Category Archives: Innovation

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9 Ways to Validate Your Startup Ideas

Having your own business might be something that you envisioned for a long time. Now that you have an idea on what business to pursue, should you jump in right away and get started? No matter how excited you are and how good you think that idea is, it’s still best to pause and validate if your business idea.

Validating your startup idea doesn’t necessarily eliminate the risk of failure. However, this will tell you if it has a bigger chance of succeeding. Plus, it will help determine if you are on the right track when it comes to your plans.

One of the things to ask yourself is what problem you are trying to solve or eliminate? Your product or service must be useful for your target audience. It should be the solution for their specific issues or it must make their lives easier.

Know your market. Decide on which group of consumers you will be focusing on. Do your research to find out about their needs, wants, and expectations and see if your idea meets them.

There are more ways on how to validate your idea for a startup business. We compiled them in an infographic to make the process more convenient for you. Find out if your idea is something that is worth pursuing or not with our gorgeous and informative illustration below:

9 Ways to Validate Your Startup Ideas

Guest Blogger: Scott D. is with Start Blogging online: www.startbloggingonline.com

 


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Life is a Process

Author J.R. Atkins writes about Sales ProcessDuring my early days as a salesperson I participated in many training programs, yet my favorite was taught by Jim Chandler and was based on his “10 Foundation Statements”.  #7, the Process Statement, is applicable in sales, operations, accounting, manufacturing, marketing, education, theology, construction… and life; I have used it in many ways and now share it with you.

Process Statement: Selling is a process. My job, as a professional salesperson, is to create a personal selling process that is so strong, that the pressure of selling is absorbed by the process and not by me.

Wow, what a relief I felt when I discovered that if I built a strong process, I no longer had to worry about when and where my sales would originate. I could trust the process. My sales actually improved when I applied this philosophy and my sales process. I know my prospects did not feel the pressure of the sale either. They were free to choose to do business with me or not. It was ok. I was no longer emotionally tied to the sales call outcome. I had faith that the sales process that I built would deliver. And if it did not deliver enough results at the right time, it was the process that needed tweaking, not me.

Moving on from sales, I have used the same process statement in building and implementing successful Marketing Plans. I have used it to plan events for work and non-profit organizations. When I relocated, I used a strong moving process to absorb the great pressure and stress of moving. I knew I would not be dead if I did not meet a deadline because I had a predetermined contingency plan.

If you have worked in a well-organized operations environment then you are very familiar with processes and procedures. Yet other parts of the organization may not have a written process. Oh, did I forget to mention that my sales process was a 7 page typed and bound booklet?

A Written Process: When I mention writing down a process in the workshops and classes I lead, people roll their eyes like I asked them to pull their own wisdom teeth. There are two main values in writing your process (1) What you discover in creating a process (2) comparing actual results to your process.

J.R. Atkins uses coffee making as a processs exampleTake a mundane example like making coffee for your office and ask a team to write the process. You will discover many variations on the same theme of making coffee such as only use filtered water, only use true Columbian coffee and make sure the filters are environmentally friendly. Yet, once the process is developed and implemented you can trust that the coffee will taste the same every time it is prepared.

As for comparing the actual to the planned, what do you do when the coffee taste different? You start checking on who made the coffee, did they follow the process, and then discover that the wrong kind of coffee was delivered by your supply chain representative (aka, the person who shops for your break room).

Can you get carried away with having too many or too long a process? Yes. Is there a process for writing a process? Probably. Take the best and forget the rest. My hope is this article will spur you on to make some type of improvement in your personal, volunteer or business life. If so, please let me know ☺


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The 25 Best CRM Apps

A friend shared this article on CRM Apps – Customer Relationship Management Apps and I thought I’d share it here for my readers and clients.top CRM solutions with J.R. Atkins Click on a category below to learn more about the strengths of those CRMs or jump to an app directly by clicking its name.

