Twitter Link Roundup #291 – Loads of Good Stuff For Small Business, Startups, and Designers! Mike | October 16th, 2015

Last week I wrote about how much Chicagoans love our city. This week we had another great reason to do so. What, you ask? The CUBS, I answer! For the first time in their 100 year+ history, our dear Cubs won a playoff series right here at home, in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. Does this come as a surprise to us? Well not if you are a fan of the the 1989 film, Back to the Future II  which, actually, I am. The screenwriters Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale called it (we hope) and you can watch it unfold for yourself, right here!

Go Cubs!!! Now catch your breath, calm your beating heart and relax. It’s time for you to enjoy another fabulous set of links and articles that we shared with you over the past week on our  crowdSPRING Twitter account (as well as my own Twitter account)! We do love sharing articles about fonts, logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! Enjoy!

smallbusinessblog

How To Ditch Your “Problem Customers” crowdspring.co/1OhQkMd

A 4-Step Checklist That Will Increase Your Chances of Starting a Successful Businesses crowdspring.co/1Le12kk

The 1 Huge Thing Missing From the GOP Tax Plans So Far crowdspring.co/1Vz7Uje

startupsblog

Why Airbnb Just Bought A Quirky Russian Industrial Design Firm crowdspring.co/1M6WVYg

The Easiest Way to Know if Your Has Project Failed crowdspring.co/1LdWx9C

Beliefs Ultra-Productive Entrepreneurs Share About Time Management And Business

At this factory, the workforce is paid in pennies crowdspring.co/1OSZ3Vj

Pleased to Beat You: The Stories Behind 5 Epic Brand Rivalries crowdspring.co/1hlp5BY

Leadership: 7 Ways to Get From Good to Great crowdspring.co/1L1VWV4

Surprising Insights Of Successful Employee Engagement crowdspring.co/1OhQpiY

Like An American Girl: Going Beyond The Doll For A More Empowering Image crowdspring.co/1LbCN23

Kickstarter – In Photos: Top Crowdfunding Sites For Entrepreneurs crowdspring.co/1Le1101

How This Finance Executive Got Promoted While On Maternity Leave crowdspring.co/1LbCog0

5 Reasons Why You’re Probably Procrastinating Right Now crowdspring.co/1LbClRg

Best Leadership Books of All Time crowdspring.co/1hloGPZ

Key To Success: Beauty Box Company Birchbox Says It’s Not Just About The Box – Forbes crowdspring.co/1Le1I9p

Cognitive biases that can effect your decision making « crowdSPRING Blog crowdspring.co/1RyuWAR

Tips for the Aspiring Angel Investor crowdspring.co/1LbCMLr

Digital Transformation Doesn’t Have to Leave Employees Behind crowdspring.co/1LbCMuU

What Parenthood Taught Me About Being A Better Manager crowdspring.co/1OT093m

Finding the Balance Between Pragmatism and Your Ideals crowdspring.co/1OSSAcN

“Punk Princess” Zandra Rhodes Embraces Fair-Trade Fashion crowdspring.co/1Q0OpsY

Visualized: Global Trade As A Frenzy Of Color-Coded Pixels crowdspring.co/1VAYmPr

Building a Trustworthy Brand in the Digital Business Environment crowdspring.co/1LbpNcy

Read the rest of this post »

Fresh from the SPRING: badaboom Audree | October 14th, 2015

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 badaboom. Check out more great work on badaboom’s profile page.

Nicely done, badaboom, nicely done!

FFS-BADABOOM

 

 

 

From the Vault: 7 biases that can effect your decision making Mike | October 12th, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: We originally published this post back in 2010. I really loved this piece, but that could be my own susceptibility to #3, below… 


Einstein once said, “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.” Common sense, Einstein was arguing, can often be the enemy of rationality, science, and fact-based decision-making. We are all guilty of this; every day our decisions are tinged by favoritism, rules of thumb, partiality, heuristics, predilection; call it what you will but our biases come into play with every decision we make and every tactic we execute. The trick is to recognize our own biases, question them every day, and be constantly aware of their often pernicious influence on our decision making.

Here are my 7  favorite cognitive biases, each of which has the ability to impact on your decision-making process, and some thoughts on how they can be leveraged and ways counteract their influence in your quest for wise determination.

