Innovation not just for big, trendy businesses

Consultant touts small opportunities at Northglenn business awards

Posted 10/31/17

Entrepreneur and business consultant Tamara Kleinberg tried building her business around giving good, innovative ideas to clients — small business owners like her.

“I thought the value of innovation was giving you good ideas,” Kleinberg …

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Innovation not just for big, trendy businesses

Consultant touts small opportunities at Northglenn business awards

Posted

Entrepreneur and business consultant Tamara Kleinberg tried building her business around giving good, innovative ideas to clients — small business owners like her.

“I thought the value of innovation was giving you good ideas,” Kleinberg told a room full of Northglenn business owners and elected officials Oct. 27 at the city’s annual Business Appreciation Breakfast.

“I’d say, ‘Hire me, I’ll do my thing and come back and pull back the black curtain and give you something amazing’”, Kleinberg said. “The challenge is, those ideas never got implemented.”

Kleinberg, the Denver-based founder of business consultants Launchstreet, said her clients weren’t ready to accept her ideas as their own. They’d rather do business the way they were comfortable.

That convinced her to flip her business model on its head. Instead of being paid to be innovative, she’d teach them to be innovative.

“What if we made innovation tangible and real so that everybody in this room could do this,” she said.

Today, she’s a popular business podcaster with a new book about teaching businesses to think innovatively.

Kleinberg was the keynote speaker at the breakfast. The city and the Northglenn Urban Renewal Authority hosted the Discover Northglenn breakfast award ceremony Oct. 27 at the Ramada Plaza and Conference Center, just southeast of 120th Avenue and Interstate 25.

Mayor Joyce Downing said this year’s breakfast brought in 300 attendees, the largest group ever.

It’s an opportunity for the city to shine a spotlight on local business and annual awards are the reason for the event. In all, 77 Northglenn businesses were vying for honors in seven categories and a people’s choice award. Categories ranged from small businesses with as many as 10 employees, medium operations with up to 25 and large businesses with 26 or more employees. Categories also included home-based businesses, rookie start-ups newer than two-years-old, young entrepreneurs and long-term operations that have been in operations for more than 20 years.

A special award was given to John Fischer, who opened the city’s first medical practice in 1965 and was one of the founders of the Northglenn-Thornton Rotary Club. Fischer was also a key board member of the Hope Center, a group devoted to helping people with developmental disabilities.

Back in the box

Kleinberg said she’s moved beyond the hoary business advice of thinking outside the box.

“We have to remember the box is a good thing, we just need to think differently about what it is and how we can bring it back to the marketplace,” she said.

For example, the box for a small business might be its difficulty going toe-to-toe with larger competitors. She advised those businesses to use their small size and nimble ability to their advantage.

“The big companies tend to be ten steps removed from their customers,” she said. “We have our ears to the ground all the time, don’t we? Aren’t we constantly listening to what’s happening around us? The best innovation happens when we open our ears and eyes and say, ‘Huh. What’s the frustration in the marketplace that I can solve and own that makes me irresistible to customers.”Entrepreneur and business consultant Tamara Kleinberg tried building her business around giving good, innovative ideas to clients — small business owners like her.

“I thought the value of innovation was giving you good ideas,” Kleinberg told a room full of Northglenn business owners and elected officials Oct. 27 at the city’s annual Business Appreciation Breakfast.

“I’d say, ‘Hire me, I’ll do my thing and come back and pull back the black curtain and give you something amazing’”, Kleinberg said. “The challenge is, those ideas never got implemented.”

Kleinberg, the Denver-based founder of business consultants Launchstreet, said her clients weren’t ready to accept her ideas as their own. They’d rather do business the way they were comfortable.

That convinced her to flip her business model on its head. Instead of being paid to be innovative, she’d teach them to be innovative.

“What if we made innovation tangible and real so that everybody in this room could do this?” she said.

Today, she’s a popular business podcaster with a new book about teaching businesses to think innovatively.

Kleinberg was the keynote speaker at the breakfast. The city and the Northglenn Urban Renewal Authority hosted the Discover Northglenn breakfast award ceremony Oct. 27 at the Ramada Plaza and Conference Center, just southeast of 120th Avenue and Interstate 25.

Mayor Joyce Downing said this year’s breakfast brought in 300 attendees, the largest group ever.

It’s an opportunity for the city to shine a spotlight on local business and annual awards are the reason for the event. In all, 77 Northglenn businesses were vying for honors in seven categories and a people’s choice award. Categories ranged from small businesses with as many as 10 employees, medium operations with up to 25 and large businesses with 26 or more employees. Categories also included home-based businesses, rookie start-ups newer than two-years-old, young entrepreneurs and long-term operations that have been in operations for more than 20 years.

A special award was given to John Fischer, who opened the city’s first medical practice in 1965 and was one of the founders of the Northglenn-Thornton Rotary Club. Fischer was also a key board member of the Hope Center, a group devoted to helping people with developmental disabilities.

Kleinberg said she’s moved beyond the hoary business advice of thinking outside the box.

“We have to remember the box is a good thing, we just need to think differently about what it is and how we can bring it back to the marketplace,” she said.

For example, the box for a small business might be its difficulty going toe-to-toe with larger competitors. She advised those businesses to use their small size and nimble ability to their advantage.

“The big companies tend to be ten steps removed from their customers,” she said. “We have our ears to the ground all the time, don’t we? Aren’t we constantly listening to what’s happening around us? The best innovation happens when we open our ears and eyes and say, ‘Huh. What’s the frustration in the marketplace that I can solve and own that makes me irresistible to customers.”

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