Business

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Fear Driven Business Scares Me

880 461 Nathaniel Seevers

Business can be rough these days. The pressure is on to keep up with the demands and changing ideas of consumers – who seem to be spending less and less. Or maybe they’re just spending smarter.

The trends you jump on this morning are dying by sunset and new trends have moved in. Your competitors are innovating. New competitors are popping up every day – all full of personality and caffeine. Or piss and vinegar as my granddad would say.

I have no idea what those ingredients have to do with anything, but still.

And so, when the heat is on and there are decisions to be made that will have a ripple effect across the organization, far too many companies react based on fear. Like when you punch a haunted house worker even though you know it’s all fake.

It’s fight or flight. It’s instinct.

The difference between socking a guy wearing a zombie mask and leading your company or team with a desperate hand is that the former is a one-time event and the latter often turns into a habit. Those decisions can begin to build on themselves.  They stack up until you have to dig your way out. Change the culture.

Seth Godin talks about something similar here. He calls it Stoogecraft.

So how does one help prevent a layer of suffocating fear-based decisions? read more

Summer Company Bucket List image of sand buckets on the beach

How and Why to Make a Company Bucket List

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June is here and everyone is getting that summer itch. It’s the one where people would rather be out and about instead of in the office. It’s the same one that has everyone dreaming of that vacation to The Outer Banks they have coming up.

So, you have a pile of things you have to get done before you can get to the summer fun. What do you do? (I promise I’m not leading you to a cheesy infomercial)

Make a Summer Company Bucket List! For not only fun things but ridiculously productive things as well. 

Yes, you can do both. When everyone else is taking half days to hit the beach or golf course get creative with your productivity.

What are some things that you’ve wanted to do but keep putting off? DO THOSE THINGS. Schedule time to do it this summer. It doesn’t have to be something you are dreading to do, but if it is, make it into something fun by adding a change of scenery. Find a great coffee shop, restaurant or pub with a patio for instance. read more

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Resigning from the Cult of Mac

880 461 Marsh Williams

Clearly I’m not an analyst but I have religiously followed Apple since I bought my first Mac in 1984. Apple products have been a staple in our family and in my companies since they first hit the market. I was definitely in the “Cult of Mac” until this morning, when I came to a very solid realization: I’m not and actually never was.

I was in the cult of Steve Jobs and that’s gone.

In the last year I’ve watched Apple make several painful read more

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How to Work Smart and Hard

880 461 Nathaniel Seevers

Work Smart and Hard – Imagine what you could accomplish

I always remember the saying, “work smart, not hard.” My granddad used to tell me that despite the hard work he put in – long hours as a steelworker. I wore the “work smart, not hard” mantra like a cape all through school and it worked out pretty well.

Except for in math class. We won’t talk about math class.

As I got older though and began to pay attention to the leaders I respected and how their efforts related to the things I wanted to accomplish I thought back on the “work smart, not hard” philosophy. But instead of trying to figure out new and better ways to implement that strategy I thought, “imagine what could I accomplish if I do both.”

Now, in the midst of growing a young company, working smart and working hard is a must for meeting goals. Technology makes it pretty easy to work smart. Focus, inspiration, self-awareness and self-discipline make it easier to work hard. Here are some thoughts on both. read more

Passion For Doing It Right.

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One of the great things about our work is that we’re always meeting new people. Every week we are getting to talk with entrepreneurs who are doing everything from creating new medical devices to craft brewers, and there is one undeniable link: they are incredibly passionate about what they are doing. I love this! It’s not often I throw exclamation marks around but there it is.

Seriously, I can’t remember when I’ve had the privilege of getting to know so many people who are passionately committed to making something great. It almost seems like a recommitment to the craftsman era of the 1900’s when small groups of people got together bonded by their passion for art, furniture making, architecture, whatever. This movement which was essentially anti-industrial stood for craftsmanship and simplicity, and while today’s movement may seem read more

FileTransporter: Small Business Solution for File Sharing

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A New File Sharing Option Hits the Market

As a confessed Kickstarter Junkie, and as an excuse to continue my addiction, I thought it might be fun to review some of the items we’ve acquired — actually it’s just me, but saying “we” makes me feel better — and let you know what we think. The first one to enter the spotlight is the new Transporter from Connected Data a small business solution for file sharing.

