Posts Tagged ‘Business’

Did you ever notice that people seem to complain more when they get something for free? Have you also noticed that people seem surprised when they find out that a business is actually in the business to make money? Not long ago I read an exclusive post from Reuters: Facebook to charge merchants to run offers. The Post said, “The service has been free, but in coming weeks Facebook will require merchants to pay at least $5 on related ads to promote each Facebook Offer to a targeted audience of fans and friends of fans. The cost will vary based on the size of a company’s Facebook pages.” Facebook is also expanding Offers to online-only businesses. Before, the service was available only to merchants with physical locations.”

Yes, Facebook offers have been in existence for a while but recently I have seen a number of comments being made about Facebook’s move to generate revenue in this way as unacceptable to their users. One comment on Facebook urged fans to be sure to adjust their settings because Facebook is limiting the amount of posts you will see from a group’s page if they don’t pay. See a remedy for this below.

There seems to be a trend developing. Some people seem to have a sense of entitlement. While there are “Free” social platforms, services, information, music, discounts, etc. clearly it has become problematic for some businesses who now actually want to make money.  Why it is that successful entrepreneurs and businesses are labeled “too successful” or that they “dominate the market”? Why are they scorned when they want to charge a fee for what they offer? If you personally started a business, chances are very good that you’ll want to not only make money but also want to be hugely successful. If that were the case would you feel that the public or even the government were justified in knocking you down for being successful?

The truth of the matter is that it’s your choice to use any social platform on the web that’s free.  I also think that if you are paying for a service, you definitely deserve a level of service that should be spelled out by that platform in terms of what you will receive for your money. If changes are made to a platform and you don’t agree with them, then it’s certainly your option to stop using that platform.

With that said. . .with the new changes coming be sure to monitor your business page “Insights” to see if traffic to your page has dropped off in new visitors or engagement from current visitors. If so you will need to determine how important that is for the success of your business. If paying a nominal fee continues to grow your revenue, is it worth it?

So, do you think that Facebook or others should be able to charge businesses a nominal fee for using their platforms to generate revenue?

And now the Remedy for getting information from things you “Like”

If you are a fan of a page and want to be sure you are seeing all the updates from a page do the following.

  • Go to the page that you have “Liked”
  • Next to the “Liked” and “Message” box below the cover pictures select the dropdown
  • Select, “Add to Interest Lists. . .”
  • Create and name a new interest list
  • Now on your main page you will see updates for these pages/topics in Interests on the left hand side

 

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions for Brands, Businesses and Celebrities to build their social media success. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area.

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And now it’s time for a new feature we call, “YOU WRITE THE NEXT LINE”. The idea is that we all share our knowledge here with others. You may not consider yourself a writer or blogger. But that isn’t really the point. The point is that you have amazing experience that you can share with others. Thank you for your help with this “experiment in crowdwriting.”

I will start us out with the post below, then you add the next line in the comments section. Please keep your comments as clean as possible. Be creative, don’t be shy, share with your friends, and let’s see where it goes. . .

The train rolled into Union Station like it does every day at 12 Noon. But today is different. You see, today the train carries a passenger named Ted. Ted, an entrepreneur with a history of successful businesses recently started another new business and history wasn’t repeating itself. For the most part he was doing moderately well. But things were different this time around and more challenging than ever before. He needed to reinvent how to be successful in this new economy. Of course he knows that the problem could be his product or service. But he also has the feeling that he needs a fresh approach, help from others: friends, fellow-entrepreneurs or even experts, who might be attacking the “new business world” in a more effective way.  Who were the people, incubators, accelerators and where were the organizations he could turn to for help?

Today is the day. He decided it’s time; He is  going to get the help he needs. The train rolled to a stop and Ted stepped off, onto the platform. The city was begging for him to explore his options. He walked out onto Adams Street and . . .

[Continue the story in the Leave a Reply section below. . .]

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions for Brands, Businesses and Celebrities to build their social media success. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area.

