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The Secret To Building Ideas That Fly

Every single successful idea is born from tapping into just one thing. It’s the secret to the success of entrepreneurs the world over, from Derek Sivers to Richard Branson, Seth Godin to Jack Canfield. You know what it is, but sometimes you get so caught up in creating momentum around your idea, that you forget to pay attention to the one thing that really matters.

Ideas that fly are born from discovering neglected worldviews, then creating something to fill the void

Each business in the Virgin stable was built on this foundation. The neglected worldview is the first perfect brick. Think about any successful business, book, movement or cause you care about and ask yourself the question; what neglected worldview did it set out to fulfil?

I want your idea to fly, maybe it’s time to take a step back and look at the foundations of this thing you’re trying to build. What is your first perfect brick? What void are you filling?

Image by AmpamukA.

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20 Things You Need To Do More Than Google Plus

Any occurrence requiring undivided attention will be accompanied by a compelling distraction ~ Robert Bloch

There is a shiny new toy in the social networking sand box and you can’t wait to get stuck into it. It’s only natural to want a piece of the action, to see what the 10 million early adopters of Google Plus are raving about and to understand how circling is better than adding. Why? Because following is easier than leading and belonging is magnetic to the human condition.

Being in the Google Plus loop might be fun, it may even become a useful tool to leverage in your business down the track. But tools are just tactics. Tactics can become distractions and tactics alone don’t build your business, or make your idea a success.

You need to act on your own great ideas before you get distracted by someone else’s

So what could you do instead of getting distracted by Google Plus, (unless you’re Robert Scoble)?
Here’s a start, feel free to add your own:

1. Schedule time in the day to do uninterrupted work that supports your goals.
2. Start a blog. If you have one write a guest post.
3. Write a digital guide and give it away for free.
4. Notice things in the real world that aren’t working and think about ways to fix them.
5. Read books from start to finish.
6. Map out your objectives for the next year.
7. Start implementing strategies that will support them.
8. Design a product.
9. Build a twelve month launch calendar.
10. Look for unfulfilled worldviews and think about how to fulfil them.
11. Give a talk.
12. Write a newsletter and earn the right to connect with your audience.
13. Plan ways to make a difference, not just to be popular.
14. Skype a mentor.
15. Call a client.
16. Spend 30 minutes doing one thing without interruption.
17. Start a movement.
18. Take a day off.
19. Spend time offline, with people who matter to you.
20. Go outside, walk on the beach, by the river, or in the park.

*Full disclosure. Yes I do have a Google Plus account by kind invitation from a friend. So far I’ve added my profile picture.*

Image by rikulu.

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What’s Stopping You Making Your Idea Matter?

The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20 ~ Derek Sivers

You’ve got lots of great ideas and more than a few stuffed Moleskines to prove it!

An idea, even the most fantastic one, only begins to matter when you can take it from scribbles in your notebook to implementation.

So what’s stopping you? Why are you stuck?

When will the time be right?

If you have the kind of idea that will benefit others more than it benefits you, it matters. Don’t waste it!

I know that ideas aren’t a problem for you, so what would take you from Moleskine to momentum? What do you need to start? What’s holding you back?

Image by Mike Rohde.

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Forgetting The Facts

We all know that love affairs don’t begin with facts

Ric Bixter was given a college assignment; to take something boring, that you could buy for less than a couple of dollars and repackage it to make it more interesting and valuable. So Ric set out to tell a different story about elastic bands. One that had little to do with the facts.

Your customers will sometimes need to know the facts about what you’re selling. How many sessions? What’s the fuel consumption? Does is come with a guarantee? But that’s not always where your story has to start. Take a look around you at all the marketing messages you see working. The products and services people fall in love with aren’t just about the facts or specs. They are about the story and things people care about.

Your job is to communicate more than the facts

This doesn’t mean telling a story that isn’t true. It means getting people to take a second look and giving them a reason to fall in love with what you do. We all know that love affairs don’t begin with facts. If you want to make people believe your true story, then you need to ask yourself one simple question.

How is this adding to my customer’s worldview?

Take a look at how perfectly Ric told a new story about elastic bands, with colour, typography, nuance and humour.

How could you do this in your business? What story can you tell? How can you make your idea matter to the people who need to hear from you?

And if you’re looking to add a great storyteller to your design team in London next year, give Ric a shout @fellbridge. He’s sure to be snapped up!

Images and package design by Ric Bixter.

