their goals because:

1.  They don’t write out a formal nutrition plan or workout schedule

2.  They don’t hold themselves accountable

In other words, life gets in their way.

So what can be done about this?  Well, there’s something about human psychology that pushes us to not let someone else down. Because of this, people who invest in a personal trainer to help keep them accountable tend to achieve desired results much more consistently than they ever would by attempting to get in shape on their own.

It’s important to note that this same concept holds true for business networking and referral marketing.

Many people are spending a lot of time networking by just chatting away with others and maybe grabbing others’ business cards.  By doing this, they then expect results; they expect that the people whom they’ve met and exchanged business cards with will eventually pass a referral to them.  This mindset is called being reactive ( . . . and hoping for the best!).  Being reactive is an employee  mindset or mentality that, in my opinion, gets placed into the same category as punch cards, guaranteed smoke breaks, assembly lines, benefits entitlement, and cubicles.  In other words, this mindset is something that isn’t really that viable anymore in today’s economic environment.

If you don’t believe me, look around and note which businesses are thriving and hiring.  I’m confident you’ll discover that the businesses which are doing well are those that do not have a reactive mindset and, instead, maintain an entrepreneurial mindset.

An entrepreneurial mindset is one that takes ownership and focuses on being proactive versus reactive.  Just like the “getting in shape” example above, being proactive and accountable in your business networking and referral marketing efforts is a sure-fire way to get results–plain and simple.

So, especially if you’ll be out attending holiday parties in the coming 30 days with your spouse, significant other, family, or friends, remember to be proactive with your networking efforts.  Go to each event with a purpose (in addition to your goal of having fun).  Don’t simply gather business cards, that’s not what I’m talking about.  Instead, set relevant and realistic networking goals and ask the person you went with to hold you accountable to your goals.

And, of course, there’s a time and a place for everything.  You need to respect the event you’re attending and if the environment doesn’t warrant you achieving certain networking goals . . . grab a celebratory beverage and some festive treats and remember, there’s always next year!

* TR Garland is a Referral Marketing Strategist for the Referral Institute® in Orange County, California where he is a consultant to top performers and entrepreneurs on maximizing their ROI/ROT from business contacts and networking.  Starting in 2011, you can follow TR for his tips, tactics, and techniques on effective networking at his newly launched blog located at www.BeABetterNetworker.com.

 

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