Business Observations

The "Creative"/"Suit" Spectrum

There are plenty of people for whom creativity is the main fuel for their day. Designers, marketers, artists, chefs all exist in environments that demand fluency in creative thought. However, there are a lot of jobs that center on process, routine and analytical thought where there isn’t a lot of room for creative thought. Neither extreme can lead to a completely successful career; “creatives” still need processes and business acumen to grow and market while “suits” need creativity to find new opportunities and innovative solutions that enable evolution and expansion. Most people appear naturally towards one end of the “creative”/”suit” spectrum. The lucky ones are those who incorporate their “creative” or “suit” status in their work but it is the successful professionals who acknowledge where they fall and seek ways to move towards the other end.

So, I ask you where do you fall on the “creative”/”suit” spectrum? If you’re a “suit” how do you try to introduce creativity into your work? If you’re a “creative” what ways do try to embrace process and analysis? I challenge you to determine where you fall on the spectrum and work to move yourself towards a more centered place by exploring a way of working that may not be natural but will be more fruitful.

The Way We Were: Social Networking

There once was a time when "social networking" meant getting out into your community and building relationships. Before phones became ubiquitous, emails the standard, SMS professionally acceptable the main channels for making those connections were civic associations, religious organizations, political groups, hobby clubs, sports teams etc. The motives for participating in these social streams were the same as those that drive users to social networking 2.0 - abate loneliness, grow business opportunities, meet others with shared interests, further your cause, learn more. The methods were rudimentary and shaped largely by social etiquette but at its core social networking was a face-to-face endeavor dedicated to fostering the relationships from which greater institutions, businesses, movements would grow. 

While the invention of tons of new technology and processes have made it easier and faster to build a vast social network they have greatly negated the simple value of face-to-face conversation. Making conversation with the person who serves you your coffee in the morning or asking that person you see everyday in the elevator how their weekend was are all starting points for building out your social networks. 

Don't get me wrong, I rather like all the new bells and whistles that have brought a good number of people into my world who otherwise would have remained strangers. But, I think as things become increasingly virtual it is important to reexamine the art of the conversation. Twitter, Facebook, blogging, emails, phone calls are all great ways to enhance a conversation but taking the time to really get out there and practice your "hellos" and "how ya doin's" will keep your social networks rooted in reality. 

So, before you sign in, boot up, call in or log on have one simple face-to-face conversation. Extra points if it's with someone new. Just relax, engage and see where the network goes.

Trends Discussion 2008: Going Global [Part II]

Gaining an international presence in your industry is a process that doesn't have to be long and drawn out. It just takes some proper planning and stamina. I'm hoping that my thoughts will give your company the boost it needs to get out a major way.

In this game, there really are no rules, you make the rules. The tips that I'm sharing with you are the rules that we've [Bizucate] established to help us win this game of playing in international markets. Here are my other tips:

1.GET OUT...visit your chosen country and see what it's about

2. Make yourself aware of the economic markets and conditions of that country as part of your Going Global research

3. Decide why you want to go global (as part of your number 3 below). Is it to see something in another country, have something produced/developed there) or both? It will drive your research efforts

These tips are a great way to realize the culture and really measure whether your selected country would benefit from doing business with you. This gives your company an edge and a true understanding of what you're getting into. Again, you want your motives for doing business in the selected country to be crystal clear so when asked, you will be able to communicate the company's objective(s).

The next BIG question is how long should it take before your company is actually delivering its product or service? That time is up to you and your team. Like anything, you want to craft your plan, talk to as many companies or contacts who are already global, and take measurable action. To keep the idea of going global exciting, check out the blogosphere. I've recently discovered this blog doingbizabroad and international business is the primary topic.

Do you have any ideas about going global or other great blogs focusing on this topic?
Leave me a comment.

Until then, create your plan and stay focused on the vision.

Keep the learning going...pass it on!


Trends Discussion 2008: Going Global

This is a topic that’s been on my mind for quite some time. In fact, I’m going to make this a two part series because I have some things to share with you about the benefits and some down sides, but mostly benefits, of doing business abroad…

Did you know that taking your business global could be the largest driving force in your revenues? If you’re properly positioned before take-off, I can almost guarantee it will be a ride worth taking. Other countries are dying to buy our services and/or products. Bizucate billed six countries last year and that experience exceeded my vision for where I’d plan to take my business in 2007, not to mention getting the visas, racking up on frequent flyer miles and operating on completely different time zones. Now that I think about it, things were pretty busy for us on the international front last year.

We buy services abroad, we sell services abroad and we travel abroad so why not do business abroad? Dell and IBM weren't afraid to do it and look where it has gotten them. I know the first thing that usually comes to mind when I talk about crossing the seas is HOW?

At Bizucate, the bulk of our international alliances were formed through larger corporations that contracted us to train their team.  I have to say that had it not been for these major powerhouses, I’m not sure if we would have been able to hit the international markets as strongly as we did. Crossing international markets is doable if you have a systematic approach. In case I've sparked some interest of new possiblities in the way you do business, I want to share four tips to encourage you to get started:

1. Know what your company has to offer

2. Strategically choose partnerships with a major firm, organization or business who has international offices and who could benefit from your service

3. Define your international strategy and make them known to your partners, when the time is right

4. Know your price points, is your company willing to shell out eight grand for an airline ticket to present a one hour speech?

More tips to come in my next post. In the meantime, I hope this really gets you thinking about international companies who could benefit from the service you provide.

Tell me, why aren't you doing business abroad? If you are, what are your thoughts about it? 

Keep the learning going...pass it on!


Trends Discussion 2008

Now that we are making our way out of the “New Year” I think it’s safe to say that 2008 has hit the ground running. Have you made a difference in the lives of your customers’ businesses yet? What’s stopping you? Who’s stopping you?

Time is ticking so I want to challenge you to be forward thinking in your approach as we are just four weeks away from the closing bell of the first quarter.

At Bizucate, I'm finding that in order to add value, it's essential for me to sell and deliver for at least two hours out of my day. What does that mean for my business and my customers' businesses? It means that all this talk about a recession show us that we should take the time to add to our pool customers by making those follow-up calls and carving out new business opportunities, while delivering what we promised to our current customer base. In no way should hard times be an indicator to pay special attention to your current or potential customer base. Be proactive.

The trend for 2008 is to keep the current customer happy and constantly adding new customers to the mix.

I’d compare the selling and delivering component to the likes of a mother loving four children all the same? Surely, doesn’t she love one more than the other? Selling and delivering operate in this way, when you’re out doing the presentations, or trying to make a sell all while giving your current customers what they deserve, it makes it impossible to love one more than the other, well, almost.

Let’s start with what’s necessary and add value in the way we do business.

Keep the learning going…pass it on!