James Kerr is the founder and Chief Geek of SuperGeeks and is a frequent guest blogger for this site. He always has interesting insights to the technology world and offers valuable advice on how to take advantage of the newest technology. Please enjoy the following post:
Tools for New Year Confessions
We are rapidly approaching Dec 31st. It’s time to start working on those New Year resolutions.
Resolutions are really confessions wrapped in hope: I need to lose weight. I need to save money. I need to live more.
The first step in getting going is realizing there’s a need for change. But simply wishing for
something is not sufficient. The key to success is devising a plan and sticking with it.
All organizations need change. Change enables us to provide better products and services, and to do work that truly matters.
Fortunately, there are several tools to help us achieve greatness:
Make a plan
Plans come and go. But you need one anyway even when your business plan is in flux.
I love ‘freestyle’ travel, where I may jet to a destination without an itinerary and just let the
adventures unfold. But if I ran my business that way, it would be a disaster.
LivePlan.com is a good tool for planning your strategy, pitching your concept, and tracking your progress.
Use crowdsourced platforms like Qoura.com to get answers to your pressing business questions. One suggestion can be worth millions. And it’s free. (Don’t worry. No one will steal your idea.)
To exercise your idea muscle and improve the quality of your brainstorming, use 750words.com or DraftIn.com for daily journaling. I especially like the ‘Hemingway Mode’ of DraftIn.
Get the funding
We are on the cusp of global economic prosperity. Money is cheap. There are plenty of people
willing to provide capital. All you need is a solid team and a promising idea.
Use Prosper.com to secure a loan. Create an AngelList.com profile to find investors.
As you have probably heard, the SEC is making it easier for private companies to sell equity.
Crowdfunding will continue to explode. Harness this trend to grow your business.
Sell in new ways
Commerce is becoming increasingly decentralized. Consumers want to buy wherever they are and at that moment. So instead of funneling prospects to your website, find ways to push out your products and services to other web properties.
Amazon.com is essentially search engine for people who are ready to buy. Sell there.
Amazon is also starting to resell professional services, like roofing, lawn care and music
instruction: http://services.amazon.com/ It’s worth trying.
Lastly, there may be a completely different way of packaging what you sell. Patreon is an
interesting platform for content creators, like YouTubers, bloggers, and musicians. It enables you collect money from your fans on a regular, ongoing basis rather than just a onetime gig.
Try Boomerang for Gmail. Boomerang let’s you preschedule emails, trigger reminder emails
for follow up, and filter target emails for later viewing. It’s a useful tool for staying on top of
sales leads, birthdays, and travel details.
If you’re managing larger teams, check out Slack. Slack offers frictionless communication between members and groups. And if implemented well, Slack will make your company smarter and more competitive. Use it in conjunction with Threadable.com.
If your business is spread across a few time zones, EveryTimeZone.com is an easy way to schedule online meetings and phone conferences.
Have fun with it
Burner is an app that allows you to create and terminate (‘burn) phone numbers on the fly. This is
especially useful for solopreneurs who want to maintain a layer of privacy between them and their customers. In the past, if I had a rental property, I would have to share my cell number with the general public in order to find a tenant. With Burner, I can create a temporary number for the listing and then turn it off when it’s no longer needed.
You can use Burner for promotional campaigns where you may need a phone number for calling, texting and picture exchange. For example, you may want to jump into an online conversation and offer a phone number for follow up. Burner is perfect for that. Like a spy, you just ‘burn’ the number when done.
UsesThis.com is a guy who interviews random people about what hardware and software they
use in their lives. That content is both interesting and useful for your business masterminding.
You can even make your own version of this with the code on GitHub.com. Imagine creating a blog profiling how your customers are leveraging your product or service. Could be a powerful marketing tool.
And then there’s Comic Life for Mac & Windows! This app let’s you take ordinary pics of you and your friends and turn them into a comic. Everyone loves comics, and this tool is a great way to tell a story. It could be used internally to playfully underscore your company’s values or it could be used to share content with your base.
Finally, stay motivated. Keep pushing on. As Zig Ziglar said, “You were designed for
accomplishment, engineered for success and endowed with the seeds of greatness! You were
born to win.” The world is yours.