1. Anchoring.
Humans have a tendency to rely very heavily on one specific piece of information in their decision-making.  This can happen in everyday life decisions, or in important negotiations. For instance, when looking at a new house a buyer may notice that the roof needs work, and may be prone to focus on that alone, while ignoring the fact that the seller has recently installed a new HVAC system, upgraded the electricity, and refinished all of the hardwood floors. The same seller, during negotiations, may wisely make a low (but not ridiculously low) offer to the buyer in the hopes of “anchoring” the negotiation around that lower number. Studies (most famously Tversky and Kahneman) have shown that when asked to estimate a number or percentage, if the researcher suggested a low number, the participant’s estimates would skew lower, and when a high number was suggested, the result would be the opposite.

How can small business owners leverage this bias? Be aware of the “lock-in” effect, and assess all information critically. Remember that your counterpart in any negotiation may present information that is self-serving, so look skeptically at the particulars. Anchoring can also be used to your advantage – remember that your negotiating partner is equally susceptible to this bias.

2. Bandwagon effect.
We are prone to believe that if lots of other people are doing something that we can or should do the same. We see this every day with people buying products, attending movies, and even joining political movements. Just because others do or believe something, does not necessarily mean that it is the best course of action, or the most valuable philosophy. Herd behavior and conformity can have a negative impact on your business decisions and can impact your ability to consider alternatives and define problems.

How can small business owners leverage this bias? If everyone else is onboard with a plan or proposal, there may be good reason to question why. Seek out alternatives and remember that groupthink can destroy a team’s effectiveness and limit a manager’s ability to choose between viable options.

3. Confirmation bias.
Closely related to the Bandwagon effect, is the confirmation bias. This is a predisposition to look for or information that confirms something we already believe. In other words, we prefer to see data that supports what we already “know,” so if you are politically conservative, chances are good that you prefer the information you get from Fox News. On the other hand, if you are a liberal, you would probably be more comfortable consuming your news via the Huffington Post.

Read the rest of this post »

Twitter Link Roundup #290 – Seriously. A Ton of Good Stuff For Small Business, Startups, and Designers! Mike | October 9th, 2015

We do, after all, love our city. Chicagoans are true and for good reason; we live in a place that is underestimated and overlooked in so many ways and for so many reasons. For instance tonight starts the National League Divisional Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and (guess who?) our beloved Cubs. It’s taken since 2008 to get back to October baseball, but the Cubbys finally have a shot at going all the way! Now everyone knows how loyal we Chicagoans are to our sports teams, but one thing many people don’t really know is just how incredibly beautiful our city is. The guys who made this video, however, definitely get it. Their careers took them away from home, but that didn’t stop them from warming up their drone, making sure their lenses were clean and giving us this beautiful gift of a video celebrating the spectacular beauty of our city!

Now that we’ve got you primed for your next visit to Chicago, settle back  and enjoy this great set of links and articles that we shared with you over the past week on our  crowdSPRING Twitter account (as well as my own Twitter account)! We do love sharing articles about fonts, logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! Enjoy!

smallbusinessblog

Small Business Tips: Document Your Business Processes | crowdSPRING Blog crowdspring.co/1RkqhlX

Office Design Tips to Foster Creativity crowdspring.co/1hlodxa

Coming Soon to Checkouts: Microchip-Card Payment Systems crowdspring.co/1LzLSGL

Ways To Profit From The Pope Visit crowdspring.co/1OVcy5Q

‘Make Something Beautiful’: A Father’s Business Lesson crowdspring.co/1gRDeqe

startupsblog

7 Secrets to Being an Extraordinary Creative Manager crowdspring.co/1hliIP7

Why 11 A.M. Coffee Makes You More Productive crowdspring.co/1L8HM9L

Makeshift Society’s Eastward Expansion crowdspring.co/1LbgGJ6

How Not to Be a Sleaze (or a Martyr) in Your Business – Copyblogger crowdspring.co/1OfifuL

Meet The Most Powerful Force In The Star Wars Universe: The Man Who Makes The Toys crowdspring.co/1LdLnSk

How Baseball Is Competing With Apple and Google for Analytics Talent crowdspring.co/1gRDaH0

