Competitive Edge
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Competitive Edge
Creating your Unique Value Proposition to gain your Competitive Edge.
Curated by Marc Kneepkens
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This Is Where Big Ideas Come From

This Is Where Big Ideas Come From | Competitive Edge |
Big ideas for successful businesses don't come often, but when they do, you always know it and never expect it.

If you really want to beat the odds and become a successful entrepreneur, the last thing you want to do is sit at your computer and try to come up with a startup or small business idea out of the blue. That’s just not the way it works.

So what’s wrong with that picture? You’re asking the wrong question of the wrong person in the wrong situation.

Ask the right question.

The right question to ask is what problem or need do you feel so passionately about that you’re willing to take on great risk and make a long-term commitment to solve it?

Look, it’s fine to have personal motives or self-centered reasons for starting a business. Maybe you want to be your own boss and rule your own destiny. Perhaps you’re fed up with the corporate world and the corporate world is fed up with you. Or maybe it’s just that time.

But if you want your business to be successful, you’ve also got to come up with a product or service that solves a big customer problem way better than anything else out there. And if you don’t feel strongly about meeting that particular need, you won’t have what it takes to stick with it over the long haul.

The truth is, building a successful business from the ground up takes great personal sacrifice to work long hours for months or years on end to see it through. Not only that, but there inevitably will be all sorts of hurdles that threaten to derail the venture. If you’re not deeply and emotionally committed, you won’t make it. Read more, click on image or title.

Learn more about funding, find great funding sources, get a free business plan template, post your funding request for free, and more:

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Sometimes you really have to focus on finding a solution. Next you let it go and do something else. #Solutions show up, one way or the other, if you're open. An open mind, a clear thinking head, and the intent to find answers. #Inspiration is always there, allow it to happen.

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Rescooped by Marc Kneepkens from Leadership!

How to Get Great Ideas from Your Team

How to Get Great Ideas from Your Team | Competitive Edge |

The thing about brainstorming, idea management and other business tools for collecting ideas is that they are artificial processes that attempt to induce creativity on groups and, as such, acknowledge a simple fact: the office is a terrible place for having and developing ideas!

To read the full article, click on the title.

Get your Free Business Plan Template here:

Via Rowan Norrie, Ivan Berlocher
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Innovation and creativity is not a logical thing. Playing, doing irrelevant activities, getting out of the office, all contribute to release the 'illogical' stuff that is under the surface. This is an interesting article, especially when looking for a change.

Rowan Norrie's curator insight, May 14, 2014 7:14 AM

Some good ideas about how to get out a mental rut and gain new insights.

Rescooped by Marc Kneepkens from Ideas, Innovation & Start-ups!

$1 Million for a Great Idea

$1 Million for a Great Idea | Competitive Edge |

Behold the world's largest business idea competition. Eyes on the $1 million prize. Come and collect your cash ...

With $5 million in cash prizes, including a top award of $1 million, six $500,000 awards and four $250,000 awards, 43North is setting out to turn the best new business ideas from around the globe into reality.

Winners also receive free incubator space for a year, guidance from mentors related to their field and access to other exciting incentive programs.

43North is open to applicants in any industry, with the exception of retail and hospitality. Winners agree to operate their business in the Buffalo, New York for a minimum of one year and provide 43North with 5% non-dilutive equity in their company.

The competition includes three rounds of judging:
        1.  Feb 5, 2014 to May 31, 2014: 43North accepts applications via – apply here.
        2.  Sept 15, 2014 to Sept 20, 2014: Semifinalists present their plans via webinar
        3.  Oct 27, 2014 to Oct 30, 2014: Finalists present their plans during a weeklong series of events in Buffalo, NY

43North is part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative, which is driving new economic opportunities throughout Buffalo and Western New York. The competition operates through the support of New York Power Authority and Launch NY.

To see the site with full information, click on the title or image.

Get your Free Business Plan Template here:

Via Justin Jones
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Ideas finally get rewarded! This needs to be done everywhere, not just in the Buffalo,NY area.

Don't forget your business plan.

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7 Lessons On Business And Success You Won't Learn In School

Here are 7 important lessons on business, entrepreneurship and success I have learned from interviewing over 60 successful entrepreneurs from around the world.

Less than 3 years ago, frustrated by my lack of success, I made the decision to start reaching out to and learning from successful people.

There was just one problem: I barely knew any. So I did the only thing I could think of, and that was to start a blog.

With a blog as my platform, I started interviewing successful people. It took me over a year to find my groove (I had absolutely zero online marketing experience before doing this), but eventually the blog became a podcast, and the podcast became a community.

As I write this article, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing over 60 successful entrepreneurs from all over the world. Their collective stories and advice have rewarded me with an education on business and success unlike anything that is taught in a classroom.


Here are 7 important lessons on business and success I have learned from this journey:


1.Success is 90% failure.

Some people define success as doing everything right – as getting the result they want. They view failure as something to be avoided at all costs. They try to create a perfect plan, and they only take action if they are confident that their plan is going to work. They try to avoid failure, thinking that by avoiding failure they will achieve success.