I have seen a lot of Fall cleaning going on. You may have seen the following post from one of your friends. “I just cleaned up my friends on Facebook”.  If you are seeing the post, congratulations you made the cut. I wonder what the criteria were for you to still be on the friends list?  I have talked before about the numbers game on social platforms. The person with the most friends wins,  right?

What’s the point of having “x” number of friends on Facebook? There is that moment when you receive a friend request and you are thinking,  “Why does this person really want to connect with me?  I haven’t seen them or talked to them since???” Maybe it’s self-esteem related as in, “the more friends I have, the more I feel loved” factor. The reality is that no amount of friends can really make you feel good about yourself, unless they are truly friends. The definition of a friend is different for everyone.

The same holds true for the amount of “Likes” your brand has on Facebook. For every brand there may be a different definition of what a “Like” is really worth. As a brand you need to decide if that “Like” is someone who is buying something, spreading the word, sharing their knowledge and so on. If there isn’t something connecting that “Like” to your brand and ultimately resulting in revenue. . .then you really need to consider what type of “Likes” you are looking for.

Don’t wait until Spring cleaning time… Fall cleaning time is now.

How are you looking to clean up your brand strategy?

 Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions for Brands, Businesses and Celebrities to build their social media success. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area.

In the world of social media all roads social, lead back to people. One of the roads I travel on often is hanging out with the best people in social media. I am not going to refer to them with the cliché “Guru” moniker (too many titles these days related to social media experts). It’s no surprise that when we get together we talk about social topics and how they relate to business, clients, trends tools, challenges and the future of social media.

The best part about getting together with my friends and “Experts” is the sharing of our collective knowledge. Put a few social media people in a room together and I can’t count the number of “ah-ha” moments when someone says, “I hadn’t heard about that” or “Wow! That is a very cool new tool. I’ll have to check it out.”

The beauty and challenge of social media is the amount of information and tools being generated at a staggering rate. A rate that is humanly impossible to keep up with these days. The ability to know about everything is just not going to happen. That is why the social media community is so amazing. We share information with each other. We help each other. We aren’t afraid to say, “I didn’t know about that yet.”

I often use the example of wanting to get better as a tennis player. Do you always want to go out and play against someone you can wipe the court with or would you rather play someone better than you? Always play someone better than you and you will learn something. The social media community is there to help educate you on what is happening in the fast paced social media world. Our collective knowledge of new trends, tools and technology is something you need to take advantage of to see how it might help you personally or how it relates to your business.

I truly believe we are only scratching the surface on what’s in store for Social Media. Necessity is the mother of invention and will point us in all kinds of new directions. Whether you’re interested in learning more about social media or finding out current information as it relates to your business, get into a community that will support you and your efforts. Don’t just follow them. Get together with them to learn from them, share knowledge and help each other move this planet and human race forward.

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for individuals, businesses and brands to build their social media success. He also founded the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN) in the Chicago Area that recently celebrated it’s three year anniversary.


“It’s not working! Everything we put out there is falling flat and I don’t know what else to do! We post interesting stuff all the time on Facebook, Twitter and on our blog but no one cares. No one is reading it. No one is responding!?!?!?!?!?” These are typical comments we hear from our potential clients on a regular basis.

Sound familiar? Have you ever voiced any of the above questions? You think you are doing the right things for your business but no one else does. Your trusted advisors are even telling you that you are “doing it wrong” but you insist you are doing it right. The fact is that nothing you are doing is creating revenue for your business but you can’t see it through your blurred vision . . .

Here is my advice, STOP. Stop and figure out what it is you think you are doing and why you are doing it. Think about whether or not it is time to consider a new strategy. It is often obvious to outsiders to see when someone doesn’t have a strategy and their activity seems disjointed, disconnected and irrelevant to their overall objective.

One of my favorite Seinfeld episodes is the one where George decides that he is going to do everything opposite of how he has done it in the past and everything begins working for him, from that point forward.

