5 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Artists Mike | April 20th, 2015
Art inspires in ways sometimes difficult to articulate. Ideas, metaphors, and themes are the product that artists traffic in, and their ability to galvanize their audiences in a powerful, indirect way can stir us in profound ways.
Yet, while we celebrate, even lionize the greatest of our artists we simultaneously relegate the vast majority to poverty and struggle. Our culture at once values art, while devaluing the artists among us. Like artists, entrepreneurs rise and fall not only on their creativity and the quality of their ideas, but on their ability to execute, and on their productivity. But, just as with most artists, creativity, hard work, and the ability to execute are not, in themselves, enough to guarantee success. Sometimes the best of entrepreneurial ideas fail to rise to the top, just as many wonderful and talented painters will never succeed on their chosen path.
I look at a lot of visual art and draw deep inspiration from the artists whose work I view. While I derive so much from the art I view on exhibition, I empathize most especially with the artists whose work I never get to see – those who produce, who generate ideas, who focus on their work in the absence of audience, with little solid measure of success – in so many ways, these are the true artists, just as the hidden entrepreneurs struggling to generate ideas and launch their own works represent the truest part of ourselves.
1. Focus. Artists learn early to focus on the work at hand. And when I refer to “work” I am referring to it ion both senses of the word – work as “product” as well as “process.” Entrepreneurs, too, need to stay focused on both the “product” that they are building – its functionality, its ability to solve a problem, or its potential to relieve the users pain. They also need to keep focus on the process; it is of critical importance that anyone starting a business prioritize their own workflow and maintain personal productivity and efficiency.
2.Imagination. Artists reside on a foundation built of great imagination and Entrepreneurs can also learn to use imagination as a strong tool. The ability to develop a vision of what your product or service can do, where no one else can is a powerful competitive barrier and should be leveraged whenever possible. We talk a lot about creativity and entrepreneurism, but creativity starts with the ability to imagine something and to then bring it to life.
Twitter Link Roundup #265 – Exemplary Resources for Small Business, Startups, and Design! Mike | April 17th, 2015
I like to think of myself as chameleon-like, able to adjust to fit into whatever the surrounding or with whomever is around me. But, I got nothing on these two women! Artist Johannes Stoetter’s work focuses on fine-art body painting and he has raised the bar to extreme heights. Click play on the video above and watch his work come to life!
So try your best to blend into the surroundings, because it’s time for our weekly Roundup! Here is a big ‘ol batch 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!
In Newark, a Vertical Indoor Farm Helps Anchor an Area’s Revival nytimes.com/glogin?URI=htt…
5 Tips For Small Businesses During Tax Season forbes.com/sites/drewhend…
Amazon, Google and More Are Drawn to Home Services Market nytimes.com/2015/04/13/tec…
Essential Financing Terms Every Small-Business Owner Should Understand – NerdWalletnerdwallet.com/blog/small-bus…
Successful Business Owners Should Focus on “Five C’s” When Offering Services – Small Biz Dailybit.ly/1GLYIOM
Small Business and Startups: Management for the Joy Of It | @crowdSPRING Blog – bit.ly/1CGkhu2
How Google Destroyed Internet Explorer, Visualized bit.ly/1Nactfq
How to Stay Positive in the Face of Doubt bit.ly/1FCAVPI
Howard Schultz is Giving His Employees Free College Educations — And is Ready for Critics (Again) linkedin.com/pulse/howard-s…
Culture Hack: Cheers for Peers – buff.ly/1JNVo5A
What factors help the best entrepreneurs succeed – buff.ly/1PDzuX4
How to Launch Your Digital Platform bit.ly/1GLYFm9
Brainstorming with Marc Andreessen | Fortune -buff.ly/1DWRmZN
7 Steps to Building Better Business Relationships inc.com/ken-lin/7-step…
