Innovation for Small Businesses: Chat Summary from 8/31/2010

How do small businesses work “outside the box”? What are the approaches small businesses take to innovation? Our chat focused on new ways to innovate and get the job done.

  • We’re on alternate Tuesdays (in the summer) from 8-9 pm EST.  The next chat will be held on September 14, 2010.
  • You can read the instructions on how to participate here:
  • Invite others to join in, help them get started.  We started this chat to facilitate conversation between small biz owners.
sbbuzz: Welcome to #sbbuzz, a Tweetchat for the next hour of small biz talking technology on Twitter. Join us!
sbbuzz: Rules: 1)NO pitching till end 2)Be nice 3)Stay ON TOPIC! 4)Send ?s for group to me w/o hashtag 5)Use #sbbuzz in all messages 6)Have fun!
BeckyMcCray: Right now, you can join in on #sbbuzz and/or #agchat !
sbbuzz: Start off w/an INTRO: 1 message about you and your business and whatever else we need to know. #sbbuzz
VR4SmallBiz: Hi, I’m Poppy the Social Media Manager at VerticalResponse, an email marketing service for small and medium sized business. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Tonight we’re talking about best practices for small biz innovation. Let me know what you want included. #sbbuzz
stellel: Hi! I’m Christelle, part of the @batchblue innovation team… 😉 What’s the buzz? #sbbuzz
ruxtermobi: Hi, I’m Mike from Ruxter. We’re a self-service mobile marketing application for SMBs #sbbuzz
KitBook: Hello everyone, I’m David, co-founder of Edamar. We make and market the innovative KitBook for K-12 science classrooms. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Hi all! Pamela here from @batchblue and the hostess of #sbbuzz @mriggen brought us some pumkin beer for some extra innovationiveness 🙂
mriggen: @sbbuzz Hello all – I’m Michelle Riggen-Ransom from @BatchBlue. We make software for small businesses. #sbbuzz
BeckyMcCray: And hello to #sbbuzz, I write about small town business at
bradfordshimp: Hi – Bradford here, trying to keep one eye on the chat tonight. Nice to see familiar and new faces. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @pmohara I innovate better with delicious ales ;D #sbbuzz
KitBook: Hey, Bradford. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @BeckyMcCray Hi Becky! Nice to see you here. Will have to check out #agchat at some point! #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q1 What does innovation mean for small businesses? #sbbuzz
JoeCascio: #sbbuzz Good evening. Joe Cascio, software developer. Lately, I’m interested in independent restaurants as small businesses.
KitBook: Q1 Often innovation means differentiation. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @agchat @beckymccray – She’s two-timing you ;)! #agchat #sbbuzz
willdogs: #sbbuzz This is Will – former small business marketer, future Social Marketing Manager (9/1/10!). Sorta lurking in the chat this evening 🙂
bradfordshimp: @KitBook Hey David, nice to see you! #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Q1 – Innovation can equal survival. #sbbuzz
JoeCascio: @sbbuzz Small businesses can innovate better than big biz because they’re agile and not so damned risk-averse. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz Q1 For us, innovation has meant creativity, flexibility and trying cool new things we’re not sure will be successful. #sbbuzz
EddieMill: #sbbuzz Q1 Man, does the established hierarchy of business bother me. Small and social businesses really have the advantage in innovation!
