Twitter Link Roundup #248 – Small Business, Startups, Innovation, Social Media, Design, Marketing and More Mike | December 19th, 2014

As this is the final roundup before Christmas 2014, I thought it might be nice to show you a gift that you won’t be able to give. Why, you ask? The good folks over atCards Against Humanity offered a special expansion pack for lovers of the game. Unfortunately the limited run sold out in a very short time, but the video above will show you exactly what you missed out on. Enjoy!

We hope you enjoy your holiday, but now… it’s time for our weekly roundup! Great links and articles we shared with you over the past week on our  crowdSPRING Twitter account (as well as my own Twitter account). We do like to talk about logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! I hope you enjoy!

smallbusinessblog

Want To Close More Sales? Try Tablets | Usability Geek –crowdspring.co/1zdiJKs

Building Trust In Client Relationships And The Power Of Saying “I Don’t Know” | Search Engine Journal –crowdspring.co/1CVzygR

Customer Service: The Difference Between Empathy and Sympathy | crowdSPRING Blog – crowdspring.co/1BY6mlc

5 Fast–And Cheap!–Ways To Make Your Office Space More Productive | Fast Company –crowdspring.co/1A8SCmS

Time Is the New Money. Are You Broke? – crowdspring.co/1A8SIuB

How to Tell Your Small-Business Story – crowdspring.co/1u8ovXv

startupsblog

Small Business and Startups: How Do I Thank You? | crowdSPRING Blog – crowdspring.co/1GkbtP7

Where are the Women Software Engineers? – crowdspring.co/1pIoZb3

A Great Name Tells You More Than Just What the Company Does – crowdspring.co/1y6b38N

6 Alternatives to Being a Bad Boss – crowdspring.co/15XucTU

3 Potent Secrets to Innovation | by @DanielBurrusbuff.ly/1GqXiYw

Wonderful startup story … When we were small: Under Armour | The Washington Post – buff.ly/1ssMC3m

Why Fear Kills Productivity – crowdspring.co/1u8orHd

Can this Silicon Valley strategist teach Fortune 500s to share? -buff.ly/1CWc7UF

Rethink What You “Know” About High-Achieving Women – crowdspring.co/1u4ihc6

A Pitch Deck Containing These 15 Slides Is More Likely to Get the Money – crowdspring.co/1yDqCsa

Read the rest of this post »

Fresh from the SPRING: JohnBlaine Audree | December 17th, 2014

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we noticed this gem submitted in this logo project.

Let us start the slow clap for JohnBlaine. Check out more great work on JohnBlaine’s profile page.

Nicely done, JohnBlaine, nicely done!

FFS-JohnBlaine

 

Customer Service: The Difference Between Empathy and Sympathy Ross | December 16th, 2014

Most customer service teams respond to customers with sympathy. A sympathetic response could be: “I’m also unhappy with the way that product works.”

Sympathy is rarely an ideal response to a customer’s problem. Instead, show empathy. Empathy allows to you be professional and caring at the same time. It also allows you to avoid becoming emotionally involved (like when you show sympathy).

Think about it this way: when you’re sympathetic, you simply feel badly for someone. Sympathy doesn’t communicate to a customer that you understand WHY they feel the way they feel – it only allows you to communicate that you understand their problem. A typical response – “I’m sorry” – is insufficient to solve a customer’s problem. You must do more.

On the other hand, empathy communicates that you not only understand the customer’s problem, but also that you can relate it to something you yourself have experienced.

Here’s a wonderful short RSA video (by Dr. Brene Brown) that puts the two (empathy and sympathy) in context.

Small Business and Startups: How Do I Thank You? Mike | December 15th, 2014

Mom taught us well. She raised us to be polite and she raised us to consider other’s feelings. For many small business owners saying thanks to your team is a head-scratcher. Performance-based bonuses can be a powerful incentive for individuals, and profit-sharing plans can reward great teamwork, but saying thank you can and should rise above those. Besides, not every business can afford meaningful bonuses for the team and not every business has profits to share in the first place.

