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While instantly gratifying, buying ice cream from a vending machine isn’t as fun as it could be.
There’s nothing like free samples to get consumers to try something new, as countless brands have recognized over the ages.
Professional services rarely come cheap, which is why we’ve seen so many lower-budget alternatives emerge in recent years. Late last year we covered PPT Salon , for example, and just recently we came across iCanPilot , which aims to guide businesses through projects the way a consultant would, but without the associated hefty fee. Authored in conjunction with well-known business consultants including Kay Plantes and Mohan Sawhney, iCanPilot is consulting software that’s designed to guide users step-by-step through a business growth project such as creating a new business plan or developing a value proposition.
Tapping the crowd for creative input can provide a double-sided benefit for businesses: first, it unleashes a huge resource of ideas, often at little or no cost. Second, it’s a powerful marketing tool, providing information about who potential customers are, and about what they like.
We’ve seen plenty of social networks appearing over the last few years, from sites helping commuters meet others on the go , sites for sharing fitness activity , and even sites for dogs to connect . Now there’s Bitsy , a new B2B online network that offers an online marketplace and social features. Bitsy serves as a way for small businesses to communicate and link up, as well as claiming to offer relief from the loneliness that can come from working alone.
David Skok tells a story about how rethinking his sales cycle helped him generate sales of $3.5 million in one day , after doing $4 million the whole previous year . Of course that’s not a typical result, but as you listen to him explain how he did it, you’ll see how the methodical way that he thinks about the customer acquisition process can be applied to your company. You’ll hear several stories like that in this interview as I ask David about the companies he launched when he was an entrepreneur and the ones he helps grow now that he’s a venture capitalist. David Skok is a serial entrepreneur turned VC. He started his first company a few months after leaving university at the age of 21, and over the next 25 years, founded a total of four companies (Skok Systems, Corporate Software Europe, Watermark Software, and SilverStream Software) and did one turnaround (Xionics).
When we combine the #1 issue for CEOs with today's economic downturn, what emerges are Twelve Rules of B2B Sales Productivity. Each by itself is a path to improved sales productivity. The most productive firms are those who live by a combination of all twelve:
Last week I read a blog post 7 Personal Branding Predictions for 2011 by personal branding expert Dan Schawbel . One of his seven predications for 2011 was that soft skills will become more important than hard skills. Dan said, “ When enough people have similar talents, and are competing for the same positions and opportunities, the real differentiator is your interpersonal skills . The way you present yourself, how you communicate with other people, whether it’s in an interview or with management at work, can make or break your personal brand.
All the theory in the world won’t make a lick of difference if you don’t get into the field and do something. That’s why advice isn’t worth as much as it should be, and isn’t nearly as effective as it should be. Entrepreneurs consistently make the same mistakes over and over, even when there are lots of competent and successful people out there advising otherwise (and non-successful, non-competent people too!). Founders are doers, simple as that. Not theorists. Not passersby.
Even the best ideas are rarely perfected alone, and technology continues to offer ways of bringing creative minds together. Focusing on what it calls “social ideation”, Ahhha is a brand-new crowdsourcing platform that aims to help innovators bring their ideas to life.
Evenings spent at a busy party or bar can often cause drinkers to lose track of their beverages. Wine drinkers already have wine charms to identify their glasses, and now — thanks to BeerTag — there’s an equivalent for beer drinkers too.
We’ve seen food trucks experience a surge in popularity over recent years, usually using Twitter or Facebook to keep potential diners updated on their whereabouts. Just recently we saw the Roving Mammoth putting an alpine twist on the concept, and now we’ve discovered Air France putting another new spin on the food truck: free food!
There’s no denying that consumers like to talk about the brands and products that are part of their lives.
There’s no doubt the global brain can be a source of countless winning product ideas. That’s why there’s Ahhha , for example, and it’s also why there’s Genius Crowds , which taps everyday consumers for product ideas and then brings the best concepts to market.