owen at owengreaves dot com

Open & Free Business Model

Welcome 2016!

You will see and hear a great deal about how to make 2016 your best year ever, how it’s gonna be so awesome, and you’re gonna be so great! Oh, dare I forget famous : )

I’ll assume you’re sensing my sarcasm. I do like new beginnings, I do find the beginning of a new year some what fascinating, I get a small charge internally. My welcoming 2016 has very little to do with me, having said that, I will accept anything positive and good that comes my way. But the truth is, some things will not be good, and some things will not go the way I wish or want them to. The same will most likely happen for you. So learn from the negative and teach your positives, and maybe even give it away.

We do tend to apply the new year thing to our personal desires, dreams, and sometimes goals. After all, we all want more, we all want many good things to happen, so we have this overwhelming amount of hope and the turn of each year, and we should! But not for personal reasons, I believe we have huge problems to solve, not just for me, but for all of us, we need to think terms of all, just you or me. If we focus on the great good, how all can benefit, the odds are many of the dreams and desires will come to us, because we took our eyes off us and put them on those around us.

Today we think of the future in terms of technology rather than in real-time, hands on things, helping those less fortunate than ourselves, sacrificial giving, putting others before yourself. I remember my parents telling me that when they were teaching me about sharing with others. When I speak of the future, or the future of business, the core value in my heart is about how we all benefit, we all gain a greater sense of worth from whatever is being built, designed, invented, and that we all have some sense of an ROI (Return On Investment). So let me begin….

This year, this new year called 2016 will be the year of Virtual Reality, many will be consumed by it. It will be a huge draw for sure, the amusing side of it will keep you coming back for more. The unknown, and the possibilities will be the bigger deal. Like most things, for every equal good, there is an equal bad. Much of that will reveal itself before the year’s end. There will some really interesting applications for VR, Real Estate comes to mind immediately, it will be the end of QR Codes.

I also plan to continue my studies on the future of business, what does it look like, what does it mean to you the business owner, and how can you truly apply and understand the Open & Free Business Model. I have said it many times, the Open & Free Business Model is not about working for free or giving away everything, it’s a much bigger way of thinking. The idea is about the future, your future clients and customers, and yes many have told me it will never work…..many are proving me right, and I have shared many stories here on this blog of how many are participating in the model without realizing that’s what they are doing.

There is so much to share, and so much to talk about, it will never ever be put to paper or a blog fast enough, or clear enough….you have to get involved, and learn how to change the way you think about business in 5 – 10 years, more importantly, in the next 3 – 5 years. You already know there is a shift taking place, and many of you are resisting it, fighting tooth and nail to keep doing what you’ve always done, and thinking the same way year in and year out. Enough of me lecturing, I encourage you to take baby steps, learn something new about the Open & Free Business Model everyday, I’ll help you wrap your brain around it. I’m planning webinars, workshops, public speaking events, and if all goes well a book you can sit down and work through.

So welcome 2016, but do it for everyone that is a customer of yours, a client, and friend, a neighbour, do it for others, not just for you. Use your influence and hope for others, that’s what it’s truly for, you’ll be just fine if you practice. Always ask yourself the question, How many people are better off because you lived? Imaging the great things you’ll invent, the great things you will do to make the world a better place. I challenge you to welcome 2016 with that mindset, with that heart.

Welcome 2016!

 

Break Through Old Patterns

Break Free, Break Through Old PatternsBreak Through Old Patterns – Yesterday I had the privilege of being interviewed by Baraa Safaa, Baraa attended one of my Open & Free Business Model Workshops, he was intent and very open to hearing my message. Today he is culling smart people and is designing a Podcast show for you, he is currently interviewing people who have a clear perspective on what’s really going on in the business world, more specifically, what’s happening in his back yard.

During our chat, we talked about the stumbling blocks, and what’s the first thing someone could do to break through old patterns, the way we’ve always done things. It’s simple to me of course, but I see the world differently, in fact, I had to learn how to see…all over again. Much of what you know, and much of what you see is not real, it’s perceived. So, what to do…to break through old patterns.

How To Break Old Patterns

The first step to breaking old patterns, is to admit you don’t know….it’s not a bad thing to say out loud, just say it…I Don’t Know! Suddenly, without notice, you will be able to see things differently when you admit, you really don’t know what the hell is going on. At that point, you can step back and look at your business with a different set of eyes, still your eyes, but you can see differently.

