Being quick on your feet is critical in life - and business. It takes creativity. You need to be able to figure out what's coming your way and come up with a smart and effective response. Sometimes the data will tell you what choice to make, but data is useless when you're facing something brand new. Because let's face it, sometimes there's no playbook you can refer to.
In business, flow matters. When your team, ideas, and goals are in sync, it's easy to build momentum. When all of those things are performing their own solos or playing in different time signatures, your organization is at risk of becoming discordant and all over the map. That might work for avant-garde jazz, but it's not great where profit margins and growth forecasts are involved.
As we start to resume our regular work-life programming, organizations and employees alike are weighing whether to return to the office, stick with remote working, or meet somewhere in the middle. While many employees are contemplating a perpetual remote working situation, companies have mixed feelings. Notably, the tech behemoths who told employees they could work from home indefinitely are now encouraging workers to return to the office - and they're not alone.
To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the office's death are greatly exaggerated. Although there's been a ton of discussion this past year extolling the virtues of working from home - shorter commutes, less chit-chat, workday flexibility - a whopping 94% of people are itching to get back to the office in some form.
Here's why workers want to get back to the office, and how we can help them get the most of it.
Kermit the Frog might be on the record saying it's not easy being green, but these days nothing is further from the truth. With 60% of people gravitating towards green-minded businesses and a whopping 80% saying they respect these companies, being green is both good for the planet and for business.
So what does it mean to be a green leader, and how can you make it happen?
Success doesn't happen in a vacuum. No matter how smart, driven, and accomplished you are, you can only get so far on your own. Whether it's noodling on the guitar, learning a foreign language, working on your golf swing, or building an 8-figure business, you'll achieve more under the wing of a seasoned pro than by trying to figure it all out on your own. Warren Buffett might have experienced a very different trajectory without Benjamin Graham and Charlie Munger. (And, to take it full circle, the same goes for Bill Gates without Warren Buffett!)
It’s a dog-eat-dog world in the realm of business sometimes. Competition is fierce. While that can seem somewhat intimidating, it’s actually a good thing. Competition is what helps drive innovation and helps keep a business current and relevant.
However, businesses that dive into their industry without fully knowing and understanding what their rivals are up to is a recipe for failure. Below are a few ways to use such intel to your advantage.
As a wise person once said, "the harder I work, the luckier I get." That's good news for the driven and industrious among us. With St Patrick's Day here, we've got luck on the mind, so let's look at how to channel hard work into luck - and make sure that your business is swimming in (four-leaf) clover.
Business is all about balance. And by that, we mean the ratio between management and creative has to be 1:1. We've all shaken our heads at those artsy, creative brands that look great but have no real business model under the hood. But we do the same when we encounter those ultra-smart, innovative businesses whose marketing is so dry we don't even bother to engage. At StellaPop, we think of these brands as "right-brain" (the Warhol) or "left brain" (the Spock) brands. All have promise. They just need to balance things out a bit by walking that middle line and becoming a "bridge brain" brand (the Da Vinci). Here's how.
Even if you've explored virtual events or virtual, hybrid events in the past, chances are you're still entering a brave new world where virtual events are your ONLY option. This means you may need to beef up your event planning team. Ensure you include those with the talents and skills capable of navigating all of the technical aspects of a high-level virtual event.
In chess, you can play defense and try to keep the other player from pushing ahead, or you can go on the offensive and try to capture their pieces in a relentless pursuit of checkmate. In Netflix's smash, The Queen's Gambit, chess prodigy Beth Harmon was famously "all offense." And she sent every other player running as a result.
From hosting virtual family meals to dropping off presents on doorsteps, the holidays will look different this year. While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to rethink how we celebrate, that doesn't mean you can't make this season a special time for your team.
Oh, what a year it's been! So many changes and disruptions that were definitely not on the radar when we rang in the New Year. While there has been a lot of devastating losses this year, there've also been new trends the business world can be grateful for.
From socially distanced desks to working outside, businesses have had no choice but to adapt to our new reality as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. But while working from home and virtual meetings can be quite successful, there are still occasions when a more personal touch is required.
