Mobile Has Changed Everything for E-Mail

So you are working on your e-mail marketing campaigns and have noticed a seismic shift in where folks are now accessing your incredible content and compelling offers.  People once opened their e-mails primarily on their desktop or laptop computers.  But now new devices such as your smartphone and tablet, primarily the iPad, have become primary access points for e-mail.  Take a look at the following chart:

OK, so now 1/3 of e-mail is opened on a mobile device.  Take a look at the leading e-mail client market share:

So if you are running a small business, what do you need to do:

Thank you to our friends at Milo – www.milo.com and Litmus – www.litmus.com for the awesome infographics.

Webman

The Art of Focus

How many times have we all used the word focus?  With ourselves, with our children, with our co-workers.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”- Ferris Bueller

Classic, but I digress.  Life does move really fast these days and if you do not look around you will certainly miss the most important things in your life.  If you are like me, we are all juggling so many things that many days are just a blur.  Husbands and wives running in different directions: children trying to grow up and face the everyday challenges of school, social, sports etc. (I think it was easier when we were growing up but that was a while ago so my memory may not be accurate).  Keeping up with changes in technology, news, work, play, friends, acquaintances, neighbors, banking, working out, eating healthy, facebook, twitter, linked-in, business meetings, networking events, even a party or two now and then, sports…….I am exhausted just listing these things.

What we are most challenged by everyday is our ability to focus on what is important and to not worry about the small stuff.  Much easier said than done, I know.  We make lists, we prioritize, we get handed honey-do lists – we have lists at home, lists at work, lists of projects, lists of people to call – we have handwritten lists on paper, post it notes, on the refrigerator and if you live in my home, small little lists and reminders on post-it notes all over the house as subtle reminders of the daily to-dos.  So many things to do, so little time.

In order to be more successful in everything that we do it is critical to remain focused on the items that move the needle.  At work, what are the items that you work on that truly make a difference to the business and to you?  Here is a technique that I learned many years ago that has worked for me and one that I have used on many occasions in business.  It is called the Start, Stop and Continue technique.  Make a list of the things you do everyday (Separate business, life, goals, home etc.) and ask yourself the questions.  What should I stop doing?  What should I start doing?  What should I continue doing?  Do this regularly as priorities, goals and impact changes constantly, just like life.

Additionally think about the things that are really important.  I found this today and wanted to share – 10 questions that create success.  I know I am giving you another task but this one is worth it.  I am asking myself these questions starting today:

  1. Have I made certain that those I love feel loved?
  2. Have I done something today that improved the world?
  3. Have I conditioned my body to be more strong flexible and resilient?
  4. Have I reviewed and honed my plans for the future?
  5. Have I acted in private with the same integrity I exhibit in public?
  6. Have I avoided unkind words and deeds?
  7. Have I accomplished something worthwhile?
  8. Have I helped someone less fortunate?
  9. Have I collected some wonderful memories?
  10. Have I felt grateful for the incredible gift of being alive?

So slow down, take a breadth, enjoy that cup of coffee or tea in the morning and think differently.  Has worked for Apple, so why not you?

Please let me know what you think of this blog by commenting below.

Webman

We Need Thomas Jefferson!

A few weeks ago, a relative sent the following to me in an e-mail.  As we look at our country today, we are going through a very difficult time financially, with job security, ineffective government, strained international relations and a deteriorating global position.  Many of you are struggling under these extreme burdens and life has become more stressful than ever before.  Many of the basic principals of our nation are being challenged, as evidenced by the recent Warren Buffet article (See previous Web Blog on “Let’s end the Deficit now”)

I thought it would be great to illuminate one again the brilliance of One of our greatest leaders and founders of our country, Thomas Jefferson. 

One evening, John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the White House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time.  He made this statement: “This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

Here are just a few of the many quotes and insights from Thomas Jefferson that resonate for all of us today, 200+ years later:

  • “When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.”
  • “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”
  • “It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes.  A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”
  • “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
  • “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”
  • “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against the tyranny of government.
  • “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.  If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property – until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

Thomas Jefferson said that in 1802.  Things that make you go hmmmmm…….

