Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thinking long term

Here is the quote of the day, from Gary Vaynerchuck:

"Legacy always trumps currency."

The question is regarding how important long-term buildout is compared to short-term profit. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Writing about Writing

Here is the purpose of this blog.

The Nauvoo Commuter works to give tools and encouragement to rural entrepreneurs and to their supporters in their communities.

I wanted to use the word "endeavor" for "work" and "empower" for "give encouragement." But my goal for today is to keep the jargon simple in everything I do.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Idea, Part III

If so many great ideas take place in the shower, why don't we institutionalize the platform? Can we discover what it is about the shower and isolate that variable?

Is it the hot water, the relaxation, or spending time without the ability to do anything else that might distract?

Just a thought I had while in the shower.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Idea, Part II

Here are some more Osborn questions you can ask for brainstorming.

Go back to the original idea you liked of a business being run in a more populated region. Now ask some questions about how you could change it to be appropriate for your situation. First, remember the three rules:

1) Never criticize any comments, including your own
2) Stay detached: view the situation as though you were a consultant, not the person who will execute on the ideas.
3) Allow creativity: think of how any question could apply from various angles and write down the ideas

Now, here are some questions to ask about possible ways of changing the idea.

Can you MAGNIFY the idea:
Add something? More time? Greater frequency? Stronger? Higher? Longer? Thicker? Extra value? Add an ingredient? Duplicate? Multiply? Exaggerate?

Try this as an exercise. I challenge you.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Writing a Book – Marketing And Promotion

We interrupt this series to share a blog posting from uber-guru Chris Brogan on marketing the book you write.

Writing a Book – Marketing And Promotion: "Shoot"

The Idea

In this forum we have consistently held to the belief that "the idea" is only one percent of success. Seeking just the right business idea is, more often than not, a way of avoiding implementation. But because (1) that one percent is still important, and (2) because finding business models that will work in low-population regions is more challenging, we have occasionally devoted space to mentioning specific ideas.

For the next few days, we will talk about the idea generation process. We'll introduce some models that have been used for years.

In a quiet place where you won't be interrupted, do some pondering.


Find a good idea that is being implemented as a business in another region, preferably in a big city. Think of how you can come up with your own idea based on it. First, a modified Alex F. Osborn model.

How can you adapt:
What else is like this? Does the past offer parallels? What could you copy What other idea does this suggest?

Write down an answer to each of those questions. Mind-mapping as a recording style is probably ideal.

Now set that paper aside. Think about the original idea.

Next Line of Questioning, how can you modify the idea:
A new twist? Can you change the meaning, color, motion, sound, odor, form, or shape? Can you think of any other possible changes?

Have you produced an idea? Try doing the same thing with some other people. Friends can help you, but disinterested people would be better.

These ideas are from the Father of Brainstorming.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Follow Your Passion

Recently, any self-help guru you give starts with this advice: "Find your passion. The motivation and success will follow."

But finding that passion is more difficult than it sounds. Some people discover it early. But for almost everyone else, it is a wild goose chase. For most people it requires trying lots of things, and that can take many years. Sometimes that is too late. Sometimes those many years on a crooked road can lead to tremendous frustration. Folks can wonder if their "passion" exists.

My advice is, and has always been, to do the opposite. 

Find a thing you can do competently. Then become passionate about that thing. Gradually develop expertise in a tiny area of that thing. (Hopefully that expertise will be in an area that nobody else wants to do.)

I am not saying "finding your passion" is impossible or is unwise in hard times. In any environment it is not the best strategy unless you are one of the lucky few who fall into it. Everyone else can look for it, but don't sit on your hands until you find it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Chicken and the Pig

Over the past 15 years, I have assisted hundreds of people to rebuild their careers. I have created multimillionaires out of six people.

In the beginning, I usually share with consultees the Parable of the Pig and Chicken.

A pig and a chicken were roommates, but neither were employed and they needed some money for rent. So they headed out to 'pound the pavement' early one morning.  
The pair passed a restaurant with an advert in the window: HAM AND EGGS, $4.50.
The chicken became excited. "That is our new plan! We can do this! You have ham, and have eggs. We can sell breakfast sets."
"That sounds fine for you," Pig responded. "For you it is a contribution, but for me it is a full commitment." 

And that is my contract with you. I make a contribution to help you. But you will be making a full commitment.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"To Boost the Economy, Help the Self-Employed"

That is the title of an article in this week's BusinessWeek, a publication with an editorial policy that is slightly left leaning, but more balanced than most national publications.

"Freelancers, contractors, and consultants are essential to the economy. It’s time to repeal outdated regulations that hold them back."

We can comment on this later, but you should read the article here.

This issue is key to what we are discussing in this forum. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Professional

Following World War Two, many refugees started new lives in America. They encouraged their children to become doctors and lawyers, even though they had been entrepreneurs in Europe.

"The regime in power can take your business, but they can't take what's in your head," the immigrants told their children. So they sent their children to universities to learn professions. It was a risk-management strategy, in case the government tried to take their income-earning capacity the way other totalitarian governments  had. So their children became physicians, attorneys, dentists, accountants, and other types of professionals.

Is this an indictment of what were are endorsing in this forum? Certainly not. It is just a reminder that the most important assets are those in your head. I'm writing this while in the waiting room of a dentist, who is in private practice. That makes him an entrepreneur, after all.

You can succeed as an entrepreneur through hard work and luck, but having an intellectual asset is better.