Small Business Dreams - Inventors Build Products that Innovate
I have had many inventors as clients that come to me for marketing assistance. They all have the same problem: the product isn’t selling. They all came up with a brilliant idea, patented it, found a manufacturer,and sunk their savings into production run of their invention. Now they are broke, sitting on a garage full of their great idea gathering dust. What is really funny is that most of the inventions seem like they would
sell. They seem like wow! This is a great product! But, no one purchases the product.
Small Business Innovations That You Build won't Always Sell
Sometimes the best inventions don’t sell in the marketplace. Sometimes the best product doesn’t sell. Consumers are fickle. They are taken by fads. They are predictable in one moment and erratic in the next. Even when the product is extensively tested in the marketplace there can be unpredictable results.
New Coke Field of Dreams - Business Innovation That Didn't Work
Just ask Coca-Cola. Remember “New Coke” formula that was introduced in April 1985. It tested well in focus groups. It was abandoned 3 moths later due to 400,000 complaint letters and phone calls that Coca-Cola received from disappointed customers. Coca-Cola has big enough pockets to recover from such a disaster; Start-ups don’t.
Bindrup’s Advice: Build a prototype, protect it, and get it in front of your market. Let sales drive the production.
PHOTO CREDIT: Alex Ford, Creative Commons License, Some Rights Reserved.
PayPal Steps Up: Mobile Payment Solution with PayPal Here
PayPal just announced their newest venture called PayPal Here. It is a competitor to Square. The only question many have is: why did it take them this long to release it?
Get the reader from PayPal.
New Features on the iPad
Today the new, third-generation iPad went on sale at Apple stores around the world. The iPad 3 brings many of the innovations that Apple has released with the iPhone 4s to the iPad line of devices. The first in a laundry list of new features that the new iPad has included is an enhanced Retina display that boasts 3.1 million pixels and a 2048 x 1536 resolution. The new iPad is powered by the A5X chip which despite the enhanced performance, Apple claims will still command a 10 hour battery life. The new iPad features a 5-megapixel, 1080p, full HD, iSight video camera. The camera will shoot 5mp stills and has built in face recognition software that auto balances exposure across up to 10 different faces. The aperture on the new iPad is an f/2.4 which lets in more light and produces better looking pictures. The HD video also has auto stabilization built-in. The SIRI voice software which was released on the iPhone 4s, enables voice dictation. The new iPad additionally has the latest 4G LTE wireless technology. International travelers will appreciate the ability to use of a local SIM card to get a connection while traveling. A new first is that you can use the new iPad as a personal hotspot. You can connect up to 5 devices as long as your carrier supports it. You can also use AirPlay on the new iPad to stream videos, photos, and music to your HDTV via Apple TV or to AirPlay enabled speakers over a Wi-Fi network. The device is the same size as the iPad 2 with the exception that it is slightly thicker in the middle, however the edges taper more and it is hardly noticeable. All features combined, the new iPad comes with several new features that could convince iPad2 users to upgrade.
Using the iPad in Your Small Business
The iPad is a great device for small business. Ease of use, intuitive interface and instant-on capability make the iPad a laptop replacement about 90% of the time. It browses the web with ease, and handles email very well. It is also an all-in-one entertainment device on which you can watch a movie, play a game, or read a book. One of the things I had a hard time using the iPad2 for was writing. To compose an email with the on-screen keyboard is tolerable; however, writing a 5 page article was not something I would have even attempted on the iPad2. The voice dictation capability that is now built into the new iPad might convince me to write or speak my newest article. This makes taking my heavy laptop even less necessary. The iPad gives you instant access to information. Agility gives small business a competitive advantage. If you can apply the technology of the new iPad in your small business, you will enhance your marketability.
Photo Credit: Leon Lee
_ Life Without Square: The Hassle of accepting Credit Cards
Dealing with the hassle of taking credit cards was something small business owners used to dread. A merchant account had to be set up with a bank or financial institution. The merchant was charged a monthly service fee. The fee was sometimes as high as $50 a month. In addition to the fee, business owners had to rent or purchase credit card processing equipment. This also included purchasing consumables such as paper and ribbons for the receipt printers. This often proved expensive for the small business owner. Thanks to a San Francisco based company called Square, the hassle of taking credit cards is now over.
