Andrew John HARRISON

Artist, Designer, Educator & Entrepreneur

Category: Business

Fun And The FUTURE

You’ll find the future wherever people are having the most fun. Well then, I would say interactive video games are predicting a new world of virtual reality.

After the recent US election and the BREXIT, it appears there is a backlash against globalization. As if stopping immigration and putting up trade barriers are going to fix it! How are the protectionists going to stop the free flow of human capital and ideas? Perform a Men in Black Memory Eraser?

I love this video by Steven Johnson about how inventions happen from fun and play as much as anything via TEDEd. Check it out:

Optimize Value vs Maximize Profit

A lot of people see business as a vehicle to make money and that all other factors are merely assets or liabilities to be subjugated to the primary purpose of maximising profits.

These profits are exclusively for the benefit of the business owner or capitalist who risked their capital to establish the business.

These ideas about money and business have been around for as long as we have been doing business by exchanging something we want for something the other party wants.

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Advancing Woman’s Equality Could Add $12 Trillion to Global Growth

Gender inequality in 2016 and beyond is inexcusable. Half of the world’s working-age population are not realizing their full potential, due to gender discrimination.

A recent McKinsey report finds that $12 trillion could be added to global GDP simply by advancing woman’s equality!

I believe this should be a top priority for business and political leaders alike. Let’s work together to equalize opportunity and compensation and end once and for all the issue of a woman being paid less for the same job as a man.

In addition to economic discrimination in order to take advantage of women, prejudice denies women equal access to leadership positions that are top-paying and influential.

Consider for a moment the composition of the S&P 1500 boards of directors:

EY graphic showing the percentage of female directors at S&P 500 companies in 2014

In other words, the business world remains dominated by men and according to McKinsey, this inequality is costing the global economy trillions of dollars a year.

My own research has shown that teams and companies led by women are better managed, more innovative, and less susceptible to the dark side of the hubris of success.

Personally, I am a champion of all forms of equality starting at home and extending to our workplaces, boards and all levels of leadership. This is more than pure idealism! If you analyze the bottom line you too will see its profitable!

Screenshot 2016-05-09 12.07.11.png

If you find yourself resistant to gender equality, consider why that may be? Is it because you are sexist? insecure or simply just prefer to dominate? Perhaps your gender bias is invisible to you. The best way to know for sure is to look at your results. Are genders on your team or in your company balance around the 50/50 mark, or more like 60/40, even 80/20?

This one change, of accepting nothing less than gender equality could add millions to your bottom line.

Read McKinsey Global Institute’s Report Executive Summary > here or access the full report > here

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Compassion is True Communication

This is a very moving advert for a phone company. From where? Thailand of course!

Entertaining, moving. It’s a mini-movie.

The Workplace of The Future

Re-Imagining Work

US Job Growth, Winners and Losers

The below infographic tells an interesting story when comparing the end result State by State. Different public policy, industry focus, and economic development strategies make some States more competitive than others.

 

US Long-term real GDP growth 1871-2009

Some people are eager to predict the end of long-term US growth. I would not be so quick. The American people have a remarkable talent for bouncing back – just take a look at the below chart of long-term real growth is US GDP. Make up your own mind…

 

Manufacturing Productivity vs Jobs

As manufacturing productivity goes up – the number of manufacturing jobs goes down. This means that more output is being produced at lower cost. What happens to the people out of work due to increases in productivity driven by technology? They either go out of work altogether – or… up-skill themselves into higher paying service jobs.

Take a look at the below chart that makes the shift visible:

Motivators for Generation Y and Boomer Talent

There are some very useful pointers in this video…

The Importance of Company Culture

Check out this video from ABC Nightline about Zappos.com – they are trying to revolutionize how business is done and how people work… awesome!

Would you pay Employees $2,000 to quit?

Zappos.com, which works hard to recruit people to join the company, says to its newest employees: “If you quit today, we will pay you for the amount of time you’ve worked, plus we will offer you a bonus.” Zappos.com actually bribes its new employees to quit!

The thinking is that if you’re willing to take the company up on The Offer, you obviously don’t have the sense of commitment they are looking for.

