Twitter Link Roundup #260 – Fresh Baked Resources for Small Business, Startups, and Design! Mike | March 13th, 2015

Those of us who commute to work every day often find ourselves gazing at the people around us. Well, the photojournalist Rebecca Davis turned her gaze on the people she saw on her commute, on the NYC subway. She’s turned the still images into a powerful and moving video, that captures the everyday ennui of our daily commute.

OK, now wake up! Your commute has come to an end, you’ve reached your stop and it’s time for our weekly Roundup! Here are a mess of 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 so like to talk about fonts, logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! Enjoy!

smallbusinessblog

Strategy and Focus in Small Teams: the New Black | crowdSPRING Blog – crowdspring.co/192O4Xv

Things to Know About Filing Tax Extensions for Business crowdspring.co/1BfrjZu

Half-Day Productivity Hack to Knock Out Your Priority Projects crowdspring.co/1EU9stP

Things Freelancers Should Know About Filing Their Taxes crowdspring.co/1aQooxS

startupsblog

Distinctive Ways to Impress Your Team That Will Make You Stand Out crowdspring.co/17YlDc8

Why Most Startups Fail crowdspring.co/1NqAEE3

Cancelling One-on-One Meetings Destroys Your Productivity – buff.ly/1b2XZgl

The surprising secret about SMEs’ Churn http://crowdspring.co/1MxZel2

Common Questions Leaders Should Never Ask – buff.ly/1ExotD4

Andreessen Horowitz: 10 Most Common Funding Questions – buff.ly/1E8POIN

What the Seed Funding Boom Means for Raising a Series A | First Round Review -buff.ly/1MpI7A2

Essential Secrets to Retaining Your Best Employees crowdspring.co/1Bbn56l

Motivational Quotes from Legendary Entrepreneurs, Leaders and Visionaries (Infographic)crowdspring.co/1Gr35jm

Ways Your Business Can Support Social Impact Switch & Shift crowdspring.co/1NqAEUE

How to Go From 20 to 500 Employees Without Breaking a Sweat crowdspring.co/1A4mEqx

Why This Startup Won’t Let the Team Work From Home crowdspring.co/1CHW7Fq

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Fresh from the SPRING: billhill_art Audree | March 11th, 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 billhill_art. Check out more great work on billhill_art’s profile page.

Nicely done, billhill_art, nicely done!

FFS-billhill_art

 

Strategy and Focus in Small Teams: the New Black Mike | March 9th, 2015

Critical to any successful business is the ability to create and execute upon strategic planning. Large organizations manage this process by distributing elements of high-level strategy across multiple units, silos, or departments, each with the responsibility to effect their own sliver of the overall plan. This can often lead to bureaucratic inefficiencies, watered-down approaches, and ineffective execution.

Small businesses have a distinct advantage when it comes to developing and executing strategic plans, even though working with a small team can be a trial, particularly when a product or service is complex. Small teams, constrained by capacity, can be severely tested when tackling larger problems, or executing plans with many moving parts. But working with small teams is rewarding, and extremely effective when done well. The challenge is to find ways to increase the team’s productivity, encourage individual ownership, and unleash creativity though the collaborative process.

One of the greatest advantages of a small team is the intimacy that is created. Strong bonds develop quickly when working closely together and when there is minimal hierarchy, open communication, transparency into goals and process, and a collaborative approach to identifying problems and crafting solutions. It is incumbent on the leadership of a small team to create an atmosphere where the members feel confident in their abilities, secure in their positions, and willing to contribute ideas. The leader must create a structure that allows for this special atmosphere to develop and permits the individuals to thrive within it.

Every organization will approach the process differently, and every leader will flavor the process with her or his own distinct style, but common to the effort are these five elements, each necessary to the success of the undertaking, large or small:

1. Set meaningful goals. Teams need clearly defined goals in order to succeed and the chances of success are greatest when the team develops those goals together. Leaders should begin the strategic planning process with a set of loosely defined goals, present those to the team and allow them to define the specifics of what they need to accomplish. Imagine your small team is presented with data that indicates profit at your company is declining and their job is to define a goal to reverse this. This problem can, of course, be solved in several ways: the team could determine that reducing expense is the best approach; alternately they might determine that increasing revenues may be a better approach. Clearly, either of these methods could have the same result, but the team’s choice will determine the goals they develop. By allowing the team to collaborate on defining goals you are allowing them to own those goals, and it is that ownership that will flavor the entire planning process.

