Got a Good Business Idea? Here’s How You’ll Know

4. It solves a problem. The problem should be significant and something that impacts a large group of people. “If there aren’t a lot of people who have the problem or if it is not a problem that people really care about solving, move on,” said Gordon Adomdza, assistant professor, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group, at Northeastern University. He points to Facebook, which tackled asynchronous connectivity, and Google, which addressed the problem of search. “Since the problems are big, there is room for the company to revise its offering, innovate its business model and still be in business even when customer needs change,” Adomdza said. “Because the problem is big, the company can still survive by pivoting within the space.”

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businessnewsdaily.com

CREDIT: Lightbulbs image via Shutterstock

There is no shortage of business ideas, but so few get off the ground. What separates the long-lasting endeavors from those that have a quick expiration date? BusinessNewsDaily spoke to some experts to get a read on the factors that are common in business ideas that take off.

1. It is innovative or offers a twist on an existing product or service. Opening the next pizza joint in a strip mall that already has two pizza parlors is not a formula for success, unless you plan to offer something the others have missed.

“Being new or first is not enough,” said Jose Palomino, founder and CEO of Value Prop Interactive, a consulting firm, and an adjunct professor of marketing at Villanova University. “The iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player, but it defined the category. Being innovative or new doesn’t work if your product doesn’t matter to anyone.”

It doesn’t always pay to be first to market with a product, experts say. “It is not necessarily the person who gets their idea to market first that wins,” said Karen Russo, president of IIPE, an international candidate and name generation firm, and K. Russo Consulting, an executive search and human resources consulting firm. Think BlackBerry being eclipsed by other smartphones that followed. “Sometimes, it is better to sit back and learn from others before jumping in,” she said. Leer más “Got a Good Business Idea? Here’s How You’ll Know”

A Practical Plan for When You Feel Overwhelmed

In general, September is often a difficult month: I’m catching up from summer vacation as are many of my clients, projects tend to regain momentum, the Jewish holidays reduce my work days, and our kids need more of my time as they readjust themselves to new grades in school.

But this year feels worse. On top of my regular client work, I have three strategy offsites to design and facilitate, my publisher’s edits of my next book to review, and a TEDx talk to prepare and deliver — all in a month. And then, of course, there’s my weekly blog.

Just to be clear: I’m not complaining. I feel incredibly fortunate to be so busy doing work I love. Still, it can be overwhelming.

And here’s the crazy part: I just spent the last two days trying to work without actually working. I start on something but get distracted by the Internet. Or a phone call. Or an email. Or even a video online that has no value whatsoever. In fact, at a time when I need to be at my most efficient, I have become less efficient than ever.


In general, September is often a difficult month: I’m catching up from summer vacation as are many of my clients, projects tend to regain momentum, the Jewish holidays reduce my work days, and our kids need more of my time as they readjust themselves to new grades in school.

But this year feels worse. On top of my regular client work, I have three strategy offsites to design and facilitate, my publisher‘s edits of my next book to review, and a TEDx talk to prepare and deliver — all in a month. And then, of course, there’s my weekly blog.

Just to be clear: I’m not complaining. I feel incredibly fortunate to be so busy doing work I love. Still, it can be overwhelming.

And here’s the crazy part: I just spent the last two days trying to work without actually working. I start on something but get distracted by the Internet. Or a phone call. Or an email. Or even a video online that has no value whatsoever. In fact, at a time when I need to be at my most efficient, I have become less efficient than ever. Leer más “A Practical Plan for When You Feel Overwhelmed”

Thought Leadership Success Factor No. 5: Fueling Service Innovation, Not Just Marketing

Thought leadership programs serve one master in most professional services and other B2B firms: Marketing. Marketing generates content (commissioning studies, writing white papers, and so on). Marketing packages and distributes that content (producing academic-looking publications, seminars and webinars, educational PR campaigns, email newsletters, etc.). Marketing then turns over the resulting client inquiries to account executives. Thought leadership is a Marketing activity.