stiggy1: testing, exploring, evolving and never settling for good enough. #sbbuzz #sbbuzz
BeckyMcCray: @sbbuzz Q1 I think @bradfordshimp got it right: Innovation means the future for small businesses. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz Q1 (cont.) Coming from a big corp., I LOVE how owning a small business gives you the freedom to try exciting new things. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @EddieMill I agree! Used to hate getting ideas approved by Legal, who half the time never even wrote back. Where’s the fun in that?! #sbbuzz
ruxtermobi: Re: Q1: It means SMBs leveraging tools in a way that has been previously unavailable to them. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q2 Do you think small businesses have an advantage in innovating? Why? #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: I think in general terms SMB are more agile #sbbuzz
ruxtermobi: Re Q2: Faster decision making. Fewer voices. Usually less risk. Certainly less legal. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Q2 – Yes, in that they have more flexibility and are closer to the pulse of their customer. No in that they have smaller budgets. #sbbuzz
willdogs: @sbbuzz Q2: Small businesses have the advantage of not having to struggle with red tape and stiff hierarchies. High Flexibility. #sbbuzz
JoeCrockett: @bradfordshimp Those smaller budgets can drive some very inventive solutions #sbbuzz
EddieMill: Happening on twitter: #barackobama speech on Iraq, #agchat weekly farm SM talk, #sbbuzz for small business. Meanwhile, I’m fixing a bike.. E
CathyWebSavvyPR: Sorry 2 b late – 20 yr PR pro who let her inner geek girl ou of closet to helpother small biz owners; just started @ChatHelp #sbbuzz
willdogs: @JoeCrockett Sort of a “starving artist” effect. Having no marketing budget turned me on to social media. #sbbuzz
BeckyMcCray: Q2. Small businesses may have an advantage in listening that leads to innovation, as well as speed of execution. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: A1 Innovation 4 small biz means that you can take new %26 creative approaches to solving problems #sbbuzz
pmohara: I think small budgets are the root of much innovation. You have to do next thing before mainstream catches on. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz Q2 I think so, but also means higher risk. Good to be conservative with spending until proven to help you meet goals. #sbbuzz
BeckyMcCray: Q2 RT @JoeCrockett: Those smaller budgets can drive some very inventive solutions #sbbuzz
EddieMill: #sbbuzz I worked for a few small business bosses that don’t listen to suggestions. If they are open to new power then yes definitely. Q2
jamesdalman: Smaller businesses also have a better mindset to listen, change, adapt. #sbbuzz #sbbuzz
JoeCrockett: Small biz owners have to listen, brainstorm, work hard in ways that large co’s often don’t feel the need to #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: A2 -in this market a small biz can adapt %26 innovate like a sports car vs big co which is like turning a cruise ship #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: A1 – however in thsi economy – smll biz can be close to the edge,if you inovate 2 far ahead, may lose custmer base #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q3 What is the most innovative thing you have done in your business? #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: I am a bit late tonight, What is the Q and topic? #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: @JoeCrockett That is true. Creativity thrives on a budget. #sbbuzz
kimatkmh: Smaller businesses have less politics and red tape to get things moving faster. #sbbuzz
ruxtermobi: Q3: Launched! #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: A2 Innovation %26 small business are an exploration of balance – forging ahead %26 keeping true 2 customer #sbbuzz
jamesdalman: @sbbuzz The most innovative thing I have done is to focus on really taking care of client’s needs. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @kimatkmh I hear that #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @mentormarketing Q3 What is the most innovative thing you have done in your business? #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz Q3 Well…we started a chat for small business owners on this thing called Twitter 🙂 #sbbuzz
jamesdalman: I think when you put your client or customer first, it builds your brand. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @mentormarketing RT @sbbuzz: Tonight we’re talking about best practices for small biz innovation. Let me know what you want included #sbbuzz
mriggen: @jamesdalman In new ways? Or do you just feel that that is rare? #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: Hi @CathyWebSavvyPR, @bradfordshimp, @sbbuzz #sbbuzz
pmohara: Hi @mentormarketing! Topic tonight is Innovation. Current ? is asking for the most innovative things you’ve done in your business? #sbbuzz
BeckyMcCray: Q3. I have no idea what the most innovative thing I’ve done in my businesses is. Is that good or bad?? #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: A1 – help a client start a twitter chat, (@smallbizchat Weds notes) %26 really connect w/ clients #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: Innovation, I am writing a press release on my 1st innovation It has to do with hands on marketing training in a production site. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @jamesdalman I agree – too many small biz start from “what is trength of founder” not what do clients need/want #sbbuzz
jamesdalman: @mriggen I believe that some people have just forgotten that your customer is the reason for your business. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @BeckyMcCray From seeing your tweets over time, I’m sure that you have done some innovating things! no question #sbbuzz
KitBook: There are two kinds of innovation 1. Product (or Service) and 2. Process. Process innovation is generally internal. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @BeckyMcCray Hmm, I think it warrants some thought. Maybe help see what’s worked, what hasn’t, what else you can do going forward… #sbbuzz
jamesdalman: We can talk innovation or technology, but what often gets forgotten is solid principles that have stood the test of time. #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: @pmohara Hey TY for the update #sbbuzz
