Starting with your ducks everywhere

I was at a tradeshow a week ago selling a product that didn’t exist.

Well, more accurately I was accepting pre-orders for a product that hasn’t been made yet.

In fact the packaging hasn’t been sorted either now I think about it.

Risky? Maybe, but this was a deliberate move I made to give me the kick up the proverbial I needed to get this particular product, Nimble, into production. Afterall what better motivation than heaps of waiting customers?

Sometimes waiting until you have all your ducks in a row will slow you down, and even stop you moving entirely. Instead it might be best to just start with your ducks everywhere and play catch-up along the way.

After-all, nobody ever won a marathon by waiting until condition were perfect before taking their first step, did they?

Reacting to your environment

I attended a day-long event at University College London recently.

On the way over from the nearby underground station I passed by a brilliant little independent coffee shop so popped in for a morning cup. Being the early hours still at this point everyone was grabbing a hot brew and heading on their way to work. Nothing special here right?

After leaving the event several hours later and going outside for the first time all afternoon, I was hit by a wave of heat so intense it was almost solid (35 degrees the media tells me) and staggered back towards the train station, following the same simple route as this morning and regretting my decision to wear jeans.

As I approached the coffee shop from the other side I noticed an instant difference. Although the shop looked exactly the same they had now put a simple hand-written chalk sign outside that read…

⌜                       ⌝

“ICED COFFEE”

⌞                       ⌟

 

Now I’m assuming they always sell iced coffee among other things but simply emphasising they had what everyone walking by wanted – a cold drink – they had adapted to their changing environment.

The result? The place was bustling inside with everyone, including me, ordering iced coffees or bottles of iced tea and sitting on the garden furniture outside (another addition since the morning).

Sometimes it’s just the little things but doing whatever you can to adapt your product offering and marketing to the changing environment can obviously pay off big. Sometimes the changes needed might be obvious, other times they might require a little thought. Either way these changes are definitely worth making.

Keep adapting and keep ahead.

Decisions, decisions, decisions

I had a meeting in London today (down there a lot recently) with a business “accelerator”.

” What’s an accelerator? ” you ask. That’s pretty much how I put it too actually when I asked them. Anyway an accelerator is a fast moving environment for startup businesses designed to get them up and running quickly, to “accelerate” them if you will, and normally comes with office space and financial support.

This particular accelerator caters for businesses selling to retail, like I plan to, so I was interested to hear what they had to offer. They’re based in a nice area of London with nice offices to boot so a great first impression all in all!

We had a chat for an hour or so about my business, their business and everything in between and I left with a lot to think about. Namely, is going into an accelerator the right move for me? If so when should I make this move? And if I did enter the accelerator how would that affect my personal life?

All big questions I know but ones which need asking. It’s a big decision after-all!

Going the extra mile (and a half)

I was making preparations to build a new prototype recently that was urgently needed for a photo-shoot the following day. It was getting late (around 7:30pm) when I realised that in order to work my new vacuum pump (required for proper vacuum casting of the prototype parts) I needed a special US to UK transformer! Sort of like this one…

maplin-230v-to-110v-300w-voltage-converter

 

 

I little boring-looking but does the job!

A quick search online showed me that a Maplin in town would probably have what I needed. The only problem? The store shut at 8pm, it was 1.6 miles away and I didn’t have the car with me!

So that was it. Deadline missed right? Wrong.

In my mind there was only one thing for it, I had to run there.

So I said goodbye to the other people in the office and was off, running through the streets of Loughborough, in the half-light, in ill-suited shoes. Believe me when I say I got a few funny looks along the way!

And… I made it!

With 20 minutes to closing I arrived at Maplin and thankfully they had exactly what I needed. Problem solved.

Everyone always says you have to go the extra mile with your business to make things happen, I guess before now I didn’t know that the saying could be so literal!

 

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Yes, Yes, Yes!

I have a mantra of, when at all possible, saying yes to business opportunities that present themselves to me:

Example 1

Conference Organiser – Do I want to exhibit at an enterprise conference in 2 weeks?

Me – Yes!

Someone I met at the conference – Do you want to speak at an event in London in a few month’s time?

Me – Yes!

And these two events led to me doing one of my first professional presentation and making a heap of great contacts for my business!

 

Real-life example 2

Do I want to follow this business on Twitter?

Me – Yes!

Business I Followed – Do you want to be on a Q&A panel at an event we’re hosting soon?

Me – Yes!

Contact I made through the event – I have a contact at The Economist who might be interested in interviewing you. Should I put you in touch?

Me – Yes!

Contact I made through the event – I’m organising a meeting at Number 10 Downing Street soon. Would you like to be a part of it?

Me – Yes!

This series of events led to my business featuring in The Economist and being lucky enough to visit Number 10 Downing Street and see it from the inside!

You truly never know where opportunities might lead, so why say no out of habit or fear? Say yes and see what happens, I dare you.