Can you think out of the box?


Here is an interesting topic. No matter where you are, in school or at work, you will hear talk about “thinking out of the box”?

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it – how did we get in the box in the first place?

Unfortunately, the reality of you being in the box, does not change the fact that your bosses probably prefer you to think “out” of the box.

One common misconception is that to think out of the box is to break all the rules. On the surface, this makes sense. You read about the rule-changing innovations like Fedex’s hub-and-spoke concept, and about the Macintosh innovations, and many other examples of how, by ignoring conventions, companies and individuals have managed to achieve amazing results.

Yet, all these innovations, once created, form their own rules, essentially creating a “new box”. So, the real question is not about thinking out of the box, rather, it is about designing a new box. When you are able to transcend the boundaries of your current situation, you will be able to develop an innovative solution.

Often, designers are faced with this challenge. They need to conform to many rules. These rules are important. They are real. Things like Corporate Style Guides, Logo Usage Guides and in the areas of product design, you have safety guidelines, usability guidelines and many more. The boxes seem many and varied. It is not easy to rise above all these.
There are no rules for thinking out of the box. Sometimes, vast experience and knowledge provides the foundation from which the innovative ideas spring. Sometimes, totally naiveté spurs the brave (and foolish) to persist on their path to glory.

Can you think out of the box? Most certainly, anyone can. Yet, being able to tie those wayward ideas back to reality in a way that will render them useful, relevant, practical and innovative; that is really a skill that will most likely come with experience.

So, if you want to think out of the box, stop thinking about it and just, well, think.

Inspired by this article at Thinking out of the box

Green Web Hosting Please!

As the internet continues to grow both in size and importance, we need to become more aware of the impact that it will have on the overall environment. Here is where we just want to sound out our call for everyone to consider green web hosting providers.

And of course, you can guess how glad we are to see that our web host is on that list. To be honest, green hosting was not one of the criteria when we first selected our web hosting. But the fact that as we gain more awareness, it is an area that we are beginning to take note of. So, seeing that we are hosted on a 100% wind powered web host sure makes us glad.

Of course, you can check out any web hosting directory to find a web host that you like. But while going through your selection, do try to see if any of those on your short list are also green hosts.

Sure, your web site will likely not generate enough heat to melt the polar caps, but then again, every little bit helps!

Small Business Web Sites

Recently, a friend of mine sent me a “distress email” with regards to her website. Apparently, she bought a webhosting package about 6 months ago, then suddenly, she got an email that informed her about the service closing down!

Can you imagine that?

You spend days, maybe weeks looking for a “good” web host and then spend more days and weeks getting your website designed, tested and finally launched. Months later, you are informed that you need to go through that whole process again. Now, coming from a recent failure in your ability to pick a “good” web host, what should you do?

Sometimes, it is better to leave such decisions to experts. But if you are not able to afford a good web consultant, maybe you can check out some sites that give our web hosting awards?

Again, this is not a 100% fool-proof method as there might be exceptions. However, your chances would be significantly higher, since these sites rely on their professional reputations and will quickly rescind any awards given to companies that have bad reputations or display signs of instability.

Another way is to do an online search for “good web hosting”. Again, this is not very reliable as many web hosting companies will “seed” the internet with good comments about themselves. So, maybe an independent website rating service might be a better bet.

All the best to your search for the best web host.

Web Sites and Usability

Just read an interesting interview over at the Corporate Eye blog about good usability.

This is an interesting read. You would think that after so many years of being online, most of us will have a good grasp of this concept of usability. Well, just as common sense is rather uncommon, than good usability is yet another illusive phantom for many.

Many small companies cannot afford to get a full time team to take care of their website. These sites become white elephants faster than you can eat a Happy Meal. Worse, many of them “cannot afford” to spend to create a decent site. Just yesterday, I saw a site where they simply scanned in their promotion flyer and put it up as a single JPEG file. So, that website had one page, and one page only. Worse, it was just a jagged, slightly blurry JPEG file of a handbill.

There are some nice solutions. For example, if you just need a simple site, yet want it to look professional (eg. Flash, animated menus etc), you can use professional templates that can give you almost an instant site – see and for example.

A professionally designed site will give you a good level of usability. It makes the user feel comfortable and imparts a certain level of trust that they are dealing with an “OK” company. Another important reason for having good usability on your site, you need your visitors to be able to actually find something useful for them. You really don’t want them to come to your website, click around in futility and leave in a huff.

So, if you are interested to hear what an expert has to say about good website usability, go on over to read: Expert interview: David Hamill, Good Usability

Achieving a Better Bottom Line!

Are you worried about your bottom line?

Are you wondering if your bottom line will hit rock bottom in this financial tsunami?

I’m pretty certain you’ll have some concerns even though you are wonderfully successful at the moment.