But that robs thought leadership programs of their greater potential value – as sources of service innovation, not just marketing content. When companies use thought leadership to fuel new services or rejuvenate existing ones, they not only codify expertise on how to solve some business problem; they turn it into capability that many (not just a handful) of their professionals can use with clients. They do this by taking a powerful concept described in a white paper or research study and turn it into a rigorous methodology. They then develop effective curriculum around that methodology and put their professionals through training programs so they can master it.

When that happens, thought leadership content fuels new services or new approaches to existing services – not just creates client interest in them through marketing. We have seen a number of professional firms that created strong client interest in a concept after conducting and marketing some innovative research – only to find that just a few people in their firm could actually deliver the service implied by their compelling concept. (It’s a page from the “Let’s Throw Something Against the Wall and See What Sticks” book on marketing and service development. The idea is not to develop a robust service until a firm has numerous clients who are willing to pay for it.)


Bob Buday’s blog
//bloomgroup.com/blogs/bob-buday

Thought leadership programs serve one master in most professional services and other B2B firms: Marketing.  Marketing generates content (commissioning studies, writing white papers, and so on).  Marketing packages and distributes that content (producing academic-looking publications, seminars and webinars, educational PR campaigns, email newsletters, etc.).  Marketing then turns over the resulting client inquiries to account executives. Thought leadership is a Marketing activity.

But that robs thought leadership programs of their greater potential value – as sources of service innovation, not just marketing content.  When companies use thought leadership to fuel new services or rejuvenate existing ones, they not only codify expertise on how to solve some business problem; they turn it into capability that many (not just a handful) of their professionals  can use with clients.  They do this by taking a powerful concept described in a white paper or research study and turn it into a rigorous methodology.  They then develop effective curriculum around that methodology and put their professionals through training programs so they can master it.

When that happens, thought leadership content fuels new services or new approaches to existing services – not just creates client interest in them through marketing.  We have seen a number of professional firms that created strong client interest in a concept after conducting and marketing some innovative research – only to find that just a few people in their firm could actually deliver the service implied by their compelling concept.  (It’s a page from the “Let’s Throw Something Against the Wall and See What Sticks” book on marketing and service development.  The idea is not to develop a robust service until a firm has numerous clients who are willing to pay for it.)

When you think about what would happen to other industries that followed this practice, you begin to see that it’s insane.  Imagine a pharmaceutical company that conducted drug research for marketing purposes only, telling the market it’s come up with a breakthrough compound but deciding not to manufacture it.  That’s just about the state of thought leadership programs in most of the B2B firms we know.  What they publish is often not something that most of their professionals practice.

I’m not sure why this is the case.  But I know it is the case.  Perhaps it’s because service innovation in professional services is in its infancy.  Few firms have created formal and highly productive processes for developing superior services.  In most professional firms I know, services are hand-crafted by individual artisans – practicing consultants, lawyers or accountants who often in their spare time document some approach to solving a recurring client problem.
Leer más “Thought Leadership Success Factor No. 5: Fueling Service Innovation, Not Just Marketing”

9 Ways to Prepare for Growth and Success

The economy taught you to expect the worst, but have you ever prepared for the best?
By JK Harris

101 to have contingency plans in place for when things go wrong. But, conversely, are you prepared for growth and success? What if it turns out your positive expectations were too conservative? What if an unexpected celebrity endorsement sends demand for your product soaring? On a more practical–and likely–note, as the economy shows signs of turning around, are you ready for what that will mean for your operation?


The economy taught you to expect the worst, but have you ever prepared for the best?

101 to have contingency plans in place for when things go wrong. But, conversely, are you prepared for growth and success? What if it turns out your positive expectations were too conservative? What if an unexpected celebrity endorsement sends demand for your product soaring? On a more practical–and likely–note, as the economy shows signs of turning around, are you ready for what that will mean for your operation? Leer más “9 Ways to Prepare for Growth and Success”

Does Your Culture Support Innovation?

Not surprisingly, the continuous improvement movement failed to produce any overnight successes. Companies that approached continuous improvement as a quick fix soon discovered the error of their ways, usually ending up worse off than before they started. Those that invested the time and effort in making continuous improvement a way of life are still reaping the dividends.