People (read, your team) have a very basic need to be appreciated. Simply saying, “Thank you” for a day’s work, for a solid accomplishment, or for a record of loyalty can go a long way towards job satisfaction and can act as a motivator by reinforcing the behaviors, productivity, and creativity that we all value so much. In fact, studies have shown measurable gains in productivity when positive interactions outweigh the negative ones. The scary thing is that a recent poll showed a very high percentage of workers reporting that they had not received a single affirmation for the good work they had done over the past year. Yikes.

So, small business manager can take simple steps in the way of “Thank You’s” that carry meaning, that are sincere and thoughtful, and that act as a reflection of the culture of the company. Affirming (with consistent regularity) the hard work and contribution each person makes to the team is the low-hanging fruit. Showing your love for your employees is never a bad idea, so here are 6 simple (and free to inexpensive) ideas for special occasions, or even for no occasion at all!

1. Say it! Stop at an employees desk. Sit down next to him. Smile to let him know that this visit is not about a project or a meeting or a deadline. Look him straight in the eye and say “Thank you.” That’s it. Done. (PS – this can also be done  at the lunch table or on the phone or in the elevator. Duh.)

2. Write it. Sadly, the art of the hand-written note is a dying one. Very few people take the time to write a card or  note even on the most appropriate occasions. So what better way to surprise and delight an employee than with something so simple, so unexpected ad a thoughtful, hand-written note or card telling them how much you appreciate something they did, something they learned, or simply that you appreciate having them on your team.

3. Surprise them at surprising times. Paying close attention to the people around you and listening to what they say can lead to wonderful moments to say thanks and these don’t have to be for someone’s birthday, or anniversary, or at the holidays. At any random time during the year, something as simple as a $25 gift certificate to a restaurant you heard a worker mention can show her not only that you appreciate what she does, but that you respect her as a person. People like to know that they are heard, whether the context is a meeting or a water-cooler discussion about great places to eat. Plus, people love surprises and when they receive a gift (even a tiny little one) at a time they wouldn’t normally expect one, the impact is magnified and the value of that thank-you is greatly increased.

4. Shout it out! Recognizing a team member in front of the rest of the team can be a powerful motivator and there are plenty of opportunities to do it. At crowdSPRING we have a bulletin board crowded with printouts of tweets and emails from our customers complimenting this or that team member  and when a new one arrives, the shout heard around the office is “Put it up on the board!” There are lots of other great venues for recognizing folks: a team meeting is a great time to give a shout out and tell the story of an individual to let everyone know about their big accomplishment or their stellar effort. If you publish a newsletter, this is also a wonderful way to acknowledge someone’s contribution.

5. Help them learn. People value opportunities for personal growth virtually as highly as they do monetary benefit. Google recognized this with their “20% time,” which allowed employees to take one day a week to work on side projects (with great results: Gmail being one). Everyone who works for you has their own hobbies and special interests  and these should be not just celebrated and shared, but you should enable your team to pursue what interests them. Training and development programs can also be a great way to say thanks while building capacity and skills for your company; sending your folks to conferences, seminars, and professional development courses go a very long way to showing how much you appreciate someone.

6. Do stuff together. Lastly, time together doing fun or interesting things is a great way to say thanks while providing the chance for team building and personal bonding. Do outings together, eat lunch together, share movies and books with each other, and plan time away from work where you can just have fun with the folks from work. At cS we have had events as different as company outings to a day at Lallapalooza to after-work beers, to movie nights in the home theater and to a team kayaking trip (the photo at the top of this post was taken this past September on the Chicago River at dusk!).

Twitter Link Roundup #247 – Small Business, Startups, Innovation, Social Media, Design, Marketing and More Mike | December 12th, 2014

“Make it snow,” says Captain Picard! Have a listen to this wonderful leader’s very own version of this old holiday chestnut.  13 days until Christmas, but who’s counting, anyhow? WE ARE!