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How Not To Name A Startup Or Anything

A brand name is more than a word. It is the beginning of a conversation. ~ Lexicon

Everyone can agree that there’s nothing really objectionable about calling your business ‘Bargain World’. It’s an innocuous name and most people won’t hate it. And that’s the problem.

If you’re going to name your business, non-profit, product or service something that people won’t hate, then you’re giving yourself an identity that they will never be able to care about either.

Bunkum! I hear your cry what about Apple and Amazon, aren’t they just unobjectionable words too? Back in 1976 when Apple was Apple Computer, tech startups and corporations were called IBM (what does that stand for?) and Microsoft. I bet a few people were laughing behind their hands at the idea of branding an incorporated tech company with a stripey apple. When Jeff Bezos named Amazon after one of the biggest rivers in the world in 1994, other book stores were called Borders Books and Waldenbooks. It didn’t take people long to fall in love with Amazon, which of course aspired to be the biggest, fastest, get what you want bookstore, (that had room to grow not to be just a bookstore) in the world.

Your business or product name is the hook on which you hang your story and start the conversation with customers. It’s the mechanism you give people to identify you. And when you earn their trust and loyalty it’s the way they spread the news about you. Your brand and product names are some of the most priceless assets your business can own. They should make you stand out, not fit in.

If nobody can find an objection to the brand name you choose, then you’ve probably got the wrong name. This kind of brand naming architecture often happens by committee, which means you end up with something that will be forgotten. Your name should polarize people, spark their interest and make them want to get to know more about what you do.

Here’s a simple test. If you can’t imagine someone wanting to wear your name on a t-shirt one day, then it’s probably not the right name for you now.

I know that choosing a name for your brand has caused you to waste valuable time and slowed down growth and momentum in your business, so I’m working on the brand naming white paper you asked for, which will be available to you soon. Hallelujah!

How did you choose your brand, blog or business name? Which brand names do you love and why? Which ones do you wish you’d thought of first?

Image by World of Good

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Close The Gap Between Dreaming And Doing

Everyone wants to sit around and think up cool stuff. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to actually build something. The energy isn’t in the idea, it’s in the execution. ~ Seth Godin

I think you’ll agree that sometimes we get stuck, even when we know we have a great idea. Sometimes it’s easier to sit and wait for just the right time to execute, to see if it’s safe. The thing is if you’re waiting until it’s safe then it probably is. Most of what inspires us in our world didn’t come from a place of safety. Don’t wait to feel safe. Go be audacious!

Obvious to you. Amazing to others. from Derek Sivers on Vimeo.





Jason Fried @ Big Omaha 2009 from Big Omaha on Vimeo.


Tim Brown on Change By Design from IDEO on Vimeo.


Image by Chris Devers.

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Acknowledging The Fear

“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”
Marianne Williamson

People are scared. Especially people with big ideas and vision, who are doing great work. They are scared of doing the wrong thing, of making a misstep. Scared of being invisible and frightened their idea might not work. They’re afraid your design may not tell their whole story, or draw customers in. They’re worried about losing money and terrified of looking stupid.

Maybe their fear is partly what brought them to you in the first place?

Once they’ve paid for the coaching program, the copy, the intangible you probably sell, they worry that they won’t get a return on their investment, they fret that you won’t have the answer. This has little to do with trusting you, your expertise or your art, and a lot to do with expressing a tiny bit of self doubt about the place where they are on their own entrepreneurial journey.

Your job is not to get rid of the fear. Fear is normal. Fear has it’s place and you can’t make it go away.

Fear was the fuel for every great idea that ever was.

Your job is to recongnise it and show your people that you understand their anxiety. Your job is not to buy into it. Your role is definitely not to be afraid alongside them. As their expert, their mentor or their creative genius, your job is not to allow their fear to stall them right when they are at the threshold about to push past it.

Your job is to understand where your client is at, acknowledge that, then go ahead and deliver anyway.

*Update* new from Seth Godin today 2/7/11;
“Fear is the lone barrier almost every product and service has to overcome in order to succeed.”
I’d love to hear about your experiences of dealing with client fear, or how you acknowledge this in yourself sometimes on your entrepreneurial journey. I’ll share alongside you.

Image Paolo Margari.

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People Want What They Never Asked For

Everybody’s obsessed with finding a niche when what they should be doing is expressing a worldview. ~ Amy Hoy

Have you ever been to a chocolate cafe? There’s a new one in town and we went to see what all the fuss is about. I’m not talking about a big franchise operation here— I’m talking the real deal chocolatier. The kind that displays individual chocolates in glass cases like jewels, where the assistants handle everything with gloved fingertips. A place that labels itself a chocolate salon and not a cafe at all, where you blissfully buy $12 brownies, $8 chocolate bars and can’t get a seat.

