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5,000+ little tidbits of light to help illuminate the path for innovators and entrepreneurs racing to create something new and better.

Some of the tips are fun and fluffy ... a few quick words of encouragement, humor,  and whimsy.  Others are more insightful slices of wisdom, informative checklists, and reminders of things to do. 

You can start and stop reading most anywhere. Jump around!  Read a little, read a lot,  have some fun along the way.

Tips for Developing a Venture Strategy

  1. Develop the vision statement, the mission statement, and the business model
  2. Describe the industry and context for the firm and its competitors
  3. Determine the firm’s strengths and weaknesses in the context of the industry and environment
  4. Describe the firm’s core competencies, its customers, and its competitive advantage
  5. Describe the opportunities and threats for the venture
  6. Identify the critical success factors
  7. Formulate strategic options and select the appropriate strategy
  8. Translate the strategy into action plans with suitable measures and controls
[Thank you, Tom Beyers]


Killing Creativity

Creativity is such a fragile creature, easily wounded, often destroyed. A few of the weapons, simple phrases or actions, that can be used to kill creativity include the following ...
  • We don't take any risks around here ...
  • We don't have time ...
  • It would take too long ...
  • We don't have resources ...
  • Well, maybe tomorrow ...
  • It's not my job ...
  • It's not your job ...
  • That's a dumb question ...
  • The rules are ...
  • You're going to fail ...
  • It would cost too much ...
  • It's impossible ...
  • Why don't you write a report ...
  • It's not your job ...
  • That's been done before ...
  • That's not how we do things around here ...
  • Their ideas don't count ...
  • Well, maybe next week ...
  • That's a stupid idea ...
  • Yes, but ...
  • Well, maybe next year ...
  • If it ain't broke, don't fix i t...
  • It's good enough already ...
  • We don't have money ...
  • It's never been done before ...
  • We tried that and it didn't work ...
  • I don't like it ...
  • Our customers wouldn't like it ...
  • That's not really creative ...
  • That's crazy ...
  • (Yawn)

Elements of Successful Innovations

  1. Relative advantage ... the perceived superiority of an innovation over the current product or solution it would replace. This advantage can take the form of economic benefits to the adopter or better performance.
  2. Compatibility ... the perceived fit of an innovation with a potential adopter’s exiting value, know-how, experiences, and practices.
  3. Complexity ... the extent to which an innovation is perceived to be difficult to understand or use The higher the degree of perceived complexity, the slower the rate of adoption.
  4. Trialability ... the extent to which a potential adopter can experience or experiment with the innovation before adopting it The greater the trialability, the higher the rate of adoption
  5. Observability ... the extent to which the adoption and benefits of an innovation are visible to others within the population adopters. The greater the visibility, the higher the rate of adoption by those who follow.
  6. Functional performance ... an evaluation of the performance of the basic function
  7. Acquisition cost ... initial total cost
  8. Ease of use ... use factors
  9. Operating cost ... cost per unit of service provided
  10. Reliability ... service needs and useful lifetime
  11. Serviceability ... time and cost to restore a failed device to service
  12. Compatibility ... fit with other devices within the system


Phases of Innovation

  1. Preparation ... focus on the problem or opportunity, and who it affects
  2. Exploration ... identify current solutions, alternatives, and substitutes
  3. Stimulation ... use creativity techniques to trigger new ideas, concepts, and solutions
  4. Incubation ... give the new ideas some time and thought
  5. Illumination ... identify new ideas, concepts, and solutions
  6. Selection ... establish and use clear criteria for selecting the "best" concept
  7. Planning ... decide how to implement the concept
  8. Implementation ... put the plan and concept to work
  9. Evaluation ... determine if the new concept is working
  10. Iteration ... apply incremental improvement to the concept, or start over

Right and Left Brain

You got two brains, use them ... but not both at the same time!

LEFT BRAIN characteristics ...
  • Logical
  • Sequential
  • Rational
  • Objective
  • Looks at parts
  • Conventional

RIGHT BRAIN characteristics ...
  • Intuitive
  • Holistic
  • Synthesizing
  • Subjective
  • Looks at wholes
  • Transformational
[Thank you, Roger Sperry]


Elements of a Marketing and Sales Plan

  1. Market research and analysis ... customers, problem, solutions, competition, risk and reward, resources, feasibility ...
  2. Opportunity
  3. Mission
  4. Business model
  5. Marketing objectives
  6. Sales goals
  7. Competitive advantage strategies
  8. Positioning strategies
  9. Target market and customer segments
  10. Product and service offerings
  11. Value proposition
  12. Pricing strategies
  13. Sales strategies and tactics
  14. Distribution strategies
  15. Promotional strategies
  16. Customer relationship management

Tips for Building a Good Corporate Culture

  1. Give every member of your organization a chance to dream, and tap into the creativity those dreams embody.
  2. Stand firm on your beliefs and principles.
  3. Treat your customers like guests.
  4. Support, empower, and reward employees.
  5. Build long-term relationships with key suppliers and partners.
  6. Dare to take calculated risks in order to bring innovative ideas to fruition.
  7. Train extensively and constantly reinforce the company's culture.
  8. Align long-term vision with short-term execution.
  9. Use the storyboarding technique to solve planning and communication problems.
  10. Pay close attention to detail.
[Thank you, Walt Disney]


What We Need to Know About Our Competition

  1. Who are our primary competitors?
  2. On what basis do we compete?
  3. What are our competitive positions?
  4. What are our respective market shares?
  5. What are their strengths?
  6. What are their weaknesses?
  7. What are their primary opportunities?
  8. How are they a threat to our venture?
  9. How do you compare to our competitors?
  10. Who are our future competitors?
  11. What strategic opportunities exist in the market?
  12. Can we collaborate rather than compete?
  13. What are the barriers to future competition?
  14. Who are the most likely future competitors?

Elevator Pitch Tips

  1. Figure out what is unique about what you do: The whole idea behind a great elevator pitch is to intrigue someone. It's an ice-breaker and a marketing pitch — all rolled into one. Your elevator pitch must have a hook. "I own a flower shop downtown" doesn't hold a candle to "I'm a specialty florist who deals in rare, South American tropical flowers that bloom in the winter."
  2. Make it exciting: A superior elevator pitch increases your heart rate. It speaks to who you really are and what excites you about your business. It has integrity. What is it about your business that really motivates you? Incorporate that.
  3. Keep it simple: A good elevator pitch doesn't try and be all things to all people. Rather, it conveys a clear idea in a short amount of time. It might be a few sentences, but no more than a paragraph or so. Keep it under 30 seconds.
  4. Write it down: Use the guidelines above and take a stab at it. Write down your pitch, say it out loud, re-write it, and then re-write it again. Remember what I always tell my daughters: "Writing is re-writing!"
  5. Practice, and then practice some more: The first few times you try out your elevator pitch may be a bit uncomfortable, but it gets easier. After a while, it will become second nature to you, and when it does, you will be glad you practiced.
[Thank you, Steve Strauss]