4 Ways Running Can Help You Run A Business

Are you a runner or is shopping your cardio?¬†ūüėČ

The author finishing a 5k

I started running later in life (i.e. post-school), and I’m so glad I did. Besides being excellent exercise, it’s fun to be a part of such a wonderful community. The running community embraces runners of all capabilities and provides support in the form of running partners, groups and tips from more experienced runners.

A Supportive Community 

A supportive community is one way that running translates to running a business. As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you’re probably working alone. Tapping into the entrepreneurial community can help you grow and manage your business. Whether you frequent a co-working space or join an online community, fellow small business owners can give you advice, help you brainstorm ideas and offer support from someone who understands what you’re experiencing.

Related: Is collaboration the new competition?

Long-Term Plan

Runners tend to have a long-term plan, incorporating when they’re competing in races, rest days and specific things they’re working on (i.e. a stronger kick, running technique). Small business owners need to plan as well, so they can run their business effectively and look for growth opportunities. Looking at your bigger picture helps when making decisions about what opportunities to pursue and which areas to focus on at specific times. Of course the best plans should always be adjustable.

Rest Days / Down Time

As noted above, part of a runner’s long-term plan is incorporating rest days. They’re vital to performing well, in running and business. Small business owners tend to wear a lot of hats, which can make it difficult to unplug. It’s important to your long-term outlook (and health) that you take time for yourself so you can be at your best when focusing on your business. Don’t burn yourself out and short circuit your business before you’re able to achieve your dreams. Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint.

Related: How to Take a Break from Technology Without Moving to the Woods

Aha Moments 

When I run, I listen to my tunes and try to empty my mind (or think of inspirational movie scenes if I need an extra boost to reach the top of the hill). I’m not thinking about customers, business issues or other important topics. That’s probably why I come up with some of my best ideas or feel confident making a decision I’ve been thinking about after a run. The combination of physical activity, clearing my mind and the euphoria of finishing my run seems to spark creativity and clarify my decision-making process. The next time you’re struggling with a business decision or client project, go for a run. It may spark an ‘aha moment!’

Running translates well to running a business on several fronts. Runners can draw inspiration and insight from their hobby while they tackle the tough task of running a business. Not a runner? It’s never too late to lace ’em up and hit the pavement or trails. Couch to 5k can help you get started, or find a running community to join. You’ll find the same support, camaraderie and inspiration as you find in your entrepreneurial or small business community.

Happy running (a business)!

Just a (small biz owner &) runner from Akron,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about small business life, running, your marketing needs or otherwise):

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How To Earn Your ’15 Minutes’ In Business With Style & Grace

“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”

-Andy Warhol (or not)

People often ask me what the hardest part of leaving the corporate world and starting my own business was. It was learning to promote myself, which may come as a surprise. Granted, I should have been doing that in the corporate world, but that’s always been an area of weakness for me.

Posing for a picture at a client conference

I’d rather run the show from behind the scenes, but I’ve had to learn to be more visible while running my business.

In the past, the old adage was to keep your head down and work hard. Today, that will get you nowhere. You need to work hard and let others know what you’re doing, in a positive way. How can you do that?

4 Ways To Earn Your ’15 Minutes’ In Business With Style & Grace¬†

  • Use social media to build your brand. Take advantage of social platforms’ tools, such as adding projects on LinkedIn and showcasing happy customers and successful projects on Facebook (milestones!) and Instagram. (Use a platform that your customers are on so you can tag them.) Prospects want to see and hear about work that you’ve done and happy customers are your best brand ambassadors.

Photos with faces get 38% more likes and 32% more comments on Instagram.^

  • Give credit where credit is due. If you collaborate on a project, give credit to others who contributed. When adding projects on LinkedIn, you can tag multiple people as contributors. Colleagues, customers and business partners will appreciate the recognition.
  • Be grateful. Remember to thank and recognize people who help you along the way. Whether someone acted as a sounding board, contributed to your business plan or came through in the clutch during a last minute project, let them know how much they are appreciated. Small gestures and kind words can go a long way.