Link to the original article: https://zapier.com/blog/best-crm-app/


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Elements of a Good Facebook Graphic

I have been recommending Info-Graphics and Professional Graphics to my clients and this one from “The Bean Cast” is a great example.Bob Norpp

  • Note the “interesting graphic” with color and images that “pop” and get your attention.
  • See the company logo
  • The picture of Bob Norpp the Bean Cast Host
  • The easy to read name “Bean Cast”
  • The Brand explained “marketing podcast.

These are all components of a good graphic you might post on social media.

 

Let me know if you are using graphic images to attract more attention on your social media sites.


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Gatesville, Nigeria and Tethering

GatesvilleAtkins Ranch in Gatesville TX

Yea, you might have seen some posts from me that I am spending a great deal of time at the Atkins Ranch in Gatesville, TX, about 35 miles east of Waco. It’s amazing what you can observe from outside of the Digital Life in Dallas. I still have my office in Frisco and I have opened a satellite office at the Ranch. Come see me when you are in the area.

Nigeria

Others of you might have seen a recent post about my trip to Africa with Compassion Creates Change Nigeria, a Dallas based non-profit working in Nigeria with Churches, NGO’s, Community Development Agencies and Business to:

  • Construct a Multi-Use School, Church and Community Center Raising 5k for Nigeria Mission Trip
  • Construct a Medical Clinic
  • Deliver Medical Supplies
  • Install Solar-power Based Electrification
  • Initiate Clean Water Projects
  • Provide Vocational Training
  • Deliver Compassionate Outreach

If you are able to contribute cash, products, services or just share the details on your social media, your efforts are greatly appreciated. Give at: http://www.gofundme.com/JRAtkins

TetheringJ.R. Atkins likes the Intelligence TV Show

I recall this term as the idea of connecting your Laptop to the internet via your cellphone. I’d like to expand the definition to address the way we tap into computer based information and knowledge. Today we have so many options to tether to our computer from smart phone and tablets to Google Glass. The progression of knowledge access looks something like this:

Main Frame-Personal Computer-Lap Top-Tablet-Smart Phone-Google Glass-Implant.

I know the implant is not in the consumer market yet, but it has to be in the military domain. Have you see the TV show Intelligence, it’s like a modern day bionic man, only better. Yet, all the information of the world is useless without human intelligence to create context and relationship. Here are a few business uses for Computer Information at your fingertips. Let me know what other applications you see coming.

  • Sales: Customer, Product and Service data
  • Service: Service Manuals, Customer Records, Diagnostics…
  • Decision Making: KPI’s, Industry, Competition…
  • Current News: Public, Company, Industry
  • Security: Early Warnings, Environmental Concerns,

Please share your thoughts on the blog, by email, phone or social media, “after all, I’m here to communicate with you.”

Events Worth Considering 

02-08-14 – Orpheus “From the Heart” Gala & Auction
02-11-14 – Business Link Lunch – Temple Chamber
02-12-14 – The DEC: Design for Non-Designers
02-18-14 – The Booming Business of Global Warming
02-19-14 – Marketing DFW Airport
02-23-14 – Southwest Car Wash Association Convention & Expo
02-25-14 – Last Tuesday Happy Hour at The Ritz Carlton
02-27-14 – Business After Hours – Temple Chamber
03-01-14 – Orpheus Chamber Singers – The Art of Imitation
 

 


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J.R. Atkins, thinking inside the box

Box Thinking: Inside or Outside?

J.R. Atkins, thinking inside the box“Thinking outside the box” is such an over-used term yet I still hear it used to describe looking at life, a systems, a product, a problem or an issue in a new or different way. But, to think outside the box, don’t you need to understand what is in the box? Check out the list below and see if you can think of additional material that should be in or outside the box.