Sometimes doing the opposite of what you have been doing is the right decision. I recently had a conversation with a gentleman who insisted everything he was doing was the best way, the only way. The reality was that his “best way” was yielding NO results in revenue for his entire first quarter. When approached with suggestions on how he might consider doing things differently he immediately shut down and wouldn’t consider any other way from his own way of doing things. The logic there still baffles me to this day.

I’m not saying for you to say YES to everything. Clearly that can be the wrong approach if there isn’t a solid strategy behind it. Remember what happened to Carl in the movie YES Man.

Making a decision that goes against your gut isn’t always the right decision. But making good decisions based on the advice of experts and professionals should be strongly considered before summarily dismissing them.

Do you have any examples of when changing your strategy and going in the other direction paid off for you and your business?

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for individuals, businesses and brands to build their social media success. He also founded the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN) in the Chicago Area that recently celebrated it’s three year anniversary.

We have a very special guest blogger today, my good friend Bob Jordan. Whether you are an individual or a business, Bob shares great examples and advice for entrepreneurs about people who have found success in amazing ways. Learn more about Bob below and be sure to check out the special offer for our readers. Many thanks Bob!

When Groupon’s Eric Lefkofsky turned down $6 billion from Google, he was both praised for his chutzpah and questioned for his judgment. Turns out Eric was right. Groupon is now a public company valued at $12 billion. When I spoke to Eric, he admitted that to be in today’s business environment, “you sign up for some level of insanity.”

Whether you believe such risky business moves are smart or indeed crazy, the fact is that successful company founders often identify those moments as important turning points that helped determine their ultimate success.

I spent years interviewing many company founders, each of whom started, grew, and sold their companies for $100 million or more, or took it public for $300 million or more. Based on these interviews, some of which became the material for my program How They Did It: Real World Advice from Today’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs, here are fifteen “crazy” business decisions that became the pivotal moment in an entrepreneur’s success story.

Stand next to the big boys

Viresh Bhatia’s InstallShield had a hundred competitors, most with similar technology. Unlike most techies, however, Viresh dreamed of advertising as a way to stand out from the crowd. But that wasn’t enough. His chutzpah moment? He and his partner, working out of a 10×10 room, sank their money into a colorful full-page ad they insisted had to run adjacent to Microsoft or IBM in PC Magazine. Customers assumed InstallShield was in the big leagues. Eventual sale price for Installshield: $78 million.

Have a Titanium Story

Dane Miller, founder of Biomet, believed that titanium was the safest metal on the planet for knee and hip replacement parts – far better than the industry standard, stainless steel. To prove his point, he asked a surgeon friend to insert a small piece of titanium into his own arm. Dane’s implant proved to be a powerful promotional tool, and a testament to his passion. These days, everyone now uses titanium. And when he took Biomet private a couple years ago, after having been a public company for 20 years, it was at a $11 billion valuation. So: what’s your titanium story?

Don’t Underestimate the Power of an Empty Box

Don Mauer’s medical device company, Empi, had a great idea for an electro-therapy pain-control device, a scientifically sound study run by a distinguished neurosurgeon, and a market literally in pain. What it didn’t have was a backer or a prototype of the product. So Don made a wooden model of his concept, painted it, glued on some knobs, and pitched his idea to some investors. With that empty box, he raised half a million dollars, enough to get Empi started. He later sold the company for $161.4 million.

Cancel Something Good to Get to Something Great

Scott Jones had a profitable business called Boston Technology. But Scott had a bigger idea around a little-known technology called “voicemail.” That fledgling segment of his business was losing money, while the other two segments were making money and growing nicely – but normally. His decision? Shut down the two profitable segments and bet on the one thing that wasn’t proven yet. From that one risky move, Boston Technology generated 1,000 percent growth, created hundreds of millions in revenue and billions in valuation, and changed the way we use our phones. And no more busy signals anywhere on the planet!