CEOs Need Mentors Too bit.ly/1GpIEDT
The Executive Coach’s Guide to Hacking Leadership bit.ly/1yWvgiO
Reinventing Performance Management bit.ly/1GpIEUg
Kris Bryant, the Baseball Players’ Union and a Lesson for Labor nytimes.com/2015/04/07/bus…
Jeff Bezos’s 5 Most Daring Career Moves inc.com/graham-winfrey…
USCIS Reaches FY 2016 H-1B Cap | USCIS uscis.gov/news/news-rele…
What Steve Harvey Knows About Storytelling in Business inc.com/graham-winfrey…
A Conversation With Anthony Hsieh of loanDepot nytimes.com/glogin?URI=htt…
Do You Have a Severe Case of Modern Life? Tips to Focus and Succeed linkedin.com/pulse/do-you-h…
Fresh from the SPRING: martinroy Audree | April 15th, 2015
Small Business and Startups: Management for the Joy Of It Mike | April 13th, 2015
Business owners and managers tend to focus on business. This is right and this is good; it is our responsibility to our stakeholders to responsibly lead our companies towards success and to prioritize operations and profitability. We work hard every day to improve efficiency, acquire customers, increase margins, analyze results, craft strategy, execute tactics, and track growth. What we don’t always work so hard at is improving ourselves, supporting our team, and making our companies forces for growing good.
As leaders there is much we can do to set an example and to be a guide for others. But it must first start with ourselves; strong managers must develop the ability to self-reflect; to provide a kind of internal feedback to ourselves, much like we provide feedback to our employees. And just like periodic performance reviews can go far towards developing talented workers, internal reviews can help managers to be better at what they do and to continuously develop themselves into better leaders, better strategists, and better employers. And, as a result we will have better companies, more loyal customers, and a competitive edge in building and retaining the strongest of teams.
Twitter Link Roundup #264 – Quintessential Resources for Small Business, Startups, and Design! Mike | April 10th, 2015
Skin cancer is a scourge. And dalmatian puppies are just about the cutest things that ever walked the earth. Put the two together and what do you get? A genius marketing campaign and a public service effort that is attention grabbing (not to mention, “awwww” inducing). Have a look at the video above and see if you agree!
Enough with adorable dogs? Good! Because it’s time for our weekly Roundup! Here is a whole litter 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!
Snapchat for Small Business: Consider 3 Key Factors crowdspring.co/1xWxtu0
Lean Marketing: Basic Metrics You Should be Watching. Now. | crowdSPRING Blog – bit.ly/1CHJc3M
Small Business and Startups: Mind the Gap | crowdSPRING Blog –bit.ly/1Eambdb
Meet the small businesses making millions from online marketplaces crowdspring.co/1LPs3wB
Company Growth: Why everything breaks at 25 employees crowdspring.co/1MyQOtN
How to Build Your Digital Business with the “MVP” Process crowdspring.co/1DQd8hl
Small Business and Startups: Sustainability and Your Company | crowdSPRING Blog – bit.ly/1HLRlsi
Companies run by women perform better crowdspring.co/1LPs3g6
Putting More “You” in Your Business—A Guide to Building Brand Personality crowdspring.co/1xWxzli
Build an Organization That’s Less Busy and More Strategic bit.ly/1yWveap
Eight genuinely useful tools for domain name generation crowdspring.co/1N24v4y
Don’t Buy Into the Lies — It’s Possible to Have a Career and a Family crowdspring.co/1Bbcftz
Richard Branson to Entrepreneurs: Shoot for the Moon (But Be Prepared to Crash) bit.ly/1CiN5NR
FAIL ACADEMY: Top Reasons Startups Fail bit.ly/1HuK3t2
Job-Boosting Skills You Can Learn In A Weekend bit.ly/1N2ac2C
From Chicago’s 1871: Howard Tullman’s heavily caffeinated life crowdspring.co/1EAvVe5
15-year-old entrepreneur Brooke Martin on her ‘nerve-wracking’ Shark Tank appearance this week – GeekWire – crowdspring.co/1xWCYc2
Malcolm Gladwell on What Really Makes People Disruptive crowdspring.co/1BJ7iau
The Evolution Of Steve Jobs crowdspring.co/1BbcdSo
At Kodak, Clinging to a Future Beyond Film nyti.ms/1HuK6Vw
