Tag Archive: business

  1. 7 Business-Minded Books You Can Finish in One Trip to the Beach this Summer

    Oh, summertime — a brief period where Florida goes from “jeez, it’s pretty hot out” to “OH MY GOODNESS, I DIDN’T REALIZE MY EYEBALLS COULD SWEAT.” It’s not all bad, however, as summertime just so happens to be a perfect excuse to spend your days manning a grill, yelling “cannonball” before splashing nearby bikini-clad sunbathers, animals and small children, and hitting the beach for some quality time spent sitting in the sand and doing a whole lot of bum-diddly-nothing.

    In many ways, the summer can be seen as a time to recharge, revitalize and get in a little rehab time. With that in mind, we took the time to pick seven books that you can finish in one beach trip this summer. Factoring in brevity and usefulness of topics at hand to professionals in nearly any industry, we’re confident that these books will pair well with a cold Mai Tai, reclined beach chair and the soothing sounds of crashing waves and seagulls squawking overhead, just waiting for you to take your eyes off of those potato chips.

    Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly

    Author: Bernadette Jiwa
    Pages: 176

    Meaningful

    Written by a working marketer and brand storyteller, Meaningful is a quick read that sheds light on marketing in the modern (digital) world. Plus, it’s backed by Seth Godin, who seems like he may know a thing or two.

    Buy/Download it.

    Who Moved My Cheese: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life

    Author: Spencer Johnson, M.D.
    Pages: 94

    Who Moved My Cheese

    A classic, svelte read that is valuable to anyone who fears change, so…pretty much everyone. A simply written book that can be truly powerful for those looking for a bit of guidance in tackling anxiety about the future, this is invaluable for any modern professional.

    Buy/Download it.

    Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers

    Author: Jay Baer
    Pages: 223

    Hug Your Haters

    Taking a cue from the PR best practice of never ignoring your critics, this book addresses the best strategies for dealing with your audience — yes, even the “haters” in the crowd (torches and pitchforks be darned).

    Buy/Download it.

    Steal the Show: From Speeches to Job Interviews to Deal-Closing Pitches, How to Guarantee a Standing Ovation for All the Performances in Your Life

    Author: Michael Port
    Pages: 274

    Steal the Show

    The ability to stand and deliver speeches with impact and clarity is a skill that comes to some lucky souls naturally. For all us who may less-easily embrace the podium, whether it’s for a big speech, client pitch or job interview, this book provides some great strategies from a practiced actor and successful corporate speaker.

    Buy/Download it.

    Leadership: How To Lead & Influence People To Ultimate Success (Learn to Motivate, Elevate & Communicate Effectively)

    Author: Frank Gibson
    Pages: 67

    Leadership

    From CEOs to project leaders, anyone in charge of managing and motivating a team of professionals knows all too well that this responsibility always comes with complications and challenges, especially for those new to the position. This quick read can help point your leadership strategy in the right direction.

    Buy/Download it.

    Laser-Sharp Focus: A No-Fluff Guide to Improved Concentration, Maximised Productivity and Fast-Track to Success

    Author: Joanna Jast
    Pages: 192

    Laser Sharp Focus

    As you’ve been reading this blog post, did you check your phone? Open up your Facebook in another tab? Stop to pick a new Netflix show to start as soon as you exit out of this article? You’re not alone, as attention spans are limited and distractions just seem to keep growing. Check out Laser-Sharp Focus to learn some strategies to combat the daydreaming, mind wandering and endless distractions that kill our productivity every day.

    Buy/Download it.

    Found: Connecting with Customers in the Digital Age

    Author: Matthew Certo
    Pages: 130

    Found

    Written by a guy we can personally vouch for (our CEO, Matt Certo), Found does a great job of packing big ideas into a small, paperback package. Blending social media, content and search engine marketing is no easy task, but finding the right audience for your message can be just as challenging. Read Matt’s strategy for putting the right people in front of the right messaging in order to get business booming.

    Buy/Download it. Or, you know. Stop by our office.

    Time away from the office is an absolute must in order to come back bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (and tan-lined). As a Floridian in particular, it’s easy to take for granted our peninsular state’s plentiful, pretty-as-all-get-out beaches, especially with hectic professional schedules. However, with quick, informative books that can be tackled over a long weekend, the worry of being unproductive during your “me” time is no longer an excuse to keep you from kicking back, relaxing and getting some much-needed beachside T.L.C.

