What Kind of Leader Are You? 7 Business Leadership Styles and How to Become a Better Leader Katie Lundin | April 28th, 2017

 

What does it mean to be a leader?

Truthfully, there are as many answers to that question as there are leaders in the world. And, as an entrepreneur, manager or supervisor, it’s incredibly valuable to know your own leadership style- and to understand your own strengths and weaknesses.  

The most successful leaders do share some common traits. For example, they avoid toxic behaviors that can destroy their teams. They’re good listeners. And they understand the difference between management and leadership.

Seth Godin, in his book Tribes, explains the difference:

Management is about manipulating resources to get a known job done … Managers manage a process they’ve seen before, and they react to the outside world, striving to make that process as fast and as cheap as possible. Leadership, on the other hand, is about creating a change that you believe in.

My thesaurus says the best synonym for leadership is management. Maybe that word used to fit, but no longer. Movements have leaders and movements make things happen.

Leaders have followers. Mananagers have employees.

Managers make widgets. Leaders make change.

Peter Drucker famously summarized this by stating that there’s a difference between doing things right (management) and doing the right things (leadership).

Both management and leadership are important, but of the two, leadership has a bigger impact on the success or failure of an organization. A recent Gallup article reveals that the single most important factor in determining whether your business’s work culture is good, bad or great, is leadership.

Remarkably, 70% of the variance between lousy, good and great cultures can be found in the knowledge, skills and talent of the team leader. Not the players, but the team leader. This is one of Gallup’s most profound workplace breakthroughs.

So, what kind of leader are you?

If you know the answer to this question, you can learn how to get the most out of your natural leadership style. Or maybe, you can even consider adopting a different style that better fits your personality, business or employees.

Here are seven of the most common leadership styles for entrepreneurs and small business owners:

 

The Autocratic Leader

The autocratic (or authoritative) leader is the stereotypical “bossy” boss. They make decisions on their own and lay down the law. Employees’ opinions are not welcome, but their obedience is required.

The autocratic leadership style isn’t as cut-and-dried as the stereotype would suggest. While it may not be the most diplomatic approach, there are definite benefits to this leadership style.

Pros – Effective autocratic leaders set clear guidelines so that their employees know what is expected of them. This creates a framework for employees to succeed by working toward their assigned goal within those set guidelines. This is particularly useful in situations when the leader is the most knowledgeable person in the group.

Autocratic leadership also allows for rapid decision-making and decisive action since there’s no need to consult or debate with others. It also establishes a consistent vision for the company- the autocrat’s vision.

While authoritarian leadership certainly is not the best choice for each and every situation, it can be effective and beneficial in cases where followers need a great deal of direction and where rules and standards must be followed to the letter.

Cons – The downside to autocratic leadership is that it can leave employees feeling unheard and disrespected. As a result, it’s been found to quash creative thinking in the workplace.  Kendra Cherry of Very Well says of autocratic leadership,

…it tends to create dysfunctional and even hostile environments, often pitting followers against the domineering leader.

What Autocratic Leaders Can Do Better:

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Fresh from the SPRING: Godfreyw Audree | April 27th, 2017

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

The challenge of this project was to create a T-shirt/tank top design for a local corporate run. It was an opportunity to show off their company’s new logo and have some fun with incorporate the “run” theme.

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

Nicely done, Godfreyw, nicely done!

How Science Can Improve Your Marketing Ross Kimbarovsky | April 26th, 2017

Smart businesses apply science to marketing. Relying on psychological research, these businesses adapt marketing strategies to maximize revenues and profits. When companies unlock the innermost secrets of how and why people buy things, interesting patterns begin to emerge.

For example, there’s good empirical data showing the best times and days to send marketing emails to maximize opens and click-through rates. However, as people have grown to more heavily use mobile devices, the science of email is gradually evolving. New research suggests, contrary to conventional wisdom, that many brands can benefit from sending email campaigns at night.

How can you apply scientific wisdom to improve marketing for your business? In this video we look at two approaches:

1. Let data drive your decisions
2. Create and execute controlled experiments.

Watch the video for more detail on these two approaches and how you can implement them in your business.

9 Podcasts Every Entrepreneur Needs to Hear Amanda Bowman | April 25th, 2017

If finding time to watch or listen to anything longer than a cat video these days is a challenge, finding time for self-improvement and self-education is even harder. As our daily obligations take up more and more time, taking advantage of the time you spend commuting to and from work becomes increasingly necessary.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average travel time to work is 25.4 minutes, and that time increases annually. One of the unexpected benefits that have comes with longer travel times (and the sudden expanse of available time for all of us stuck in transit) has been the resurgence of podcasts. With over 325,000 different shows to choose from on iTunes, Apple reports that over 10 billion podcast episodes were downloaded or streamed in 2016. There is an embarrassment of audio (and video!) riches out there.

