Fresh from the SPRING: Imagician Audree | July 29th, 2015
Small Business and Startups: Finding Your Match Mike | July 27th, 2015
Last week I wrote about customer service and the importance of scheduling and allocating your support resources. Lots of small businesses find that they can deliver top-notch, high-volume customer support with very small teams of people as long as they have the correct tool and as long as they pay close attention to the kinds of problems their customers are trying to solve and (just as important) when those customers are trying to get their issues resolved.
But of equal importance to how you apportion resources is in who you hire to do the job. Hiring a great support team is like casting a great movie or finding the perfect match on PlentyOfFish. But anyone who has played the online dating game also understands how much “noise” exists and how challenging it can be to sort through dozens or hundreds of potential matches to find “the one.” Recruiting a new team member is an equal challenge, and this goes for all of your departments, whether support, or technology, or marketing, or sales (and especially at the C-level. There will always be plenty of rejects and plenty of false positives in the game of love and the game of hiring.
The trick in hiring, as in dating, is to find the right match through a combination of careful planning, creative process, clear understanding of who you are as a company and a team, and the willingness to look beyond whether an applicant comes with the required experience, skills, and qualifications. Here are 6 things you should be thinking about as you begin the search.
1. Who are you?.
As in finding a love-mate, finding a work-mate starts with an understanding of the character of your company and your team. Like people, companies have personalities and experiences that shape who they are. I am talking about what people usually call company “culture.” Start with characterizing your team by applying descriptive adjectives to describe your nature: Heads-down focused? Partiers? Laugh-factory? Buttoned down? Corporate? Innovative? Caring? Wipe the whiteboard clean and make a list because, when your list is finished, you will have a first draft description of the personality you are looking for and a clear grasp of the kind of person who sill fit in successfully.
2. Where do you look?
Where you search for this person is just as important as who you are searching for. There are hundreds of hiring and job posting resources, ranging from professional search firms to online SaaS providers to sites like LinkedIn and all the way down the spectrum to Twitter and Craigslist. Any of these are good options, but when you know exactly who you are stalking for you will get a pretty good idea of where you should be hunting.
3. How do you whistle?
If you’ve ever owned a dog, you know that she will respond to the unique whistle or call you let loose when you want her to come. Same thing with that perfect hire – only instead of whistling your task is to craft the perfect job description. Like any good piece of written content, the description you craft should be aimed at a very specific audience – indeed an “audience of one.” Remember that the person you are speaking to when you post a job listing is the one person you want to hire, and just like that distinctive dog-whistle, that person is out there just waiting to respond when you put your lips together and blow. Read the rest of this post »
Twitter Link Roundup #279 – Wow! Great Resources for Small Business, Startups, and Design! Mike | July 24th, 2015
At crowdSPRING we love latte and we also appreciate a great love story. And who better than Amy Schumer to tell a story of love and loss through the literary device of latte foam art? Follow the tale of a young couple as they meet, fall in love and, eventually, are left with only the cold, dank dregs of their bittersweet romance.
Alright – it’s time now to finish that last cup of coffee and get to work! Because we present to you, our latest 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 just love sharing articles about fonts, logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! Enjoy!
How to Negotiate with Powerful Suppliers crowdspring.co/1KPnb7O
4 Reasons To Refinance Your Small Business Debt crowdspring.co/1dK1DMW
NextRequest Puts The Public Information Request Process Online crowdspring.co/1fkqzfC
Why Embracing the Worst-Case Scenario Improves Performance and Increases Well-Being – Further crowdspring.co/1e0QaJ1
Subtle Habits That Could be Killing Your Career crowdspring.co/1J0GtqX
Science-Backed Tips to Negotiate Better crowdspring.co/1glvsVZ
How This Woman Proved at Age 78 That It’s Never ‘Too Late’ crowdspring.co/1MbiVhI
Denver Mayor Hancock explains how the public and private sectors have come together to spur rapid business growth. crowdspring.co/1HKL4g2
6 Surprising Insights Of Successful Employee Engagement crowdspring.co/1f462ex
Fear Trumps Greed in Silicon Valley as Some Venture Firms Hedge – buff.ly/1g2B7Ai
Meet Maye Musk, the glamorous model mother of billionaire Elon Musk – buff.ly/1LARvUd
How to Make Sure Your Worst Enemy Isn’t You crowdspring.co/1J0GtXX
The Role of Mentorship in Business crowdspring.co/1glweSW
What Startups Can Learn From The Art Market crowdspring.co/1LQixr0
You Don’t Need a STEM Degree to Make Good Money crowdspring.co/1J0GrPT
Minimum Wage Increase Proving Successful for Ikea Stores crowdspring.co/1J0GqLK
Preventable Disasters That Have Ruined Countless Startups crowdspring.co/1TiWNpQ
Fresh from the SPRING: LOREWREN Audree | July 22nd, 2015
Small Business and Startups: Making Customer Service Available (On Your Own Terms) Mike | July 20th, 2015
Periodically (like every single quarter) we review our customer service data to determine whether we are best using our resources. This is an excellent practice for a small company, especially one that is ambitious and by its very nature capacity constrained.