The same thing needs to happen with innovation. To succeed, it needs to become an integral part of how you do business. Innovation requires ways of thinking that must underlie all the process, systems, and management behaviors in an organization. Creating ongoing innovation in an organization needs to be thought of as a long-term process, especially if you are used to reacting to change rather than creating it. Most of all, innovation requires an organizational culture that nourishes and supports it as a way of life rather than as a short-term band-aid for current business problems.


by Holly G. Green

Does Your Culture Support Innovation?There’s a lot of people talking about innovation these days, myself included.

The good news is that business leaders seem to be sitting up and taking notice of this important subject. The bad news is that once a topic becomes popular in the media, people have a tendency to see it as the next “management flavor of the month.” In other words, they perceive it as a quick fix solution rather than a long-term change in the way they do business.

Remember a few decades ago when everyone jumped on the continuous improvement bandwagon? Very quickly, companies of all shapes and sizes began implementing six sigma, lean manufacturing, and other types of process improvement programs. Many had no clue what they were doing or worked hard without a link to overall strategy and success. And most had very unrealistic timelines and expectations for the results they hoped to achieve. Leer más “Does Your Culture Support Innovation?”

No Strategy – No Innovation

What kills innovation at the start, in the middle and at the end is the lack of a clearly defined, articulated and executed strategy. The reason is simple. If your firm can’t concisely define and communicate what it offers, and why it is different, than other firms, differentiation is almost impossible, and in some cases perhaps undesired. If it can’t define it’s position in the market, as a product innovator, or a service leader, or the operational excellence leader, then it isn’t a leader at all. Simply a follower who believes that “innovation” is quickly copying what other firms are doing. Trying to innovate in the absence of a clear strategy is like driving on a narrow, twisty road socked in with fog. Every turn is fraught with danger, and you move, if at all cautiously, continually testing the roadbed before committing.


by Jeffrey Phillips

No Strategy - No InnovationYou’d think with all the fawning press many companies and executives receive that defining a clear, concise corporate strategy would be a “no brainer”. After all, don’t we hire and pay executives exorbitant sums due to their vision and strategy? You’d think that with the hordes of “management consultants” available from a wide array of highly compensated consulting firms that well-conceived strategic plans would simply flow like water from these founts of knowledge. And let’s not forget the virtual library of books on corporate strategy, from the likes of Drucker, Porter, Hamel, Prahalad, and so forth. Clearly there is a wealth of information, advice and knowledge about corporate strategy. Or at least there is a good facsimile.

What kills innovation at the start, in the middle and at the end is the lack of a clearly defined, articulated and executed strategy. The reason is simple. If your firm can’t concisely define and communicate what it offers, and why it is different, than other firms, differentiation is almost impossible, and in some cases perhaps undesired. If it can’t define it’s position in the market, as a product innovator, or a service leader, or the operational excellence leader, then it isn’t a leader at all. Simply a follower who believes that “innovation” is quickly copying what other firms are doing. Trying to innovate in the absence of a clear strategy is like driving on a narrow, twisty road socked in with fog. Every turn is fraught with danger, and you move, if at all cautiously, continually testing the roadbed before committing. Leer más “No Strategy – No Innovation”

Taking On A Business Partner? Avoid These 4 Common Mistakes

Anne Field

He points to a five-employee web-design company as a case in point. About five years ago, the founder decided to bring on a partner with more sales savvy. But, when business didn’t roll in as quickly as he’d hoped, the founder stepped in and started calling on his own prospects—without telling anyone else. Soon, he was arranging for deals on the sly, often agreeing to lower-than-normal terms the partner learned about only later. Eventually, trust between the two eroded and the partnership dissolved.


He points to a five-employee web-design company as a case in point. About five years ago, the founder decided to bring on a partner with more sales savvy. But, when business didn’t roll in as quickly as he’d hoped, the founder stepped in and started calling on his own prospects—without telling anyone else. Soon, he was arranging for deals on the sly, often agreeing to lower-than-normal terms the partner learned about only later. Eventually, trust between the two eroded and the partnership dissolved. Leer más “Taking On A Business Partner? Avoid These 4 Common Mistakes”

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