Recently I was called by an old colleague, they wanted my advice on what their 20-year-old son should do, he wants to be in the technology sector, what should he take at college, but wants to do something different from what you normally find in your communities. I’ve shared this with you before, but….I merely told him this, hop in your car, drive down the main street of your town, then drive back to where you started, go to a coffee shop with a pen & paper, and ask your self this one question: What’s Missing? What product or service is missing, then find out if there is a market for you’re idea, taken from this exercise. Talk to people, eyeball to eyeball, find out if there is a need, if yes, you may have something, if no….keep writing down what’s missing. Once you’ve narrowed it down, it becomes clearer on what educational development track you should consider.

There’s only one way to break old patterns, stop using them, open your mind to new ways of doing things, more importantly, be willing to do what customers are looking for, sometimes for free! No matter how much you give away, especially online, there will always be an opportunity to make money from practicing the art of free, giving something of value away at no charge. You want to break away from old patterns, try waking up everyday, and ask yourself what you can give away for free today, your mind will change, and you will see people differently. I’m not saying don’t get paid, I’m saying, figure out what you can give prospective customers free of charge to aid in building trust. Trust is the real issue isn’t it. Kevin Kelly once said, you only need 1,000 true fans to buy your product or service, at $100 per fan, that’s a $100,000 per year, but it’s not that easy, you will work hard for those fans.

Stop using your analog brain, and start using your visionary brain – there is a huge difference. Visionary doesn’t put limits on things, it keeps an open & free mind, for the purposes of solving problems, to make sure it’s a viable business that will be profitable. That’s where to start, to break free, to break through old patterns.

 

What Happened To Target’s Canadian Brand?

Target_logo.svg

Let’s first ask the question, ” What Is A Brand?”.

 

It’s not a Logo , it’s not a Name….a brand is a series of expectations that people have of your product or service, based on the promises you’ve made.

Using that as the definition of a brand, answering the question of what happened to Target’s Brand in Canada, it was broken from the moment they opened their doors. They didn’t keep their promises, lower prices, more selection, and so on.

They broke their promises, and now they are closing 133 stores in Canada….why? Because you didn’t trust them when they said they would make good on their promises. You had a bad experience with Target Canada.

So what’s your businesses Brand? Have you gone the traditional Industrial Age way of thinking, where your brand is a logo or a name, and don’t really care, or have you decided to give your market positive experiences, based on the promises you kept, reflecting how much you do care. The later is the new connected business model, it’s open & it’s free….The Open & Free Business Model.

 

Social Media Is Not A Business Model!

Dare I be so bold to say it, Social Media is not a business model.

I struggle with the resistance of business owners still today, hanging onto old ways of doing things, trying be in control, running around in circles trying to keep up, business has changed / is changing to where you must deliver your product or service to your customers, if you don’t, they’ll click and be gone. It wasn’t long ago when you had to go to the store, we used film for pictures, we no longer need a land-line, and kept current reading newspapers, now we just have to make a few clicks on a mobile device!

Customers are taking away the business owners power, they are choosing how and when, and how much they’ll pay. This has very little to do with Social Media, it does have everything to do with how business really is, and eventually you will either embrace it, or continue to resist it…either way, you’ll have to change how think about your customers, and how you run your business. Sure there will always be certain types of business that need manual labour, but many of those jobs, as much as you don’t want to believe it, will be lost to automation, this technological change will be devastating to the families relying on those jobs.

This has very little to do with Social Media, it does however, have everything to do with The Open & Free Business Model!

Social Media is NOT a business model, you don’t plug your business into Social Media, you plug Social Media INTO your business.

Open & Free Business Model – Identifying Revenue Streams

One of my favorite sessions in my workshops is helping entrepreneurs and business owners identify revenue streams, online and off. There’s a lot of work that goes into this before you can actually execute, there are some things you should think about before nailing down your top three profit center’s. This is a very high level approach, but you’ll get the idea.

– Pick the highest margin, low-investment streams (low hanging fruit)

This one speaks for itself, you should almost always spend your time here, your highest margin product’s and services, you’ll be happy because the cash-flow will be there.

– Advertise your chosen stream to your captive audience.

Knowing where your customers are, which social network do they most frequent, and why do they use that chosen social network more than others.

– Collect money, deliver goods, and keep customers happy.

Taken right off this blog tag line, Create. Differentiate. Deliver. Get paid for what you’ve made or done, make sure you deliver on time or earlier, and do everything you can to look after those who buy from you. And if they’re true fans, do something extra special.

Some ideas on revenue streams:

1.) Donation Drives

2.) Advertising products & services for other people

3.) Selling products & services based on your unique content.

4.) Selling products & services almost completely unrelated to your unique content.

Write down your ideas under each heading, pick your top three ideas and flush them out further.

It’s also important to know your break even point on each product & service you decide to sell.