What is missing in a cosmopolitan city?
A cosmopolitan city is filled with people from many different countries, and usually has many international government organizations present. Many of these international government organizations roles are to also promote their home countries culture and businesses that operate in the host country.
Living in New York City I have attended many events hosted or supported by an international government organization, e.g., cultural department of the Consulate, trade commission or tourist office. However I find that there is not one single source to find out what cultural events are currently happening. Shouldn’t the city be more interested in supporting these types of events, also to support local integration and cultural understanding, or is there room for a business to do so?
So, what is missing in a cosmopolitan city? A cosmopolitan event calendar, were all international government organizations can list their events and the events that they support or endorse. This centralized event calendar would list official street parades, festivals or fairs, concerts by visiting artist, exclusive dinners where tickets are sold, and where business networking events take place too.
This cosmopolitan event calendar would help promote the different countries, their cultures, foods, products, services and even businesses.
What if?! Bookmarks services have not innovated.
Over the years I have accumulated over 1,000 bookmarks. Every time I have a new project I take a lot of time to do my research and while doing so I keep adding more bookmarks.
I personally find all of the existing bookmark services useless.
If I bookmarked something and did not tag it [correctly] then the only way of finding what I am looking for is by going through each and every link. Trying to Google it could bring up lots of irrelevant pages too. What a waste of time!
What if?! If you could do a content search through all your bookmarks, either by page or site, do you think you could find the content you are looking for faster? Absolutely! And further imagine if you could collaborate and share too. Example, you did research on solar power panels and you only remember it was about a German company. You have 50 bookmarks for this subject. Do a simple search with “solar power panels Germany” and your search results will be way smaller and focused than if you tried the general search of Google, which would result in over 50 million search results.
Now if this were also a social community where you are connected to other like minded individuals you could also expand your search to their shared bookmarks. After all someone trusted hand selected these bookmarked websites. If you are still not satisfied then you could search the entire network, i.e., everyone’s shared bookmarks. And, if you still have not found what you are looking for then you could go back to Google’s wide general search.
Here is a perfect example how else this custom search could be used. Alltop hand picked hundreds of the best content sites and categories them, if one could only do a vertical search I would be supper thrilled.
What if?! Groupon & Co. are very limiting.
One of the reasons why businesses like Google Adwords is that they are in control. Groupon and all others like them do not offer this capability.
I have been asking myself this question for over four years now.
What if?! If there were a web service where for example a restaurant could login and place its deal(s), the day(s) and hours the deal(s) is(are) visible and/or available, and where a user could do a quick search based upon his/her location to find what restaurants deals are available at that moment, would businesses and users still go to Groupon?
What if?! Purified NYC Tap Water for $0.50
Everyone needs to drink water and therefore buys it in plastic bottles. Some feel guilty because they know it is not the most environmentally friendly thing to do. Some have a refillable container but still buy the plastic bottle when on the go, especially when their container is empty.
So, I asked myself, “Why carry a refillable container when there are no refill stations available.”
Tap water from a Starbucks restroom is not going to do as a refill station. Or, walking into Nobu asking for a refill will probably not work either. So, what to do?
What if?! If every Deli would have a small vending station the size of an ATM machine where you could refill your 0.75L bottle with purified (NYC) tap water for just $0.50, would you do it then? I sure would.
5 Bad Habits that Scare Off Great Contractors
Econsultancy.com's article on the challenges for small and mid-sized businesses, which don't have the brand recognition and bank accounts of large corporations, to recruit great contractors has five great points.
However, I would like to add a sixth, that of appreciation. A contractor, like anyone, likes to feel that his/her work and effort is appreciated and not taking for granted. The difference between an employee and a contractor is that the employee feels more part of the company were as the contractor usually not. If given a choice a contractor will always prefer to work where appreciation is greatest.
1) Negotiating the fee
2) Contracts, NDA, etc.
4) Trust and respect
5) Delivering and follow through
6) Appreciation (my point)
NYC event locations fail when it comes to getting business.
For the past 1.5 years I have being organizing monthly special events and social gatherings for an invite-only international social network dedicated towards expats and individuals who work and think globally, InterNations.org. Generally about 300 to 500 members attend the events. The largest attendance was when we celebrated together with the Consul General of Iceland their 65th Independence Day, where we had about 800 guests.
Every month I run into the same issue of event locations not returning emails, voice mails or calls. Even places where I have done business in the past and they have asked me to return, e.g., one location even put 7 people on CC when replying to my request. After 11 days and 22 email exchanges still no event date was provided, so I moved on again. This was the fourth such attempt with them. I have already done four events with them and every time it took a lot of unnecessary time to set up.
Since I began with organizing these events I have contacted well over 300 locations. I found that it doesn’t matter if they are a five stare hotel or a regular bar they all don’t return emails, voice mails or calls.
However there is one exception and that is 230 FIFTH. They are by far the easiest to work with. Whatever we agree on happens and there are never any unpleasant surprises. It takes me no more than 20 min. to set up and event deal with them. All I have to do then is show-up and everything is taking care of. For me that is a very well run event location. Next on my list is Hudson Terrace. My contact is always very responsive and always willing to help me out with any questions I have.
In today’s business climate where every Dollar counts and many locations are hurting I really do not understand how locations can afford not to respond to a business request. Some locations are even so “arrogant” that they ask for unreasonable bar minimum guarantees of up to $40,000, for a Tuesday or Wednesday night.