Like everyone else, I have my fair share of concerns and anxiety. However, I would not resort to not celebrating Christmas with the feel-good and nostalgic baked turkey, honey ham, egg nog and a few nicely wrapped presents underneath my Christmas tree. Careful budgeting and purposeful spending is wise. Scaling back unnecessarily will actually stop the economic wheels moving and in the long run is going to hurt you and I even more.

Feeling energized and empowered after 2 of T Harv Eker’s powerhouse seminars – The Enlightened Warrior Camp and Mastering The Stage , my enthusiasm in propelling my client’s business to the next level remains strong.  I have faith that the cheese is at the next corner or the one after next. Why do I have such faith when the financial storm is still brewing? I started my first business in the midst of the Asian Financial Crisis in 1998. I sowed, ploughed, and unearthed many hidden gems then.  The opportunities were there but the journey was definitely not a relaxing stroll in the park. For those who heard my story previously, my very first cheque was an awesome S$117.

For the past 2 weeks, after many, many cups of coffee listening to my clients, I can smell and sense their intense fear of uncertainties for the future. The typical sentiment is “I know I must put in more efforts in marketing my stuff, I know I must have a more decent advertising budget but I’m worried about my bottom line. What if everything goes down the drain?

The fear of losing whatever little they  have is very real, can you relate to such fear?

I’m sure you do. Everyone has a bottom line.

For a business owner, it is the net income a company has after subtracting costs and expenses from the total revenue. That net income is what keeps his business and family going.

For a salaried worker, it can be interpreted as the net income after you have paid for your necessities.

With prices soaring, value of assets declining and money shrinking, the feeling of scarcity is intensified. To fear is human, and we have to be truthful about our emotions. However, we must use our mind and emotions to our favour.

Reducing expenses can only help so much. Borrowing from the wisdom of Jay Abraham, the other options are to increase your sales, increase your sale frequency and increase your price.

I recently found another option: Change my financial blueprint and maximize my wealth dynamics profile.

We have been programmed and conditioned to think, react, response and do things in a set manner. That affects how we choose to spend, invest, save or even hoard our money, and who and how we elect to mingle and socialize with in the business arena. Many of our habits and actions are non-empowering or damaging without our knowledge.

I was privileged to be tutored by T Harv Eker for the past year, and recently have added Roger Hamilton’s wisdom in “Wealth Dynamics” to my learning and application. I now have a better understanding of my financial blueprint and wealth profile. I jumped when I heard that there’s a seminar called “THE BOTTOM LINE” coming to Singapore.

I was attracted by the promise of the program, “More Profit, Less Stress”

Would you like that as a business owner? I would.

After doing my due diligence PLUS a long and meaningful discussion with the program trainer, Allan Cheung, I gladly registered for THE BOTTOM LINE on Christmas Eve.

Why am I doing that?  Especially since I had already invested in 7 programs with T Harv Eker? Because it is going to complement what I had learned! Because I choose not to have my emotions dictate my wealth creation.

THE BOTTOM LINE is a highly interactive program for participants to discover

  • Openings to new possibilities and ways to create more wealth with less setbacks
  • Insights to how successful millionaires, and even billionaires, create their wealth with seemingly effortless ease
  • Clarity on what strategies to adopt and what actions to take

We will learn key principles of Wealth Dynamics

  • What is “FLOW” and how you must be in flow to use it to attract wealth
  • What actions to take to find your personal “FLOW”
  • What actions to take to create “FLOW” for your team
  • What actions to take to create “FLOW” for your business
  • What actions to take to ride on the repeating cycles of industries

The “FLOW” bit especially intrigue me. I’m doing what like but there were times I felt I was riding against the tides. Was I not in my flow? I don’t know. I’m going to find out.

What is unique about THE BOTTOM LINE is that it is designed for you to take action. In fact, after attending the 2-day program, you are to come back on another evening to share the actions you have already taken and listen to other people’s actions and success stories.

According to Allan, this program is regularly conducted in Hong Kong and a 100% of his participants have given it a huge thumbs up. Well, I said I did my due diligence earlier. What I did was run a quick Google check and found quite a few positive testimonials. I also discovered that the program wasn’t the typical sit-down-and-listen-only type. You can have a glimpse how fun and interactive at this YouTube video.

If you want to generate more profit for your business AND at the same time have less stress, then you really should consider this program. At an Early Bird Investment of only S$199 (USD130) – which is about what you pay for a Christmas Dinner for 2 – what do you have to lose? More importantly, what do you stand to gain from this small investment.

Er, if you are living outside Singapore, take advantage of the low airfares and get to enjoy the city while learning how to make more profits with less stress.

For those of you who’s wondering why I spent so much time and money in educating myself. Let me share with you what Jim Rohn said: “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”

Harriet Beecher Stowe also said “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

T Harv Eker’s programs have turned me around in more than one way. And I’m looking forward to THE BOTTOM LINE giving me a great spin to more profits and less stress.