Kia Hamsters

I love these Kia hamsters…

Video: Entrepreneurs Can Change The World

Entrepreneur State Of Mind

Highlights of a recent Entrepreneur Survey by Siamak Taghaddos include:

  • 52% of entrepreneurs use an iPhone
  • 36% feel the recession hasn’t hurt their business much
  • 28% feel 2010 is going to be the best year ever

Double Standards

You can’t look the troops in the eye and say, “It’s been a bad year, we can’t do anything for you,” but then say, “By the way, we’re going to pay ourselves a $1 million bonus.”
H. Ross Perot (1930–), US entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and politician.

Referring to his resignation from the General Motors board following GM’s decision to freeze profit-sharing payments to workers while going ahead with executive bonus payments.

Source: Quoted in Thriving on Chaos (Tom Peters, 1987)

Dove – Evolution Commercial

Getting Real About Enterprise 2.0

BMW and Microsoft Surface

Microsoft’s interactive table, dubbed Surface is like an iPhone interface on your desktop… touch the surface and interact with the computer with your fingers rather than with a traditional keyboard and mouse.

Below is a video showcasing BMW’s commercial application of Surface for selecting a new BMW:

Low Fare Airlines

The fastest growing segment of air travel is low-cost airlines… <click here for a larger graphic>>

The Future is Digital

Think Different

Social Media Spending

socialmediaspending1

Rules of Business

I originally wrote this article in 2003 for business owners, founders, CEOs and leaders who are committed to extraordinary results through business. As I reread this in 2009, I feel that it is as applicable today as it was in 2003.  If you are not a business owner or executive, please read this with an open mind and ask yourself “how can I apply that?”

This article is perfect for Passionate Revolutionaries who are focused on leading and inspiring others to create innovative products, services and business models that add meaning and purpose to peoples everyday lives.

IT’S ALL ABOUT LEADERSHIP

It may sound strange but if you want a quantum leap in your results — the first place to begin is to take a good look in the mirror. The focus of this article is on YOU and your relationship to your business.

Many people start a business to make money; others want to make a contribution or to express themselves. Whatever your reason is, you will find that the basic, fundamental rules of business have not changed for thousands of years.

The pace of change has increased; new technologies have changed the way we do business, increased our potential markets as well as our competitors. How fast you learn is now a competitive advantage…

Here are some of the most important, immutable rules of business:

YOUR BUSINESS IS A REFLECTION OF YOU


Your thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, values, goals, strengths, weaknesses, management style and philosophy all show up in your business. If you have a belief that you have to work 16-hour days in order to be successful, then you will end up working 16-hour days. And you may or may not be successful.

If your leadership style is disrespectful of team members and customers then the energy of the business will reflect this. Only second-rate team members will be attracted as you will only attract people who are OK being disrespected and not appreciated. Your company will only achieve a fraction of what is possible. The leaders style will set the tone for the entire organization through the multiplier effect. Everything is reflected back to you multiplied, exaggerated and often dramatized.

FOR THINGS TO CHANGE, FIRST YOU MUST CHANGE


That means, if you want the business to change, if you want your team to change, if you want your results to change… It all starts with you and what do you have to change?

Many, many people work on the business, on business development, training their team, building their sales… And leave out the most important factor in the entire equation.

YOU

The leader of the company is the key person whose vision is the vital element, élan vital (French for Lifeforce) the driving force behind the company and everything it does.

ALIGN THE TEAM TO THE VISION


The vision sets the tone and the agenda. The vision provides the team with a focus, a purpose, a guiding star to follow.

The number one function of the leader is to catalyze a clear and shared vision for the company and to secure commitment of the team to the vigorous pursuit of the vision. A clear sense of purpose comes directly from a clear vision of what it is supposed to look like in the end.

When a leader is not clear on the vision, and this vision isn’t clearly communicated to the team members, associates, suppliers and customers then the company languishes and is mediocre. The company struggles and the team works harder and harder.

WORKING HARDER ISN’T THE ANSWER


If you are like most people, you grew up with the work hard ethic. From the time we were young children, we were told by people that we loved, trusted and respected; “If you want to get ahead in life, you have got to work hard.” or “If you want to make lots of money, you have got to work hard.” And this is simply not true.

The gardener works harder than the company executive, he toils all day in the hot sun, he gets his hands dirty… However the executive works no more hours, but makes many, many times more than the gardener.