“Inside the Box”

  1. Current Methods & Procedures
  2. Current Customers & Prospects
  3. Current Employees & Recruits
  4. Current Products & Services
  5. Current Information & News Sources
  6. Current Ways of Thinking & Communicating
  7. Current Locations & Resources
  8. Current Culture “The way we do things”

J.R. Atkins thinking outside the box“Outside the Box”

  1. Any New Approach, Order or Method
  2. Any New View or Perspective
  3. Any New Way of Thinking
  4. The Opposite of the “Inside the Box” Thinking

 

For one to be good at creating, innovating, inventing, developing… you must be able to suspend your current beliefs long enough to see the world in a new way. In Seth Godin’s recent book “The Icarus Deception” he writes of the balance between our comfort zone and safety zone and how we must get comfortable with new realities or our new safety zone. He goes on to say that success in the new era goes to those that “create ideas that spread and connect the disconnected.” J.R. Atkins recommends The Icarus Deception

As we enter 2014 my hope for you is that you are able to create remarkable results with remarkable ease. Perhaps you can think outside the box to new highs in your career by looking at what is already in the box.

Events Worth considering

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The 5 Stages of Culture from “Tribal Leadership”

“People Tribe, Fish School, Cattle Herd and Birds Flock” and so it goes, says my client and friend Kathy Dudley of Compassion Creates Change. Then she goes on to explain the 5 Stages of Tribes (below). My eyes widen and I frantically begin to take notes as the information and this model of behavior resonates with other ideas bouncing around in my head. So, I share the following resources with you in hopes of helping you and your organization excel in the new year.

This video explains the Tribe concepts as it applies to organizations

 

The Models or Info-graphicsJ.R. Atkins recommends the book Tribal Leadership

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

J.R. Atkins recommends the book Tribal Leadership

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, here is an excerpt from the book which I highly recommend.

Every company, indeed, every organization, is a tribe, or if it’s large enough, a network of tribes—groups of twenty to 150 people in which everyone knows everyone else, or at least knows of everyone else. Tribes are more powerful than teams, companies, or even CEO’s, and yet their key leverage points have not been mapped—until now. In Tribal Leadership, Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright show leaders how to assess their organization’s tribal culture on a scale from one to five and then implement specific tools to elevate the stage to the next. The result is unprecedented success.

J.R. Atkins MBA Recommends the book Book: Tribal LeadershipIn a rigorous ten-year study of approximately 24,000 people in more than two dozen corporations, Logan, King, and Fischer-Wright refine and define a common theme: the success of a company depends on its tribes, the strength of its tribes is determined by the tribal culture, and a thriving corporate culture can be established by an effective tribal leader. Tribal Leadership will show leaders how to employ their companies’ tribes to maximize productivity and profit: the authors’ research, backed up with interviews ranging from Brian France (CEO of NASCAR) to “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams, shows that more than three quarters of the organizations they’ve  studied have tribal cultures that are merely adequate, no better than the third of five tribal stages.

The authors explain exactly what Tribal Leadership is, and offer a wealth of “technical notes” which explain how to implement the leadership system in any culture. They also offer coaching tips and a “cheat sheet” that provides the key action steps to building great tribes—including how to identify a tribe’s language and customs, how to move yourself forward while moving your people, and how to build a support network. “The goal is to give you the perspective and tools of a Tribal Leader,” the authors write. “The result is more effective workplaces, greater strategic success, less stress, and more fun. In short, the point of this book is for you to build a better organization in which the best people want to work and make an impact.”

TRIBAL LEADERSHIP details each of the five tribal stages and helps readers identify which actions affect it and which strategies will enable the tribe to upgrade to the next level. The authors discuss how each stage has a unique set of leverage points and why it is critical to understand them—more than three quarters of the organizations they studied have tribal cultures that are adequate at best. The five stages include:

• Stage One: The stage most professionals skip, these are tribes whose members are despairingly hostile—they may create scandals, steal from the company, or even threaten violence.

• Stage Two: The dominant culture for 25 percent of workplace tribes, this stage includes members who are passively antagonistic, sarcastic, and resistant to new management initiatives.

• Stage Three: 49 percent of workplace tribes are in this stage, marked by knowledge hoarders who want to outwork and out-think their competitors on an individual basis. They are lone warriors who not only want to win, but need to be the best and brightest.

• Stage Four: The transition from “I’m great” to “we’re great” comes in this stage where the tribe members are excited to work together for the benefit of the entire company.

• Stage Five: Less than 2 percent of workplace tribal culture is in this stage when members who have made substantial innovations seek to use their potential to make a global impact.