2. Start at a high-level. Working at a high level when developing strategy, then drilling into the specifics allows small teams to collaborate and allows for creative approaches. One technique is a white-board session, which can be very effective in articulating strategy; allow the team to boil down the approach and agree on that which they deem the most effective. For instance, that team at the e-commerce company might have determined that the goal is to increase per-customer revenue by 20%. The process might start with a discussion of different ways to accomplish the goal they have set for themselves. But, before drilling down into specific strategic approaches (i.e. developing new  acquisition channels, improving average shopping cart values, or increasing customer lifetime value) the discussion should focus on the broad topic and determine the best strategic approach.

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Twitter Link Roundup #259 – Beaucoup de Resources for Small Business, Startups, and Design! Mike | March 6th, 2015

What could possibly be wrong with a a dancing traffic light? Have a look at how they rock the pedestrian crossings in Portugal!

OK, already – stop dancing and tune back in, because it is now officially time for our weekly Roundup! Here are a mess of 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 so like to talk about fonts, logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! Enjoy!

smallbusinessblog

Customers Are Not Always Right. They Are Just Never Wrong. crowdspring.co/1BgXxXg

How to Travel Like the 1 Percent on an Economy Budget inc.com/thompson-wall/…

Ban Dull Meetings at Your Workplace entrepreneur.com/article/242933

Why Obama’s 2016 Budget Has Small-Business Boost Written All Over It crowdspring.co/1D5aONF

Dealing With a Hacked WordPress Site – Tuts+ Code Tutorial – crowdspring.co/1GmHAgM

Why Business Travel Is Never Going to Be the Same After 2015 inc.com/paul-metselaar…

startupsblog

Small Business and Startups: Net Neutrality? Done! (For Now) | crowdSPRING Blog – crowdspring.co/186nLy0

Twitter’s CEO: How I Stay Focused Under Fire | Inc – buff.ly/1JZEHYX

Before You Plan Your Product Roadmap | Inside Intercom – buff.ly/1AFtPt0

How to Use Your Business Plan as a Benchmark for Performance crowdspring.co/1Dgnsfe

Warby Parker Sees the Future of Retail | Fast Company – fastcompany.com/3041334/most-i…

Your Workplace Bully Is Much More Harmful Than You Thought | Fast Company | Business + Innovation – fastcompany.com/3042604/your-w…

Conflict Among Team Members Can Lead to Better Results crowdspring.co/1GmJSfR

The Importance of Good Manners in Business crowdspring.co/1BJflKt

Are You Emotionally Intelligent? Here’s How to Know for Sure. crowdspring.co/17sgx7L

When Senior Managers Won’t Collaborate – HBR crowdspring.co/1DMbgG0

Business Buzzwords to Avoid Immediately | BizSugar bizsugar.com/Marketing/30-b…

Personality Types That Can Make or Break Your Meeting entrepreneur.com/article/242973

Gain Confidence & Increase Productivity Each Day crowdspring.co/1a8bs67

10 Ways To Stay Calm In The Face Of Daily Stress | Fast Company | Business + Innovation– crowdspring.co/1vtzS3n

Health Care Opens Stable Career Path, Taken Mainly by Women nytimes.com/glogin?URI=htt…

Read the rest of this post »

Fresh from the SPRING: Janisa Audree | March 4th, 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 Janisa. Check out more great work on Janisa’s profile page.

Nicely done, Janisa, nicely done!

FFS-Janisa

Small Business and Startups: Net Neutrality? Done! (For Now) Mike | March 2nd, 2015

Wow. What a difference two weeks makes! This past Thursday, the F.C.C. voted to place Internet Service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, which means it will be governed as a public utility in the same way that telephone service is currently regulated. Mobile data services for phones and tablets will also be protected under the new regulations.

The new rules were designed to guarantee that no content would be blocked and to assure that the Internet can not be divided into “pay-to-play” fast lanes for the richest of companies and slow lanes for companies and organizations unable to afford the fees.

As happens every time new regulations, often designed to protect consumers and small companies, are proposed, the incumbents in the targeted industry cry foul, run to the courts, invest huge amounts to fight the proposals, and whine about how consumers will be harmed and new investment will be deterred. The same arguments have been made countless times; a great illustration being when mobile phone services were regulated. The mobile carriers all made the exact same arguments, out out the same boilerplate press releases, hired the same Washington lobbyists yet none of their Chicken Little predictions came to pass. Actually quite the opposite happened, with billions of dollars invested in new technologies, massive innovation unleashed, powerful networks built and upgraded, and all at a price point that encouraged consumers to jump on the mobile bandwagon once they were protected from the rapacious instincts of the mobile service providers.