The Biggest Business Comebacks Of The Past 20 Years crowdspring.co/1BJ5wGs
Reasons Why You Should Network Less entm.ag/1xWH3Nw
Why Aren’t Women-Owned Businesses Growing Faster? | OPEN Forum bit.ly/1HskbdO
New Tips From Guy Kawasaki on Startup Funding bit.ly/1BnUZAH
Richard Branson on Challenges: It’s More Fun Being David Than Goliath crowdspring.co/1CRUBkM
Toms Founder: 3 Killer Advantages of Social Impact Businesses bit.ly/1DQjFZq
Catching Up with Basecamp Founder Jason Fried crowdspring.co/1xWv9mH
Fresh from the SPRING: deip Audree | April 8th, 2015
Lean Marketing: Basic Metrics You Should be Watching. Now. Mike | April 6th, 2015
Marketing is an analytical process. Setting goals comes first. Developing strategy is second. Third is the execution of the specific tactics to support the strategy. And fourth? Well fourth is measurement and data analysis. Simple right? Most small businesses and startups follow some version of this rational approach to operating and marketing a business. But when it comes to measurement, many managers struggle with developing and tracking the metrics specific to their strategy.
Well the answer is pretty simple: turn to math and leverage technology. A certain amount of your data is right there on your computer hard drive and with some basic spreadsheet work you can answer the most important of questions. Plus, other powerful analytical tools are easily available to you just a mouse click or browser tab away. There are tons of free tools many of which are simple to implement and have a learning curve that is surmountable for most.
An important step is to figure out which metrics are the ones that are important to your business. But each business is unique, and the yours may benefit fro the analysis of certain metrics that are unimportant to mine, and vice-versa. However, there are certain fundamental metrics that are common to all businesses, and a basic understanding of these is where you should start.
1. Customer Acquisition Cost. Every business, whether B2B or B2C has to bring in customers. Without them we are nothing, with enough of them we can be profitable beyond our wildest dreams (usually). The important thing is to understand how much it costs you to acquire a single customer. This is the simplest of analyses: for a given time period (last year for example) divide the amount of money you spent on marketing expenses by the number of new customers that you brought in during that same period, ét voila! The result of this simple is your CPA, or Cost per Acquisition and this is the key to understanding whether your marketing tactics are working for you or not. Why, you ask? Again, simple: if it costs you more to acquire a new customer than you can expect them to provide you in earnings, you’re doing something wrong and you’ll be closing your doors before you can even spell CPA. This simple formula also allows you to compare your marketing tactics: for instance that giant billboard over on I94 that you rented costs you around $572 per customer acquired, while your PPC ad campaigns are costing you only $27 CPA, which one do you think you’ll do better to invest in? Hmmm?
2. Life Time Value. The second half of CPA is known as CLTV, or Customer Lifetime Value. This is the amount of earnings you can expect from an average customer over the life of the relationship – if you can increase this, you win. Some businesses (think subscription-based services) will generate meaningful revenue month in and month out from each customer, while others (think swimming pool installers) might sell an average customer one pool over the entire span of that relationship. The point being, that unless you understand the CLTV of your average customer, you can’t really understand if the CPA is too high to justify. Right?
Twitter Link Roundup #263 – Ultimate Resources for Small Business, Startups, and Design! Mike | April 3rd, 2015
Science is fun! And, for sure, CERN’s Alice project is fun, but even more fun is a drone’s-eye-view of the experimental site and down down down a cavern shaft to 60m underground!
OK now catch your breath. Why? Because it’s time for our own flyover drone shot, AKA our weekly Roundup! Here is a whole 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!