  2. What is Organizational Culture?

    Team in an Office

    Culture is a word that is thrown around quite a bit in today’s business climate as leaders think about building and growing strong organizations.  In a constantly changing and evolving global marketplace, I believe that the culture of a company is of critical importance in terms of building and developing the organization itself.

    That said, I’ve found that when many people talk about “culture” they are unsure of exactly what the word means in the context of a business.  It is a word that has many definitions with no singular answer.  Culture is also a concept that I find myself revisiting often to remind myself of what is actually is and why it is important to think about.

    I first read about the concept of culture in college.  One of the benefits about having attended Rollins College was its emphasis on liberal arts education.  I found myself in classes that were more focused on the humanities and less on the hard sciences.  I learned more about reading and writing than I did about physics and calculus.  One anthropology course I took featured the book, Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches:  The Riddles of Culture.  It explained how and why cultures form within groups and why, for example, the cow is so revered (or sacred) in India beyond its spiritual implications.

    Name TagAs I started to think and learn about more business, I was struck by different examples of leaders modeling the behaviors they wanted to see within their own companies.  Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner wrote in his book, Work in Progress:  Risking Failure, Surviving Success, that he would consciously pick up trash in his parks when he saw it.  The message?  While some CEOs would assign menial tasks like debris removal to the nearest low-level employee, Eisner wanted to promote a climate of teamwork, and all-hands-on-deck collaboration.  He also believed that every person should be called by his or first name.  His name tag said ‘Michael’ just like that of a parking attendant or server.

    I also saw negative examples of group culture form.  I once worked with a company whose leader used fear and threats to advance an otherwise positive agenda.  I saw how his management team adopted this style as well and how the climate became rigid, uncomfortable and unforgiving.  The result?  More people were focused on simply not getting fired than they were on advancing the company’s mission.

    I’ve also learned that a winning culture doesn’t just happen on its own.  Great companies like Ritz-Carlton have intentionally designed their cultures just like an architect designs a building.  The New Gold Standard is a book that talks in great detail about how Ritz-Carlton conducts morning meetings every single day about the facets of its culture.  One morning’s subject might be about anticipating customer needs while the next one might address the importance of referring to co-workers as “Ladies and Gentlemen.”  The lesson?  Culture can be written about or discussed, but it has to be reinforced regularly.

    So, how can we actually define organizational culture?

    As our team thinks about growing and developing a winning culture, there are a number of definitions that have surfaced.  Here are a few ways that others define culture:

    1. A system of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs, which governs how people behave in organizations. This definition is similar to many textbook definitions.  It is a codified set of facets that guides a group to an accepted standard of behavior.  Ritz-Carlton has taken a comprehensive approach to this and hires and manages based upon this set of beliefs.
    2. How we do things here – Short and sweet, I heard the leader of a national not-for-profit describe his definition of culture using just these five simple words.  Using the example above, Michael Eisner demonstrated that the way Disney “does things” is by using an all-hands-on-deck approach.  His actions said, “I’m the CEO but no task is beneath me.”
    3. Stop Sign

      Photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/renneville/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

      The rules of the road. “Rules” can seem like a scary word, and antithetical to the cultures of companies like Southwest Airlines, which have fun, sing on the airplanes, and wear funny hats.  But rules can be comforting to people, because they let teammates know what they can expect.  For example, I know how everyone should behave when I come to a 4-Way stop sign.  I wait my turn and so do the three others at the intersection once we arrive.  Rules also keep you safe in high-risk situations.  My guess is that award-winning trapeze teams have some pretty deeply held rules when it comes to performance.

    At Findsome & Winmore, we are thinking long and hard about building and developing a great culture.  In our quest to do so, I hope these different examples and definitions we have found are helpful in your quest to do the same.

  3. 4 Summer Marketing Tips to Avoid the Dreaded “Slump”

    sleeping man

    Summer isn’t only associated with fun in the sun, cold frosty drinks and treats, and vacations. Unfortunately, it’s also associated with what marketers like to affectionately call the “summer slump.” Just because things tend to slow down during this hot time (no pun intended) it doesn’t mean your marketing needs to.  Drink some iced coffee, read our list of summer marketing tips below and FIGHT THAT SLUMP!