And now… our weekly roundup of the great links and articles we shared with you over the past week on our  crowdSPRING Twitter account (as well as my own Twitter account). We do like to talk about logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! I hope you enjoy!

smallbusinessblog

How to Tell Your Small-Business Story – crowdspring.co/1zdweK9

12 Best Free Invoice Generators –  crowdspring.co/1G58WrV

5 Ways To Help Employees You’re About To Lay Off | Fast Company – crowdspring.co/159KAQE

Need a Business Idea? Here are 55 – crowdspring.co/1zPHB9F

Food Trucks 101: How to Start a Mobile Food Business – crowdspring.co/1qW98Xf

How to Motivate Employees in Less Than 5 Minutes – crowdspring.co/1CzhuZY

Setting up shop: 5 steps to opening a store | Money – crowdspring.co/1yDojFH

It’s Absurd That Health Care Costs Are So Confusing – crowdspring.co/1yDomRJ

How To Find a Great Business Coach – crowdspring.co/1CzhN6M

startupsblog

A look at 5 sectors: “2015: Some Trends!” | crowdSPRING Blog – crowdspring.co/1CZ4wVl

Make Time for the Work that Matters – crowdspring.co/1BqNUnV

The Real Reason Unlimited Vacation Policies Work | by @mvolpebuff.ly/1w3kqsO

Coca-Cola Plans to Help Startups Around the World – crowdspring.co/159Mot0

8 Qualities of Leaders Who Deliver Value Every Day – crowdspring.co/1A8QSK8

Where are the Women Software Engineers? – crowdspring.co/12gwMCO

4 Ways To Create More Entrepreneurial Teams | Fast Company – crowdspring.co/1zJjKba

How to Show Employees Love (Even if it Makes Them Feel Awkward) – crowdspring.co/1CzgUvd

Why Fear Kills Productivity – crowdspring.co/1u8mL0k

You Won’t Get It Right on Day One – crowdspring.co/1pIOCbP

7 Things Successful Entrepreneurs Do – crowdspring.co/1pIQxNE

Lessons From Burning Man on How to Unlock Creativity and Think Big – crowdspring.co/12h0PKB

How to Scrub Out The Toughest Personalities – crowdspring.co/159LQTM

When You Give Your Team a Goal, Make It a Range – crowdspring.co/1yINX9Z

7 Simple Ways to Appreciate your Team (and Boost Performance) – crowdspring.co/1veUNVr

13 Things Startup Founders Aren’t Thankful For – crowdspring.co/1B6KrdY

Don’t Get Burned by Your Burn Rate – crowdspring.co/159KKrk

A Refresher on Net Present Value – crowdspring.co/11LJvw6

TV-Streaming Firm Aereo Files for Bankruptcy | WSJ – crowdspring.co/1Fh64Ie

Making Failure More Productive | Harvard Business Review – crowdspring.co/1vCXLVU

Rethink What You “Know” About High-Achieving Women – crowdspring.co/1G5fIhv

14-Year-Old Entrepreneur on Meeting President Obama | Fox Small Business – crowdspring.co/1reRybq

How I Learned To Code On The Job | Fast Company –crowdspring.co/1zJjEjL

Nobody Said Entrepreneurship Was Easy | Trep Life – crowdspring.co/1qW8yZy

Read the rest of this post »

Payoneer Is Coming to crowdSPRING! Mike | December 10th, 2014

We are happy to announce that, as of next week we will be offering a new payment option for crowdSPRING Creatives. In addition to receiving your awards via PayPal you will also have the option of signing up for Payoneer, a leading provider of global payment solutions, for additional flexible and low-cost payment options.