Right now, you’re probably asking yourself, “How did this happen? Am I dreaming? Did small businesses actually just prevail against the giant cable and telecommunications companies?” Nope, you’re not dreaming – and it happened for a couple of reasons: First last November, President Obama woke up and realized the size of the threat that came with a lack of regulation of Internet services. Second (and more importantly), a huge swell of grass-roots support was mobilized in support of the concept of Net Neutrality, largely inspired by by Fight for the Future, an advocacy group made up primarily of small tech companies. This group organized a massive phone and email campaign that, in the space of a few months, generated over 1 million comments and more than 55,000 calls made to regulators at the F.C.C.

Does this mean the end of the affair? Probably not for a while. The cable and telecommunications companies have already announced that they will turn to the courts, claiming that the F.C.C. has overstepped it’s mandate with the newly approved regulations. We’ll continue to track that process as it unwinds, but the common wisdom is that the courts will side with the F.C.C. as they have in the past. Here’s to a victory for the little guy and for the idea that our government has a role in placing a check on the greedier instincts of big business.

Graphic: The official seal of the F.C.C.

Twitter Link Roundup #258 – Whole Buncha Resources for Small Business, Startups, and Design! Mike | February 27th, 2015

In honor of last week’s Best-Picture-Oscar-winning  film, Birdman, I thought you might enjoy a short video of the original Bird. Man.

Alright, enough of our fine feathered friends, because it is now officially time for our weekly Roundup! Here are a slew of 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 so like to talk about fonts, logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! Enjoy!

smallbusinessblog

Is Your Office Design Is Bumming Everyone Out? | Fast Company | Business + Innovation crowdspring.co/1A1VgrU

Lattes With A Side Of Cuddles: Lessons From “America’s First Dog Cafe” | Fast Company | Business + Innovation crowdspring.co/1vNGbPC

startupsblog

5 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn From the Supreme Court | crowdSPRING Blog – crowdspring.co/1vYggzm

Negative Ways of Thinking You Need to Stop Today crowdspring.co/1MNJR9n

Make Enterprise Software People Actually Love – HBR crowdspring.co/1zXwSME

How I’m Treated Differently Than My Male Cofounder | Fast Company | Business + Innovation crowdspring.co/1FfuQL4

5 Steps to the Perfect Apology crowdspring.co/1AG9vrF

The Entrepreneur Who Is Beating Amazon At Same-Day Delivery | Fast Company | Business + Innovation crowdspring.co/1DemmDp

Startup success factors: Short names and an office in Silicon Valley, study finds. crowdspring.co/1FvSmkq

Great Companies Are Making All Meetings Optional crowdspring.co/1L25EIm

Stop Being Busy and Start Being Productive crowdspring.co/1zG84Ux

A Platform for Success: Behind the Rise of Global Crowdfunding Company Kickstarter crowdspring.co/1DTZlSE

The Secret Behind Making Your Day Job Work for Your Startup crowdspring.co/1zmsJwI

Toxic Words to Avoid in the Workplace crowdspring.co/1zysaVD

You Are Now Cleared for Learning crowdspring.co/1A3errZ

The Tyranny of the Forced Smile crowdspring.co/1Ac1Dwo

5 Ideas (And One Bonus Idea!) For Your Drone Startup crowdspring.co/1Eph734

How to Improve Conversion Rate crowdspring.co/1L24yMW

Understanding Trust, In China and the West – HBR crowdspring.co/1v1ByRt

10 Ways To Stay Calm In The Face Of Daily Stress | Fast Company | Business + Innovation crowdspring.co/1AG9tAc

How A Business Can Survive A Breakup | Fast Company | Business + Innovation crowdspring.co/1zXvoSP

Want More Sleep (And Better Productivity)? Work From Home. crowdspring.co/1w4mjm5

Read the rest of this post »

Fresh from the SPRING: uniquemind Audree | February 25th, 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 uniquemind. Check out more great work on uniquemind’s profile page.

Nicely done, uniquemind, nicely done!

 

FFS-UNIQUEMIND

5 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn From the Supreme Court Mike | February 23rd, 2015

Spring is almost here and after this loooong and coooold one we are actively looking for the signs. Soon the green shoots will appear, the early migrating birds will be sighted, the street corners will reappear from under the piles of drab gray snow and ice and the Supreme Court will begin to issue decisions in cases great and small.