EddieMill: #sbbuzz talking innovation and networking, take some time to meet some local food policy folk meet #futureoflocal is another hash tag check^
BeckyMcCray: @mriggen That may be my new review question. What have we done that’s innovative? #sbbuzz
BrandDynamite: back in the day, we took a 360 virtual tour panoramic of one of our newsrooms. it was one of a kind to our viewers. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: 1of my biz peeps is making a biz out of innovating – how 2 creatively connect brands w/ bloggers – not in same old same old ways #sbbuzz
pmohara: @jamesdalman we’ll make “solid principles” topic of the next discussion. 🙂 #sbbuzz
mriggen: @jamesdalman Agree – although I would say “some companies” rather than people… #sbbuzz
mriggen: @BeckyMcCray I like that – would add “Was it successful? Why or why not?” I’m ready for my review 🙂 ! #sbbuzz
jamesdalman: My innovation is to focus on what seems to have been lost. True customer service, relationships, pride in our work, etc. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @JulieDiazAsper Hi there – glad to see you here! #sbbuzz
BeckyMcCray: @mriggen We want to hear your answers, too! #sbbuzz
jamesdalman: A great read – Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose. #sbbuzz
BeckyMcCray: @jamesdalman That’s a small town attitude, isn’t it? 😉 #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q4 As a small business, do you focus on product or process innovation? (per @kitbook‘s point) #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: .@jamesdalman @ComcastCares has been a pioneer of that one – Twitter 4 custmer service = innovation #sbbuzz
jamesdalman: @BeckyMcCray Amen! That’s one reason we should learn from small towns and communities. 🙂 #sbbuzz
BrandDynamite: @sbbuzz isn’t each situation different though? #sbbuzz
mriggen: @BeckyMcCray I think our most successful innovation has been to co-found because of the great partnerships. #sbbuzz
ruxtermobi: Q4: Product, always product. Process changes can come later. Sorry Mr. Deming. #sbbuzz
JulieDiazAsper: Done work around involving the customer in product development. Making them the co-creator. SM offers a gr8 opt to do this! #sbbuzz
jamesdalman: @CathyWebSavvyPR I think one should focus on improving their product and their process innovation equally. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: A4 ideally both – but product innovation often comes 1st – when u see oppty/bizlandscape shifting #sbbuzz
BeckyMcCray: @mriggen I think may be one of the biggest things ever. It’s a game changer. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @JulieDiazAsper don’t forget the question #! 🙂 #sbbuzz
BrandDynamite: @ruxtermobi But often it is processes that modify products. #sbbuzz
JulieDiazAsper: @ruxtermobi sometimes your product is a process change. its what drives your value #sbbuzz
jamesdalman: @ruxtermobi But if you have a great product and your process is horrible, you may not keep customers for very long. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz Q4 We focus mainly on product to respond to customer needs. Would love more process innovation as well to tighten things up. #sbbuzz
BrandDynamite: #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: Q4 part of my job as a consultant is to help my clients be innovative in their approach. that’s the fun part! #sbbuzz
EddieMill: A hashtag is a way to categorize twitter updates try #agchat #sbbuzz or #futureoflocal – what’s #barackobama up to? -EM
JulieDiazAsper: @CathyWebSavvyPR will do. nice to ssee you here too! #sbbuzz
pmohara: Q4 Innovation is a mindset not an exercise. We try to look at everything creatively – from product features to office furiture. #sbbuzz
BrandDynamite: @CathyWebSavvyPR isn’t that such a fun discovery phase ? seeking seeds of innovation is such a thrill regardless the product. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @BrandDynamite that’sa ni intriguing idea – developing an innovative way to – innovate sm biz process #sbbuzz
ruxtermobi: @JulieDiazAsper putting my past consultant hat on, most definitely. #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: A4: We try to focus on product deliver process, for example creating a new way to deliver marketing training. #sbbuzz
BrandDynamite: Every company big and small should have an innovation hall…a chamber of limitless innovation, brainstorm and no biases. #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Q4 – for service based biz, the product is often the process. They are at least tied very closely. Fun area to innovate. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q5 what can we do as small biz owners to foster more innovation within our companies & with each other? #sbbuzz
JulieDiazAsper: @ruxtermobi ex-consultant too. like being a more hands-on small biz gal now #sbbuzz
BeckyMcCray: Q5. I have to go with @pmohara ‘s point about mindset: you want more innovation? Make it a part of everything. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @sbbuzz Q5 I think forum’s like the more than 170%2B Twitter chats are a great way 2 foster innovation #sbbuzz
jamesdalman: A5 Honest and open communication can help us to foster more innovation for biz – as well as listening to our community. #sbbuzz
BrandDynamite: @rotolo thx for the RT. #sbbuzz
ruxtermobi: @JulieDiazAsper absolutely! #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: A5: Innovation as a primary goal, Ask yourself at every step, is there a way to turn this upside down w/o slowing the process. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz Q5 Share your stories w/others, communicate in different places, support & encourage others who are trying something new. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: Q5 management needs to listen to front office staff as well as dept heads. Often the front line knows customer’s needs #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: Q5 – Communicate. With each other (employees, network) and with customers. Blog, tweet, go to events, etc. Get out of your head. #sbbuzz
pmohara: @BeckyMcCray Exactly. Everything you do is innovative, Becky. Its like asking you to pick your favorite cow. 🙂 #sbbuzz
BeckyMcCray: And now I must run! Thanks both #agchat and #sbbuzz for letting me chime in!
