19 How to Get Free Business Intelligence

Running any business without the use of Intelligence or Insight is foolhardy. It’s akin to driving a car in pitch darkness, with the headlights turned off ! Although you might start the car, move a few metres, will you reach your destination? I doubt it.

Business Intelligence is what informs the best of business decisions, serving as the headlights for your business by showing where to turn, slow down and avoid obstacles on the journey to achieving your business objectives.

There are many ways to collect business intelligence and fortunately, today the internet provides a vast array of  free methods and tools to gather business intelligence and empower your decisions.

In this episode, I provide practical methods, mostly free and web based, to source for a balanced view of your overall business insight.

In particular, I cover details on how you can collect business insight around the 4 key areas of your business:

Customer Insight – listening to the “Voice of the Customer”
Organisational Insight – a powerful SWOT analysis tool
Competitive Analysis – spark Innovation by analysing your competition
Market Trends – strategies to stay ahead of the game

Enjoy !

References made in the podcast:

Techcrunch

Euromonitor

Nielsen

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman

Viral Heat

Action Plan Download Link

Dont forget to send me your questions on any Business Improvement , Kaizen or Continuous Improvement topic or issue.

The first 3 people to send me a question will receive the complete PIMP YOUR BIZ Package, 100% free !

Send an email to brian@smallbizkaizen.com or use the Contact Us Page to pose your question and stand a chance to win this awesome book package prize .

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16 Twelve Business Improvement Ideas for Christmas

A brand new 2011 year presents a great opportunity to start something new for your business.

Why not tap into the many, mostly free, productivity and business improvement tools available and unleash the power of web 2.0 business tools for your business.

True to the Christmas spirit, this episode focuses on:

12 Tools to Improve your Business.

  1. Mindmeister – An online mind mapping brainstorming  software for Project Management, Brain Storming, great for innovative people and businesses collaboration in real time.  http://www.mindmeister.com/
  2.  IdeaScale – Idea collection platform where customers submit their ideas and vote for the best ones http://ideascale.com/
  3. Evernote – Capture images, text, audio and video as a means to help you remember everything. http://evernote.com
  4. Viral Heat – Track who is mentioning what in any of the Social Network Platforms. Viralheat covers every corner of the social web from Google Buzz, Facebook, Twitter, Real-time web, to YouTube.  http://www.viralheat.com/?r=8833
  5. Twitter
  6. Google
  7. YouTube
  8. Zune
  9. Yahoo Answers
  10. Mocking Bird  
  11. DropBox
  12. oDesk

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Top Free iPhone Apps to Revolutionise your Business, seriously.

Time is Cashflow

As an entrepreneur myself I understand the value of your time.  To help you make the most of your time and increase your productivity and efficiency you need to consider mobile smart phone technology as an essential part of your business arsenal. The decision to use a Smart phone for business is really a no brainer and at the pinnacle of smart phones, in my opinion is the iPhone. In this article we look at 5 iPhone Apps that will revolutionise the way you operate today and free up your time like never before, because at smallbizkaizen, we understand that time is cash.

Dragon Dictation  : Voice to Text transcriptions.

dragon dictation iphone app logoIf you’ve ever written an email on an iPhone you’ll admit, it’s not the easiest task this fantastic gadget can do. It can be a bit challenging but hey, you can’t exactly have it all on an iPhone right? – Wrong ! Dragon Dictation is a really cool App that overcomes this problem with ease. You open the app, press the record button, speak clearly into the microphone and when you stop recording, your dictation is magically transformed into text that you can then copy and paste to send as an email, sms, twitter or Facebook message, saving you loads of time.