India Replaces China as Next Big Frontier for U.S. Tech Companies nytimes.com/2015/09/28/tec…

Lessons From Entrepreneurs Who Kept Their Day Jobs While Starting Their Businesses crowdspring.co/1WkFiHb

Case Study: 3 LinkedIn Users Share their Specific Successes and Challenges on the Platform crowdspring.co/1ML93PK

Special Olympics and Microsoft Cloud crowdspring.co/1MspWvO

Why the Perfect Manager Is Mature, Stable, and Boring crowdspring.co/1LbBfFa

It’s All About The Kids — And The Money — At The Learning Experience – Forbes crowdspring.co/1MLjK4Z

An Open Email From a CEO to All Outstanding Candidates crowdspring.co/1Msrshm

Starbucks Falls Short After Pledging Better Labor Practices crowdspring.co/1LzMRXu

The Great Divide in Workplace Benefits crowdspring.co/1KBSBuG

How to Prevent a Corporate Midlife Crisis crowdspring.co/1OVctPr

What to Do When Your Boss Has a Mental Illness crowdspring.co/1Wl7I42

The World’s Greatest Public Speaker on the Power of Words crowdspring.co/1OVdnLU

How Volkswagen Got Away With Diesel Deception crowdspring.co/1OVdmYl

3 ‘Lessons Learned’ for Parents and Entrepreneurs Alike crowdspring.co/1LzLUyi

Read the rest of this post »

Fresh from the SPRING: happymunmun Audree | October 7th, 2015

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 happymunmun. Check out more great work on happymunmun’s profile page.

Nicely done, happymunmun, nicely done!

 

FFS-happymunmun

 

 

Small Business Tips: Document Your Business Processes Mike | October 5th, 2015

As managers or owners of a business, we usually think about succession planning in the context of who will take over the company once we leave. This is critically important for any business large or small, and the negative impact of poor succession planning can be devastating if something goes wrong and a very fast transition occurs. Think to yourself, “What if I get hit by a bus today” and you’ll get the idea. If you got hit by a bus, you’d want to know that not only is the right person standing by to take the reins, but you’d also want to be sure that they know where everything is and how everything needs to be done tomorrow.

At some companies this is pretty simple. The designated heir may have trained under the boss for months or even years. She may have been tutored in every single thing the boss does on a day-to-day basis and she may know how all of the paperwork and digital assets are organized and filed. She may have learned step-by-step how the boss manages operations: paying the vendors, negotiating the agreements, managing the HR, and maintaining the BI.

The operational details of a small business can range from simple to wildly complex, but documenting them well is something you will never regret and something that (post-bus) may save your business!

1. Plan for succession. Who exactly will take over? What will her role be when you’re gone? How can you clarify the details of what will happen on day 1 post-you? Well it starts with a careful process of planning and execution. Once you have identified the person or people who will take on your responsibilities, you’ll need to focus on those activities and tasks they will take over. And after that? You need to undrestand how the knowledge transfer will take place. Read on…

2. Make a list. Take a look at what you do every day and write it down. If you start today and keep it up for a few weeks, you can begin a journal of sorts that documents all of the operational aspects of your company and how you manage it. The list itself is a great jumping-off point, but once you have created it take the time to determine what’s important for succession and what’s less so. Whittle your list down to the 10 or 15 most important (and usually complex) tasks you perform on a regular basis; these are the activities you will want to document for the person who’s job it will be to take them on.

3. Record the process. I have found that the easiest way to document your activities is to do it in real time; go about your business, do your thing, but take step-by-step notes while you perform whatever task it is that you want to document. For instance, when performing a task such as budget reconciliation, keep two documents open: the spreadsheet or financial software you use for the job and a Google doc or Word document where you can record what you are doing step-by-step. How you format that document is up to you, but I prefer a simple numbered list of every step I take as I take it. The next time you perform the task (maybe in a week or a month depending on the specific chore) Open your document and use it as you do the work; make any edits or additions and file it away safely. It will necessarily take you longer than usual to perform the task, but the record you create will be invaluable to the person whose job it will become to do this work when you are gone. Read the rest of this post »

Twitter Link Roundup #289 – All Sorts of Good Stuff For Small Business, Startups, and Designers! Mike | October 2nd, 2015

I love autumn. Why? Well in part, because I love pumpkin. The most delicious baked goods in the world start with the pumpkin, whether your tastes lean to the pumpkin breads or the pumpkin pies. Not to mention the pumpkin latte! And, when they start to rot and ferment? The possibilities for endless entertainment abound! Like this guy for instance – my advice to him is to never again eat that rotted out pumpkin left on someone’s front porch!