Online collaboration has become the norm. A number of solutions facilitate that collaboration including online file sharing. With offerings like DropBox, Google Drive, SkyDrive and Box there is no shortage of choices; however, the more of these solutions that come into play, the more the monthly expense compounds. With staff and clients accessing our DropBox, our monthly expense has climbed well north of what it was originally and we expect this trend to continue. So when we saw the Transporter project on Kickstarter it looked really interesting as a solution for small business file sharing.

Transporter promises the same type of online file sharing with a simple interface, better security and no monthly fees. It also comes in several “flavors” including 1 TB and 2 TB storage offerings, so we jumped on board and ordered one to test as a replacement for DropBox. read more

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3 Strangers at Home in the People Business

880 461 Nathaniel Seevers

I’m sitting down to write this out of the blue post at 11:30 am on this here Friday morning and I’ve already had the pleasure of crossing paths with 3 cool strangers in 3 hours. All of them passionate about their work. All of them interesting and genuine.

All of them with great names too….weird.

These 3 new strangers; Bren the coffee shop barista, Slade – a networking connection, and Monroe over at the electronics store have me feeling inspired this morning. Yes, people do still go to the electronics store.

Now, I meet new people often and I visit a number of different coffee shops and retail locations. People are typically friendly and helpful in Columbus, so what made these 3 folks so inspiring? read more

17 Reasons You Should Know About Kickstarter

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Some of you may know about Kickstarter, but to some, it will be new, so hang in and follow along…

Hi, my name is Marsh and I’m addicted to Kickstarter.

It all started because of my love for, and fascination with, gadgets. At first, it was just small things like smartphones, apps and anything that buzzes, whirs or makes a lights up. Then someone turned me on to Kickstarter and that is where things got worse

For those of you who may not know Kickstarter, it is a crowdsource platform for new products and services. Think of it as a storefront for ideas, the ultimate in window shopping. Anyone who follows the Kickstarter guidelines can launch a product. Companies promote their offering via a mini business plan, product description and usually a promotional video. They establish a fundraising goal for the launch and let people vote with their wallets.

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A Plea to Get Your Business Online

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I’m here to help your business, so I wanted to make a simple plea.

Please use the internet to reach your audience. For your own sake… please…..

Millions and millions of folks across the country are logging in every day. Folks sitting in their cubicle are surfing the web while they’re supposed to be working. Retired grandparents are sitting at home reading Facebook on their iPad. Anyone under 30 is trying to look you up on their iPhone (hopefully not while they’re driving) or asking their Twitter friends for recommendations on businesses that do exactly what you do. read more

5 Must Reads for Small Businesses

5 must reads for small business folks and business dreamers

880 461 Nathaniel Seevers

Not every book you read to help your small business has to do with accounting or hiring and firing or how to be the perfect manager. Those may be important topics but so are less tangible subjects such as inspiration, creativity, and differentiation.

Below are five must-reads for small business owners and business dreamers of all sorts.

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Seducing Your Audience

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Choosing between boring, yelling at or seducing your audience seems obvious; seduction wins, duh! But all too often we don’t take the time to seduce the audience. We fall into messaging, writing and design that will offend nobody and –  consequently –  will engage nobody.

Seduction requires being subtle in some ways & overt in others. Being forward yet being coy. A bit of tug & pull will have your target audience drooling over read more

Analytics Marketing Tips

842 452 Nathaniel Seevers

Analytics Marketing Strategies

Understanding analytics marketing these days seems to require the Wizard of Oz. A group of uniquely important characters, related in more ways than they realize – all with individual goals that turn out to be on the same ultimate path. They all rely on each other to get where they’re going. They all have a role to play. read more

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The Benefits of Internships

880 461 Shout Out Studio

I can sit studying Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs and core elements of consumer-driven marketing strategy for years, which it seems I have been doing nothing but for 4 years. Yet no matter how much I immerse myself in my textbooks, nothing will prepare me for real life experience more than working in, well, real life.

This is where Shout Out Studio comes into play.

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Plan Your Work with Margins

880 461 Nathaniel Seevers

The last few months have been a sprint. Seeing how times like that can impact the quality of work and life got me thinking about margins. Not the profit kind, though they are important for your business. I’m referring to time margins. Thought margins. Creative margins. Take a break margins. Read some fiction margins. Listen to your favorite record margins. Go for a walk, play with the dog, grab a drink with friends, margins. read more

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