Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with Michael Haynes who is a B2B Strategist that helps small businesses grow using customer-driven strategies. He is also the author of Listen Innovate Grow to help small businesses drive growth through B2B. For more info: www.listeninnovategrow.com. SmallBizlady: Why should Small business owners pursue business-to-business (B2B) markets? Michael Haynes: B2B markets have fewer competitors which can make it easier to exploit their weaknesses and gaps in their offerings. Also, usually once business customers find a product or service provider that meets their needs they usually become very loyal. This is because the product or service often serves important purposes such as helping to meet strategic objectives or being a key production input. And finally, large companies are recognizing the benefits of working with small business owners such as getting products and services that are better tailored to their specific needs as well as their willingness “to go the extra mile” for their clients and customers. SmallBizlady: WHAT IS THE STARTING POINT FOR A SMALL BUSINESS IN DETERMINING HOW TO INNOVATE? Michael Haynes: The first thing small business owner must do is to obtain an in-depth understanding of the industries, markets and business customers that they are focusing on. In terms of the markets and industries, you want to gain an understanding of the market trends such as new technologies, customer trends, legal and regulatory changes both within your current industries and markets as well as adjacent ones. Small businesses owners also want to understand their business customers and prospects in terms of their objectives, priorities and strategic intent. However, you must understand the key characteristics and dynamics of B2B markets. By doing so, you will be able to identify opportunities to innovate which will help small businesses grow their business. SmallBizlady: HOW SHOULD SMALL BUSINESSES VIEW THE CONCEPT OF INNOVATION? Michael Haynes: Small businesses must regard innovation as being more than simply creating new products or…
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Printrbot, a popular Kickstarter-backed 3D printer company, has shut down, leaving only a barebones website and little explanation. The founder, Brook Drumm, wrote that “Low sales led to hard decisions.” “We will be forever grateful to all the people we met and served over the years,” he wrote. “Thank you all.” Printrbot’s machines costs about $200 during the Kickstarter and Drumm created multiple add-ons including a belt for printing multiple objects. Drumm also ran Vault Multimedia and appeared on Science Channel’s All-American Makers TV and a pastor. Drumm created his product after having trouble assembling an early Makerbot and finding the hardware and software difficult to use. There is no clear information on future support or parts availability for current customers. I’ve reached out to the company for comment.
So, you’re going through a rebrand. There are a variety of reasons a company could go through a rebrand, such as being sold to another company / investor or simply needing to hit the reset button on your image and reputation. Whatever the reason, it typically is a LONG, COMPLICATED process and can be a […] The post Going Through a Rebrand? Here’s How We Approached It for a Large International Client appeared first on SmallBizClub.
It’s hard to imagine there is an active business today that doesn’t have some level of digital connection and engagement. But the truth is that how business leaders define engagement and the level in which they invest (time, money, staff, etc.) in that engagement is an incredibly wide range. Deloitte released a study for Connected […] The post How Engaged Are You in Digital? appeared first on SmallBizClub.
I love technology that makes my life a little easier. My bank app is, from my perspective, transformational. With nothing more than a few simple taps, I can check my account balances, transfer money, pay bills, even deposit checks—from anywhere, anytime. I’ll go months without having to actually go into the bank. What a timesaver! Here’s one that I learned about not long ago: instead of typing out my text messages (I’m famous for sending long ones—and yes, actually using punctuation) I can press a button my iPhone, record a voice message and send it right alongside regular texts. Not only does this save me time, but it fixes an inherent problem with text-based messages: you can’t hear inflection so you might not know if someone is being facetious or serious. If you’ve ever confused someone with a text—or even worse, made someone mad—well, you know what I mean. Real value: simplification where you didn’t know you needed it Both of these technology examples sought to improve upon familiar routines, ones that most people probably felt were already pretty simple and not particularly burdensome. In my view, technologies like these, which bring a new level of simplification and efficiency to routine processes, are the most beneficial to daily life and thus the most valuable. They can be particularly valuable in small to medium-size businesses, as employees wear many hats and pick up ownership for small, yet critical, tasks outside of their primary job function. One such small task is maintaining the printers, which means making sure there’s paper in the trays, that the printer is operational (no jams or anything like that), and that the toner/ink isn’t out or running low. Pretty simple, actually. But when one of your other ten side-line responsibilities blows up—or worse, your primary day job—and there are several printers throughout the building (some possibly on different floors) that you need to check—it’s easy to see this slipping. As a result, printer(s) go down, print jobs back up, employees start scrambling, and chaos ensues. You can picture it, can’t you? Meet the new app from Xerox…
If you want to start an extremely profitable company today, it needs to be built around patents, trademarks, or customer loyalty to particular lifestyle. This is one of the points Martin Lowy makes in his excellent Seeking Alpha piece, The 2-Track Economy: Employers Versus Moat Builders. The “moat” he mentions in the title of the article […] The post How to Avoid Building a 20th Century Company in the 21st Century Economy appeared first on SmallBizClub.
Every entrepreneur with a new technology tells me that his innovation will be industry-disrupting, meaning that it will render the existing technology obsolete, and create a new market. Yet truly disruptive innovations, like the smartphone from Apple and the rise of the Internet, are very rare, and are generally unpredicted. So why would any investor […] The post 6 Ways to Pitch Your Innovation to Today’s Customers appeared first on SmallBizClub.