And my advice to you, dear reader, is to ignore the impulse to get yourself some fermented pumpkin and see how it feels to be like our little buddy here. I have an alternate idea…  How about this sweet set of links and articles that we shared with you over the past week on our  crowdSPRING Twitter account (as well as my own Twitter account)! We do love sharing articles about fonts, logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! Enjoy!

smallbusinessblog

How to Onboard New Clients the Smart Way with Paul Jarvis crowdspring.co/1LzpX2h

9 Ways To Profit From The Pope Visit crowdspring.co/1OVcy5Q

How to Work with Colleagues Who Are Less Creative than You | HBR – buff.ly/1KVDB15

startupsblog

Special Olympics and Microsoft Cloud crowdspring.co/1MspWvO

‘Make Something Beautiful’: A Father’s Business Lesson crowdspring.co/1gRDeqe

India Replaces China as Next Big Frontier for U.S. Tech Companies nytimes.com/2015/09/28/tec…

Lessons From Entrepreneurs Who Kept Their Day Jobs While Starting Their Businesses crowdspring.co/1WkFiHb

25 Quotes That Show How Bill Gates Became the Richest Person in the World crowdspring.co/1OUqXiz

Time Management Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making crowdspring.co/1L7ZZEE

Why I Fucking Hate Unicorns and the Culture They Breed – buff.ly/1MYiWd7

Dear startup advisors, you don’t always need to be right, but you have to be solid | Sneakerhead VC –buff.ly/1MTbboM

First-Time Managers, Don’t Do Your Team’s Work for Them –buff.ly/1Ff8rQ7

Life’s Work: An Interview with Andre Agassi – buff.ly/1L1fXAi

Tips for SaaS Roadmap Planning | Coding VC – buff.ly/1NPoYNj

Startup studios & Google’s change to Alphabet have a few things in common. twitter.com/RyanNegri/stat…

The Story Behind How Pocket Hit 20M Users with 20 People | First Round Review – buff.ly/1FgnGIt

Convertible Debt Explained in Entrepreneur English – buff.ly/1FgmOUb

“If you’re not ready to be uncomfortable, you’re not ready to be an entrepreneur.” – buff.ly/1NPTHd5

How we lost (and found) millions by not A/B testing –buff.ly/1OvhuPE

Read the rest of this post »

Fresh from the SPRING: JALdesigns Audree | September 30th, 2015

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 JALdesigns. Check out more great work on JALdesigns’ profile page.

Nicely done, JALdesigns, nicely done!

JALdesignsFFS

 

 

We Entrepreneurs Can Learn a Lot From Pope Francis (and VW) Mike | September 28th, 2015

I am not a religious guy. I do not come from a religious family. I am a business guy, so I don’t usually pay a lot of attention to religious leaders, no matter what flavor of spirituality they represent. But Pope Francis’s visit to the US this past week has been very hard to ignore and, as someone who reads the papers and pays attention to the world around me, I have to say that I am impressed with the way the Pope handles himself, his image, and his messaging.

Here is a guy who is the head of one of the world’s great religions and holds what is arguably the most powerful religious job in the entire world, yet his quiet message of humility and modesty speaks powerfully and carries an immeasurable moral weight. When the Pope declares that capitalism is a negative force in the world, whether you agree with his contention or not, he does so with authority and gravitas. He is a real leader: listened to, and followed because he leads his own life as an example for others to follow.

Interestingly, the Pope’s visit to the US coincided with the unfolding scandal at Volkswagen. It is rare that ethical examples can be drawn so sharply, but when we look at VW’s apparent attempts to circumvent regulation, to mislead customers, to hold the bottom line above all other values and when we compare that to Pope Francis’s message of care for the less advantaged among us, it serves only to further condemn the leadership at VW.