Leave – And Start Again

David Becker saw his credit union clients lacking the software needed to utilize their new powers following the 1979 deregulation of the financial industry. After six months of research, he found a software product he loved, and presented his plan to the league of credit unions’ board of directors. In the midst of discussions bogged down by indecisiveness, Becker stood up, whistled to get everyone’s attention, and announced: “Ladies and gentlemen, let me solve this dilemma for you. I’m going to quit and do this myself.” He thanked them for their time, invited them to be his customers someday, and walked out. Eventually, more than half of those board members became his customers. After selling that first company for $24 million, then selling a second company for $52 million, Becker went on to launch First Internet Bank, now at $500 million in assets, and is recognized as a founding father of the Internet.

Launch is always a leap

A toe in the water approach usually, if not always, fails to produce spectacular results. Success is always a leap from the get-go: an act of faith. What I learned is that avoidance of failure is never, ever going to produce a home run success. Take Jeff Aronin, for example. He left his job at an established company to start Ovation Pharmaceuticals on his own. He made the jump, even though he knew only one in a thousand drugs ever gets approved, and it’s a process that can take 10 years and cost $800 million. Even then, only 40 percent of all drugs ever make back the money that was invested in them. Jeff didn’t even have a drug in development when he started Ovation, but he figured out a way and eventually sold Ovation to Lundebeck for $900 million.

Your first idea is not always the big winner

Highly successful company founders tend to experiment and to listen intensely to customers. Their winning products and winning strategies – the thing that really worked for them – generally was not the first idea out of the gate. I think of Brian Sullivan, the inventor of the Pur water filter found in millions of homes. His first product was a desalinization pump selling to sailors and pleasure boaters. It wasn’t a mass market – just how he got his start.

You have to look again

The opportunities exploited and problems solved by successful entrepreneurs usually are issues that are visible to everyone. Even in highly specialized fields, hundreds or thousands of people missed what one founder saw, saw again, and saw a third time. The difference is that successful company founders started to investigate, resolve, decide, and act. Jim Dolan looked at a 107 year old legal newspaper that most thought was going nowhere, and saw opportunity. He turned the fine print notices of bankruptcies in the back of the newspaper into an online database, and eventually sold for $150 million. It all started from looking at a newspaper in a different way.

Boredom can be a blessing

Boredom is a blessing for champions. Some of the most inspired actions from entrepreneurs come from unplanned, uninvited downtime, sheer boredom and idleness. Dave Becker, the founder of First Internet Bank got in a motorcycle accident and found himself laid up in bed for nine months. Dave was bored to tears and ended up buying a company. So beware of the entrepreneur stuck with a skiing injury, a power outage, or a meaningless vacation. Planned or unplanned solitude can lead to amazing discoveries for founders.

Success is never a solo act

Even so-called solo founders develop partners or key senior managers who prove to be vital to success. None of the companies started by these founders would have made the list without partnerships or very strong management teams. Many had the same philosophy as Andrew Carnegie, making sure to move key people from startup to startup to keep the engine going. Mahendra Vora talks about five hiring 25 who hire 125. Phil Soran, founder of Compellent, met in the basement to think up ideas with his neighbor. Time and time again success came from the formation of powerful teams and partnerships.

Attitude trumps skill

Many times we think that as soon as we get this next skill under our belts or as soon as we I get this next degree, that everything will fall into place. It turns out that’s not the key. The thing which is much more important is a burning desire to be in the game. Relentlessly look for an unmet need that you can fill. With passion many founders delegated or hired people to acquire the skills they needed.

Strike out more, not less

Think of Thomas Edison. We all know the story. I have no idea if it was 3,000 tries for the light bulb or 5,000 or 10,000. It doesn’t matter. The reality of it is we expect Edison to keep on trying because he is eventually going to succeed. And that’s exactly the way these founders were with their startups.

Look in the mirror more

Great company founders look at their efforts and learn to judge those efforts differently. I think for a lot of us, if we try something and it doesn’t work, we start thinking that it’s never going to work or someone won’t like what we’re doing. That is not a recipe for success. I think of Jim Dolan’s story: before his success, he had failed a couple times. On his own dime he hired an industrial psychologist to analyze his abilities so that the next time around he could know his strengths specifically. And he would know who to hire and bring on as partners so that he could be stronger the next time around.

