November 2010 - PS Insights


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Besides lying about your results, which the SEC, your investors and your mother tend to frown upon, there are only four possible answers:

1.      “Terrible.” If your business isn’t what it could be or isn’t what it used to be, what are you doing about it?

2.      “Could be better…” That’s likely the answer everyone could give. And whose fault is that? If your business could be better, the only person who can make it better is you.

3.     “Same old, same old.” Uh-oh. Sounds like what the dinosaurs used to say to each other just before the meteor struck. “Same old, same old” leads to rear-view mirror vision.

4.     “Great! Couldn’t be better!” Really? Couldn’t be better? Well then, be afraid…be very afraid. One of the truths is: the more successful you are, the more tempting a target you become.

OK, so we lied. There’s a fifth answer to the question “How’s business?” And every business should strive for this one, “Great. Could be better.” No matter what shape your business is in, you should be actively engaged in an effort to improve it. Check out Breakthrough! available online and at bookstores everywhere.


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As the Texas political commentator Jim Hightower once observed, “there’s nothing in the middle of the road but a yellow line and dead armadillos.” If you play it safe, if you don’t grow, you’ll just disappear—merged into a larger company or marginalized into irrelevance. Companies need new ideas the way people need food. It’s the energy that grows and sustains them. So if you’ve been following our blog on Breakthrough! ideas, it’s time to stop nodding your head in agreement—it’s time to make something happen. So get going! The book is available online and at book retailers everywhere.


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What’s the difference between a failed idea and a failed marketing strategy? Some ideas are just plain bad. Others are good, but they take some effort to find the winning message. That was the case with Pampers. Procter & Gamble knew moms wanted the ease, convenience, cost-savings and less-mess approach of disposable diapers, but P&G couldn’t find the winning message in launching the product. None of those points—points moms themselves raised in focus groups and consumer studies—resonated with the audience when P&G took Pampers to market. It wasn’t until they hit on the strategy “keeps your baby drier” that sales took off. Because the real value to new moms in disposable diapers is what the diapers mean to their babies. And, yes, consumers lie in research all the time. So when you’re looking for the Big Idea, make sure you see the difference between the idea and how you’re marketing it. Check out Breakthrough! – available online at your favorite book e-tailer.


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A Big Idea is anything that can build new audiences, new customers and new sales by mining undiscovered territory. It can be a brand new product or service, a line extension, a related product—in fact, it can be just about anything. The only thing every breakthrough idea has in common is that after it’s come to the marketplace, everyone else turns into Homer Simpson and says, “D’oh!” What they mean is “Dough!” As in, “that’s gonna make those people a ton of money. How come we didn’t think of that?” Because to come up with a breakthrough idea, product or service you’ve got to break out of the box of your existing marketplace thinking. Read Breakthrough! – our new book available now at bookstores and your favorite e-tailer.


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When you read the names of the seven steps to winning ideas, you’ll say to yourself, “That’s all I have to do?” And when you read the detailed description of each step you’ll groan to yourself, “I have to do all that?” It ain’t easy, but it’s doable. There are no shortcuts. You’re going to have to get your organization in alignment and you’re going to have to overcome a lot of inertia and resistance. Some of the inertia will be yours, the rest of the resistance will be systemic: a lot of people around you will resist your efforts to follow your lead and follow these steps. But if you succeed, the rewards can be huge. Especially in the area of personal satisfaction…not to mention the staggering financial return. That’s why we titled the book Breakthrough! – because it is a breakthrough to a new level of thinking and doing business. Available now online and at bookstores everywhere.


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Over the years, we’ve come to understand the kind of vision and commitment it takes to get good ideas right and great ideas to market. Along the way we’ve seen and participated in the combination of delicious ingredients that lead to tasty success. Our new book Breakthrough! is the distillation of all those winning steps. They’re steps you can put into place no matter what your situation.

7 Steps Quick Start (Wallet Guide)

1.     Put an End to Business As Usual

2.     Get Business Buy-In

3.     Organize The Team And Process

4.     Land on the Big Idea

5.     Build Momentum For the Idea

6.     Develop the Plan

7.     The Launch

Want to know more? Breakthrough! is now available at AMACOM Books, online or at a bookstore near you.


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Big ideas aren’t just the brainstorm of inspiration, but the result of a methodical, step-by-step process of development, refinement, targeting, marketing and marketplace execution. Miss any of the steps or get any of the steps wrong and you’re doomed to failure. Get ‘em all right and there’s still a chance the market won’t be ready for you. Bottom line: it’s a crapshoot. But you can improve the odds tremendously in your favor by putting together a structured process. In other words, it might be a crapshoot but with some smart planning, you can be the house. It’s all in Breakthrough! A 7-Step System for Developing Unexpected and Profitable Ideas—available now online and at bookstores everywhere.