With that in mind, here are nine podcasts we think are worthy of your time in transit.

 

How I Built This

NPR’s How I Built This is a well-produced show hosted by Guy Raz that shines the spotlight on “innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists.” Every week a different guest traces the history of their business or company as well as their own personal journey. It’s a fascinating, inspiring show that surfaces the humanity behind the brand while uncovering the sometimes painful path it took to success.

Some episodes worth checking out:

  • 1-800-GOT-JUNK?: Brian Scudamore
  • Kendra Scott
  • Chesapeake Bay Candle: Mei Xu

 

The Tim Ferriss Show

No roundup of essential business podcasts would be complete without a nod to Tim Ferriss, author of the very popular series of self-help “4-hours” books. The popularity and reach of his show The Tim Ferriss Show have earned him the nickname “the Oprah of Audio” with over 100 million downloads. In each show, he examines a “world-class performer” and what methods, hacks, and attitudes they use to be successful.

Some episodes worth checking out:

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11 Entrepreneurs Who Are Changing the World Katie Lundin | April 24th, 2017

Entrepreneurs are in a prime position to shape the world around them- through their own businesses and through charitable giving. A few weeks ago I wrote an article about 13 female entrepreneurs who are changing the world. It was such an inspiring journey, that I decided to see what the rest of the entrepreneurial world was up to as well.

The following entrepreneurs are from countries all around the globe, male and female, and they are reshaping the world in a positive way. From the fields of health, clean energy, fair trade agriculture and so much more… These entrepreneurs raise the social bar, proving that business isn’t just about money.

 

1) Sophi Tranchell Divine Chocolate (UK)

Image courtesy of Divine Chocolate

Sophi Tranchell is not your average business woman. In fact, she’s proud to say that she’s “still a radical.”  Tranchell is the managing director of UK-based fair trade company Divine Chocolate.  A company that is reinventing what “fair trade” means. Divine is co-owned by the Kuapa Kokoo farmer’s cooperative in Ghana. The cooperative owns 45% of the company and receives an equal percentage of the profits.

Cocoa farming is becoming difficult to sustain for smaller farmers even though the global demand for chocolate continues to grow. Divine and the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative provide resources to support their small farmers. The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship reports:

Its key innovation lies in this ownership structure and in the creation of a completely sustainable and traceable supply chain. From the outset, Divine was set up to deliver not only a higher income to farmers but also, through the cooperative’s ownership shares, the profits and power that have traditionally been denied to farmers at the start of the supply chain.

Divine’s social advocacy resonates strongly with Tranchell; who received Ernst & Young’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2010 for her work with Divine. In an interview with Will Smale of the BBC Tranchell revealed,

“I have always been interested in who is controlling what… and I’m very keen that people don’t feel hopeless… If we all do something we can make a difference. We are proving that you can do business differently, and do it well.”

 

2) Yaron Gissin Kalisaya (US)

Image courtesy of The Next Web

Yaron Gissin was on a three-day photography trip in the desert when the idea for the KaliPAK was born. He and his companions were forced to cut their trip short after all of their electronics (including their cameras) ran out of power. It would have been handy to have a portable source of renewable power.

Fast-forward to the present day. Gissin’s company Kalisaya (named after an Incan word used to describe energy from the sun) has developed the KaliPAK. The KaliPAK is an easily portable, lightweight and rechargeable solar-powered generator.

Although the idea grew from a desire to have a convenient power source for recreational travel, the KaliPAK’s debuted with the Israeli Air Force Humanitarian Rescue Mission for Global Disaster Areas. In an interview with The Next Web Gissin shares,

“They needed power in disaster areas to set up a field hospital. We recruited some multi-talented people – Industrial designers, electronic and mechanical engineers and disaster-recovery experts  – and we built some prototypes.”

This experience helped to reveal the KaliPAK’s true value. Gissin points out that the first infrastructure to fail in cases of natural emergency is the electrical grid. The KaliPAK can help to restore power in emergency situations, making it an essential piece of emergency equipment for both emergency support services and home consumers. Oh, and it’s also great for vacation travel. Read the rest of this post »

The Stories Showdown: Snapchat vs. Instagram Arielle Kimbarovsky | April 21st, 2017

Social media has changed rapidly in the past year, even more so than it has in previous years. From the uptick of influencer marketing to Instagram’s shift to algorithm based newsfeeds, social media has evolved to fit an entirely different consumer base.

One of the more recent changes is the development of “stories”. Initially seen on apps like Snapchat, stories allow people and companies to connect in a different way than a typical social media post.