Where are you Thomas Jefferson?  We need you now!

Thanks again for reading this blog.  Let me know what you think by sending comments along below.

Webman

Change or Die

Many years ago I had the privilege of meeting Seth Godin.  We were discussing a business transaction that unfortunately did not happen because the management team of a very conservative company could not get over the name of Seth’s company – Yoyodyne.

Yoyodyne was Seth’s first company.  It was acquired by Yahoo in 1998.  Seth has become an industry rock star over the last 10+ years.  He  has written thirteen books that have been translated into more than thirty languages. Every one has been a bestseller. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything.

American Way Magazine calls him, “America’s Greatest Marketer,” and his blog is perhaps the most popular in the world written by a single individual.

I am currently reading one of Seth’s recent books, Graceful.  It is a book of short concepts/ideas/thoughts that are so right on that I wanted to share one with you.  Seth, I hope that you don’t mind.

In one of the short chapters,  Seth speaks about how many of us grew up in the “factory” age.  No, not just manufacturing, but companies the same things that they created for years; only today they do it better, faster and cheaper.  We are talking about accounting firms, banks, insurance companies and the like.  What Seth says, is that these companies are about predictable scalability, scarcity and compliance.

He goes on to say that factories demand compliant workforces to succeed.  Well if you are working for a company that is all about compliance, obedience and doing just as you were told, you will not succeed.  These businesses are having trouble achieving their growth targets (sound familiar), constantly placing blame on existing management and employees (sound familiar) and not providing the latitude to bust out of the box and do something different (Now I know that sounds familiar).

Right now the world is exploding with new approaches, new forms of interaction and new business models, embracing the rapidly changing world and empowering their employees to make a difference.  Their growth comes from change, insight, exploration and risk taking.

Employees, where do you work?  Where would you rather work?

Business owners, are you forcing compliance? Are your providing your employees with the ability to fuel your business growth or stifling them to the point where they will not do anything without asking for permission.

You decide!  Thanks Seth for the thoughts and wisdom.

Webman

Shop Local…It’s the Right Thing to do!

In support of our local businesses this holiday season.

November 26th is a very important day for Small Businesses.  And it is also a very important day for shoppers to vote with your wallets

Small business drives our economy and as you know our economy is hurting big time with no end in sight.  Small businesses represent 99 percent of U.S. employers and employ about half of the nation’s private-sector workforce..

We continue to modify our behavior and shop the big box stores, looking for the best deals, using Living Social, Groupon, Google and Amazon local deals.  We are also fully connected via our mobile devices so we can have deals sent to us, activated when we walk by a participating retailer.  We can check in via FourSquare, SCVNGR and FaceBook and we can search the web for deals on just about anything.  As I said, the economy is tough, so we are all looking for deals.

Many of these very cool and engaging technologies are not yet embraced by small businesses as they just do not have the resources to capitalize on all of these proactive traffic building and response tools.  Many small businesses have used these services, but they cannot maintain the frequency necessary to capture your mind share.

Small Business Saturday is about Main Street, not Wall Street. It’s about entrepreneurs and families selling things that the chains and e-commerce companies aren’t. Only small businesses can offer truly unique gifts and the most genuinely friendly customer service.

Small Business Saturday is also about supporting the local economy. The chain stores are owned by bigger companies that are probably based somewhere other than your hometown, but small businesses are usually owned by your neighbors. When you shop at a small business, you’re supporting your local economy and your local job base.

So here’s the deal.  Go shopping on November 26th but only go to your local merchants.  Or as you are putting your holiday budget together, allocate 1/3rd of it to support your local community.  They will have a great holiday season, you will get great service and a big smile and you will exemplify what the holidays are all about – GIVING!

Happy Small Business Shopping on November 26th and for all the rest of the days leading up to your special holiday celebration.

Webman


Company Culture – What’s Yours?

Yes company culture is important!

