How the world’s leading innovators push their ideas to fruition again and again
Edison famously said that genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration. Ideas for new businesses, solutions to the world’s problems, and artistic breakthroughs are common, but great execution is rare.
According to Scott Belsky, the capacity to make ideas happen can be developed by anyone willing to develop their organizational habits and leadership capability. That’s why he founded Behance, a company that helps creative people and teams across industries develop these skills.
Belsky has spent six years studying the habits of creative people and teams that are especially productive-the ones who make their ideas happen time and time again. After interviewing hundreds of successful creatives, he has compiled their most powerful-and often counterintuitive-practices, such as:
•Generate ideas in moderation and kill ideas liberally
•Prioritize through nagging
•Encourage fighting within your team
While many of us obsess about discovering great new ideas, Belsky shows why it’s better to develop the capacity to make ideas happen-a capacity that endures over time.
That’s the philosophy that has allowed Richard Branson, in slightly more than twenty-five years, to spawn so many successful ventures. From the airline business (Virgin Atlantic Airways), to music (Virgin Records and V2), to cola (Virgin Cola), to retail (Virgin Megastores), and nearly a hundred others, ranging from financial services to bridal wear, Branson has a track record second to none.
Losing My Virginity is the unusual, frequently outrageous autobiography of one of the great business geniuses of our time. When Richard Branson started his first business, he and his friends decided that “since we’re complete virgins at business, let’s call it just that: Virgin.” Since then, Branson has written his own “rules” for success, creating a group of companies with a global presence, but no central headquarters, no management hierarchy, and minimal bureaucracy.
Many of Richard Branson’s companies—airlines, retailing, and cola are good examples—were started in the face of entrenched competition. The experts said, “Don’t do it.” But Branson found golden opportunities in markets in which customers have been ripped off or underserved, where confusion reigns, and the competition is complacent.
And in this stressed-out, overworked age, Richard Branson gives us a new model: a dynamic, hardworking, successful entrepreneur who lives life to the fullest. Family, friends, fun, and adventure are equally important as business in Branson’s life. Losing My Virginity is a portrait of a productive, sane, balanced life, filled with rich and colorful stories:
Crash-landing his hot-air balloon in the Algerian desert, yet remaining determined to have another go at being the first to circle the globe
Signing the Sex Pistols, Janet Jackson, the Rolling Stones, Boy George, and Phil Collins
Fighting back when British Airways took on Virgin Atlantic and successfully suing this pillar of the British business establishment
Swimming two miles to safety during a violent storm off the coast of Mexico
Selling Virgin Records to save Virgin Atlantic
Staging a rescue flight into Baghdad before the start of the Gulf War . . .
And much more. Losing My Virginity is the ultimate tale of personal and business survival from a man who combines the business prowess of Bill Gates and the promotional instincts of P. T. Barnum.
There are many things on the to-do list of the small business owner. Financing, location, marketing…but there’s one thing you need to add. A website.
A website with a dedicated domain name and dedicated information might seem like something at the bottom of the list. However, the Internet is becoming a more and more powerful research. It’s not just a place where people hang out and chat. It’s a place where people go for information. If you don’t have a place for your business online, it’s like you don’t have a place for your business in the real world.
Here are some reasons to build a company website for your small business:
1. It proves you are who you are.
People are looking for information online and they have questions. When you build a website, by including a picture of your store front, your address, or some essential information that shows you are the place they are looking for, you have verified your business. It helps guide people to the information they’re looking for.
2. A place for testimonials
With apps like Yelp and Foursquare, people can leave reviews about your business. You should be checking on these periodically. Pull some of the good ones out and stick them up on your site. Let potential customers see what great things others are saying about your business. It might also give people a way to decide what to order from you.
3. New customers
Once you put your website up, you are immediately part of the network. Not everyone is going to find your site, but you’ll be reaching a vast, new audience. By having text on your website, search engines can identify keywords that put you on the map. While it might not give you a huge influx of customers, it will definitely get some new eyes on you.
There are plenty of other reasons to have a website: contact information, frequently asked questions, hours and locations, a menu. All these things are information that people want to know.
Are you thinking of building a website? What do you want to include? What questions do you have? Let us know in the comments.
Entrepreneurs are always on the move. But, when you pack up to run errands, hit that conference, or move to the coffeeshop office, here are some things to make sure you have with you.
1. Business Cards
Everyone is looking to connect. Sometimes, you’ll meet people in unexpected places. Maybe you found someone interested in your idea standing in line at Starbucks. Maybe you found a graphic designer while waiting in line at the post office. People are everywhere and entrepreneurs are personable. If you’re willing to start up a conversation, you might find the next member of your team. With a business card handy, you can always have that connection available. Digital connections are fine, but they haven’t outpaced the business card yet.
2. Phone Charger
The great thing about smartphones is everything they can do. They are a most versatile tool. But, when they run out of juice, the only thing they’re good for is holding down a piece of paper. Keep a charger with you at all times to keep the juice flowing.
3. Something to read
Whether on your tablet, the paper, or your ereader, the entrepreneur never turns down the chance to stay up to date or learn something new. Take those opportunities wherever you can get them.
Nothing says “don’t bother me” like headphones. You don’t need to be rude, but sometimes, you need to buckle down and do some work. Being able to pull out a pair of headphones to close off what’s around you can be the thing you need to focus. Always have some ready.
5. A notebook and something to write with
Everyone tries to innovate the note taking process. Voice memos, note-taking apps, the cloud…those processes are great, but nothing beats the notebook. You can speak in your language, don’t have to listen through any ums-and-ahs, and don’t have the risk of forgetting to save your thoughts. Just don’t lose the notebook.
What are some things you never leave home without? Tell us in the comments below!