According to the Jan/Feb 2009 issue of Inc. Magazine, Markus Frind, the founder of the website Plenty of Fish, based in Vancouver, Canada works one hour a day and pays himself an annual income of $5 million. Clearly he is not working hard! The question I ask myself is; “if he is working 1 hour a day and making $5 million, how much could he make working 8 hours a day?”

I am sure you will agree that hard work alone is not going to solve anything (although it is a start). The key is to undo the training, programming and conditioning that tells us to work hard, and to replace it with a different philosophy of life and work that takes into account what you work hard at doing.

MY RESULTS ARE MY GURU (Teacher)

This means that we are responsible for our results. No one else is. If the economy is bad and your customers aren’t spending as much as they used to then you have got to do something different. Simply blaming your lower results on the economy wont do anything other than keep you stuck. Forget excuses, justifications or blaming anyone else.

Your results tell you how you are doing.

The key is to get more done in less time. To be ever more efficient and effective. To produce a better quality product for less cost to you, which you then pass on to your customers. What many companies do is lower their cost and instead of passing these savings onto their customers, keep it for themselves. This may work in the short term, however it increases the risk of your competition gaining an edge on you.

INNOVATION & ADDING VALUE


Because its purpose is to acquire and satisfy customers, your business has one and only one function. To add value through innovative products and services. If your product and service is the same as your competitor’s, how are you going to add value in a way that your customers will continue to buy from you?

To innovate, means to make changes, to bring in new methods, ideas and ways of doing things that benefit your customer — saving them time or money. This requires leadership and the constant pursuit of creative and imaginative solutions to both new and old problems.

MARKETING IS THE ENGINE OF EVERY BUSINESS


Marketing is all about attracting people to buy your product or service, getting them to come back again and again, and getting them to purchase more when they do come back.

It includes sales, advertising, product design, public relations, and many other ingredients that are less obvious. Without marketing you lose customers. Marketing can make the difference between the life and death of your business and yet it is one of the least understood and most under-utilized facets of business.

Most businesses have been reduced to a commodity. No one can buy their materials for that much less than anyone else. Advertising costs about the same. Even a second or third shift doesn’t give your business that much advantage.

However, if you make your salespeople out-produce your competitions salespeople by two or three times; if you can make every advertisement you run produce ten times more than your competitors’ do; if you can get a customer to buy 50% to 200% more “on average” from you than they do from your competitors…

…and if you can successfully figure out how to resell each customer numerous “additional” times a year and sell them multiple products or services with higher profit margins each time — your business will grow exponentially — even in a down economy.

YOU ARE NOT THE BUSINESS


A corporation is a legal entity that was incorporated to fulfill a specific purpose. As a legal entity, a corporation has the same rights as any other citizen of the country within which it is incorporated. A corporation can own property, buy and sell, manufacture products, and bring lawsuits as if its members were one person.

Ownership in the corporation is divided into a certain number of shares, and the corporation issues stockholders one or more stock certificates to show how many shares they hold. The stockholders own the company and elect a board of directors to manage it for them.

The board of directors determines basic company policies and appoints the executive officers. These officers include a chairman of the board, chief executive officer, a president, and a number of vice presidents. They are responsible for carrying out the decisions of the board of directors and the stockholders. The executive officers also select the managers of the various departments of the corporation.

Stockholders may sell their stock whenever they want to, unless the corporation has some special rule to prevent it. The price of the companies stock changes according to general business conditions and the earnings and future prospects of the company. If the business is doing well, stockholders may be able to sell their stock for a profit. If it is not, they may have to take a loss in order to exit.

When the corporation has made a profit, the directors may divide the profit among the stockholders as dividends, or they may decide to use it to expand the business. Dividends may be paid only out of the corporation’s profits. When profits are used to expand the business, the directors and stockholders may decide to issue more stock to show that there is more money invested in the business. This new stock will be divided among the stockholders as a stock dividend.

Stockholders in a corporation have limited liability. If the corporation fails, they can lose no more than their investment, because the corporation’s debts are not their debts.

The founder of a corporation may be a stockholder and a director — but this is not necessary. Any corporation may raise funds to establish the company or to increase the available capital for investment, growth or ongoing operations.
Funds may be raised by selling stock (these investors become stockholders,) acquiring debt or through revenue participation etc.