One of the things I’ve learned from interviewing so many successful individuals is that they’ve all experienced failure, and their failures often preceded their successes. This led me to conclude that a person’s failures actually serve as the stepping stones to their successes. Therefore if you avoid failure, by default, you also avoid success.

Stop worrying about failure and stay focused on your results. When you get the result you want, you might call that success. When you don’t get the result you want, you get the feedback you need to change your strategy.

Don’t be afraid to take action with no promise of success. It’s better to take the wrong action and pivot than to not take any action at all. Expect 90% of what you try to not work. Sometimes you have to learn what doesn’t work in order to find what does.


2.Hire help. Great people are not as expensive as you think.

We live in a global, digitally connected economy. This means that we all have access to a global talent pool of incredibly skilled individuals for very competitive rates. Even if you’re not a business owner, do yourself a favor and hire help as soon as possible. You’d be amazed how much of your precious time you can get back if you leverage the time and expertise of others.

Whether for a specific project, or on a long term basis, it isn’t hard to find the right people for the job and it isn’t expensive either. I currently manage a full time virtual assistant and doing so takes only a few minutes of my time per week. I also hire contractors and freelancers for specific tasks and projects on a regular basis.

If you haven’t already, check out or and see for yourself just how easy it is to find and hire great people. You’ll be glad you did.


3. Don’t get too attached to your ideas. Test them before you invest in them

I once met an individual who told me they had a ground breaking idea for a new business. There was just one problem: they refused to tell anybody what their idea was because they were scared someone would steal it. This person failed to recognize that ideas, by themselves, ideas have little value. The real value comes from execution.

There is no shortage of ideas in this world. Many of us have ideas on a daily basis. Are all of them good? Absolutely not. Until an idea is actually implemented, there is no way of knowing how valuable it really is.

Testing an idea on a small scale to see what result it creates is much wiser than investing time, energy and resources pursuing something only to discover that it doesn’t work. Let go of bad ideas early and quickly. More ideas will always come to you.



4. Stop networking. Start building relationships

In the context of business, networking is typically defined as “interacting with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career.” It’s a pretty straight forward definition, and yes, networking can yield many benefits. The problem is that most people haven’t been taught how to do it properly.

The typical approach to networking consists of attending conferences or events in your industry, delivering your “elevator pitch” to everyone you meet and giving out and/or collecting as many business cards as possible, hoping that those connections somehow turn into employment or business opportunities. This has become one of the least effective ways to build a strong network.

To build a strong network, shift your focus from collecting contacts to building relationships.

Become genuinely interested in the people you meet. Encourage them to talk about themselves. Ask them about their current projects, and find out if there are any challenges they are currently facing. Offer a helpful suggestion, idea, or an introduction to someone else who can help them. Give without any expectation of receiving. You’ll soon discover that when you selflessly add value to others, they will gladly return the favor at some point in the future.


5. Model other successful people but don’t try to be them

Regardless of which industry you’re in, there will likely be other people who are ahead of you and who you consider to be more successful than yourself. This is perfectly fine. In fact, one of the most efficient ways to succeed in any industry quickly is to learn the principles and model the strategies of those who are already successful. But always remember one thing: you are not them.

Learn and apply what has worked for others to see if it will work for you, but never try to be something that you’re not. Remember that you are unique. Do what feels true to you. Always be authentic. Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to other people. No one succeeds overnight. We all must start from where we are and with what we have. Respect the journey that other people have travelled, but remember to stay focused on your own.


6. Results speak louder than credentials

I definitely respect the dedication of people who invest several years obtaining degrees and credentials to advance their careers, but the harsh reality is that credentials alone have almost no bearing on the level of success a person attains. In fact, many highly qualified individuals often find themselves without work or beginning careers in new industries for reasons that were beyond their control.

We live in a results-based economy. To ensure your success regardless of which industry you are in, you must acquire any and all skills that will enable you to get results. If you’re an entrepreneur, you must learn how to get results for your business. If you work for someone else, find out what result they want and help them get it.

Many of the successful entrepreneurs I have interviewed barely made it through high school and yet no one questions their intelligence or skills. Why? Because they have a track record of tangible, hard won results. A track record of positive results speaks louder than any credentials you print on a business card or a resume.


7. The journey is the reward.

The final lesson that I’d like to share with you is to enjoy the journey. The trouble with ambition is that it causes us to chase the future, often at the expense of appreciating the present. Pause and reflect often. Praise yourself for how far you’ve already come. Stay focused on the outcomes you want, and respect the process required to create them.

Set big goals not because of what you will get when you achieve the goal, but for what it will make of you in the process. The person you become as you achieve your goals is more valuable than the goal itself.

“The ultimate reason for setting goals is to entice you to become the person it takes to achieve them.” – Jim Rohn

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Wow, great article, so much wisdom.

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What is - YouTube

Explanation of the concept of

The platform that helps connect the entrepreneurial world.

Grab your invitation here:

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

I love this concept: linking entrepreneurs, providers, capital, business ideas, and resources. Take a look.

Here is a personal invitation:

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