It is very obvious that none of the locations understand the concept of Life Time Value (LTV) of a customer. Almost all past locations have received event business from our members, or have frequently been visited by them after our event.
Social business idea waiting to happen
Back in 1995 when I lived in the Dominican Republic I had this social business idea of bring conservation awareness/support and fashion together. Until today I still have not forgotten about this idea. Living then in Cabarete, which is a great water sports town, the oceans and its creatures were of interests. We picked sharks as we felt, already then, that they needed protection. We named our wannabe company “Natural Born Killers”. The naming philosophy was based on that most of top predators were endangered or were soon going to be on the list. And, from the creatures perspective we humans were the ultimate predator, so the person wearing the item was, in a way, a natural born killer.
As sharks and surfers have a special relationship we would develop surfer and beach wear. A percentage of each sale would go towards the conservation of sharks. We would work in partnership with very particular and selected organizations, mostly local ones. We even had a very special plan in place for restricted and limited shark teeth and bone jewelry, which would need to be certified and be a local run business. The animals were not to be hunted and/or killed for jewelry.
We did produce some T-shirts and shark teeth jewelry, and they did sell very, very well. Then we all started to move on and that is how it ended.
The idea was not only limited to sharks and surf wear. We also had other animals and fashion lines in mind, e.g. [grizzly] bears for trekking wear, [rattle] snakes/pumas for hiking wear, lions for safari look, polar bear/orcas for winter sports wear, tiger for jungle wear, etc. There were much more ideas then just a fashion company, there would also be local community activities in each Natural Born Killers Hub.
I still do really like this idea, of people supporting endangered animals by doing what they love doing in the creatures habitat. On the end, people do vote with their wallets and if they would buy NBK they are making a statement and giving back.
If anyone is interested in the idea please contact me. I'll be 100% on board!!!....
Seth Godin speaks at TED about "tribes"
Marketing guru Seth Godin presents at the TED conference how ideas can spread based on social groups (tribes). Effectively he uses images connecting them to key words that make for a memorable presentation. Godin's ability of making complex subject simple to understand is why it is worth the 18 minute presentation. There will also be plenty of food for thought.
PS: Seth Godin has another presentation on TED, about "Standing Out".
TOMS - A true inspiration & an idea from my past
"Anybody starting a small company, everyone who has an idea, incorporate giving in what you do." A quote from TOMS clip below.
This quote speaks volumes to me. Back when I spent a few months in the Dominican Republic I together with a few others had a similar idea but it concerned wildlife. Our name was "Natural Born Killers", also called "NBK". We developed the idea and started executing it but then our time in the DR was up and we all left to other corners of the world. I never forgot the idea, and I still have my T-shirt, necklace and a sketch of our logo. Hearing TOMS story made me wish I had pursued it - the world would be a better place today.
If anyone is interested in the idea please contact me. I'll be 100% on board!!!....
Conscious Capitalism - Where companies / corporations are responsible not just to shareholders but also to employees, consumers, suppliers, communities and to the planets environment.
Redefining ROI: The connections you're missing
Great interview between Kevin Lee (Chairman & CEO of Didit) and Gian Fulgoni (Founder & Chairman of comScore). They discuss the dangers of attributing too much credit for a conversion to the final click made by a consumer.
In other words, conversions are hightest if your target audience already knows who you are, what you offer and trust / likes you more than another brand / product. Therefore direct conversions methods such as Direct Marketing or Google Ad Words, etc are "great closers" and are best when branding/PR did a good job prior.
10 Fatal Mistakes Most Small Business Owners Make
American Express's Open Forum list of the "10 Fatal Mistakes Most Small Business Owners Make" is spot on. This especially applies to small businesses. I see this over and over, basic things such as, "Who is the target audience?" are too lossly defined, or "Tracking and measuring activities." are seen as a wast of time, or "What is the [life time] value of a customer?" is answered with a blank stare or as the next [one-time] sale.
So much opportunity, energy and resources are wasted if these basics are not taken to heart.
Half of Marketers Don’t Fully Understand Brand Value
"The majority of senior marketers (55%) lack a quantitative understanding of their organizations' brand value and may be missing out on opportunities to leverage their brand to drive business growth, according to a survey from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and Interbrand."
And for small to mid-size firms this percentage is much much greater, as this study was preformed with large organizations. This is a huge disadvantage and loss if not addressed at the top level.
"Top-performing companies make absolutely certain that brand is a central organizing principle, but, for many in the marketing industry, creating and managing brand value still follows an archaic model - it is limited strictly to the marketing department," said Jez Frampton, global CEO of Interbrand.
Therefore is it essential for small to mid-size firms to address this issue head on.
Bad vs. Good Consultants
Found this comparison Bad v. Good Consultants on Robert Rosenthal's blog.
My favorites are:
- Bad consultants focus on short-term agendas. Good consultants effect long-term change.
- Bad consultants treat external partners as competitors. Good consultants treat them as collaborators.
- Bad consultants care about looking good. Good consultants care about being good.
- Bad consultants tell you what you want to hear. Good consultants tell you what you need to hear.
And I would like to add:
- Bad consultants prefer not to debate with you. Good consultants seek [constructive] debates with you.
- Bad consultants want to grow their business with you. Good consultants want to grow your business.
Two-thirds of all Small Businesses go it alone when it comes to marketing.
According to a survey of US small businesses from the Yellow Pages Association (YPA) the vast majority (62%) prefer to only use internal resources in their marketing efforts.
This only confirms that small business can only gain when teaming up with marketing professionals.