Where to sign up? Just click here:THE BOTTOM LINE.

A 500lbs Gorilla will Beat a 100lbs Human Anytime …

Don't Sit Under a Gorilla

Calvin Warr is a long time marketing professional and has worked in global organisations in consumer electronics, telecommunications and the IT industry. I have invited him to share some thoughts about why small businesses find it so hard to see results when they spend on advertising and marketing. Hope you enjoy this.

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It is always interesting when you are in the advertising and marketing industry. We meet so many interesting people with interesting businesses and really interesting needs.Over the years, the most interesting remark we hear, and the most often, is this:

“I don’t want to waste money on advertising and marketing, it does not work for me.”

So, most of you will think that I am going to protest that this is not true. Well, actually, it is true. It is true for many reasons. It is true in many situations. It is true for many people – especially the small business entrepreneur.

A full page ad in the local papers can cost in the thousands. Radio? Don’t think about it unless you have at least $20K to spare. TV? What TV?

Any entrepreneur who has an annual turnover of less than $1m would be crazy, stupid or suicidal to even think of running an advertising campaign. If you run a small deli, do you seriously believe that you can run an advertising campaign that will beat McDonald’s down the street?

You see, that 500lbs gorilla did not want to hurt you. You just sat down at the same place. You got squashed.

How do you avoid such pain? Simple Continue reading “A 500lbs Gorilla will Beat a 100lbs Human Anytime …”

How to Sell Yourself Effectively The First Time?

Did you say the right things

When you introduce yourself for the first time to someone you just met in a networking session, how will you sell yourself?

Think, and go through your self-introduction speech in your head before reading on. There’s a reason for this suggestion.

The conversation probably goes like this:

John: Hi, I’m John Smith.
Harry: Hi, John, I’m Harry Jones. What are you doing?
John: Oh, I’m in the insurance industry.

What do you think will happen if Harry’s mind has been programmed and conditioned by parents, siblings and friends that insurance agents (a.k.a. financial planners) always use fear tactics to get people to buy a policy that they don’t need and don’t want? Or, what happens if Harry has an unpleasant past experience with a hard-selling pushy insurance person? Either way, this conversation will either be terminated prematurely or be channeled to a safe subject by Harry.

Who is on the losing end?

Naturally, it’s John. Yes, John just lost a one-to-one, face-to-face opportunity to tell Harry of the values, benefits and solutions that can make Harry ‘s life easier and better.

However, Harry is not on the winning side either.

It could have been a win-win scenario had the self introduction of John went this way.

John: “Hi, I’m John Smith.”
Harry: “Hi, John, I’m Harry Jones. What are you doing?”
John: “Harry, do you know there’s more than 60% of seniors in this country cannot afford the large medical bills when they fall sick or injured? My main focus is helping seniors aged between 70 and 85 to minimize, or even eliminate 100% of their medical expenses.”

Harry has an ailing mother of 72 and he is still paying the exorbitant medical bills when the old lady was hospitalized for five and a half month when she fell twice last year. And, Harry never knew seniors could be covered until 85 years old. How do you think Harry will response? I bet he said, “Tell me more”.

What’s the difference? Continue reading “How to Sell Yourself Effectively The First Time?”

Toot Your Own Horn to be Successful

Saw Donald Trump ticked Aaron off at the 6th season of “The Apprentice”. When given an opportunity to shine, Aaron chose to keep his lips sealed in the boardroom. That proved to be a silent kiss of death as far as Mr Trump was concerned. He was fired eventually.

The business world is no nursery school where you should be seen and not heard. In line with Darwin’s theory of the “survival of the fittest”, you are supposed to express your values and make sure you are the distinguished crane standing tall, and commanding both respect and attention among the chuckling chickens.

That episode of “The Apprentice” reminded me of a few remarks I heard recently. It hits home that most people do have a problem with selling. In fact, they are downright apologetic when it comes to sharing something good.

A good friend sent an email to update his well-being, “Just want to share with you my experience after going through my 3-day course. Don’t worry, I’m not trying to promote the course.” With a big grin, I emailed back “Good things are meant to be shared and promoted so get it off your chest if you want. You can leave us to make the decision whether we “buy in”.”

Some friends who attended the National Achiever Congress were somewhat disgusted with every speaker closing their 2-hour talk with a sales pitch. Harv Eker promoted his “Millionaire Mind Intensive”, Blaire Singer talked about his “Sales Dog”, Roger Hamilton invited people to join his XL movement, etc. After I heard it in excess of 3 times that, “Yeah, Joe Girard was the best. He didn’t sell us anything”, I was a little concerned.

A doctor whom I know at a seminar, Dr Bob Koh, asked why I was disturbed by the above reactions. Continue reading “Toot Your Own Horn to be Successful”