The challenge for most founders who are also stockholders and directors is that they can “over identify” with the corporation. They end up living vicariously through the success and failure of the corporation. In many cases the founder does not pay themselves a salary during the startup phase on the basis that they are the owner and are building an asset. This is a mistake as it undervalues the founder’s contribution and makes it more difficult to replace the founder by hiring an employee.

The key here is to understand that you are not the business and if you have an employee role within the corporation, that you pay yourself a fair market salary. To do this requires that you have enough capital to operate the business, cover all the expenses with some excess for unforeseeable circumstances — especially during start up or high-growth phases.

Nothing is more difficult to do than to grow a company on a limited capital base — using cash flow for a source of funds. And then if your personal success or failure is connected to how the company performs, you may be seduced into making personal guarantees, or to invest more of your personal money to keep the company going than you would like to.

While this may sound admirable, it is a recipe for a downward spiral, reduction in your personal wealth and an emotional roller coaster. You are not the business, so keep your personal finances separate from the business and respect it as an investment that MUST pay for itself.

PAY YOURSELF FIRST


This is a very controversial topic. Most founders operate from the opposite — pay yourself last. And this is exactly what happens, once all the expenses are covered there often isn’t anything left over. So you end up working for free and justifying it by saying that you are building a business.

Pay yourself first means to include yourself along with all the other salaries and to follow the advice of the “Richest Man in Babylon” — a part of all I earn is mine to keep. No matter how much money you are making, it is important to maintain regular investing habits. The amount isn’t important, but the habit is.

And when you make yourself important and commit to paying yourself no matter what, a mysterious thing happens — you end up creating enough cash flow to pay yourself.

If you are willing to work for free — you will end up working for free.

WHO IS ON YOUR TEAM?

The difference between the leader who struggles all the time, has no free time, is surrounded by drama solving crises after crises and the leader who appears to have lots of free time, makes more money each year and seems to have the golden touch… is the team that they are a part of.

You are only as good as your team!

And your team isn’t limited to your employees. Who is on your board of directors? Do you have a formal board of advisors? Do you have a personal mentor or coach? These are people who will tell you what you need to hear versus what you want to hear.

Unless you are willing to be surrounded by people who expect more of you than you do, you will have people telling you what you want to hear and confirming that you are right — when you may be wrong.

Your team can even include your suppliers and customers.

If you aren’t part of a winning team — then you are working too hard.

LABOR IS CAPITAL


Investing in the ongoing development and training of your team is one of the best investments you can make. If someone makes $50,000 a year and can generate $500,000 in value for you, why not take this person and increase their skill, ability, talent, attitude and education, so that they can add a million dollars in value?

A $50,000 investment that brings a $1 million return is a very, very valuable asset.

There is no better investment that companies can make than in the education and development of their own people.

How To Create New Sources Of Income

The purpose of this article is to go over a few key points that are important if you are serious about adding new sources of income.

This information is an EXTRACT from the content of the Optima Business Archives.

IF YOU ARE A BUSINESS OWNER, you need to add new sources of income personally — and also within your business. We have found that most businesses rely on one primary source of revenue, and if you look across your industry, you will find that most business within the same industry follow the same pattern.

HOT TIP: Look at the ways other business from different industries find new customers, and sources of revenue. Ask yourself this question: “How could I apply the same method to my business?” Don’t say to yourself (like most people do) “that will never work for me, my business is different.” You would be surprised at how this one thought, can get in the way of new money-making ideas!

If you keep an open mind, you will discover new ways of marketing, and new sources of income that you had previously never considered before. And here is the best part — most other businesses within your industry won’t be doing it that way! So you will gain an instant advantage.

Here are some additional sources of revenue for you to consider for your business:

  • Direct Mail
  • Special events for your customers
  • Advertising
  • Telemarketing
  • Direct Sales
  • Referrals
  • Host Beneficiary
  • Celebrity endorsements
  • Joint Ventures
  • Licensing techniques or technologies

If you are thinking, “oh, I have tried some of these and they haven’t worked,” the best question to ask yourself would be this one: “how could I get them to work? is there something that I don’t know, that I need to find out?”

