March 17, 2009

Great Opportunities

In today’s challenging market, it is even more critical to know when to zig, and zag. Sometimes the answer lies in the simplest questions.

Take Todd Basche. Looking at padlocks, he wondered why they used numbers versus letters, when words are much easier to remember. After failing to license his patented idea to top US lock manufacturers, he struck out on his own.

As of mid 2008, Wordlock’s distribution is around 10,000 stores across the U.S.

Not bad for a simple question.

Often my clients find the answers to their greatest challenges are right there all along, just sitting in their blind spots waiting for an outside observer to ask the right question. We all get so deep in the trees that we are unable to rise up to view the forest.

What is right there in front of you that you keep dismissing as too simple, not it, wrong time, to difficult? It could be a product, service, idea or person. If it keeps nagging at you, take another look.

Now, more then ever, it is essential to look at all opportunities and avenues. Never say no – imagine if Todd did.

March 10, 2009

Good News

Following a conversation in my Master Class about the media’s role in eroding consumer and business confidence, I surfed the web for random stories from a variety of news sources. Google gave me access to 4,500 journals.

Leaving aside the non-English sources, much of what was reported ranged from the depressing (Women’s jobs are disappearing on Wall Street -Forbes) to the ridiculous (body odor being considered for ID by the US Department of Homeland Security - Washington Times).

How much of the news really contributes to your daily productivity, success and peace of mind?

I’m up for a thrival mentality. How about you? it's not about ignoring what's happening, just finding a balance of perspective.

I'd like to hear the stories of businesses and people succeeding, expanding, generating jobs and opportunities. Send them to me by email, or, even better, post a response to this blog so others can see them as well.

I’ll kick things off. It took some digging, but I found a great story (parents, you’ll love this) courtesy of Forbes, on how six kids made a million dollars before their 20th birthday.

Let’s hear more!

March 3, 2009

Where technology fails to serve

For someone who has grown up with the computer age and fancied herself a real techie, this admission is a bit difficult to make.

Last week I was completely stumped by technology.

I signed in to post my blog and found that my password and secret question didn’t work. I didn’t have one of my usual backup of all account information and had somehow trusted my mother’s brain to retain all this information.

Big mistake. Note here: always have a back up you can access.

Even more critical was the lesson on customer service. Blogger and Google, take note.

Any attempt to reset my password or secret question required me to actually know my original password or secret question. I had only email and online assistance to turn to, with no options for real interactive communication.

All roads led to the password reset page, which of course, required my original password. Normally not prone to stress, my blood pressure started to rise as the doors kept closing.

When I called head office to speak to someone, I was directed to email customer support that lead me back online.

Salvation came in the form of a moment of clarity when I dropped my stress low enough to remember both password and secret answer. (note: stress channels all systems AWAY from the brain) Appropriate back up is now in place.

As technology makes it far easier and more profitable to replace human interaction, it is even more critical to remember that your company’s competitive edge lies first and foremost with your customer’s experience.

Human interaction, with all it’s quirks and pitfalls, allows us to regroup, respond and most importantly, to serve. Plus, you can never share a joke with a machine.