BUILD. NOT BILLED.
BUI LDING BLOCKS THE ROAD FORWARD Forging a Path Into 2018 and Beyond
Aut viam inveniam aut faciam. This Latin phrase is attributed to Hannibal, the general from
speak at an event. She’s been such an influence and has helped me with a many of my own marketing endeavors.
I made a decision. I wanted to invite Dorie to the LIBF event. I reached out and asked if she would like to come. She said yes! She spoke to the crowd of about 55, signed copies of “Entrepreneurial You,” and had an all-around great time. She brought so much to the event, and for that, I am thankful. She’s just an amazing person. A big part of “I will find a way or make one” is being courageous. I had to take a leap in reaching out to Dorie. I had no idea what her response would be, or if I would hear back from her before the event. Who would have thought such a successful and respected author would make time for a relatively small event on Long Island? None of this would have happened if I had not taken that leap. This applies to so much in life and business. It’s something that’s on my mind going into 2018 and as I work toward my own goals. Being courageous comes with risk. Some of your endeavors might not pan out as you hoped — or they may turn out better than you ever imagined. But you don’t know until you take that leap. It’s not always an easy path forward. It’s not always a comfortable path. You may even find yourself traveling alone down that path, forging your own way. That’s why aut viam inveniam aut faciam means so much to me. If I don’t see a clear path
antiquity who, over 2,000 years ago, crossed the Alps on the backs of elephants. His generals said it couldn’t be done. His response: “I will find a way or make
one.” And he made it happen.
Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.
These are words that struck a chord with me, words I’ve tried to live by. Here’s what I mean. Back in November, the Long Island Business Forum (LIBF), for which I serve as executive director, sponsored a thank-you event for our members’ referral partners. These are people who bring us new business, and we wanted to give back to them. As part of that giving back, we decided to give out copies of “Entrepreneurial You,” a new book by best-selling business author Dorie Clark. She’s a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Entrepreneur magazine, as well as appearing on MSNBC, the BBC, and more. Dorie is also an adjunct professor of business administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and a visiting professor at IE Business School in Madrid. In short, she comes with an impressive background in the world of business. More than that, Dorie is very practical and down-to-earth when it comes to her work with small-business owners. Her books are proven resources, and she’s someone I admire. We both attended the same college (though she attended after me), and I’ve reached out to her in the past after I saw her
forward, I will make one. It’s taking the road less traveled, to paraphrase Robert Frost.
As you think about where you want to take your business in 2018, think about the path that lies ahead. Who wants to be like Hannibal and march some elephants over the Alps?
HELPING PEOPLE ISN’T JUST FOR NONPROFITS
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Sharen Murnaghan’s LinkedIn page features the line, “Always be helping.” When you look at Hubspot’s “About Us” page, you’ll notice their vision is to build a company where business is “empathetic, human, and personable.” Do these philosophies sound like they’re in alignment? She and Hubspot both believe that helping others is essential to business success, so it should come as no surprise that Murnaghan is Hubspot’s No. 1 salesperson. When two MIT graduates, Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan, realized that customers weren’t responding to tried-and-true marketing tactics — and that Shah’s unassuming blog was driving way more web traffic than sites with huge marketing budgets — they created Hubspot, a marketing and sales software company. Most companies were forgetting about the human element of sales. Instead of helping people, these businesses treated customers like numbers, all in the pursuit of their bottom line. So, Shah and Halligan started a company that would do the opposite. They decided to help other businesses forge human relationships with their customers and create an “inbound world.” Before joining their company, Murnaghan had a successful sales career in the publishing world, but she was ready for something new. She had an impressive amount of sales experience but almost no knowledge of digital marketing, an industry she knew was clearly on the rise. So, “armed with nothing but a desire
to learn and a willingness to work hard,” she enrolled in a digital marketing course, got a certification, and eventually found her way to Hubspot. She started in an entry-level sales position, and, after working hard and spending many hours on continued education, she became their No. 1 salesperson. She’s held the spot ever since. But what got her there? She found success by using the same philosophy that Hubspot was built on. “People don’t want to be interrupted by marketers or harassed by salespeople,” Shah and Halligan say of their empathetic approach. “They want to be helped.” Murnaghan’s interactions with customers hinged on her desire to help others, and she was determined to carry out that mission. Once, she connected a client’s daughter with friends in Canada after learning the girl was starting university there. What lessons can we glean from Murnaghan’s and Hubspot’s success? Perhaps it’s this: Don’t forget about the simple act of helping people. Make this a priority above selling a good or service. As you shape and define your company’s values, hire people who exemplify them. Like Murnaghan, if they live your values, they’ll wow your clients, help grow your brand, and bring you both to the top.