HOT TIP: The key here is in the questions you ask. For example, if you look at a brand new building for your office and say to yourself “I can’t afford it” — then you are right. However, if you ask yourself this question: “how can I afford it?” you will find that your mind will begin to come up with lateral ways of doing it, ways that you couldn’t think of before.

HOT TIP: Study sales and marketing, because you have very little downside risk, and virtually unlimited upside potential. Here is an example: It cost you the same amount to run an ad that generates 10 sales, as it does to run an ad that generates 20 sales. If by changing the headline, you can double your sales — then you have doubled your return on investment. What if you could get that same ad to generate 100 sales? Your risk is the same, and yet your upside potential is virtually unlimited!

Once you get an ad that works (by testing one ad versus another, or one headline versus another) you can then repeat it over, and over. Why stop doing something if it is working?

If you have tried advertising before, and found that it didn’t payoff for you, perhaps you should consider testing different approaches? Getting an advertising specialist to help you?

How can you apply this same concept to the other sources of income that are listed above?

Train your mind to see opportunity everywhere, by asking the money-making questions…

FOR EMPLOYEES, don’t rush out and quit your job! You have to get some experience first. Experiment with adding first one additional source of income, then a second, then a third. When you finally have enough passive income to cover your current lifestyle — then you are in a position to quit.

What most people do is they get so excited about the freedom of their own business that before they have the basics handled — they cut off their primary source of income! This throws them straight into emergency, and makes them very desperate. I don’t know about you, but when I am desperate — I can’t think, and I end up making unwise decisions that are short term.

Build your sources of income, get some experience, then you can decide in your own time — if and when you want to resign from your job. THIS IS TRUE FREEDOM!

HOT TIP: One of the fastest ways to get experience is to find someone who has already mastered what you want to learn, and go study with them, go ask them to teach or mentor you. Most people would be flattered by your interest. Just be careful not to abuse their generosity. Be respectful and appreciative.

Time spent learning from masters — is possibly the best investment you can make.

HOT TIP: Always get clear on what the exchange is — before you begin. If you are asking people to support you to; come up with ideas, write a business plan, help you raise money, do research, mentor you etc. Always agree on what the exchange is — right up front.

HOT TIP: When you agree on an exchange, it doesn’t have to be money. It could be for goods, services, holidays, time, contacts, knowledge etc. Money is only one of many methods of exchange.

HOT TIP: If you exchange a product, or service (in return for what the other person is going to do for you) that costs you say $1,000, and the retail value of the product/service is $5,000 — you could exchange it for say the equivalent of $4,000. The other person gets a product/service valued at $5,000 for $4,000 of their time (or whatever they are giving you) and you are getting their support (or whatever they are giving you) valued at $4,000 for the equivalent cash value of $1,000. If you had paid them cash, it would have cost you $3,000 more!

This is why exchanging money, can often be more expensive than exchanging products or services.

The key here, is to think of alternatives and to train yourself to look for opportunities to make money, and to save money.

OTHER SOURCES OF INCOME FOR EMPLOYEES:
In addition to the sources of additional income listed for business owners, here are some additional ones for you to consider:

  • Art (like painting, writing poetry, pottery etc.)
  • Royalties from licensing your ideas to others
  • Buying and selling a product or service
  • Exchanging your time and skill for a profit share, share holding, revenue participation or a fee
  • Commissions on connecting people, or on making sales
  • Commissions or a share holding for helping people raise capital
  • Licensing patents, and selling the patent
  • Acquiring the rights to new technologies, and on-selling them
  • Acquiring the rights to new products and finding distributors
  • Publishing information, articles, reports or books
  • Manufacturing
  • Plus, many, many more…

HOT TIP: There are only two things to focus on, when considering which product, or which potential idea you want to pursue:

  1. How does this make others more money.
  2. How does this save others money.

The key idea here, is that people will spend money to make money, and they will spend money to save money. Most people never stop and think of what the end result your customer gets from buying from you. Once you can clearly identify what the benefit is, and can explain it simply in terms of saving money, or making money — you will get much faster results.

If you want to get a pay rise, think in terms of how you can make more money, or save more money for your employer. They will then be happy to pay you more money! There is no exchange in simply asking for more money…

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