Radical Innovation and Collaboration

DMR_week38_3Sometimes the brain processes are moving a little slow and trying to come up with ideas that grab the attention of workers is a little difficult. What can you do, what do you say that will keep them all motivated to work? Instead of instructing staff to work alone on projects, as they normally would, management could try working alongside them on a special project to increase productivity.

Put together teams of people who generally don’t work together on a regular basis and inform everyone that their teams will be responsible for coming up with projects related to a topic on hand. There won’t be many hard and fast rules but they all must be the result of innovative collaboration and they must report regularly to management who gives points for each interaction completed for management.

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Dirty Little Meeting Secrets

DMR_week38_2One of the biggest challenges businesses and entrepreneurs face these days is how to get the most out of meetings. Here are some of my secrets to help remind people that you care – and that you are actually there!

1. Schedule meetings regularly. When you do this, people can anticipate there is going to be a monthly or weekly meeting and can prepare ahead for it. Stick to your guns and make it clear that everyone should show up. Meetings are only going to be as effective as the people who attend them. Don’t settle for regular excuses from staff – make them accountable. There are some good excuses, but regular absentees probably have underlying issues that need to be addressed.

2. Pick the best time according to the business. If 3-5 is rush time, choose an early morning or lunch meeting and feed the folks. That can be enough incentive right there to ensure that everyone attends.

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Dublin – Lowest Business License Fees Within the Tri-Valley Area

DMR_week38_1Dublin, California, while named for the better known town in Ireland, is a suburban city just east of San Francisco. You’d think that would make it more affordable, but that is not the case. Sure, it’s not as expensive as the Bay area, but it’s still in California, making it cost prohibitive for many people.

When it comes to new businesses, the only slack they can seem to get is that it has the lowest business license fees within the Tri-Valley Area – which also consists of Pleasanton, San Ramon, and Livermore, depending upon whom you talk to. Now the City charges only for necessary regulatory expenses instead of basing the fees on gross revenue like other cities. That’s really cool, since those licensing fees can really start to add up when you begin to turn a decent profit.

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Honolulu – You Can Mix Pleasure And Business

DMR_week37_1Everyone I know who gets a chance to go to Hawaii on business is usually ecstatic, including me. Who wouldn’t enjoy those lovely, tranquil beach surroundings? The vibe is always pleasant there. So getting to go there on the company dime is a great privilege.

For entrepreneurs and small companies without business development and expense account budgets, a visit to Hawaii may be cost prohibitive, or, in other words, out of the question. In fact, travel for corporations has also become more infrequent, as any airline will tell you.

The last time I got to the region was a on a business retreat, which was a fancy way of saying working vacation. But I didn’t mind, because I still had plenty of time to lounge around. Especially since I tacked on another day for myself, which my supervisor grudgingly agreed to. But it was worth it!

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Team Collaboration Tips

DMR_week37_2Ever wonder how some work groups become so effective while others lag behind? It should be a no-brainer, but it really isn’t. As advanced as technology has gotten, people have yet to learn how to use it in the best ways. In fact, I’ve often thought that technology has in many ways pulled people apart.

Team environments need work, just as any other relationship. It’s kind of like dating, but without physical intimacy. In order for a team to really work, whether it’s a sports, work, or a life partner, everyone needs to cooperate. So, how do you get that to happen? Below are some things that I’ve found work for me.

1. Make sure everyone knows what the goals are. Like rules, in order for them to work, everyone has to understand them. Otherwise, you find yourselves running around like a bunch of Keystone Cops. The team really needs to be committed to attaining objectives. Otherwise, it is useless to even have them. I usually send out weekly emails to keep people aware of what the next targets are.

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Hong Kong’s Business Attitude Helps Entrepreneurs

DMR_week37_3Hong Kong is world renowned as a unique business city. Strategically located right in the heart of Asia – it also has a vibrant entrepreneurial business attitude. This might be surprising to some, given its history as a colony of Britain.

The almost 7 million residents help Hong Kong enjoy a thriving economy with a stable business environment. Therefore, small businesses and entrepreneurs are able to attract those all-important investors.

Culture

Hong Kong’s vast expatriate community boasts over 350,000 people and attracts 29 million annual tourists. This makes for a culturally diverse and flexible population present throughout the entire year.

Location

Since two thirds of the world wide middle class is expected to be from Asia, entrepreneurs from all over the world over are taking interest in the region. Hong Kong is in the heart of Asia and is usually a first choice of business start-ups. Hong Kong is also just four hours from every key Asian market. That way, you can cover every region for the most exposure.

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Portland – Green and Business Friendly City in the Pacific Northwest

DMR_week36_3Like the rest of the Pacific Northwest, Portland attracts many new residents due to its mild oceanic climate without severe winters. The warm, dry summers are also appreciated by all who live there.

I like visiting Forest Park. Few probably know that it is the largest stretch of wilderness in any U.S. city. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Portland is consistently awarded by Popular Science with the distinction of being the Greenest City in America – literally. Grist magazine also named Portland the second greenest city in the entire world!

Could be that’s one of the reasons why it can cost so much green to do business there. Its beneficial location to international air terminals, North to South and East to West Interstates, and with intercontinental railroads are all also economic advantages for the region.

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Google Apps for Meetings

DMR_week36_2More than five million companies, worldwide, rave about the time and money they save by using Google Apps for meetings. Since it’s a cloud-based program, teams of workers have the ability to work together on a document in real time. They can edit and collaborate without sending and resending attachments for edits.

This productivity tool is also appealing since it can be worked with at any time of the day or night and from any place imaginable. No one is stuck at the office. They are free to travel anywhere in the world and pick up where they left off when they return to their workstation.

An application of this magnitude is a blessing for workers who don’t wish to tote around extra gadgetry like flash drives. In fact, the apps are so portable they can be uploaded onto a tablet or mobile phone without added devices.

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St Louis – More Than a Destination for the Business Expo

DMR_week36_1Many people look forward to The St. Louis Business Expo. It’s always exciting to meet the best and brightest business entrepreneurs and leaders from around the region. During this time, new business owners have the chance to meet with some of the most dynamic companies throughout the region and the nation.

In fact, entrepreneurs would do well to prepare to take a meeting or two with some of these businesses as both mentors and client possibilities. But where would these meetings take place? Certainly not at the Expo. If you’re a new business and you are fortunate to have an office large enough, you could do it there. But if you really want to impress a possible investor or potential client, rent a room.

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Austin – The Los Angeles of Texas

DMR_week35_3As the capital of Texas, Austin is one of the fastest growing regions in the U.S. The vibe there is a little different than other parts of Texas – probably because it is smaller and more progressive. As a result, the city tends to be quite a bit more liberal than the other typically conservative Texas towns.

People from Los Angeles have discovered Austin as a good city for both relocation and business expansion. Though the real estate prices are still high compared to other cities in the U.S., compared to California, they are far more reasonable. But given the sky high prices of real estate in L.A., that may not be saying much.

What fuels Austin’s economy is its vibrant music community, the University of Texas, technology, and government. In fact, many Texans from Dallas and Houston find that the quality of developers is much greater there. Add to that a better quality of life and it’s easy to see why people gravitate to Austin.

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