    1. Ready…Set….Go!

    Your marketing doesn’t need to go on hold just because people might be less active during the summer months. Keep active with your marketing channels like your blog and social media accounts. This all aids in your SEO and just because they might not be paying attention to you now, this content your pushing out will help in your future.

    2. Keep it local

    Although the economy has recovered quite a bit, consumers are still cautious of spending and they’re spending less. Knowing that your customers are tending to stay local and enjoying  what’s around them gives you the opportunity to keep your awareness level high. Try out sponsoring local events like concerts, sporting events, festivals, etc.

    3. Experiment and adjust

    While the traffic is low, why not experiment with your marketing and see what you can do differently and what could potentially work for you? Ideas can start from testing your presence via other media channels, promotions, PR and more. Summer is also a great time to review your marketing plan and make any changes as you see fit, review your current website and see if any changes are needed, and create new white papers, blogs, and other juicy content.

    4. Reach out and touch

    Use this time to get in touch with your customers both old and new to gain feedback on what you are doing right and wrong. Find out what their thoughts are on your products and services.

    Also send out some notes or make some calls to check in with clients and let them know they are top of mind for you. I personally love sending and receiving hand written notes and it can go a long way with a customer. Not many businesses use this old school practice and it can make an impact.

    This season can be fun for everyone, so take these summer marketing tips and enjoy yourself this season both in the office and outside of it!

  4. Focus Your Digital Marketing: From Chaos to Order

    Nearly every day a new app, social network, or technology appears promising to make your job easier and kick your next campaign in to high gear. Thanks to the real-time component of social media, marketers can invest a lot of time and energy in the things that will impress and connect with customers online.

    The function of marketing has evolved significantly as there’s been an explosion new channels – both online and offline – including web, email, social, video, e-commerce, and mobile devices. We build community engagement initiatives, develop content around the objectives of of education and awareness, and hope that we can establish early connections with customers online with the end goal of earning their trust and interest. 

    While new and emerging tools allow us to get closer to our prospects, customers, and fans, the integration of all these digital marketing disciplines can often lead to chaos.

    As our world of marketing has become much more complex, the objectives have ultimately stayed the same and are the connective tissue that brings these tools together into one cohesive strategy.

    Digital Chaos to Order

    Goal-Setting 

    New technology and social marketing present an overwhelming array of options to marketers, who have become disillusioned by the allure of “the next big thing” and the endless array of possibilities. So often we take the view that doing something is at least better than doing nothing–How many times have you heard, “Let’s create an app” without first asking why?

    Specific short and long-term goals are essential to creating your marketing strategy.  Any exercise in marketing planning should begin by exploring your expectations of the plan itself. And it doesn’t have to be complicated! Established goals should center on how well the technology aids brand engagement, and whether it helps users consume your content and products.

    Metrics and ROI

    Of course we want to reach the right audience with the right message to drive a conversion, but too often, we waste valuable resources evaluating every metric we have access to, rather than focusing on the metrics that really matter to our campaign.

    Marketo offers this advice: “To streamline your next campaign, make a list of everything you want to measure. How many items are on your list? 20? 30? More? Look at each metric, and ask yourself: ‘What decision would I make differently if I knew this number?’ If you can‘t come up with a clear answer, it’s not a good metric.”

    Solid marketing metrics should make your decisions significantly easier.  Data is everywhere (and very “big” these days), so we need to become increasingly savvy about the best ways to leverage it. Marketing in the digital world is still all about results.

    Stop Doing What Isn’t Working

    As famed author Mark Twain once said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” Stop doing what isn't working

    Sometimes a campaign won’t produce the results you were hoping to see.  The trick is learning to identify when these situations just need a few small tweaks to realign with your goals and when the campaign is going to fail, no matter how much tweaking you do. A willingness to risk failure also requires the confidence and resolve to cut and run.

    While this might be a sore topic for your team’s next planning meeting, you must stop doing things that don’t work.

    There can be lots of reasons why something fails, but resources are finite and the correct distribution of resources to achieve the maximum results is what separates mindless execution from strategic marketing.

