Posts Tagged ‘ideas’

Social media is becoming an overly used and highly abused term. It generically refers to the idea of being linked through various social networking websites. And even if their usefulness seems like a lot of hype to you (and a lot of it is), your presence on the internet could be vastly affected by your love or lack of use of social media.

Here is a listing of a few social networking websites and what being there could mean to you and your business:

LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com): A social networking site for professionals. On the low end, it’s a resume dumping ground that allows your colleges and coworkers to write endorsements for your work. On the high end, it’s a living Rolodex allowing access to various people with a variety of talents you would normally not have direct access to. This access comes from the ability to see information from people that are directly linked to the people you are directly linked to, to a certain number of levels.

MySpace (http://www.myspace.com): Not much love for what was once the king of social media sites, MySpace is being transform in a place for musicians to showcase their stuff. With customizable pages, MySpace was the early leader in the social media explosion. Over customization lead to a glut of slow loading and gaudy looking pages, and when the crisper, cleaner, less customizable Facebook became open to the general public, lead to a lot of abandon profiles. Because of the music library for mainstream and independent artist, and the migration of parents to Facebook, MySpace is still popular with the teen & young adult sets.

Facebook (http://www.facebook.com): It’s a time sink, it’s a way to connect with old friends from the past, and it’s big business we become more accustomed to the habit of sharing too much information with others. Facebook originally came to life as a networking site for college kids, with the bar to entry being a registered .edu email address. It was opened up to high schoolers, and then based on growing backlash from the MySpace community, unleashed on the world at large. It is a great platform for sharing web links, pictures, video, and general ‘this is what I am doing’ information, and with applications that make the massive site fit almost perfectly into mobile phones, Facebook does offer anecdotal evidence of the loss of popularity in the use of regular email.

Twitter (http://www.twitter.com): Twitter is a networking tool that many people don’t get at first. The original mission of the site was to offer the ability to tell your followers what you were doing–literally things like ‘i’m eating a sandwich’ or ’bout to hit the club to tonight’–in 140 characters or less, giving you the ability to stay informed via text message. Thanks to an open API and thousands of people seeing ways to make a few bucks off the service (well before Twitter itself figured it out), Twitter now offers a way to blast out information pseudo-instant message style to anyone who deems you worthy of taking up a spot as a follower. But you’re going to just have to jump in and try it. Twitter is a service that people deem useful and fun, or worthless and stupid. There are very few in-betweens.

Friendster (http://www.friendster.com): Just like there were good MP3 players before Apple release the iPod, there where popular social networking sites well before MySpace and Facebook. Friendster was one of the most popular sites back in the 90’s, long before anyone had a real use for or need of abuse of social media. This service is still around, and still offering the best service for those who have stuck around, but comes in as a distant afterthought, if any, when people think of where to be found online.

As the internet has become a tool for consumers to scope out their options before having to deal with shop owners, the importance of having a web presence has grown as well. With the explosion in the use of social media, the need to be noticed on these platforms is growing for business professionals and companies. Choosing the right platform is key, along with following some simple rules of engagement to ensure you don’t get pinched for abuse on any particular service. If your question is should I be in the social media game, the best way to answer that is to jump in and observe the community. The barrier to entry is low, and you’ll find out pretty quickly if you fit in.

Think of every idea or suggestion you receive for your business as a person handing you cash.

Every suggestion that you receive has some worth. Maybe your spouse suggested you wear a different tie or necklace for a meeting instead of the one you chose, and it was a better suggestion. That’s a quick $1.

The barista at the coffee shop suggested you take a different route to get to a meeting downtown because you said you were worried about the traffic. Take it as $5 in your pocket if it saves you time, $20 if your competition ends up shows late. Think of it as a loss of money if the new route actually makes you late.

And everyday that million dollar idea for your company is just waiting to be born from a spark of creativity from any one of your employees, co-workers or partners. In the meantime, you’ll settle for a $100 idea here, and a $50 idea there, especially if you are a small business.