The Rise of Stories

In September 2011, a new mobile app was released and started to gain traction. That app – Snapchat – introduced a new social media trend, taking online interaction to a new level. The app allowed users to receive and send disappearing photos, which transitioned into videos, filters, and stories- allowing users to communicate in a more natural way. In Snapchat’s first blog post, CEO Evan Spiegel explained Snapchat’s purpose:

Snapchat isn’t about capturing the traditional Kodak moment. It’s about communicating with the full range of human emotion—not just what appears to be pretty or perfect.

Fast forward to 2017, and many popular apps have followed Snapchat’s lead, integrating story features into their products. Some of these apps have even surpassed Snapchat with story usage.

Instagram, for example, has 50 million more users using their stories feature than Snapchat- and Instagram Stories just launched in August 2016.

Even more recently, Facebook launched its own stories feature on March 28, 2017, giving consumers and businesses another stories option. With apps like Snapchat reaching 41% of 18-34 year-olds in a day, it makes sense that businesses are getting on board with social media stories.

While many of these apps have similar features, each has slightly different audiences leaving businesses confused about which app to use.

We took a look at two of the most popular apps with stories features, Instagram and Snapchat, to see how they compare for social media marketing. The best part is that since stories features are so similar, these insights can be applied to many other applications offering stories.

Snapchat

As the pioneer of social media stories features, Snapchat became the default for many companies testing out this type of social media marketing. On Snapchat, a company can create an account and send photos or videos directly to consumers. More importantly, a company can add photos and videos to their “story” so that their “friends” (followers) on Snapchat can get a glimpse into the company or whatever they want to show. These photos and videos disappear after 24 hours, making the content seem more urgent for users to consume.

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Fresh from the SPRING: CitM Audree | April 20th, 2017

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

The challenge of this project was to create a logo that had a calming affect on people and invoke feelings in the customers that they are doing something good for their mind, body, and soul. We were jazzed by how much this logo calmed us down.

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

Nicely done, CitM, nicely done!

Branding Your Business on a Budget: Why Agencies Aren’t Always the Best Option Ross Kimbarovsky | April 18th, 2017

Most smart entrepreneurs and business owners have small budgets when starting their new business. Yet, if you do some research, you’ll find people suggesting that it’s common to pay $1,000 to $5,000 for a logo design for a new business and $5,000 to $50,000 for a logo design for an established business.

Logo design does not have to cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. I founded crowdSPRING to help organizations and businesses get quality design without a big budget, and today more than 200,000 designers and writers on crowdSPRING help the world’s best entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profits with logo design, web design, graphic design, product design, and company naming.

Watch the video below to learn about my frustrating experience with a design agency that inspired me to found crowdSPRING nine years ago and how your business can get a great, professionally designed logo for as little as a few hundred dollars, in just a few days.

Find Your Type: A Guide to Choosing a Font for Your Business Amanda Bowman | April 17th, 2017

Choosing the right font for your business can make an impact on your consumer’s interest and engagement level with your brand. As we know, people have pronounced feelings, responses, and associations when they see certain colors. Similarly, they have a reaction to typefaces and fonts, and using that information is to your marketing advantage.

Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed. Typography can make or break the overall effectiveness of your design and message.

One of the most important elements of successful typography is the right typeface. The huge array of typefaces available can feel pretty overwhelming, so we have outlined some of the broad ideas you should consider to help narrow down your choices and pick the typeface that is best for your brand.

1. Serif or Sans Serif?

One primary way typefaces and fonts are classified are whether or not they have “serifs,” which are the tiny flourishes found at the end of a letter’s strokes. Serif typefaces have these added bits, and sans-serif typefaces are, as you can guess, literally that; “sans [without] serifs.”

Serif typefaces are associated with tradition and stability. Stuart de Rozario of Font Smith writes, “Serif typefaces are great for premium brands as they convey elegance, prestige, heritage and authority.”

Finance, fashion, journalism and other prestigious industries incorporate that classic style into their designs to great effect. Burberry uses a custom designed serif font, and it elicits an immediate feeling of luxury.

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How to Make Your Craft Brewery Stand Out With Great Design Katie Lundin | April 14th, 2017

Beer brewing has exploded in growth over the past few years and new breweries are joining the ranks every day. As a result, it’s more difficult to stand out.

Are you new to brewing and want to add a little more personality to your home brew? Have you been brewing craft beer for years and are looking for ways to build your business? Wherever you are in your brewing journey, now is the perfect time to consider the importance of branding for your brews. According to brand builder Oliver Russell:

The U.S. has more than 3,000 breweries producing somewhere around 30,000 unique beer styles vying for attention at any given time. That’s a saturated market with limited marketing dollars, which makes packaging more important than ever.

From building a brand identity to choosing cans vs. bottles, we’ve got all the information you need to help your brewery stand out right here. Read on if you’re ready to make your brewery more competitive with great packaging and label design.

Read the rest of this post »

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