It has always been my dream to own a secondhand bookshop. When most kids were looking forward to driving fire engines, dancing in the ballet or catching criminals, I was planning the layout for my book racks. I love to read and I loved the notion of a quiet environments. This allows others to assess the literary accomplishments that humankind has made. At the age of 31 my book store dream became a reality. When the economic changed dramatically during my fourth year of business, however, I almost resented my chosen occupation as a result of the financial hardship that had fallen upon my shoulders. I never would’ve thought that innovation speakers would be what helped me out of this tough time.
After I first read Robert Kiyosaki’s book Rich Dad Poor Dad I thought to myself, ‘Yikes! I need to make some changes. ‘ This book changed my mindset completely, as it has many others. But it was only the beginning for me. It’s easy to read that book and feel motivated to make changes. Since I finished that book I’ve started 4 businesses. 2 of them in real estate property, and 2 more online businesses. The thing I love about all of them is because they have minimal startup costs. The online businesses especially. Starting businesses for under $1000 is great, because even though they fail its not a vast deal. I’ve spent thousands of hours learning to grow these businesses on my own and through various training programs. The really important thing I learned was that marketing and innovation are where it is at. They are without a doubt the arrow keys to success in your business. Nothing else matters if you cannot market or innovate. Nothing.
Perhaps you have seen this great quote from Peter Drucker. ‘ Because the purpose of business is to develop a customer, the business enterprise has two– and only two– basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique role of the business. ‘
You of course need marketing to show people that your good or service is available. Without good marketing no one cares enough to ever purchase your product or service. Once you are a good marketer you can apply this to any business. When I launched my first business, I thought I knew a bit about marketing. By that I mean, I knew how to say to potential customers,’ Here is my product and this is the price. ‘ And I knew how to prove that to a few people offline. What I was unaware of was how to make people want to view it and wish to buy it. Moreover, I was clueless on how to perform this online, besides making some easy Kijiji and Craigslist ads. Then I did something incredible. I started to educate myself in online marketing. I have a very different approach to my businesses now. Your business, whether it be an offline or online business, needs internet exposure in the year 2013. You need to beat out your competition too, its not adequate to simply be there. This requires education. I cannot say enough about having compelling headlines and good copywriting, not to speak a simple, well designed website. You will not understand these things without some first hand experience so it is not always easy. Entrepreneurship is not meant to be simple, of course.
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Innovation is a key to being able to actually sell your products. Innovation deals with creating products or services that are new, better and different, but more importantly solving problems for your prospects. An ‘innovation’ is useless if it does not help your prospects in any way. I thought I knew this before. However, I wasn’t implementing this fully in my businesses. The number one rule here is to stop thinking about ways to help your business grow, and instead think about how you can help your customers grow or solve their problems. Your business will grow even more as a consequence of this. Serve your customers needs and demonstrate that you care about them. Always be serving their needs instead of yours. Your marketing will be so much more simplified when you do this.
More About Innovation
I have always kept a community board in my store where artists and other professionals can list their services. There are several innovation speakers who post their contact information there and I think some random advertisement must have caught my eye and stuck in my mind. Dwindling profits and an increasing overhead had definitely created a great need for both innovation and inspiration. I started researching innovation speakers online to see if I could find one that delivered a message saying that would fit my needs, as a small business owner.
I was surprised to see that innovation speakers and leadership speakers can be beneficial for everyone. There is such a wide range of innovation speakers and leadership speakers to choose from, that nearly every professional can find someone who’ll address their specific need. The information pertaining to individual leadership speakers and innovation speakers was so extensive, I recall feeling as though I was learning a lot just by screening them.
When my business slowed down I found that I had a great deal of time on my hands. I used a good part of this to hear the words of leadership speakers at local conferences and events. These individuals helped me to change my perception of myself as a business owner. This was when I began to realize that although I was a bookseller, I didn’t need to conform my business methods to the ways of other booksellers. Leadership speakers main messages taught me how to be an innovator in my industry. I was able to start the search for new ways to cover the needs of my customers even though their capacity to spend money on what I offered had been dramatically reduced.
I was so struck by the information that I received from the innovation speakers, that I began searching for innovation speakers to take the floor at my book store. I invited a set of tenants who leased under the same commercial building as my store. I was able to book a leading innovation speaker at a very affordable cost and several of the other small business owners who attended were near tears when the session ended.
The information that leadership speakers supplied, gave them such hope through their difficult time. This also brought my people into my book store. This was good for my business. These speakers enabled me to utterly change the way I do business. Now I am even more successful than I was before I suffered through the economic downturn. I offer free coffee for paying customers and store visitors. These I can afford to do. I have created more comfortable and relaxing reading areas and have even started specialty sections for out-of-print titles, antique books and foreign languages.