    Whether you’re brand new to social marketing and technology or a seasoned digital marketing manager, the integration of all these marketing disciplines can often lead to chaos.  If you find yourself lost in the explosion of new marketing tools, don’t forget the bottom line: Why are you marketing in the first place?

  5. Information as an Incentive

    For a customer, information is an incentive. An asset.
    I received an email from Brooks Brothers today inviting me to visit the firm’s Web site to learn how to tie various tie knots. The presentation is well done. It’s built in Flash, is animated, and very user-friendly. It motivated me to go because I have always been curious about various tie knots. There was something in it for me…and the incremental cost to Brooks Brothers was virtually nil. I didn’t buy anything today, but perhaps I will in the future.
    A marketer can use information to get a prospect to do something. I wonder why more marketers don’t use it more often.
    Most ads I see focus on what’s in it for the company, not what’s in it for the customer. Take this week’s (6/26/06) issue of Time Magazine. I had it on my desk and picked it up to do a quick poll. Of the first twelve ads in the magazine (from Apple and Land Rover to Edward Jones and LG), all had Web site addresses. But the calls to action were about them, not me. One told me that the site would help me find their store (so I could give them my money). Another told me that the site would explain to me how well the product performs (so I could be convinced to give them my money). Several offered me the very exciting prospect of ‘learn[ing] more’ or ‘find[ing] out more’ (so I could give them my money, I’m sure).
    LG, maker of HD televisions, would be better off offering me some sort of information. How about this: “Confused about HD? Please visit our Web site to download your free copy of Consumer Reports’ comparison report on different television projection types.”
    Edward Jones, investment agency, would get a lot more mileage out of me with an information incentive. Perhaps something like this: “Curious about saving and investing? Log on to our site today to see the top 10 investing mistakes that baby boomers are making today.”
    Creating and uploading this information costs nothing to these companies. Creating the impression that it’s ‘all about them’ (and not about me) does.

  6. Netflix RSS

    I’ve noticed recently that Netflix is using RSS feeds for a number of things. Most interestingly, the company is allowing customers to subscribe to new release announcements. It makes it easier for customers to stay active with their accounts–a sure issue for customer retention.
    Many tend to assume that RSS is just for blogs. It’s important to remember that it can be used for a number of different applications beyond just blogs.

  7. Big/Small Company Blogging

    The St. Pete Times has a pretty interesting (and accurate) article about the different ways that small and large companies are approaching corporate blogging. Small companies seem to be embracing the medium faster than larger companies who seem to be taking more of a wait-and-see approach. It seems natural, though, in that larger companies have Sarbanes-Oxley issues, more bureaucracy to contend with, and–frankly–more to lose. The article describes attitudes in the business community which are consistent with what I see lately within small (more aggressive) and large (more hesitant) companies. Thanks to Josh, who is quoted in the article, for the tip.

  8. Best I’ve Seen in a Long Time!

    Viral marketing has become a bit of a cliche over the years. Many try to use the tactic without really thinking it through. But the latest promotion from CareerBuilder called monk-e-mail is the best execution I’ve seen in several years. Not only is the creative hilarious, but it’s customizable via telephone, text-to-speech, and microphone. I would bet that CareerBuilder’s market awareness will benefit significantly from this approach.

  9. Rules for Webmasters

    Google’s rules for Webmasters has a little quote that has been on my mind. When explaining to Webmasters what is reasonable and ethical when optimizing your site for its index, the rules encourage you to ask yourself: “would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?” Their point is that too many sites/Webmasters are letting the search engines drive their design and construction decisions.
    Unfortunately, Google’s success makes us all fail their litmus test. It’s not a fair question. They’re building a culture-altering business based upon Web searchers -and- Web advertisers. The impact has been so significant that an aggressive marketer is almost forced to alter their online efforts because Google exists.
    I’m all for fair play, but Google’s search formula seems to really reward the folks who play the game well. Try a few searches on some general keywords and notice that a fair percentage of the high-ranking sites are ones who excessively repeat words to a point where the text on pages doesn’t even make sense to a human being. That’s just one of many ‘violations’ that many employ. Yet, they’re rewarded.
    What’s needed? More policing? Harsher penalties? From my perspective, the ‘rules’ seem to be in a bit of conflict with the rewards.