Smart lessons from “stupid” cellphone

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Bluescan sv.wiki
Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Bluescan sv.wiki

A recent cover from Bloomberg Businessweek depicted some relics from the past with a tongue-in-cheek approach. The cover showed a “fearsome weapon” dating back to 2000 BC, which was a stone arrow from the Americas. Another depicted a sun-shaped disc, dating back to 3600 BC, from the Nile Delta. In the right bottom corner of the cover was a belt-fixed messaging tool, dated 2010 A.D., from Canada. Continue reading “Smart lessons from “stupid” cellphone”

Warning: think again before you launch a new product

Good Grips
Good Grips (Photo credit: dominiccampbell)

Very few businesses launch new products. Yes, they will say that their product is “new” but it’s really just the same but different. The problem with products that have never existed before is that it takes deep pockets to develop and promote them and lots of time to educate the consumer or business-to-business customer.

Take the bagless vacuum cleaner that James Dyson came up with in the 1970s. It took him at least two decades to get it manufactured and accepted by the market. What average small business owner can wait that long to make an income from a new product?

Continue reading “Warning: think again before you launch a new product”

How to imitate (legally) a successful product or idea

Stainless steel sculpture Begynnelse (Beginnin...
Stainless steel sculpture Begynnelse (Beginning) in Eslöv, Sweden, by Alexius Huber (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Imitation is stigmatised, derided and virtually blasphemous in society and business. But why are more businesses doing it rather than pioneering or innovating completely new products and services?

Simple really. Imitators can come into the market with less research and development spend, avoid the pitfalls of the innovator, produce at a lower cost, reduce risk and quickly capture market share in the wake of the trailblazer who can’t cover all bases. Continue reading “How to imitate (legally) a successful product or idea”

Must-have idea evaluation tool locked away safely in vault

softwareboxrightHow do you know if your new business idea is viable and has value to you and your prospective customers?

Entrepreneurs come to me with their business ideas which they think are brilliant and it seems that they want confirmation or assurance that their idea will fly in the marketplace. Unfortunately, this is what I can’t do. I am not able to evaluate the merits of a new business idea off the cuff.

A new business idea has to jump through a number of hoops before one can safely say that it is viable and that it will be profitable. Even in instances where the idea looks promising, there is no guarantee that it will be. No one can predict whether a business idea will succeed because the marketplace is just too dynamic and ever-changing. Continue reading “Must-have idea evaluation tool locked away safely in vault”

New sound ideas for your car stacking up to replace old technologies

A cassete tape icon
Remember cassette tapes? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The other evening I came across a cassette tape included in a literary magazine on the shelf at a city book store. The cassette tape and magazine had a nostalgic, retro feel to it. Who still has cassette players to listen to a tape like this I thought?

Cassette tape players have vanished from car sound systems. I probably have one of the only cars left with a working cassette player – only because I’ve had my car for nearly 10 years, trying to avoid a capital purchase in this economy and not take on five years of new debt.

I know only one person who still uses an old tape recorder and that’s a vetran business journalist. He records all his telephone and face-to-face interviews on his tape recorder. The only problem is that he battles to find blank cassette tapes these days. He has to reuse the old ones he’s got.

Now car manufacturers are talking about removing the compact disc player from their cars. CD players are being replaced with thumb drives, iPods and could also make way for streaming technologies. Cadillac, the Tesla Model S and the Smart Car have already ditched the CD slot. CD slots are also moving away from the dash to the centre console level. Studies show a drop off in CD listening while driving.

I heard an Internet marketer talking the other day about the opportunities in the new Ford for marketing and content programming. Audio content can be downloaded direct from the Ford site and played in the car. When you are talking about 2 million cars, the listening audience is bigger than most radio stations.

In a way that’s happening right now. With radio stations getting their content and audience wrong for the most part, it makes sense to download and play your own selection in your car.

I will never here musicians like John Mayall, Johnny Winter, John Fogerty or old stuff like Osibisa or really good music like Robert Johnson on any radio station, ever. That’s why I play my music in my car through my BlackBerry (another piece of technology set to go the way of the Palm because of its abysmal lack of features and performance). Podcasts from free downloads keep me far happier than the “chewing gum” of the mind content from radio hacks.

If so much technology change is happening just on the dashboard of your car, think what other changes are occurring around you where there could be opportunities for you.

If you need a tool to tell if your new business idea has legs, fill in your details below. Do it immediately before it is gone. It’s free. But to avoid disappointment, I urge you to act immediately. Hurry! This is a first-come-first served offer.

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Discover the four things you must know before you create a new product or service

"enthusiasm"
“Enthusiasm” (Photo credit: TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³)

Small business owners wanting to expand their product or service range may come up with a new business idea, rush into it without much thought because they are swept on a wave of enthusiasm and then discover that there is little or no demand.

I’ve made this mistake and I’ve seen first-hand as others have done the same. It’s almost as if we think that our enthusiasm will make up for everything. Our reasoning and gut feeling are shoved aside in the white-hot act of creation and product development. We may be blinded by the “darn it, just do it” mantras spouted by celebrity entrepreneurs. Continue reading “Discover the four things you must know before you create a new product or service”