So if ideas and suggestions amount to ‘free money’ being handed to you, would there ever be a case where you would turn it down? If the person giving you the idea had some strings attached that made the money not only ‘not free,’ but put you in a situation where you were uncomfortable or at a serious disadvantage, you’d would politely take the idea ‘in consideration’ and do your best to distance yourself from the person and their idea.

Now that you’ve gotten a good grasp of ideas as dollars, take a day to observe how much free cash you are tossing in the dumpster instead of using to make into actual capital. Also keep an eye on how much political capital you are floundering throughout the workplace in the process.

When that quiet guy from IT came to you with an idea early in a process for you to consider. When a new secretary pointed out an issue she has with her new job that was fixed at an old job with a simple and easy solution. When that intern asked, ‘Why would anybody want to buy that,’ and was honestly confused by what seemed like batches of outdated processes. These are example of investors in your company, people with money already in the game, who want nothing more than to see even more success from you, scrapping together real money to put into your product, not shrugging off some pocket change and hoping for the best.

If an investor came to you with $1,000 with no strings attached, other than to use the money for something benefiting the company, could you use it for something? Would you find a way to accept it?

It might not be that million dollar idea being offered up to you, but every suggestions is worth something. Remember that, and make sure you are getting your money’s worth from each and every idea that comes your way.

When you are bitten by a bug, there is a certain amount of time that you just have to live through before the itching and swelling of that bite goes away. Rubbing and scratching the bite will only prolong the experience, the discomfort that comes with it and the time needed to heal. But eventually, the swelling will subside, the rash will fade, and the itching stops.

The same general thing happens when you are bitten by an ‘idea bug.’ Once a new idea come to mind, you’ve got a limited amount of time before you lose the adrenaline rush to put the idea in motion, and possibly lose the idea itself to the million of other thoughts that get processed through your mind on a daily basis.

And just like there are steps to take to help alleviate the suffering from an actual bug bite (don’t touch it, apply some medicated cream, take a pill, etc.), there are steps you can take to prolong the jolt of inspiration of your ‘idea bug’ bite:

1: Write It Down IMMEDIEATELY! – Never let an idea just dissipate from your memory. Just because the ideas are flowing now, doesn’t mean you’ll never go through an idea dry spell and need to look back on a few filed away ideas for inspiration. Write the details of your idea as simply or as detailed as they came to you, and place it somewhere you can routinely review it, lest you waist the effort of preserving it in the first place. Create an idea bank for storing randomly created ideas in a file folder, shoe box, computer file–whatever will work best for you. You can even carry a portable notebook to jot down ideas as they come if you are prone to attract idea bugs.

2: Order Your Steps – Make a quick determination on just how complicated your idea is and just how much work will be involved in your attempt to actually make it happen. Come up with a quick, easy to follow outline of all the steps involved that you can think of, and determine how long you think it will take to get the project started and completed.

3: Gauge Your Timing – Determine if this is the actual right time or place to attempt to work out the kinks in your idea. Let’s use the example of your idea being a ski stunt you would like to attempt and master. If you are nowhere near water or snow, chances are you won’t be working on the stunt by mid-morning. And if you have to lose ten pounds and get in shape before you can even attempt your stunt, that’s just more prep time needed before the attempt. If now is not the right time or you’re not in the right place, schedule a time in the future when you can assure all the conditions are acceptable to make an attempt at your idea. If your idea is not that involved or complicated, and you believe you can work on it now with minimum interruptions, and you are ready for the challenge, then jump on in.

4: Start At Your Earliest Convenience – The average person has about 48 hours or so from the initial formation of a new idea before they lose interest in it completely. And if they don’t take the time to write it down, they could lose the entire idea minutes after they came up with it. It is important to put your plan in motion for you idea as soon as possible, or schedule a time in the near future to get started, with plenty of incentive to get back to it.