Iterate, execute, repeat

Champion founders keep dancing in the ring and never present a sitting target. The ability to champion an idea doesn’t mean an idea remains set in stone. Dick Costolo, Founder of Feedburner and now CEO of Twitter said that many young entrepreneurs form business models and then stick to it despite evidence that something needs to be changed. He likened his experience at Feedburner to an eye exam. “Better like this or this? A or B? B or C? Oh, C’s better than B; let’s do more C”. Successful founders continue to decide, adapt, act, adapt, reiterate, and execute again.

Let your customers co-create

We live in a new world. When I was younger in my career there was a much more defined path as to how new products would launch and grow. Put out a new product, run some TV ads, and everything would be fine. Today, however, there is no guarantee that when you launch a product and take it to market it is going to work. In fact, these days you’ll find more suspicion of advertised products. People look to their peers who may be tweeting or blogging about a product. So bring your customers into the creation process. Get your product some of the way done and then push it out to your customers to let them be the co-creators.

I think I got their point. In business, chutzpah pays off. If you’re passionate about your business idea, don’t let obstacles of any size prevent you from taking a stand, pursuing your goal, or sticking to your vision.

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About Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan has been launching and growing companies and helping other entrepreneurs do the same for the past 20 years. He’s the author of How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America (RedFlash Press), featuring 45 leading company founders who’ve created $63 billion in value from scratch. His startup, Online Access, the first Internet-coverage magazine, landed on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies. His newest endeavors are RedFlash project implementation team, and interimCEOinterimCFO, a worldwide network of interim, contract, and project executives. Learn more about the 45 founders and the book at www.HowTheyDidIt.com.


Need help with your Social Media Program? ÜberBlue Digital Media provides Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing to individuals, groups, brands and companies.

Please visit us at www.UberBlueDM.com or call 847.498.5494.

“How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?” William Shakespeare. Now who could argue with “The Bard”? Patience is a virtue! Understandably, many clients do not believe that patience is a virtue, in business. Businesses want results, immediately. They expect and often need immediate and impressive results from any marketing program they utilize. Patience while waiting for sales to increase is often non-existent. Yet immediate, dramatic results are not always a possibility with social media, advertising, marketing and public relations.

A few years ago social media for businesses was brand new. There wasn’t much competition on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms when it came to getting noticed. Back in the day our initial conversations with clients talked about what they could expect from their first social media experiences and how long they might wait before seeing results. We talked about the fact that every client is different and results will vary. We still have that conversation.

The vast majority of social media experts I know do their best to set realistic expectations for their clients. It is the other stories I have heard about a small percentage of some “social media experts” that are overpromising clients spectacular results in a very short amount of time. I don’t particularly care for people who give an industry a bad name and leave clients feeling that that they have been hoodwinked. My point here is to caution you: be leery of someone who promises you unrealistic results in a very short period of time. If you have been promised that you will get stellar results in one month…run away. I also warn you about any hair care products that promise the very same kind of results while you are attempting to grow new hair. This video helps explain. . .

Have you ever noticed that whenever something new comes along it’s supposed to be “The Greatest, The Best, super-new, super-cool, super-fast!” Social media is great and it’s cool and it takes time. Maybe Orson Welles in this commercial quoting Paul Masson said it best, “We will sell no wine, before it’s time.”

I have taken an informal survey with my social media colleagues and many of us are seeing that six + months is an accurate timeframe for expecting results. That isn’t to say that you and your business won’t see some victories and successes before that time. Keeping the six month timeframe in focus will afford everyone to set realistic expectations.

Be sure you are doing the day to day things that are going to continue to build your presence. At the same time be very intentional about everything in your strategic plan. In addition to patience, Persistence and Consistency are also key components. And you will sell the wine…when it is time.

How has patience paid off for you and your business?

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for individuals, businesses and brands to build their social media success. He also founded the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN) in the Chicago Area that recently celebrated it’s three year anniversary.