Small Business and Startups: Sustainability and Your Company | crowdSPRING Blog – bit.ly/1CRN3Np
Company Growth: Why everything breaks at 25 employees crowdspring.co/1MyQOtN
The Right Way to Use Compensation [for sales teams] – buff.ly/1af4n3Y
Is Authority Earned or Bestowed? crowdspring.co/18TlVBA
Scott Oldford on Becoming Transparent and Finding Authenticity crowdspring.co/1Bb0qDS
The Shut-In Economy – buff.ly/1FWcjEj
How to Consistently Hire Remarkable Data Scientists | First Round Review – buff.ly/199A8u1
Trada, the Google Ventures-Backed SEM Crowdsourcing Firm, Closes Its Doors mklnd.com/1xPy1rc
The 7 Factors to Consider When Pricing Your Startup’s Product | – buff.ly/1Nz6b62
The Throwback Sexism of Kleiner Perkins crowdspring.co/1BCgwKo
How Much Should Your Startup Spend on Managing Churn? – buff.ly/1F9JKjT
The Science of Creativity | Hubspot Blog – buff.ly/1xTOomA
This is what free, ad-supported Uber rides might look like. Mockups, economics, and analysis -buff.ly/1BMiT90
Tim Cook On Apple’s Future: Everything Can Change Except Values crowdspring.co/1FRLMGD
Psychology Behind Writing a Great Pitch | Convince and Convert: Social Media and Content Marketing Strategy crowdspring.co/1Hurrta
Winning Strategies for M&A March Madness crowdspring.co/1EbXfwp
15-year-old entrepreneur Brooke Martin on her ‘nerve-wracking’ Shark Tank appearance this week – GeekWire crowdspring.co/1xWCYc2
Richard Branson on Challenges: It’s More Fun Being David Than Goliath crowdspring.co/1CRUBkM
crowdSPRING Founder Mike Samson on Starting a Business htqw.co/1G0ZRmH
Fresh from the SPRING: DavidStHubbins Audree | April 1st, 2015
When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we noticed this brilliantly clever album cover design in this Print Design project.
Let us start the slow clap for DavidStHubbins. Check out more great work on DavidStHubbins’ profile page.
Nicely done, DavidStHubbins, nicely done!
Small Business and Startups: Sustainability and Your Company Mike | March 30th, 2015
A wonderful project posted to crowdSPRING recently has got me thinking lately about the role of sustainability in the context of small business. Iggesund Paperboard, a leading producer of high quality virgin fiber paperboard, issued a challenge to improve existing consumer packaging. The idea was simple: take a look around you at your local grocery, pick out a package, and reimagine how that packaging made of plastic, glass and metal could be redesigned using sustainable materials. The results are incredibly creative and the ideas are wonderful. If all of the consumer packaged goods manufacturers around the world took their own look and redesigned their own packaging, we would see smaller landfills, a decreasing rate of climate change, an increase in recyclables, and a healthier planet.
Right now, you’re probably asking yourself, “What can a small business owner do?” Let me tell you that the answer is simple and, if every one of the millions of small businesses around the world took these simple steps, the global results would be significant:
1. Recycle. Walk over to the nearest trashcan in your office and peer down. Does it contain any paper? Bottles? Cans? If so you should be separating those materials and sending them to recycling instead of to the local landfill. Check with your team – I can pretty much guarantee you already have at least one recycling enthusiast who will be happy to become the leader of your office effort at reducing trash and improving your internal practices. One idea is to start simple: provide everyone with two small trash baskets so they can separate their own trash and recyclables right there at their desk!
2. Stop using that printer. Not only are those ink cartridges expensive, but they contain plastics that choke landfills, chemicals whose manufacturing process throws off pollutants, and shipping and logistics support just to get them delivered to your door. Most of these printer toner cartridges are recyclable, so if you have to use toner, at least be sure to send them back when you buy new ones. Not to mention paper, right? How many reams do you go through in an average year? You can reduce the impact on forests, water use, transportation-generated pollution, and chemical runoff just by reducing your paper use. Seriously, in the age of email, smart phones, SMS, and Google docs, do we really need to print so many documents?
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