jamesdalman: See you later Becky! #sbbuzz
JulieDiazAsper: Q5: look at relevant models from other industries. adapt them for ur biz. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Q5 If you want to be innovative, hang around w/@mriggen & @beckymccray. They set the standard. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @BeckyMcCray Good to see you! great info as always #sbbuzz
pmohara: Ooh – I also like @bradfordshimp‘s “get out of your head”!! #sbbuzz
JulieDiazAsper: Q5: Talk to new people to get new ideas. Meet up w/ local biz contacts to swap ideas. Someone totaly not in ur biz ! #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @pmohara Another example of innovation – @Peterhankman %26 @HARO – new biz model worked #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: And now it is what we affectionately call Pitch Time. Please tell us a little about your business. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @pmohara I agree – #sbbuzz
mriggen: @CathyWebSavvyPR Totally agree, @haro is brilliant! #sbbuzz
EddieMill: #sbbuzz my new industry is- sheep and goats for homeowners! Do you have a fenced in backyard and a need for family food security? @eddiemill
sbbuzz: Thanks to everyone for all the great discussion! We’ll get the #sbbuzz summary posted on the site soon at
sbbuzz: If you’d like a once-a-week e-mail reminder of #sbbuzz (including the topic) sign up at #sbbuzz
mriggen: @pmohara Thanks!! @Beckymccray, we’ll have to toast the Bee at #140confsmalltown #sbbuzz
bradfordshimp: I provide advice and ideas for savvy small biz owners over at – Check it out. #sbbuzz
mriggen: @sbbuzz I’m going to promote two very innovative young Providencian filmmakers: Flick & Flack! #sbbuzz
KitBook: KitBooks are innovative, award-winning, hands-on science products for K-12 classrooms #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: Pitch: New site %26 Twitter acct @ChatHelp – hosts: send topics/date/time 4 RTing; peeps – send newbie chatters %26 find a new chat! #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: Need Personal Attention? Jump-start your online business? We work with you 1on1 #sbbuzz
mriggen: @bradfordshimp I’m a big fan of your work 😉 ! #sbbuzz
ruxtermobi: The 140 Pitch: Ruxter makes mobile marketing available to any budget with free mobile optimized websites %26 low-cost texting. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Thanks all – I love this topic. Great to hear everyone’s creative ideas! Please come again next week! #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: @CathyWebSavvyPR Wow Your service sounds like it will be super useful. #sbbuzz
jamesdalman: I write the songs that make the whole world sing! LOL #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @sbbuzz @pmohara: – have you listed @SBBuzz / #SBBuzz on the big chat list – if so I missed it: #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: #sbbuzz will be resuming the weekly schedule next week. Goodbye summer, our old friend.
jamesdalman: Great ideas, people, and input here! Thank you for letting me be a part. #sbbuzz
willdogs: @pmohara It was certainly interesting! I’ll try to keep up. Next week, I’ll be further south and at my new job. Thanks! #sbbuzz
UTMfgExt: KitBooks are innovative, award-winning, hands-on science products for K-12 classrooms #sbbuzz /via @KitBook
sbbuzz: @CathyWebSavvyPR No – thanks for the tip! #sbbuzz
ruxtermobi: @sbbuzz Goodbye summer, but thanks for another great chat! #sbbuzz
gardenofwords: RT @mentormarketing: Need Personal Attention? Jump-start your online business? We work with you 1on1 #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @pmohara %26 @SBBuzz thanks for a great chat – innovation %26 small biz – a great fall warm up… #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: #sbbuzz is a small business Twitter chat hosted each Tuesday night 8-9 PM ET by the folks from @batchblue Come again soon!
CathyWebSavvyPR: @sbbuzz no problem – the big chat list was created by @spkrinteractive @twchat – I’m trying 2 gather more info 4 it #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: Yeah! @batchblue, A solid platform. I should do an interview with you all, Look me up this week. #sbbuzz
BrandDynamite: I provide niche Brand You storytelling and writing for clients. Over already? I thought it went to 10PM Eastern. #sbbuzz

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