There are many different ways that corporate cultures are created.  Founder leadership for many start-ups is so passionate, so inspirational, so meaningful for many employees that they will follow the founder into the foxhole and do whatever is necessary to make it work. For those great entrepreneurial cultures that grow into successful small, medium and large businesses, this passionate approach and the many unique experiences that folks have bond them not only at the company, but for life.

Other cultures are created, not because of the specific leadership or passion of the founder, but because the founder provides a foundation for employees to communicate, to experience success and to win together.  I watched a brief video yesterday about Kiva Systems, http://www.kivasystems.com/, a company that uses game-changing automation technology for distribution centers that helps companies simplify operations and reduce costs while increasing strategic flexibility.  CEO Mike Mountz mentioned that as new folks joined the company, they were impressed and awed by the culture.  But Mr. Mountz did not create a specific culture.  Once they had around 100 employees, management asked the employees to define what they loved about the culture and then they worked to establish the operating principles for their business……and their awesome success.

These examples are illustrative of successful entrepreneurial companies that established awesome cultures, but took different paths.  For those of us that have had the privilege of working for high growth, fast paced, highly focused organizations, the culture is apparent as soon as you walk in the door.  You can just feel the energy, the enthusiasm, the passion of the people focused on two things – winning and enjoying it.  Ego’s are checked at the door,  employees are solely focused on solving problems, capturing market share and kicking the competitions ass.  Simple really.

Many of us have also worked for cultures that are unhealthy, stifled, inflexible, hierarchical and rigid.  These companies have arrived here in a variety of ways – a lack of leadership talent,  no strategy or focus,  short term focus on profitability or a business that fears failure and has no idea how to make it work.  This type of environment is all too prevalent in companies that have lost their way, have stopped investing in people and in their business, companies that are relying on repeating legacy successes, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle once again.  Headline for these businesses – change or die.

Many of us have also experienced these types of businesses – as soon as you walk in the building you feel nothing; no passion, no energy, no electricity, no hope.  It is just painfully obvious to everyone that hope is not a strategy.

Business owners – choose your path and establish a culture of passion, collaboration, honesty and integrity.  Your employees will love it and the energy created by your team will light the path for your success.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Webman

And It Makes Me Wonder………

Third in a series about why businesses fail.

If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow, don’t be alarmed now,
It’s just a spring clean for the May queen.
Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on.
And it makes me wonder.

As my old friend “Da Coacha” would say, classic rock and roll from Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’.  So what the heck does this mean for you small business.  Everything!

Growing up I had no idea what “a bustle in your hedgerow’ meant and after doing research there are a variety of “thoughts” around the meaning, some that are just not suitable for this blog.  So here are your options:

1. It does not mean anything

2. It means something really deep

3. It means whatever you want it to mean

Take the poll and let me know what you think.

For business owners and employees the question is what road are you on and is there time to change the road you are on.  You are the only one that knows what road you are on but you still have plenty of time to make the change.

Many employees are stuck in jobs, happy to have the work, collecting a paycheck and wondering is this all there is to work.  They go to work everyday wondering if today is the day; the day when management walks in and says “I am sorry, we have to let you go.”  You did a good job, but management is judge and jury.  Others have a job but wonder everyday, “what else can I be doing to make an impact?”  “What can I do to change the monotony of this job, my life?”

Many small business employers wonder the same thing.  “Is this what running my own business means?”  All I want to really do is what I love to do, the real reason why I started the business and not have to worry about marketing, advertising, social, Facebook, Linked In etc..  And they ask, “what can I do to change the monotony of this job, my life?”

Well tomorrow when you wake up, ask yourself this question.  “Is this what I want to do?” “Is this the company I want to do it for?” “Am I living up to my potential and making a difference in my professional and personal life?”  “Am I giving back and helping others be successful?”

Is the company that you work for providing you what you need to succeed?  As a small business owner, are you providing your employees with the training, challenge and ability to grow everyday so that they are not asking themselves these questions?”

Hey this stuff is hard.  That is why they call is work.  And it makes me wonder……..

Webman