The authors also offer an in-depth look at Tribal Leadership strategies, and discuss how leaders can identify the tribe’s core values and the noble causes to which they aspire. They then explain how to use those principles along with the tribe’s inherent assets and behaviors to foster success based on the tribe’s goals and objectives. As the authors explain, once the tribe sets its strategy based on these factors, a palpable sense of excitement begins to emerge. “Every member of the tribe knows exactly how to succeed and what each person must do to make the tribe effective,” they write. “That’s the promise of tribal strategy.”

Leaders, managers, and organizations that fail to understand, motivate, and grow their tribes will find it impossible to succeed in an increasingly fragmented world of business. The often counter-intuitive findings of Tribal Leadership will help leaders at today’s major corporations, small businesses, and nonprofits learn how to take the people in their organization from adequate to outstanding, to discover the secrets that have led the highest-level tribes to remarkable heights, and to find new ways to succeed where others have failed.

I look forward to reading your comments, receiving your emails, chatting on the phone or in person about these concepts.

 


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“Giving answers vs. results” the goal of the new Google Hummingbird Algorithm

“Giving answers vs. results” is the goal of the new Hummingbird algorithm from Google according to Eric with Globe Runner SEO. Check out his video for more insights.


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Do You Have Digital Meetings?

What I mean is, when you meet with others, are there digital devices involved? Are there laptops, phones and tablets on the table with people “typing” away on their phones and keyboards? As I visit organizations, I see that the use of digital devices in meetings really depends on the organization culture. Some organizations are digital oriented, others focus on short meetings with updates and actionable items while other have meeting that are so slow and boring that if people could not use their device, they’d fall asleep.

J.R. Atkins comments on devices in meetings

I also see this as the clashing of two cultures, a digital oriented culture and a non-digitally oriented culture. Have you heard about the lady that thought the associate pastor was surfing the web during church when he was actually reading the Bible online? There all kinds of issues that arise. We ask ourselves “are they paying attention to me?” Yet others are less sensitive, and they think “sure, go ahead and tweet while we are talking.”

My associate who specializes in Culture Building says we, as a group or a company, get to choose and build the digital culture of our organizations. We should reach an agreement as to the level of digital device use during our meetings. talking. I’m ok with that.”

What do you see in your organization? Can you use a device in your meeting? Is your organization wrestling with how to deal with devices in your meetings?J.R. Atkins address the use of devices in meetings

I look forward to hearing from you by phone, email, or blog.

Events Worth Considering


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The apps that get featured on the iOS App Store – by Dave Addey

I saw this article on what Apps get featured on the App Store and thought others would like to see the great research and charts that Dave Addey compiled. Here is an excerpt, click on the lick to see it all. Thanks Dave!

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Over the past few months, I’ve been researching the kinds of apps that get featured on the iTunes App Store home page for different countries around the world. Here are my initial findings.

In this article, you’ll spot certain bits of text highlighted in yellow. Clicking or tapping on these will display extra information about the methodology I’ve used in the reports. You’ll also see bits of text highlighted in blue. These automatically change the relevant graph to show the data referred to by the highlighted text.

Important note: I’ve only been looking at the kinds of apps that get featured on the store. This isn’t an assessment of how many copies of each app are sold, or how much money apps make, or how many apps there are on the store. It’s just about the apps that are editorially selected for feature on the Store’s home page by the App Store editorial team.

Games vs non-games

One of the most notable things about the Store is just how many games get featured. Only 16.8% of the apps on the Store are games, and yet they make up about half of the apps featured on App Store home pages worldwide.

The graph below shows the percentage of unique app features that are / are not games , compared against the percentage of apps on the Store that are / are not games . You can view the results for different stores and different device types using the two drop-down menus in the graph’s title.

chart from Dave Addy shared by J.R. Atkins
The highest percentage overall is in the Republic of Korea, where a whopping 64.4% of features on iPhone are for games. The lowest is the Austria / Germany Store, with only 36.3% on iPhone, although that’s still more than double the proportion of apps on the store overall. One thing’s for sure – games are special.


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