Related reading: Stop Saying Thank You on Social Media & Say Something Meaningful!

  • Let others tell your story. When you follow the first three suggestions, people will be happy to spread the word about your work. Most human beings enjoy helping others, especially when they view others as deserving. Make sure you’re deserving¬†and continue the cycle by thanking those who take the time to promote your brand. You never know when a casual mention will turn into your big break.

Related reading: How to Self-Promote Without Being a Jerk (on my reading list!)

On the topic of humble self-promotion, I’m excited that the CCC portfolio page is finally live! Feel free to browse some of our work, and let us know if you would like to discuss a project. (Perhaps how to build your brand on social media?) ūüôā

Source:
^Georgia Institute of Technology & Yahoo Labs

Your reluctant self-promoter (and introverted business owner),
Jaime

Let’s chat (on self-promotion, building a brand or otherwise): 
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I Love It When A Team Comes Together

I finished watching the A-Team series again, and it never gets old. The dynamic cast. The action. The explosions. The good guys always winning. But what I love the most about the A-Team is how well they function together. They realize that the four of them accomplish more together than they would individually. This doesn’t happen automatically; you have to assemble the right parts to produce a winning team.

Maybe you can call The A-Team!

The A-Team: (L-R) Lt Templeton “Faceman” Peck, Capt H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock, Sgt B.A. “Bad Attitude” Baracus & Col John “Hannibal” Smith
Photo courtesy of The A-Team Wiki


The wily leader
¬†Col John “Hannibal” Smith is the undisputed leader of the group, although he rules by respect, not fear. The other members of The A-Team trust him to lead them in the right direction. Hannibal isn’t afraid of jumping into the action either; he’s not a hands-off leader by any means. When he’s “on the jazz,” he’ll do just about anything. In addition to leadership, Col Smith is also an actor, so he’s a master of disguise. That talent comes in handy as The A-Team helps people in need while evading capture.

The charmer (who gets things done)¬†Yes, he’s a con man, but Lt Templeton “Faceman” Peck always comes through. No matter what the group needs for its mission — wheels, weapons, a plane — he manages to deliver. Charm is an important, often overlooked, trait in today’s business world, as¬†it helps gain the trust of your comrades and put them at ease. In addition to his schmoozing skills, Face serves as an adept second-in-command.

The skilled specialist (with a touch of¬†craziness)¬†Capt H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock is an amazing pilot who flies anything from jets to homemade craft projects with propellers. So often, he takes off just in the nick of time to help The A-Team evade the bad guys. Sure, he’s crazy, but is that a bad thing? Craziness (as long as it’s somewhat reined in by the rest of the team) can be productive. Ask any entrepreneur; you have to be a bit crazy to take that leap. The same has been said about people willing to take the big shots or tackle the most complex projects.

The attitude (with skill) Sgt Bosco Albert (B.A.) “Bad Attitude” Baracus brought the muscle. He was the group’s enforcer and bodyguard, but he was also the mechanic — a critical position. So many times, B.A. stepped in to make a tank out of a mere van or use basic supplies to build exactly what the team needed to complete the mission. A broken down pick-up that hadn’t run in 10 years? No problem, B.A. could fix it. He was truly worth his weight in gold (which happened to be around his neck). As a bonus, he¬†also¬†served as the getaway driver and was the proud owner of the famous A-Team van.

If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.

The next time you’re assembling a team, take a look at great teams throughout history and study what made them tick. A team is more than a group of individuals; members’ strengths and talents must fit together to move the team forward toward a common goal. If you accomplish that, you can steal a line from the famous cigar-smoking Colonel of the A-Team.

“I love it when a plan comes together.” –Col John “Hannibal” Smith


Let’s Discuss

Who was your favorite member of The A-Team?

What team throughout history has impressed you?