The nine justices and their staffs take on a very ambitious workload – making hundreds of decisions every year on matters that will affect the lives of each of us. This years docket contains both the minor (such as the right of a U.S. citizen to sue a consular officer over denial of a visa to a spouse) as well as some history making nail-biters that will determine the future of the Affordable Care Act as well as the legality of same-sex marriage.

What can entrepreneurs learn from these black-robed masters? At first blush, because what they do day-to-day appears to be so wildly different from what we do every day, it would seem very little. It is important to remember that these are managers of a branch of government and, just like us, they are tasked with managing an organization that is complex in its operation, specific in its mission, and with a budget of over $7 billion dollars. Well, just like us, except for that last bit about the budget, right? Here are five of the things the Supremes do so well that we can stand to look to for guidance in our own businesses.

1. Develop rituals. There is a tradition and a ceremonial aspect to the workings of the court that can be applied directly to small business. The best managers build their own rituals ceremonies and rites into the day-to-day operations of their companies; everything from the regular weekly staff meeting and how it is run, to the daily greetings when the team arrives for work. People thrive on and appreciate predictability and ritual is the strongest form it takes.

2. Question closely. The nine Justices of the Supreme Court sit on high, clad in their intimidating black and ask their questions of the humble petitioners before them. At the Supreme Court a presenting lawyer has to be poised to handle sometimes aggressive questioning from any of the nine justices. Like the justices, the best managers also take the time to ask penetrating questions and perform the important analysis that leads to wise decisions. It’s not that every single decision a manager (let alone the Court) makes will be the wisest or even the right one, but rather the process for arriving at the decision needs to be thoughtful and reflective of the best information available.

Read the rest of this post »

Twitter Link Roundup #257 – Fresh Resources for Small Business, Startups, and Design! Mike | February 20th, 2015

I’ve written before about things that entrepreneurs can learn from children but, before I saw this video, I had no idea what dancers can learn from babies. This little one is brimming with talent and creativity and I hope that scouts from the Bolshoi, The Joffrey Ballet and, the New York City ballet are watching!

Now that you’re inspired to try out some new moves.. it’s time now for our weekly Roundup! Here are a slew of fresh links and articles we shared with you over the past week on our  crowdSPRING Twitter account (as well as my own Twitter account). We so like to talk about fonts, logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other fresh stuff! Enjoy!

smallbusinessblog

How to find, hire, and work with a great accountant – Graphic Design Blender crowdspring.co/1AbXxEm

How Prepared Are You for Tax Time? | Quiz | Staples | Business Hub crowdspring.co/1KxMNEZ

Last-Minute Bookkeeping Tips Before You See the Tax Man crowdspring.co/1yY0zt0

Stop Working So Hard and Still Get More Clients – Amy Porterfield crowdspring.co/1EzDQXE

Hiring & Growth in Small Business | Wasp Barcode – YouTube crowdspring.co/1vzg9zy

startupsblog

Most Innovative Companies 2015 | Fast Company | Business + Innovation crowdspring.co/1L22nZJ

Global Trends That Will Transform Your Business crowdspring.co/1KxOemG

A Dozen Things I’ve Learned from Keith Rabois about Venture Capital and Business | by @trengriffin – buff.ly/1AxbgY1

Things I’ve Learned from Sheryl Sandberg about Management, Careers & Business | by @trengriffin -buff.ly/1A4Vcep

How to Succeed as an Entrepreneur, Taylor Swift Style crowdspring.co/1EQOvRB

A visual on the difference between a boss & a leader. Don’t EVER hire bosses. pic.twitter.com/B3hfITPXFt

How to Choose a Great Name for Your New Business crowdspring.co/1M3M6EY

Don’t Be Afraid to Stand Apart From the Herd crowdspring.co/1KDVtrB

Best Industries for Starting a Business Right Now crowdspring.co/1yY0zJL

3 Reasons Every Entrepreneur Needs to Take Vacation Time crowdspring.co/1C92E96

7 Qualities of Remarkable Leaders crowdspring.co/1DazojA

The Power of No crowdspring.co/1vzg9Q6

Send a Better Message With Body Language crowdspring.co/1C93QZY

Small Business and Startups: Net Neutrality, Part Deux | crowdSPRING Blog –crowdspring.co/1DgrGWW

What You Need to Launch a Startup During the Zombie Apocalypse, or Any Time crowdspring.co/1M3KM5b

How Bad Local Data Leads to Bad Calls — And Frustrated Customers | Street Fight crowdspring.co/1vzgvpU

How to Protect Your Time Without Alienating Your Network – HBR crowdspring.co/1zyqqM7

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