Strong workplaces are all about communication. In fact, great communication is associated with increased morale, productivity, and engagement. But now that many of us have spent months working remotely, we realize just how hard it is to keep a team connected, looped in, and feeling heard. Here's how to leverage your hard-won communicative skills to their fullest extent.
It's a shark-eat-shark world out there. Every business wants to shore up its corner of the market by sinking its teeth into that perfect differentiator. But that's much more easily done when you're a big fish in a small pond versus one of many vying for supremacy in the same waters. While competition drives innovation, creativity, and customer-oriented approaches, it also puts a lot of pressure on brands to stand out and deliver serious value.
In honor of Discovery's Shark Week, here's how to channel your inner predator to carve out your niche in a competitive marketplace.
This entire past decade has been about the foregrounding of experience. Experience is key to how we interact with brands of all types, from these we shop with to those we work for. Brands that recognize the value of experience give us something to align ourselves with and something to get behind. They don't just have customers or employees: they have fans. Those that don't? They risk being relegated into the dustbin of "businesses" instead.
Here's what will separate the brands from the businesses in 2020.
With a new decade, brings a new wave of tech and I bet you are wondering what’s in store for 2020. On the rise is a wide range of tech that will affect businesses and consumers. We advise always staying updated on tech trends as they can help accelerate your business past your competitors.
Here’s a shortlist of what we think you should look out for in 2020.
Age gracefully. What on earth does it mean when someone tells you to age gracefully?
Everything in popular media tells us to freeze aging– stop it in its tracks while you can. But, time moves. Technology transforms everything from customer needs to business models. Everything Ages.
The thing to remember, however, is that to age gracefully isn't to go quietly into the night. It's not getting stuck in "old ways" and it's not taking on everything new for the sake of it being new.
The end of the year is fast approaching, and with it, estimations on what the future has in store for businesses everywhere. While some trends are already fading out, there are plenty of new trends on the rise.
We foresee shifts in thinking, shifts in creativity, and shifts in public discussions just beyond the horizon.
Businesses that want to stay competitive will have to keep an eye on the evolving landscape and become early adopters of new ideas and technology. A little risk today can lead to big rewards tomorrow.
In 1958 the average lifespan of a business was 61 years. Today, the average lifespan is around 18 years, according to a study by McKinsey.
As we walked (and then ran) into the digital age, how, when and where we do business has completely transformed. In its wake, the business graveyard has grown and not many are pausing to mourn the losses of Blockbuster, Blackberry, Yahoo, or any other ghosts of businesses' pasts.
Innovation. It's a term all too often used to describe the latest technology, as if it's synonymous with invention. But, in reality, invention is only ever one aspect of innovation in the business world.
Business innovation is all about finding new, disruptive and more effective methods in the name of boosting the bottom line. It's implementing new ideas, products, processes and more in order to increase revenue.
So you’ve successfully bootstrapped your way to a real company with great offerings and you’re starting to see some real growth. Congrats! Hopefully, people are spreading the word and the trajectory is trending nicely upward for the foreseeable future. Up next on the leadership todo list: Scaling your operations to handle this growing amount of work.
First, let's get this out of the way. Growth and scaling are two different goals, growth is about adding incremental growth percentages as a factor of turnover whereas scale is a process-driven approach to growth. Growth and scale require different management styles, below we’ll run through a few important questions you should be asking yourself before you start the process of scaling.
When interviewing potential employees, we don’t merely ask them to list their strengths for us. Often, we’ll ask them to tell us what their weaknesses are as well. This helps us get to know them better. And it reveals where we might be able to assist them if we bring them onto our team. Our businesses could use this same type of insight.
Knowing your company’s weaknesses will only make your organization stronger. It’ll reveal two things:
- Where your organization still needs to improve
- How to reposition your company’s weaknesses as strengths
Most of us today can readily admit we’re suffering from data overload. Information comes at us from all directions, even when we aren’t necessarily looking for it. When you’re trying to run a business, it can feel as though there is an endless tide of data and analytics to wade through, information that sometimes feels tough to make head or tails of.
