April 27, 2011

Business with Cans and a String

It Starts with an Idea

There is endless chatter about gizmos and gadgets, channels and websites, mobile and digital. Many are consumed with the self-publishing world and the ability to lead our own tribe and be linchpins. Seth Godin has always been ahead of his time in his ability to cut through the layers of clutter to see the essence of life, business and marketing. Technology may accelerate our ideas but it does not create them.

In 1439, Johannes Gutenberg introduced the printing press. He did not invent writers. In 2006, three guys named Biz, Evan and Jack introduced a new microblogging website based on text messaging called Twitter.
They did not invent text messaging.

Thinkin' About Thinkin' About It

Right now, you have an idea for something that has been rolling around in your head for a while. It may be money, time, confidence or the endorsement of others that may be constraining you but for some reason you have not acted on this idea.

Make a list of the roadblocks. Make it as long as you need. Then look at each of the issues separately and add the word “how”. So for instance, if one of yours is ‘time’ then turn it around to say: “How can I find more time to develop this?” Open your mind to possibilities and look at your vast network. There will be someone who can help you.

Budget Zero

In 2004, I had just overseen my first of two new radio station launches. I was working on the extensive multi-platform cross media marketing plan when my cell rang. It was my General Manager who informed me that head office was cutting our budget. I inquired by how much and he said – all of it. The budget went from several hundred thousand dollars to zero. Zero!

I didn't own the radio station and it wasn't my money so there wasn’t much I could do but take a breath and think about how we were going to accomplish this necessary task.

Now What

The next morning, I gathered my team and we hashed out ideas. Sure it was tough at first, there was some anger but I kept reminding them of three things – it is what it is, we’re a smart bunch and we will find a solution. Out of that meeting came five ideas that we rolled out over the next twelve months. Each of which required some help from our kind sponsors and buy-in from the entire staff. It made us stronger.

We were no longer resting on corporate money or fancy artwork. We were relying on each other. And a conversation I've had to recall quite a bit lately was with one of my announcers. He said: "We will make this happen if they take away our transmitter and we have to broadcast with two cans and a string".

We all have to clear those excuses. What's stopping you?

Kneale Mann

image credits: stcule | wikipedia
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