At crowdSPRING we strive to provide world-class quality support, but our team is small and their responsibilities complex. We do this through the use of great tools and by implementing technology that helps us handle a very heavy load. For instance, in the quarter that just ended, our team of 4.5 (including part-timers) responded to 8,158 email and webform requests, received 2,658 incoming phone calls, made 1,033 outbound calls to customers, and chatted online with another 783 users. This is not to mention the 469 intellectual property violations they investigated, the 601 prospects they followed up on, or the hundreds of instances of possible fraudulent activity they scrutinized. This gets even more impressive when you consider that the average request to our support team was answered in under 24 minutes and the average issue was resolved in less than a day! To me, the truly amazing thing is that this team not only handled that kind of volume with that kind of efficiency, but that they did it with smiles on their faces and a relative minimum of frustration.
How is this possible? That such a small team can respond so quickly and effectively in a high-volume customer service context? Well it starts with hiring the right people (a discussion we will leave for a different blog post), and continues with strong training regimens (another future post, ok?), as well as having clear protocols and systems in place. But one of the most important factors in building efficient customer support machinery has to do with the art of scheduling. And guess what? Great scheduling starts with great data! If you know when the work needs to be done, and how much work you can expect, you are halfway to delivering exceptional service to your customers. Read the rest of this post »
Twitter Link Roundup #278 – Freaky Good Resources for Small Business, Startups, and Design! Mike | July 17th, 2015
Not one, but two of our favorite technologies were Gilles Deschaud’s film, “Chase Me.” We love the art and the painstaking craft of stop-motion animation and Deschaud has got it down cold. Maybe more impressive is the fact that he produced the entire film using 3d print technology! As mashups go, h cool is that?
So get out your printers and dust off your animation stand, but first be sure to enjoy this 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 just love sharing articles about fonts, logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! Enjoy!
6 things to do after your pitch http://crowdspring.co/1G5p6i4
Pizza and the Complications of Running a Business http://crowdspring.co/1eflIeB
Cringeworthy Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Business http://crowdspring.co/1Mbi0Ou
The Selfish Reason You Should Be Extremely Generous http://crowdspring.co/1C38flr
Why This Little Pickle Stand Is a Symbol of Big Innovation http://crowdspring.co/1KPkXFD
Science-Backed Tips to Negotiate Better http://crowdspring.co/1LQg8MX
Why Offices Full Of Ping-Pong Tables And Video Games Might Be Onto Something http://crowdspring.co/1KKNiOL
The Secret To Walt Disney’s Corporate Strategy http://crowdspring.co/1HKM1F1
Why Staying Connected at All Hours Is a Bad Thing http://crowdspring.co/1Hr5NFn
Is Your Business Suffering From FOMO? http://crowdspring.co/1KPmlrR
Is Your Business Suffering From FOMO? http://crowdspring.co/1KPmlrR
7 Ways Great Leaders Think Differently Than the Rest of U http://crowdspring.co/1fkoBvL
Funny or Die trying http://crowdspring.co/1HubOTF
Kim Kardashian Is a Lot of Things, But Not an Entrepreneur http://crowdspring.co/1KKoh6v
Stop Sugar-Coating Your True Opinion http://crowdspring.co/1CFvgp3
Pitfalls to Avoid When You Inherit a Team http://crowdspring.co/1TiVGXc
Why We Love to Hate HR…and What HR Can Do About It http://crowdspring.co/1LyHlna
4 Steps to Being an Entrepreneur Without Quitting Your Job http://crowdspring.co/1C38ehk
Bright, Shiny Objects and the Future of HR http://crowdspring.co/1KKoeHJ
What Startups Can Learn From The Art Market http://crowdspring.co/1LQixaG
How to Protect Your Intellectual Property When Crowdfunding: 5 Tips http://crowdspring.co/1LyHiI1
Meet Nava, A Startup That Wants To Fix The Government’s Crappy Design http://crowdspring.co/1MbGeIk
Fresh from the SPRING: Anise Audree | July 15th, 2015
Lean Business Tips: Marketing Channels on the Cheap Mike | July 13th, 2015
Startups and small businesses face a steep learning curve when it comes to online marketing. The options are rich, the ROI can be cruel, the capacity investment can be significant, and the results can often be questionable. At crowdSPRING we have experimented with virtually every online marketing strategy and tactic available, often with negative results. The rule of thumb is to experiment in small batches and, as quickly as possible, identify the losers and stop the experiment.