Though measuring certain things is definitely beneficial to the growth and success of your business, it can be easy for the most important data to be lost amid all the noise. The only way to combat this is to stick to measuring what matters. Don’t just focus on the nitty-gritty, make sure you assess the big picture too.
What's the first word you think when someone brings up the business Blockbuster Video?
Out-of-business? Obsolete? Old school? Wasn't that in the Captain Marvel movie?
What if we were to tell you Blockbuster Video was ahead of its time? Really, it's too bad they couldn't have innovated to keep up with the technological shifts because, in terms of the trajectory of consumer behavior, Blockbuster Video was a trailblazer.
You see, Blockbuster Video figured out something that many businesses are just now realizing: consumers are willing to pay for access to a product instead of ownership of it.
Since about 2010 we've been seeing articles about the increasing trend of mobile workforces and remote workers. More and more companies are offering remote work days. Some are moving towards hiring more contractors who work entirely from home, sometimes even from the other side of the country. Then we also have a fading away from restrictions on sick days or personal time.
All of this relies on the idea that your employees are adults who get their work done and can handle their business.
We're no longer seeing a new trend or expecting mobile workforces to become popular. It's here.
Have you ever thought about the path that someone takes to become a customer? From the moment someone comes into contact with your brand – whether it's through a banner ad or a Twitter post – they're starting a journey. Once a potential customer is aware of your company, the hope is that they will seek out more information via things like your website, social channels, or online reviews.
But ask yourself this: What does their experience look like? One of the best ways to figure this out is to understand and map your customers' potential paths of engagement with your company, otherwise known as their customer journeys.
What's the vision of your company? Can you see it? Can you explain it?
Having a clear vision for your company is crucial to not only its success, but it's basic survival. Operating a business without one is like walking blindfolded through a forest, hoping that by just moving your feet you'll get to the other side.
Your vision should be succinct; a vocalization of your purpose; and a mark to aim your efforts.
Make sure you read part one of the series first!
If you’ve ever tried to get multiple people to understand and implement new processes, you already know that it can be akin to herding cats. The cats only grow in size when you're trying to change the way your business operates.
It's important for all team members to be on the same page because as your business grows, this only becomes harder. So, how can you begin to overcome this hurdle?
It’s no secret that change is hard. Times change, people change, and your business will definitely change.
There's this little saying among parents, "the days are long, but the years are short." It's often used to remind each other that while the tantrums can be draining, life moves and changes quickly.
Whether you have kids or not, the sentiment that time passes and life changes quickly are relatable to anyone. It's probably even more poignant to business owners.
It happens to the best of us. It can derail high-level projects in the best companies. When scope creep shows its ugly head, we are forced to navigate those dreaded and turbulent waters. "Creep" can create a massive ripple effect that is real, that can extend way beyond that one project. It can have a domino effect on timelines, pipelines, and possibly a whole client base.
Your unique selling proposition (USP) is what sets your product apart from your competitors. It's a way of positioning your product, service or even yourself for market success, and it's critical for building a viable business that drives customer loyalty.
Do you know?
You might have numbers running through your mind about how much you're spending on a social media campaign, or how much it costs to maintain an active blog on your website - but this is a different question altogether.
Let's say you got up this morning to see a new sale from a brand new customer. A lead turned into a customer - huzzah! Now, how much did it cost you to convert that lead into a customer? And then convert them into a loyal customer?
When it's qualified.
Your sales funnel is working the way it should, and leads are coming through. But not all leads are created equally. We all know that you're going to have to kiss a lot of frogs. For every person who'll ultimately buy your product or service, there are the tire kickers, the preliminary shoppers and those who can't or won't buy what you're selling. In fact, only about 25% of leads end up converting into actual sales. Every business needs to create marketing (three touchpoints is a good standard) touchpoints that lead people through their funnel.
Do you dream of starting your own company? Itching to build your own business and be the boss? While it is possible to succeed as an entrepreneur with a single great idea, more often than not, successful entrepreneurs come from seasoned backgrounds in their industry.
The beginning of the year is often flooded with goal setting. Goals are wonderful. They're motivating. They're often a way of tracking your success. Goals are great.
