Lean Start-Ups – Leading Innovation?

A lean start-up, coined by Eric Ries, is the application of lean thinking to the process of innovation in start-up companies.  The practice is to identify ideas early and cheaply with the ability to acquire customer feedback frequently and early in the process. Companies are able to test the viability before spending time and resources perfectly a new innovation that is not scalable or viable.

The New York Times article titled, “What Start-ups Can Teach Big Companies,” discusses this new way of approaching innovation. It’s an interesting perspective on how new business methods and practices can really change the way companies, large and small, value innovation.

Using Twitter to Market Your Wares

Twitter, despite it’s popularity, can be overwhelming to small business owners unfamiliar with the benefits of social media.

Small businesses by nature focus on word-of-mouth marketing to attract new clients as 50% of new customers for small business come through referrals.  The breadth of the network is usually based on geographic location.  No matter how technology advances, businesses will continue to get referrals through their loyal customers.

Now, imagine being able to reach a vast network of potential customers to sell your products to in 140 characters or less, at no cost other than the time spent to write and post the content.  It’s still word-of-mouth only with a larger network.  If you are a business located in a small town, what better way to drive people to your online store or even visit your store as they are passing through.

We would like to hear from our small business readers…Let us know how you are using Twitter.

How Buy-In Can Creates Sense of Responsibility

As executive leadership and senior team members put together new strategies as it relates to operations, sales, or strategy, creating buy-in with your employees is critical.  Often times, leadership rolls-out a new strategy without involving the employees that will be executed it.

A few ways to engage team members:

  • Create an internal committee including representatives from each department to participate in a brainstorming session.
  • Ask your employees for feedback or ideas related to enhancing the current strategy.
  • Present the new strategy to all employees explaining the value of this new direction.
  • Communicate the progress of the new direction to all employees.

Empowering your employees to take ownership and develop a sense responsibility will influence the success of the new approach.

The Sphere of Influence

Chris Brogan talks about unique perspective on how to make money with your blog.  Loosely translated from a recent interview, he advises never to ask your community for money, but rather ask the larger corporations for money. By not asking your community directly for money, they in turn will seek you out.  He notes that Oprah is successful example of that.  When she recommends a book or product, people rush out to buy it on her referral.

If you find this at all intersting, I suggest reading “Trust Agents” by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith.  Tell me what you think.

Besting Twitter

Well, Dennis Crowley, CEO of Foursquare (a mobile check-in service), is on the venture circuit traveling to the Silicon Valley and Boston. Foursquare is poised to reach more than 1 milllion users faster than Twitter. With the recent news of tool designed to provide real-time data to businesses, Mark Zuckerberg beware.

What does this mean? It could potentially mean a valuation of $80-$100 million.


Foursquare Helping Businesses?

Fourquare, a location-based social network, provides new tools for businesses to better track customers.   So far 30 businesses are testing the real-time data and will quickly be rolled out to 900 businesses.  The data will provide businesses with an opportunity to customize customer promotions.


Foursquare users have the option to keep their information private.  Will you opt-in or opt-out?

Turning Friends Into Customers

Another company leveraging fans, friendships, and family to move products.


Will this latest trend  provide consumer adoption and expected conversion?

The Impact of a Brand: Nike

Nike is certainly making waves with a bold, new commercial where Tiger Woods stares blankly into the camera as the voice of late Earl Woods questions the golfer.  Whether you think this ad is genius or just plain odd, the impact of this commercial is certainly producing results.  Kudos Nike!



As the marketing world evolves, it’s often the case that creative motivations take precedence over what customers actually want and expect. Listen to your customer. Accept that it’s more about them than you.