If You Build It They Will Come: How a Unique Customer Experience Grows Your Business
Mar 29,2017
Customer Experience is one of the least understood aspects of delivering an excellent product. For many businesses customer experience is equivalent to customer service, where the customer only calls when there’s a problem. Think Lily Tomlin managing the phone line switches in small town America. This one engagement is designed around resolving a problem quickly so the service agent can get the customer off the phone and on to the next call. Many businesses have implemented chat technology on their website. This allows their service agents to manage multiple issues at one time and keep from spending too much time…
Read More
How to Befriend Digital: A Continuous Improvement Story
Mar 21,2017
In my business, the projects worth doing are often big ventures. They’re the ones that are daunting in scale of effort and scope of impact. We think of these projects, things like creating an online store or implementing a digital inventory system, in terms of when we’ll do them not if we’ll do them. Of course we’ll tackle these efforts eventually, because we need our business to succeed. But when? We’ll start when things quiet down or when we hire someone to help or when the kids go off to college. The problem arises when “when” becomes “never,” because we…
Read More
How to Get Great Customer Feedback and Avoid Turning Your Product into an Ugly Sweater
Mar 9,2017
Want to know the one characteristic my clients share across all my work? They’re passionate innovators who come up with fabulous ideas about how to better run their businesses and serve their customers. And they have no problem finding someone - a stakeholder or customer - who likes their idea. They tell me, “I showed it to <Name of Impressive Person> and they loved it!” Voila, they've completed their customer feedback research. Hmmm, how many times did you accept a hand knitted sweater from your grandmother and tell her you loved it? There’s this social phenomenon where it feels rude…
Read More
Why it Pays to Iterate if You Want to Innovate
Mar 3,2017
"The Googly thing is to launch [products] early on Google Labs and then iterate, learning what the market wants — and making it great. The beauty of experimenting in this way is that you never get too far from what the market wants. The market pulls you back." - Marissa Meyer Want one idea that will have a huge impact on your business this year? Start building your organizational culture around experimentation and iteration. Measure success by customer outcomes achieved through each cycle. This is what customer-centered businesses do. They iterate through cycles of discovery, creation and validation. They’re constantly…
Read More
Desirability, Feasibility, Viability: The Sweet Spot for Innovation
Feb 24,2017
  The ideal innovation process is the trifecta of desirability, feasibility and viability. If your idea meets all three criteria, then it contains these essential characteristics: A desirable solution, one that your customer really needs A feasible solution, building on the strengths of your current operational capabilities A profitable solution, with a sustainable business model. But if you miss any one of these, implementing the idea becomes riskier and costlier. I often work with teams who are pursuing a grand vision, an idea that could really have an impact for their customers and for their business. This vision is fantastic,…
Read More
Learning from Innovation: Failure Not Required
Feb 16,2017
One of the mantras of Lean Startup is to “fail fast” when talking about innovation, but I think it misses the point. Thomas Edison famously said, “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways it won’t work.” The reason to pursue innovation for your business is not about failing, it’s about learning - learning what your customers don’t want alongside what they need, learning about the market for your solution, and learning what your organization is capable of. So from here on out I’m going to change the innovation mantra to “learn fast”. Failing Fast Let’s say team…
Read More
Feb 10,2017
One of the most important stakeholders in your innovation and improvement efforts is often the person who’s least involved – your customer. Many businesses falter at getting customer input, stating that it’s too hard for them to reach the people they need to talk to. There’s also a deeper fear involved – that their customer won’t like their innovation, and will lead them to something dull and less “innovative.” Yet these early customer insights can provide a less risky path to sustainable growth for your business than going it alone. This is a common scenario with small businesses who feel…
Read More
How to Find Your Right Road to Innovation: 3 Key Pivot Points
Feb 3,2017
A key component of innovation is measurement. No, not measurement of sales or business growth, although that will eventually come. Early measurement consists of product / market fit, an assessment of whether the solution really solved a pain point that was important enough that your customers will pay you for it. Assess whether your solution really solves a problem that causes significant enough pain that your customers will spend money to fix it. What separates the few businesses that innovate efficiently and cost effectively from those that don’t? It’s the ability to quickly identify the things that don’t work for their…
Read More
3 Steps to Achieving a High ROI on Your Innovation Dollars (Hint: Start with your Customers)
Jan 27,2017
Are you skeptical of the return on investment (ROI) from innovation projects? Many of my clients are. Sure, they invest in incremental improvements – fix what is broken, adopt new technology to make their operation more efficient, train their people to increase their productivity. But when is the last time you actively pursued an innovation opportunity for your business? Innovation takes time and money, and skilled people to set aside their daily activities to discover opportunities and try them out. Especially for small business owners, who are spending every waking hour just keeping their operation going, setting aside that time…
Read More
Wait! Don’t Build Your Business Without Customer Validation
Jan 6,2017
As a small business owner, I have big dreams for my business.  While these dreams keep me going even when things get rough, they also keep me up at night as I contemplate how to bring them to reality.  The vision may keep me motivated but I also need to see that I am making progress.  It used to be that my progress was measured by the tasks I checked off my to-do list.  Now I use a better approach, and it is centered in customer validation of my ideas. Customer Validation is the starting point of the Lean Startup…
Read More
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6