Steve Wozniak is an Innovator – Are You?

February 6, 2009

wozniak_steveThere are a lot of innovators out there.  If you listen to what people and companies say, everyone is an innovator.  People like to toss around the term innovation because it gets people’s attention.  It makes you think of something new and amazing.

Steve Wozniak just took a job with Fusion-io, a startup focused on Flash memory devices to speed up servers.  Steve, co-founder of Apple, is a true technology innovator.  If you need proof, read his book.  He is an idea man, and he gets things done.  His mind just works in ways that other people’s don’t.

Really, at its base, innovation is change.  It is taking something, usually something that most people take for granted, and improving on it (or creating something completely different in its place).  And, truthfully, we can all innovate.  Every company, from the smallest of small businesses to the biggest of corporations, can make innovative strategic decisions on a daily basis.  So why don’t we?

Well, innovation can be hard.  It must be built into your culture.  It feeds off of creativity and ideas.  You need the people with those ideas to spawn innovative discussions, and you need leaders who listen and see the value in new ideas.

But the point of this blog is to show you that you don’t need a mind like Steve Wozniak’s to innovate.  Read his book, its inspiring.  In fact, read as many business books as you can.  Read the top business blogs.  Take in information, news, suggestions, etc. on innovation and business practice.

Let your mind wander.  Think of possibilities that are far out of reach.  It doesn’t matter what you do on a daily basis, after a while, things get stale.  And for a company that relies on putting out consistently good products or delivering consistently good service, staleness will kill you.

Suggestions: Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur, an employee, a small business owner, and inventor, or a CEO you can…

  1. Always be learning – read everything around you and find out what other people are thinking, doing, and saying.  Surrounding yourself with information leads to inspiration.
  2. Always be doing – don’t let yourself hesitate or put down certain ideas because you are afraid.  Don’t let a day go by where you are not experimenting with something physically or mentally.
  3. Always be talking – social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter have allowed for limitless conversation.  Seek out others in your field and communicate with them, this will bring new ideas to light.

But it doesn’t stop there.  Take advantage of the comment area below and add your own suggestions.  How can you foster innovation and creativity?

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Do It Yourself Tips for Marketing & PR

December 23, 2008

It’s all over the news, every blog, every station and every person is talking about the economic situation and what’s to come. Large corporations are claiming bankruptcy and laying off hundreds or even thousands of people. If large companies are having trouble, how are small businesses coping during these times?

Marketing and Public Relations is always important. It’s what drives new customers to your business and it’s what reminds your existing customers, that you’re still there and you still care. But it’s never been as important as it is right now.

Many small business owners think marketing and PR isn’t for them, thinking it’ll run them a few too many dollars. If this is you, I’d like to help change your way of thinking.

Here are a few Do-it-Yourself tips on PR and Marketing for any business.

Know your Market.
Do you have a product or service? You want the world to know, right? Having everyone know about your product would be a dream to any business owner, but thinking that way means your marketing is wrong. Know who you’re targeting your product towards. Study your market, how they buy, where they buy and why they buy.

Know Who to Pitch to.
You may have written a fantastic press release but sending out your release about baked goods to an editor of a fashion magazine won’t do anything for you. Find the right media outlet and the right contact before sending out your release or contacting them. Aimlessly sending out press releases is not only ineffective but can also be seen as spam and create a bad name for yourself or your company.

Follow Up.
If you’ve done your research and were able to successfully contact and communicate with the right person, don’t forget to follow up. Editors and producers get hundreds of emails a day and contact several people, so they can easily place your story or pitch on the back burner. Don’t be afraid to follow up with a media alert or a thank you if appropriate. Just remember the no spam rule.

Network, Network, Network.
I don’t think I can say this enough. The only way people will know about your company is through you and your efforts. Go to the parties, the meetings and the trade shows. Shake hands, meet people and always make an impression (the right one!). If you’re a little shy or unsure of which events to go to, there are thousands of networking websites you can join.

Social Networking Sites.
Starting and owning a business can be quite overwhelming and keep you incredibly busy, especially if there are other priorities in your life. Attending networking meetings and events can be hard, which is why social networking sites can play a vital role in marketing your business. There are an endless amount of sites and most of them are quite easy to use. You can establish business connections, publicize your company and its services and increase your client base. You have the ability to reach people on a global scale.

Have an online presence.
Whether you build a website or start a blog, everyone is using the Internet to connect. You don’t have to be a writer or know the ins and outs of computers, starting a blog or website can be quite simple. It’s an easy way to reach out to people and inform them of what’s new and exciting in your company.

Always carry your business cards.
Not just one or two, but a handful. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. There have been too many instances where I’ve been in the right place, at the right time and I didn’t have a business card on me. Whether it’s in your other purse, your car or you just gave your last one out – there are no excuses. Yes, most people have a phone or a pen and can take down your information but it just sends the wrong message – unorganized and unprepared.

Be prepared to market yourself.
Social gathering, birthday parties, family dinners, any conversation can turn into a lead. You should always be ready to talk about your business and where they can reach you. No need to constantly oversell yourself. When the topic arises or when the time seems right, be ready to market yourself.

The previous article was a guest blog by Rachel Azagury.  Rachel is an entrepreneur and freelance marketing and PR consultant based out of Toronto, Canada.  She writes a blog at http://whichwaytoeasystreet.blogspot.com/ and her website can be found at www.creatingabuzz.ca.  You can email Rachel at rachel@creatingabuzz.ca or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pinkbrickroad.


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