But let's get one thing straight. A strategy isn't the same thing as a goal. A strategy is the how and the why. It's choosing what to do and what not to do.
And a business without a sound strategy fueling its actions is sunk no matter how good you're at setting goals.
Almost all business leaders want to take their company to the next level — whether that means innovating product or service development, growing their consumer base, or becoming a household name. But what about really making waves? If you're looking to shake the very foundation of your space and take control, you're looking to disrupt your industry.
You may have heard this catchphrase before, but what does it really mean to disrupt an industry? It's about more than just developing innovative products or services — it's forcing deep changes to the way the industry operates. And because of the disruption, other companies are required to change to the new way of doing things in order to stay relevant.
You've had a brilliant idea, one you think could turn into a rare "unicorn". But before you dive headlong into launching a business, first take the time to validate your idea. This will help ensure that there's room in the market for your idea - along with potential customers. It can also save you from doubling up on something that already exists, or attempting to shoehorn yourself into an overcrowded vertical.
Here's how to figure out whether your idea has legs.
The word resilient has two definitions in general use. The first refers to a person or entity that's able to withstand and recover from difficult situations. The second reference an object with the ability to spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed.
It’s that time of year again. The time where we look back and assess where we’re at and what we’ve done. Evaluate what worked and what didn’t and make plans to do even better moving forward. With that said, the end of 2018 is closing in fast. Did you accomplish all of your business goals for the year? Achieve all of your business dreams? Or do you feel you’ve fallen short?
You may be puzzled by the title of this post. You might ask yourself, "Why should I want to mirror a startup culture? My company is established and thriving." While that may be true, there are many positive things to be gleaned from a startup mindset that can improve any size business.
When you think about a startup culture, visions of air hockey tables, modern furniture, brightly colored walls, and an all-fun mentality may come to mind. But in reality, a startup culture is so much more.
Here are a few common tenants of startup culture that could benefit your business and everyone in it.
It’s not easy being a solo entrepreneur. But that's showbiz baby.
Since you’re ridin' solo, you are forced to wear many hats which can be both exhilarating and exhausting, depending on the day. Thankfully, technology and the era of internet has made working alone easier than ever.
There are tools and apps and goodies galore to help you make the most of your day, get “all the things” done, and even do them on a budget. Keep reading for some our best “gotta have ‘em” tools to help make your solo venture successful.
The vision many people have when they dream about running a business is often a far cry from the day-to-day reality. The freedom, flexibility and fine dining lunches don't necessarily materialize. In their place, many small business owners struggle with long days, stress and cash flow.
Though common, those issues don't need to be part of the experience. Often, they arise when small business owners need a stronger grounding in the basics of business operations and process.
Here's what you need to know to ensure that your business ticks along like a dream.
So you have a brilliant new product, idea or message. But getting the word out to encourage widespread awareness and adoption is more easily said than done - unless you understand exactly how ideas spread.
Strategic planning is used to define your company's priorities, direction and goals to ensure that everyone is working together towards the same outcomes. Done well, it gives you a roadmap of the actions you need to take to reach your goals - and a way of measuring success.
There are many different frameworks and approaches for strategic planning. Our preferred approach involves 8 key steps across 4 phases:
Outsourcing has become a trend that doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. With technology advancements come progress and change, and many companies are deciding that one of those changes is a move to outsource more of their business needs, instead of hiring in-house.
Keeping employees in your company consists of many things: Salary, benefits, office, location, etc. However, another facet of company retention involves benefits or in this case perks: Free gifts that a company offers to help foster productivity, and boost morale within the organization.
You know the old saying: innovate or die. It’s never too early to start creating an innovative work environment for your business to thrive.
Whether you’re a startup CEO working out of the garage (just as Steve Jobs once did) or a CEO with the flashy corner office, there’s power in defining priorities. With these four priorities in place, your day-to-day life of running your successful business will be much easier.
Topics: Business Consulting
Our copywriter, Brad Dunn, jumped in his car and headed south on an epic road trip with his son to view the solar eclipse a few weeks ago, here are a few business lessons he learned. Take it away Brad...