Francis is an ideal leader; the kind of leader that entrepreneurs can and should model themselves after. The leadership at VW provides the negative example. By leading quietly and and modestly, by speaking with authority and setting an example to follow the Pope teaches us to listen closely to other people, empathize with them, know their pain points and advocate for their issues. When we look to VW’s management, the lessons implied are to take advantage as much as possible, to ignore the greater good, and to inflict pain in the name of profits. For an entrepreneur this applies not just to your team, but also to your customers and how your company communicates with them, listens to them, and markets to them.

I have written before about how we can learn from kidsdogsmusicians, chefs and, most recently, diplomats – these all provide lessons from which we can learn. The Pope provides perhaps the most important lesson of all: lead by example and lead with purity of purpose and with the greatest or moral and ethical focus. And (by extension), don’t be VW.

Photo, Wikimedia: His Holiness Pope Francis delivers his message

Twitter Link Roundup #288 – Necessary Stuff For Small Business, Startups, and Designers! Mike | September 25th, 2015

Jack Anderson was a student at Dodge College when he made this video for his student thesis project. Clearly talent and hard work went into the project and it paid off with awards from major festivals and competitions, including recognition as a finalist in the 2015 Student Academy Awards, a finalist in the 2015 Student BAFTA Film Awards, and winning the Best Student Film honors at the Nashville Film Festival! Media coverage came pouring in from Fast Company, Vice, and even Popular Mechanics. The filmmaker started with a critical question: “What would happen when two creatures of logic have to start making more and more human decisions?”

Now, it’s time to ask yourself a question: What would happen after you’ve finished watching Anderson’s work? How about you get to work looking through the set of links and articles that we shared with you over the past week on our  crowdSPRING Twitter account (as well as my own Twitter account)! We do love sharing articles about fonts, logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! Enjoy!

smallbusinessblog

How to Map Out the Business That You Want to Build crowdspring.co/1g7wvIh

The 20 Jobs With The Biggest Salary Increases This Year crowdspring.co/1MrJksN

How to Make Sure Your First-Time Manager Succeeds crowdspring.co/1MKG9PP

Simple Things to Give Up If You Want to Succeed crowdspring.co/1OnY9yW

9/11 Memorabilia Makers Seek a Delicate Balance crowdspring.co/1LrKl17

What every political candidate needs to know about small business voters crowdspring.co/1UPpIRf

Ways Baby Boomer’s Businesses May Fail In Near Future crowdspring.co/1UN9gXc

startupsblog

5 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Diplomats | @crowdSPRING Blog – crowdspring.co/1Mh5JM1

Fashion week gets a new look crowdspring.co/1OnYcL6

The Terrible First Jobs of 7 Startup Titans crowdspring.co/1F6XuQe

First-Time Managers, Don’t Do Your Team’s Work for Them –buff.ly/1Ff8rQ7

How Singapore Has Become a Vital Bridge Between Silicon Valley and Asia crowdspring.co/1OnYaCU

7 Things I’m Going to Do to Take My Business Overseas This Year – Online Shipping Blog | Endicia crowdspring.co/1O8TUrK

TED Talks Every Entrepreneur Must Watch crowdspring.co/1K8cUTn

Personality Types and the Best Careers for Each One [Infographic] crowdspring.co/1O8Tu4L

First-Time Managers, Don’t Do Your Team’s Work for Them –buff.ly/1Ff8rQ7

How to Work with Colleagues Who Are Less Creative than You | HBR – buff.ly/1KVDB15

Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook and the slow death of the web – buff.ly/1Kwx2zS

Lessons From The Early Pitch Decks Of Airbnb, BuzzFeed, And YouTube crowdspring.co/1MkC4Sc

Helping Waste Pickers Earn A Better Living While They Keep City Streets Clean crowdspring.co/1OnXspe

How Income Inequality is Affecting America’s Next Generation of Business Leaders crowdspring.co/1LrK0eA

The Secret to Keeping Top Millennial Talent crowdspring.co/1K8ciNr

The Story Behind How Pocket Hit 20M Users with 20 People | First Round Review – buff.ly/1FgnGIt

Convertible Debt Explained in Entrepreneur English – buff.ly/1FgmOUb

How we lost (and found) millions by not A/B testing –buff.ly/1OvhuPE

Read the rest of this post »

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