Dragon Dictation is brought to you by Nuance Communications

iTalk Recorder – On the Go Recording

iTalk Recorder iPhone App logoRecording audio memos and voice reminders on the go is made extremely simple when you use the iTalk Recorder App from Griffin Technology. The ability to name each audio file gives this app the edge over most similar apps making file management & retrieval easy. Use this app to record meetings, presentations, interviews, random thoughts – in fact just about any sound media can be recorded for future playback in excellent quality. This app ideal for entrepreneurs on the go. Syncing the recorded audio files with your computer is made  possible via a free download available on http://www.italksync.com/download

iTalk Recorder is brought to you by Griffin Technology

Evernote : Remember Everything

evernote iphone app logoIt’s been described as an extension of your brain and true to their motto “Remember Everything”, Evernote allows you to do just that. This App allows you to take notes of virtually anything you want to remember for your business. With Evernote, you can create text, photo and video notes that you then auto synchronize to your Mac PC and Web – how cool is that? By tagging your notes, you create a fully searchable notes database so no excuses for forgetting stuff. The cool feature included with this app is the geo-location feature which allows for mapping and searching possibilities.

Evernote is brought to you by Evernote

WordPress : Mobile Blogging

wordpress mobile iphone app logoMany business owners today are also bloggers and use the WordPress platform to easily publish , edit post and comments. WordPress mobile works with both wordpress.com and wordpress.org self-hosted blogs. As a mobile blogging application users can add text and photos straight from the iPhone camera.  You can carry out pretty much the same tasks as you normally would on your PC or Mac including posting new articles, editing existing posts and comments.

WordPress is brought to you by WordPress

HootSuite Lite for Twitter : Mobile Tweeter

hootsuite lite iphone app logoThis App allows you to keep in touch with the twitter-sphere and join the conversation from anywhere . Desribed as simple, elegant and powerful, HootSuite allows you to send and schedule Twitter and Facebook updates, track click stats, and set up tracking columns to monitor keywords, #hashtags and lists. What more do you need when you are on the go?

Hootsuite is brought to you by Hootsuite Media

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How to Write Power Action Plans

young indian boy writingAction Plans are central to every Continuous Improvement effort as they provide clarity, visibility and a level of commitment and responsibility necessary to get things done. However, if not enough care and effort is put into compiling an Action Plan, this can seriously affect the quality of the output and dent any chances of your improvement idea ever taking off. Done correctly, the Action Plan can be an effective weapon of mass improvements.

It is entirely discretional when to use an Action Plan although typical uses include: management, project or team meetings, brain storming sessions, problem deep dive sessions, review sessions, idea generation sessions and so forth.

We have compiled a few Top Tips for crafting what we like to call a Power Action Plan. We also put together a blank template, and partially completed example to download and invite you to give the Power Action Plan a test drive.

  1. Use the header fields as per our template but feel free to modify to what works well with your business. Delete any column headings you don’t use. Only use and keep the fields that are essential for you.
  2. Where applicable, split your Action Plan into 2 sections, one for “Short Term” (to be done within the week in question) and another for “Long term” (more than a week required to complete the action). This will make it clear what needs to happen immediately.
  3. Always address your intended audience as if they were not present when the action was assigned. This will ensure the correct context of the action is provided and help avoid the “What was this all about?” type of question further down the road.
  4. Endeavour to send out the Action Plan as soon as possible, preferably on the day the Actions were assigned.
  5. Start with the most important Actions, by using the pain vs. gain prioritisation technique. Actions with bigger impact and requiring lesser effort being the highest ranked.
  6. Group related actions together and create different Action categories where you have a lot of actions.
  7. If you use a meeting room, consider using a whiteboard demarcated as per the template. At the end of the meeting, simply take a digital photo of the completed whiteboard and email it to all assigned action owners. No double handling, no typing, no waste – typical Continuous Improvement!
  8. Always start the actual action statement with a verb. A verb is called an “action word” for a reason! This makes it clear from the onset exactly what needs to be done.
  9. Assign a unique number for each Action. This will make it so much easier during discussions. If you refer to Action X12, everyone immediately knows which one you’re talking about as opposed to explaining the action or reading it out – saves you a bit of time.

For a blank  template click here to  Download  the file

To see a mocked up example your Download  is here

We’d love to hear your comments and feedback on an this or other equally effective Action Plan formats.

If you’d like to find out more about Power Templates such as This Action Plan, please check out my Continuous Improvement Toolkit that is guaranteed to bring you great Business Improvement Results.

For even more detailed approaches to Continuous Improvement, you can check out my eBook “Continuous Improvement Manifesto – The Ultimate Guide To Business Value Creation” 

Image: Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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