We will no longer offer direct Bank Wire transfers, but through our friends at Payoneer, you can now choose between two additional payment options: a pre-paid Credit Card or bank transfer service:

  • Bank transfer: Once you have signed up for the Payoneer service, you can both transfer funds from your Payoneer Account to your local bank account. This service is currently available in 200+ countries and over 90 local currencies, which you can view here. The rates for this service are significantly lower than our previous bank transfer provider and payment is typically received in just 1-3 days.
  • Prepaid Credit Card: You can also choose to have your awards deposited directly to the Payoneer Prepaid Credit Card. This service is supported in more than 200 countries and your payouts will be available for use within 2 hours! Once funds are available, you can use the card to make purchases online, in stores, and at ATMs worldwide – whereverCredit Card is accepted! Or withdraw funds from your Payoneer Prepaid Credit Card to your local bank account in up to 90 currencies!

 

We’ll be making this change as of December 22nd, at which time we will no longer support direct bank wire transfers. If you have bank account wire information stored in your mySPRING Payment tab you will have to add a new Payoneer or PayPal account in order to be paid. Any payments that are already scheduled for wire transfer payment will be paid before the end of the year, while any new payments will have to be scheduled using PayPal or Payoneer. We will also be making payments to Payoneer accounts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, instead of just once per week!

Oh yes, one other thing – our friends at Payoneer have a very special offer for crowdSPRING users: if you register now through your Payment tab, Payoneer will throw in free card activation, free payments to your card and free bank transfers! This offer is for a limited time, so HURRY!

If you have any questions, please contact our support team!

Fresh from the SPRING: hookartist Audree | December 10th, 2014

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we noticed this gem submitted in this logo project.

Let us start the slow clap for hookartist. Check out more great work on hookartist’s profile page.

Nicely done, hookartist, nicely done!

FFS-Hookartist

2015: Some Trends! Mike | December 8th, 2014

It is totally that time of year again. Decorations are everywhere, strains of holiday music can be heard in every Starbucks in the land, delivery truck drivers are straining under the weight of gift-laden cartons, and annual lists of trends are popping up on blogs everywhere.

So, thinks I, why shouldn’t I jump in on this trend of trends-lists? Everyone else is doing it, right? Maybe I have some insight that the others don’t? Maybe I can come up with a trend that everyone else missed? Maybe I can leverage my superior perception and share with you a trend or three that nobody else has? Well, maybe not, but perhaps a slightly different approach. After reading dozens of these posts over the past few days, I thought it might be interesting to look at 5 different sectors (digital marketing, social media, manufacturing, SEO, and energy) and find one or two really good ones for each. How’s that sound? Well, here ya go:

1. Digital marketing. Many are predicting the rapid rise of a new c-level position at lots of businesses: The Chief Digital Officer. Business News Daily, says that the CDO will be tasked with developing “effective strategies for mobile and digital platforms.” Well considering that many businesses are already deeply engaged in doing just that, it makes a great deal of sense that a senior executive should take the lead. As digital marketing becomes de rigeur  for companies large and small, the responsibility for the success or failure of strategy should be taken by someone whose salary reflects its relevance.

2. Social media. One of the most intriguing trends reported in the SM sphere comes via Entrepreneur.  The ubiquity of smart devices and the sensors embedded in these will allow the sharing of reams of personal data across all of your favorite platforms. Your refrigerator could tweet about how many calories you’ve consumed while your fitbit posts how many you’ve burned to your Facebook page. In the meantime, your Nest thermostat will be posting how many therms you’ve used heating your home through the 2015 polar vortex while your bathroom scale shares your weight with the world. Is there no decency left?

3. Manufacturing. Industry Week reports the rise of “next-shoring” as a strategic opportunity. A cousin to the concept of Just-in-Time manufacturing where suppliers locate close to producers  as a way to manage inventory efficiently, with next-shoring a manufacturer locates it’s facility close to where they will be sold. By reducing the time between factory, shipping facility, and store shelves producers bring their goods to market faster and cheaper. The winner? Well, it’s the consumer of course!

4. SEO. Inc published several, but the most compelling may be their contention that  long-tail search traffic may be where the best ROI is to be found. For many on-line advertisers, one and two-word key phrases are ridiculously expensive instruments for ranking success and that smart marketers will leverage the higher rates of conversion in long-tail search.