What’s your advice for assembling a great team?

 

CCC’s fearless leader, Face(woman), pilot & muscle,
Jaime

Connect with CCC. We’ll make a great team!
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Rage Against The Political Machine — 5 Takeaways for Your Marketing Efforts

I’m not a political junkie, but I do consider myself a well-informed voter. I vote for each candidate individually, not strictly along party lines, and actually put some time and thought into my decisions. Throw in the fact that I’m an advertising major, and you probably figure I can’t get enough of the campaign season. Right?

Nixon campaigns

Wrong. When I cast my ballot today, I not only felt a sense of pride about participating in the electoral process, but also a sense of relief that the annoying attack ads, endless array of (bad) direct mail pieces and make-my-head-explode robo calls would be coming to a halt. I love America, but sometimes I swear political campaigns are the least effective advertising anywhere.

Surprisingly, there are actually some good strategies to follow coming out of political advertising, and of course, there are other strategies going on that you should run away from as fast as you can. Below are five takeaways — good and bad — from the political advertising machine.

1) DO Brand Yourself –> OK, you don’t have to stick with yard signs and bumper stickers. There are thousands upon thousands of promotional items that you can brand with your logo and/or message. Why promotional products? Because they work. The statistics abound but consider this:

82.6% of people can recall the company and brand on their promotional product and 50% have a favorable impression of the advertiser. To take it further, 83% of people like promotional products and 58% keep them for one year or longer. How’s that for effective?

2) DO Collaborate/Partner –> Find companies with similar audiences to spread the love, cut costs and increase exposure. For example, the Akron Public Schools (APS) had a new levy on the ballot, which they desperately needed passed. They worked with a popular local race (the Project Homeless Connect 10k & 5k) to further promote their cause. An eye-catching direct mail piece that explained exactly how the levy would benefit students was included in each runner’s swag bag (no mailing costs), and the race director spoke favorably of the levy during the awards presentation. In addition to attaching itself to a great cause, the APS touched hundreds of members of its target audience at one time with only a small expense (printing costs).

3) DON’T Spam –> For some of the races, I did some additional research before figuring out who I was voting for. When I received direct mail pieces from these candidates, I kept them to look over later. When I dug them out the night before the election, I couldn’t believe how many duplicates I had received of the exact same pieces. Not only is this not at all cost effective, it doesn’t impress many people. If you’re going to really utilize one form of advertising, at least mix it up. One judge in particular stood out because her pieces were all different, including letters of recommendation from others, examples of her past success and highlighting different reasons why she was worthy of your vote (instead of cramming everything onto one piece like an encyclopedia). Go figure, I ended up voting for her.

4) DON’T Attack –> One other note about the judge I mentioned in the previous example… She only spoke about herself – how she was positively impacting the community, past decisions on cases, etc. She never attacked the other candidate even though the other candidate (or excuse me, her party) attacked her. (The other candidate claimed complete ignorance of the attack ads. Yeah right.) Like most people, I want to hear why I should vote for you (or buy your product), not why your competitor’s lacking. If you’re talking about your competitor, then I’m assuming that you have nothing positive to tell me about yourself (or your company).

5) DO Be True to Yourself –> Once you develop your brand’s voice, tell its story. Don’t embellish, misrepresent facts or flat out lie to make your brand sound better. If you feel like you have to do that, then something is missing. As I was discussing all of the blatantly false political ads with another woman in the voting line, she made a great point.

“I don’t lie,” she said. “When you lie, you have to remember what you said so that you can tell the same lie down the road. Just tell the truth; it’s so much easier.” That’s one thing we should all agree on.

So I hope everyone voted today to make your voice heard. Go ahead and take some key points from the political advertising machine to market your company or brand better while lowering costs and collaborating more effectively. If you remember only one thing, don’t use robo calls. EVER.

Happy Election Day!
Jaime

p.s. For more information on promotional products, visit http://www.promotionalproductswork.org/ or contact me.

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