Get Over the Fear – Change Something

October 16, 2008

Innovation is, in essence, change. And change has a way of striking people in an odd way. Change is too often regarded as unwanted, unnecessary, and scary.

In businesses and industries that have been around the block, change is often shot down. People equate change as an admission of wrongdoings, or a waste of money and resources, or a burden.

And the people that suggest or bring about change, take the risk of being shunned or hated for it. The reason that the US economy has led the way is that we accept failure. We see challenges and opportunities as good things, and we praise those that take chances. You can fail, but still create real opportunity. Failure is not the end. But it is still far too hard to change things.

The greatest business innovators in history have had to face the doubts of their peers. And often, those doubts turn to personal attacks. This has led to a fear of standing out, or being different.

Henry Ford faced criticism for creating a car for the masses. There is no need for everyone to have a car, they said. Steve Jobs faced criticism for creating personal computers. No one will want a computer in their household, they said. “THEY” were wrong.

Realize this, most often, the people that are against change are those that are profiting the most from the way things are. They are not thinking about what is best for the industry, or the people they serve, they are thinking about themselves. And they see change as harmful to them, because they are so good at the status quo.

It takes a strong mind and an even stronger will to face these doubters head on. If you have an idea, you have to know that somewhere, someone will not like it. Don’t be afraid of defending yourself. Don’t be afraid to stand toe to toe with the status quo. Don’t be afraid to be different. That is how things get done, and that is how we, as a country, move forward.


The Age of the Startup

June 21, 2008

It is easier now than ever before to start your own company.  The playing field is wide open and waiting for your idea.  The barriers to entry are lower than you think, and the startup costs are less than they used to be.  In fact, in most industries, new ways of doings things make the initial startup easier and more convenient than even 5 years ago.

So what does this mean?  It means that differentiating yourself is more important than ever.  The fact that it is easier to start a company means that more and more people are doing it.  To be successful, you need to be doing something that stands out from the crowd.  If you are not different, you are going to get lost in the shuffle and miss out on all of the fun.

Most people are afraid to stand out because it means taking a chance.  It means that if you fail, you fail in the public eye and you will be embarrassed forever.  We have this underlying fear that we will be outcast from society and seen as a fool for the rest of our lives.  Wake up!  It’s time that you realize that if you fail, you are in the majority.  We all fail.  People and businesses fail in this country every day.  Does that mean we all crowd around them and pelt them with cabbage and tomatoes?  There is no public shunning that takes place, and most often these same people or companies come back with a successful venture later.

Get over your fear of standing out, and you will free yourself up to rise to the top.  Get people talking about you because your product is so new, or your marketing is so fresh, or your brand is so simple.  The more people talk, the more opportunities you have to convert them into customers.  Innovation does not have to mean a brand new product that no one ever thought of before.  It can be the way you handle your operations, the way you help your customers, the promotions you offer, etc.  So if you decide to take advantage of the “open” market and start a business, make it worth your while, stand out.