Numerous studies have shown that online marketing can be a financial loser for many companies. Does this mean that you should avoid online marketing and social media channels? Absolutely not! Many companies see excellent results and gain meaningful traction through the use of Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and the like. In fact, entire businesses are marketed solely using using social channels, and a huge industry of consultants and agencies specializing in these tactics has developed over the last five years. Have a look at these five channels, none of which will strain your marketing budget, although each will require a commitment of time and capacity. Dip your tow in slowly to determine which will work for you and, remember – set goals, design your experiments carefully with measurement in mind, invest in the winners and n=banish the losers!
Twitter. As an ad platform, Twitter can be a powerful and modesty priced option for many businesses. With a pay-per-click model and the ability to set your budget at a level that makes sense for your business, ROI can be easily measured and analyzed. In addition, data has shown that, as measured in clicks and posts, the average Twitter user engages at a rate almost 5x that of the average Facebook user.
YouTube Reviews. 90 percent of consumers trust word-of-mouth referrals from friends and even strangers, compared to only 14 percent who trust an advertising message. This is the primary reason that businesses try so hard to encourage and enable their customers to write reviews about your offerings. YouTube is one of many sites that allows users to leave reviews. but also have a look at Reseller Ratings, Epinions, CNET and others.
Twitter Link Roundup #277 – More Resources for Small Business, Startups, and Design! Mike | July 10th, 2015
At the risk of freaking out certain people in our office (no names mentioned; OK, hi Bianca!) I shared this video which is in turns creepy and incredibly beautiful. Not to mention an object lesson in the wisdom of staying away from shiny objects! Not to worry, though: this roundup may glow in the dark, but is definitely NOT laced with cyanide!
And with that, it’s time once more for our weekly Roundup! Millipedes may be creepy-cool, but not near as cool as this 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 just love sharing articles about fonts, logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! Enjoy!
How To Motivate Yourself To Do Virtually Anything crowdspring.co/1RoUYVK
A Fantastic Lesson My 4-Year-Old Taught Me About Selling crowdspring.co/1LEweu6
What If Your Furniture Could Make You Money? crowdspring.co/1RN4imp
What surviving an avalanche taught me about business crowdspring.co/1g3Ml7w
Essential Resources for Entrepreneurs Building a Business crowdspring.co/1LEod8m
How Do You Become The World’s Best Taxidermist? crowdspring.co/1eflbZX
5 Myths of Great Workplaces – buff.ly/1KIeg9J
Where Customer Service Starts and Ends inc.com/april-bloomfie…
Want To Be More Productive? Listen To The Sounds Of Nature crowdspring.co/1HtUxtR
How to Grow From Great Idea to Profitable Business in 3 Steps crowdspring.co/1dthq2u
Why this incubator takes the studio approach to startup creation for.tn/1D0Wh6C
8 innovative companies poised to disrupt their industries crowdspring.co/1KlwZGD
The Top 8 Mistakes I Made In My First 18 Months As a VC Partner –buff.ly/1Cix1O7
For Start-Ups, How Many Angels Is Too Many? nytimes.com/2015/07/07/tec…
Successful People Practice Lifestyle Hacks for Productivity – buff.ly/1TmP6yU
Tech Startups Woo Investors With Unconventional Financial Metrics — but Do Numbers Add Up? –buff.ly/1HcJbUF
Life-Changing Decisions Successful and Happy People Make – buff.ly/1gmtV1R
5 Tips for Launching a Startup With Little Money – buff.ly/1JUdHqF
Reasons Why You Should Say Yes to Saying No crowdspring.co/1g3LvYe
Which Are The Most Innovative Consumer Companies? crowdspring.co/1Hr5wCo
The 4 Things No One Tells You About Funding crowdspring.co/1LyGNOc
From the Vault: America’s Founding Entrepreneurs | crowdSPRING Blog – crowdspring.co/1f8F6uN
Fresh from the SPRING: Graphis Audree | July 8th, 2015
Tens of thousands of the world's best and most successful entrepreneurs, businesses, agencies and nonprofits rely on crowdSPRING for affordable and risk-free custom logo design, web design, a new company name or other writing and design services. More than 182,000 designers and writers work on crowdSPRING. We create designs and names people love. 100% guaranteed.
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