Jerk Chicken vs. Hats is a Carnival No Contest

The Notting Hill Carnival was the setting for our Business Lesson of the day. The West London spectacle, the biggest street carnival in Europe, lived up to its reputation of being a festive celebration of colours, music and of course food.  I was there on a glorious Bank Holiday Monday and in part, out on a fun mission to spot something worth sharing with the SmallBizKaizen community. I didn’t have to search far as you’ll see from this video.

This lesson holds true at the Carnival, then surely the same is true in your business. We urge all upcoming or newly established entrepreneurs to take heed of this simple lesson by getting into business for the right reasons, to solve a problem for your customers rather than create one for yourself !

brian venge and levi roots at the nottinghill carnival On another business note, I also met up with Levi Roots of the Dragons Den fame at his “Rasta’Rant”, a true dragon slayer who is still putting music into your food today. His business story is simply phenomenal. We hope to bring you an exclusive interview with Levi in the future, so watch this space.  To be absolutely sure you don’t miss out, simply subscribe to the RSS feed.

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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

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 and 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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Why Most Business Improvement Ideas Run out of Gas

Article first published as Why do Most Business Improvement Ideas Run Out of Gas? on Technorati.

10 ways to give your improvement ideas a realistic chance of success

man pushing broken down car way back in the daysEvery day organisations worldwide identify millions of improvement opportunities worth billions of dollars in value to the business. Priorities are easy to agree, project teams are a breeze to assign whilst meetings become the default vehicle to deliver the promised potential.

As the weeks, emails, action plans, to do lists and Gantt charts go by, the number of opportunities that come to a natural dead end increases exponentially. Only a handful of the ideas are fit and resilient enough to make it anywhere near full potential. Ever wondered why those great ideas, including no-brainers never made it anywhere? Of the ones that make it through, how many remain sustainable?

We look at 10 things you can start doing differently to give your brilliant ideas any chance of making it past the brainstorm.

1. Have visible ownership and commitment from top management at all times to back the efforts. Without this sponsorship or vote of confidence, you’re push – starting a car uphill.

2. Define what success looks like in a manner that everyone involved in the project understands. Clearly articulate the potential value to be added in the eyes of the beneficiary (almost always the customer).

3. Agree and use measurable milestones at every stage of the project and most importantly at the “success” stage.

4. Agree mitigation triggers and escalation routes in the event that critical milestones have not been attained.

5. Assign only SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timeous) Actions to each action owner and have the discipline to follow through every single action.

6. Think and act like an entrepreneur, not a project manager by approaching each of these opportunities as though it was a business on its own. If this opportunity was the only thing your business did, you’d find ways to make it succeed and remove all blockers and minimise the risks.

7. Assign clear roles and leadership to allow quick and effective decision making.

8. Use any setbacks as an incentive and motivation to succeed by quickly accepting and learning how you could do things better.

9. Document, showcase and archive all successful projects for future reference and build a best practice library of successes.
10. Track and trend the previously agreed success measures for as long as necessary until the ideas become business as usual.

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