How Are You Filling Your Idea Pipeline?

I’ve just been reading a terrific new book called High-Profit Prospecting by my friend and colleague Mark Hunter. Mark is a consummate sales professional, and his book is about how to keep your sales pipeline full so that you never run out of valuable prospects.

I’m not a sales professional, but I am an idea professional. And, just like I think it’s vital for people in the sales business to keep their sales pipelines full, I think it’s equally vital for people in the idea business to keep their idea pipelines full.

By the way, as a leader, you are in the idea business.

In his book, Mark talks about the importance of not leaving prospecting to chance, not just waiting (and hoping) for prospects to fall into the pipeline. He says that a true sales professional should have weekly (preferably daily) dedicated prospecting time scheduled on the calendar. Because keeping the pipeline full is that important.

Likewise, leaders should schedule time weekly (preferably daily) to fill their idea pipeline. Because it’s that important.

So, how do you do this? Through four primary sources.

1. What you read.

There’s a reason why Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Elon Musk read voraciously. They understand the value of keeping their mental pipeline full of new ideas.

“But I’m too busy to read, Bill.”

Really? Busier than Bill Gates? Because he’s pretty busy. And pretty rich. And he reads 50 books a year. I don’t think these are unrelated. So, I’m sorry-what’s your excuse again?

Schedule time to read. Every day, if possible. (And it is possible.) I’m not talking about Grisham and Patterson. They’re fine for the beach. Read about ideas. Read about things you don’t already know.

2. What you listen to.

To those of you who have horrendous commutes, congratulations! You’ve got a great opportunity to fill your idea pipeline! Instead of listening to the news (depressing), or the generic pop music station (mindless), why not try out one of the literally hundreds of great podcasts available? My guess is that there are at least a few podcasts out there for your particular field. Or, try one of my favorites, the TED Radio Hour podcast.

3. What you watch.

Although this probably won’t help you with your commute, there’s plenty to watch online-and some of it doesn’t involve kittens. For example, in addition to listening to the TED Radio Hour podcast, you can watch actual TED Talks Or, if you want something more in-depth and academic, Stanford University (among others) puts many of their courses online, absolutely free.

4. Who you meet.

I’ve saved the best for last. There are actual people out there, freely roaming the earth, who have knowledge, experiences, and ideas that you don’t have. They can be found in your town, in your workplace, sitting next to you on the plane or train. But here’s the caveat: if you only hang out with the same people you always hang out with, you’ll never meet these others. And that’s to your detriment, as a leader, and as a human being.

So fill your pipeline! Feed your brain continuously with new ideas. It’s the highest profit prospecting you can do.

Idea Businesses – Becoming a Consultant

Opinions wanted. Huge sums of money paid. Very little work required. If that was a job description, would you apply? Chances are, you answered yes.

Literally, your job is to discuss. You heard me right. Do you have an artistic talent? Become a media consultant. Besides your base contract, which is usually a heft amount, you’ll earn a rebate, usually 15% of their money that you spend on advertising. So if you get hired for a month’s project and charge $2000, and you end up spending $50,000 on television and radio advertisements, your rebate alone is $7500.

There are two keys to setting up a consulting business – credibility and knowledge. The credibility is more important of the two. If you have a friend with their own business, get them to hire you on for a modest amount, and use it as a learning opportunity – and a reference. This gives you a chance to “break in” to the field, and show a track record of performance worthy of being hired.

When I started consulting about 4 years ago, I cut my teeth in political consulting. I had volunteered on a few political campaigns (credibility), and had legitimately acquired the contact information for several vendors. With a stack of business cards and a little bit of know-how, I have literally been able to charge thousands of dollars to people for short term work – but valuable work nonetheless!

Once you’ve started, make sure everyone you know is aware of your services. People like to have “I know a guy” conversations. Make sure that you’re the guy whose name is going to be dropped, and watch the referrals roll in!

Small Business Rewards – Luck Or Hard Labour?

You’re seeking for the best small business ideas. You really want to make it as your own boss! Everyday you see all of these opportunities that offer a chance to escape your boring 9 to 5 life.

Are they for real? First of all, to realize any small business ideas business, takes a combination of perspiration and inspiration. If the opportunity promise you a viable small business, without much effort and a small investment, it’s not for real.

If anyone had a secret like that, I don’t think he would sell it cheap to thousands of competitors. I would for sure not. The idea of paying a few bucks and then make thousands with very little effort is just a fairytale. It’s in other words just a scam.

They push all the right buttons, they ask if you’re overworked, underpaid, want to make big money from home in your underwear. When you come across those “promising” small business ideas, you must put your filter function on. Here are a few things that should alarm your filter device:

Time limited offers “only today”, “buy now before price goes up”, “half price for the first 100 customers” and so on.

The offer is including a lot of extra bonus gifts. Do you really want and need the bonuses? Are they of any real value?

The next thing to unrest your warning system is when they present a compelling life story. They show you pictures of people who have the lifestyle you desire. Big fancy houses and cars. This is supposed to appeal to your emotions. It will make you want to become a multi millionaire, just as the people at the pictures.

They offer to share the secrets of wealth, not for free, but it’ll only cost you a few bucks. And if you’re searching for a easy way to make money, you may be happy to give it a try.

Put your scam radar on when the small business ideas, are presented with facts and figures. Some sales material will contain what you will be lead to believe real examples of earnings from the particular program. These examples are easy to doctor through image editing programs.

Notice that any sales page that contains “actual” facts or earning income figures will also carry disclaimers that “the results represented here are not typical”, or some other type of legal material to keep the seller out of problems.

The best way to protect yourself is by:

1. Take your time, don’t rush into your small business ideas.

2. Do a check on the Net, search for the product/course/idea. Evaluate what other people have to say about it.

3. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a free lunch.