Now all chocolate cafes are not created equal. This one just happens to be expressing a worldview with knobs on. It is gently whispering into it’s customers ear, giving her an opportunity to feast her eyes and imagination while appealing to her very soul. The extravagant $12 decision is made based on nothing to do with taste or facts and everything to do with what she cares deeply about.

Your customer cares that you made an effort to seduce her. She wants to be able to tell herself a story about being flamboyant, outrageous, passionate, determined and successful.

The reason you exist is to allow your customer to express her worldview.

People don’t just buy your physical product, they invest in their unspoken worldview reflected back to them. Things that they really care about like success, freedom, happiness, fear, popularity, legacies and love. The sort of stuff that matters more than just chocolate sauce and caramel swirls.

Image by teddy-rised.

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“Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” Marianne Williamson

Heather Spriggs is an artist. She’s a gifted designer and visionary stylist, with a fine arts degree. Heather is a one off, an original.

When I first started working with Heather she had been blogging for two years about modern romance and vintage style, at Gathering Spriggs using the typepad platform. She had built quite a following over that time but wasn’t earning any income from her blog. Heather also ran an Etsy store, selling beautiful hand crafted pieces online for way less than their true value, taking into account the time and talent that had been put into them. As if that wasn’t enough Heather had built a full time home decorating business over a period of eight years. She clearly had no shortage of entrepreneurial spirit and drive!

One of the first things we spoke about was moving Heather’s website to it’s own .com domain, (something she was in the process of working on with her designer). The timing couldn’t have been better. But instead of launching GatheringSpriggs.com as a result of our consultation Heather re-launched her blog at HeatherSpriggs.com. At the time I think this was a big decision for Heather and part of her journey to stepping into her light.

We covered a lot of ground quickly, including what was working for Heather, what was taking up her time and energy and where it might be better directed. We worked out who she really wanted to speak to on her blog and what their worldview was. We discussed her audacious goals, her vision for her brand, plans for her business and where she wanted to be. We had some soul searching conversations along the way.

Once she called herself a decorator, now Heather is an artist, stylist and designer.

Contact and services pages were added to her website. Her craft store closed but her vintage store remained. Rooms by Heather became Interiors by Heather, for that is exactly what they are, beautiful whole world transformations. She offers new services like styling, decor and colour consultation, which she has been doing for years, but not profiting from as she should be.

Heather is increasingly showcasing her own work on her blog, (where she used to mainly showcase the work of those she admired). In July she is releasing her own 100 page magazine ‘Gatherings’, with paying advertisers getting on board. And we’re just getting started, this is only phase one!

Heather just continues to rise to every challenge. She now owns her unique vision and extraordinary ability to see beauty in the world and put it together in ways others could never do. She also values and expresses her vision and talent enough to earn an income from it.

Your attitude defines your brand.

Here’s how Heather and her brand are evolving and why she is embracing ‘living in the shift’, in her own words.

I’d love you to share your own experiences and stories of evolving in the comments.

Image by Heather Spriggs.

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The iPhone Doesn’t Matter To Everyone

“Ideas that spread win.” Seth Godin

Seth is one of my heros, he’s probably one of yours too. But I’ve been itching to qualify this quote for some time now. Here’s what I believe.

Ideas that matter spread.

If you want anything you conceive, launch, or care about to ‘win’ then you’ve got to make it matter first. I’m not talking about mattering for a day while your offer is on Groupon, or during your opening week buzz. I mean ‘really’ mattering. The kind of mattering that makes people cross the road (or town), passing your competitors on the way, to buy from you. The sort of mattering that touches people in a place way deeper than their pockets.

This might be the cue to throw your hands in the air and give up, because you wonder how your thing can ever matter that much. But wait… I haven’t gotten to the best bit.

You don’t need to matter to everyone.

In fact you positively don’t want to matter to the whole universe. Quite the opposite. You can succeed by simply mattering more to the few.

Apple has 5% of the global mobile phone market share. They’re doing okay just mattering to the few. Make your market tiny. Create significance for the outnumbered on the sidelines. Investigate the edges. Quit trying to please everyone and woo a handful.

Whisper softly to the people who want to hear from you. Then you’ll matter.

Image by Something from Nancy

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