5. Energy. Jane Weissman posts that power grids will be recognized for what they are: an amalgam of wires, sure, but the best new grid designs recognize that must also take into account everything from system reliability to customer engagement to rate setting and energy efficiency. ,In other words, the trend is to recognize that modern grids are made up of so much more than simply towers and cables.

Illustration: Brian Solis and JESS3’s Conversation Prism, Wikimedia Commons

Twitter Link Roundup #246 – Small Business, Startups, Innovation, Social Media, Design, Marketing and More Mike | December 5th, 2014

Thanksgiving is past and Christmas, Hannukah, Kwaanza and New Years  are fast upon us, so what better way to prepare than with a taste of the toally bizarre. Yes, we do admit a fondness for Hasselhoff aroound the crowdSPRING office, and above is a video that simply could not escape our notice.

But enough about The Hoff – it’s time for our weekly roundup of the great links and articles we shared with you over the past week on our  crowdSPRING Twitter account (as well as my own Twitter account). We do like to talk about logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! I hope you enjoy!

smallbusinessblog

Telltale Signs That You Might Be a Bad Boss | 1stwebdesigner – crowdspring.co/15aYQbM

How I Learned To Code On The Job | Fast Company –crowdspring.co/1zJjEjL

Food Trucks 101: How to Start a Mobile Food Business – crowdspring.co/1qW98Xf

5 Ways To Help Employees You’re About To Lay Off | Fast Company – crowdspring.co/159KAQE

Holiday Hiring By the Numbers (Infographic) – crowdspring.co/1CzjykC

7 Simple Ways to Appreciate your Team (and Boost Performance) – crowdspring.co/1veUNVr

Working the Land and the Data – crowdspring.co/1CyYlao

startupsblog

Making Failure More Productive | Harvard Business Review – crowdspring.co/1vCXLVU

13 Things Startup Founders Aren’t Thankful For – crowdspring.co/1B6KrdY

The Very First Startup Founder You Need to Invest in is You -buff.ly/1FJGb42

Creativity+social impact | Forbes( with @devindthorpe and @hersheys Andy McCormick) – crowdspring.co/1CJTOls

4 Ways To Create More Entrepreneurial Teams | Fast Company – crowdspring.co/1zJjKba

A Refresher on Net Present Value – crowdspring.co/11LJvw6

How to Show Employees Love (Even if it Makes Them Feel Awkward) – crowdspring.co/1CzgUvd

Insight for entrepreneurs … What Salary Means – buff.ly/1zJBwuQ

Coca-Cola Plans to Help Startups Around the World – crowdspring.co/159Mot0

Why Eric Schmidt doesn’t know how Google works | VentureBeat by Tom Cheredar -buff.ly/1pIDhbC

When You Give Your Team a Goal, Make It a Range – crowdspring.co/1yINX9Z

Acquisitions — If You Do Sell, Try to Make Sure It’s At a Local Maximum | saastr – buff.ly/1wh5loQ

Vision Statement: How to Lie with Charts | HBR -buff.ly/1tGyByr

The Lindy Effect on startup potential | by @ASmartBearbuff.ly/1pHY5Qz

How to Launch a Company With Some Creative Marketing and a Few Llamas – crowdspring.co/1veUgCV

Team dynamics and the secret sauce of powerful product teams. – buff.ly/1yA2buH

14-Year-Old Entrepreneur on Meeting President Obama | Fox Small Business – crowdspring.co/1reRybq

TV-Streaming Firm Aereo Files for Bankruptcy | WSJ – crowdspring.co/1Fh64Ie

Read the rest of this post »

Fresh from the SPRING: nellista Audree | December 3rd, 2014

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we noticed this gem submitted in this book cover project.

Let us start the slow clap for nellista. Check out more great work on nellista’s profile page.

Nicely done, nellista, nicely done!

FFS-dollhouse-book-final