How Square Works: Everyone Can Accept Credit Cards Via Mobile Devices
Square was created by Jack Dorsey, one of the founders of Twitter. Square's mission is to remove the barriers for small business owners to accept credit cards. Square is simple. It is elegant and easy to use. The most important feature of using Square is that your clients feel secure with the transaction. Square allows you to accept credit card payments on your Android, iPhone or iPad with the free square card reader device. Square will send you a free Square card reader to plug into the audio port of your mobile device. You can sign up and install the app in just a few minutes. You can then begin accepting credit cards! Your customers can review their purchase on your mobile device and even have a tip added to the bill. After their credit card is swiped, they sign a signature line on the screen with their finger. Customers instantly receive an electronic receipt via text or e-mail, which makes them feel secure about the transaction. Square charges one simple rate: 2.75% per swipe for MasterCard, Visa Discover and Amex. Unlike most credit card processors, square charges no monthly fees. The funds are deposited into your bank account the next business day.
Square Lets Small Business Owners Accept Credit Cards Via Mobile Devices
Even if you run the one person micro business, you have a need to accept credit cards from your customers. PayPal made it easy to accept payments online. Square now makes it easy to accept payments in person with a mobile device. Expect to see Square being used by your hair stylist, gardener, babysitter, or anyone you currently pay in cash. All you need is a mobile device and a bank account to accept payments. Square is making the process easy and fun as well. Small Business owners: get one of these now and get set up to take credit card payments. Your future sales may depend on it.
Visit http://www.squareup.com to order your Free Square Card Reader
Apple Innovation in Education: Textbooks on The iPad with iBooks Author & iTunes University
Innovation with the Apple iTunes Music Store
Apple re-invented how we listened to music 10 years ago by introducing the iPod. The genius of the iPod was not the device itself. There were multiple devices on the market that played mp3 files. The genius of the iPod was the iTunes Music Store. If you remember, the music world was turned on it's head with the invention of shareable music files. Napster appeared and the record labels were scared of losing control of their kingdom. Instead of embracing the future of digital music and creating a way to monetize the process for the artists as well as themselves, they ended up suing their end users. While the record companies were engulfed in a legal storm to protect their antiquated business model, Apple created a new one. Steve Jobs had it right. Why pay for an entire album of music when you want to hear just one song. Why not give listeners what they want and the artists get paid for it. What a novel concept! It was a game changer. The music business has never been the same. It has been 10 years and the publishing business has taken a lesson from the unwillingness to change attitude of the record labels. The publishers realized that they will either figure out a new business model or someone else will introduce one to them. Well, Amazon lit a match with the Kindle and it has now grown into a Fire. The business model began to change. We still see outdated remnants of the old way of thinking. Digital Rights Management restrictions still makes us feel like we are getting the shaft as consumers. The pricing model for ebooks is nearly as much as their hardback versions. The publishers have embraced the technology, but they are not catching on to bigger picture of what ebooks can do.
Apple Innovation Brings Textbooks to the iPad
Apple has figured it out. They have gone to the textbook companies who control a large volume of the book market and they have given them a new business model. This new model lets them ease out of the old way of publishing by lowering their costs drastically awhile maintaing control of the content. Apple has always been a partner with education. Now that partnership will increase. The concept is simple: downloadable textbooks on the iPad or iPod, delivered via the iBooks Store. What is remarkable is the pricing model. The most expensive textbook in the store right now is priced at $14.99.
iBooks Author and iTunes University Drive Innovation in Education for Apple
As an added value, the textbooks are able to deliver interactive experiences with audio, video, and 3D graphics that create an immersive environment for the reader. To further the impact of what Apple has done, they also released iBooks Author- a free application that allows users to create beautiful, multi-touch, interactive books for the iPad. In addition they have increased the offerings in iTunes University to include self paced study courses at MIT, Yale, Stanford, and Harvard. All of the courses are free! These new technologies will allow users to learn in a different way - I think a better way.
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