NOT FADS WHY YOU NEED TO KEEP UP WITH TRENDS
Do you remember fidget spinners? Those small, pinwheel- like toys claimed to improve focus by channeling users’ excess energy. Last summer, fidget spinners were a worldwide craze. In May of 2017, fidget spinners appeared in every single slot of Amazon’s top 20 best-seller list for toys. Then, just as quickly as they appeared, their popularity vanished. By October, an eBay listing sported 50,000 premium metal fidget spinners for a total price of $2,500. At one point, those fidget spinners would have sold for at least $15 each. Now, the eBay seller was willing to take a measly 5 cents per spinner just to get rid of them. Collecting dust in warehouses, on store shelves, and atop dollar store checkout displays, fidget spinners are haunting reminders of the danger of trends. Whether it’s “Pokemon Go” in 2016, Pogs in 1993, or tulips in 1593, fads appear suddenly and generate a lot of consumer demand and attention, but they don’t have lasting impacts on the market as a whole. More often than not, companies that try to ride the success of a fad end up taking a big loss. They’re left with overstock they can’t get rid of.
In 2017, livestreaming on social media rocketed into popularity. For years, consumers have sought to participate with the brands and businesses they support. As video content gained steam, livestreaming became the ultimate way to allow genuine real-time engagement. Major brands like Disney and BuzzFeed invested a lot of time in= livestreaming last year and earned billions of views within 30 days of posting new content. To tell the difference between a trend and a fad, Jeffery Phillips, senior consultant at OVO Innovation, recommends asking these four questions: 1. Is this emerging need likely to grow and to sustain itself over time? 2. Is the emerging need based mostly on novelty? 3. Is the need based on political, economic, societal, or technological changes? 4. Will what’s happening shift behaviors or create new needs, new markets, or new customer segments? It can be really tempting to jump onboard with fads, but you don’t want to build your business on something that isn’t sustainable. Look for trends that lead to new markets and learn how you can fill those needs long term.
Trends, however, change the marketplace by shifting the way consumers buy, and over time, they can alter the products and services customers demand.
Your Information May Be at Risk
The greatest threats facing businesses with mobile workforces are the use of open access Wi-Fi and the lack of proper password protection on those devices. This is especially true when the employees use their personal smartphones, tablets, and laptops. OPEN ACCESS WI-FI Surprisingly, and despite repeated warnings, most people remain ignorant of the dangers posed by public Wi-Fi services found in cafes, libraries, airports, hotels, and the like. When people log onto the internet, surveys indicate they immediately begin checking email, posting on social media, and logging into their bank accounts. These activities include the transmission of passwords and other sensitive personal information. To protect against open access Wi-Fi, there are several things employees can do. First, they can create a virtual private network (VPN) which encrypts data transmitted over the network. Apps can be used to do this easily and securely on a smartphone or tablet. Employees can also make use of SSL connections by enabling the “Always use HTTPS” option on websites visited. This option can be found in the settings area of the
device. When in public, employees should turn off Wi-Fi automatically to avoid any open backdoors, even if they are not using the Wi-Fi. IMPROPER PASSWORD PROTECTION People are inundated with devices, sites, and applications that require passwords. Unfortunately, it is well-known that even among those educated about the risks, people routinely use the same password for the vast majority of their accounts. This means that if a malicious entity acquires one password, nearly all are comprised. The impact of such a breach can take months or even years to fully play out. Employees need to be required to have strong, unique passwords on and for their devices, sites, and applications. Strong passwords are longer (at least 8 characters), use combinations of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Companies need to create policies requiring such usage and actively coach employees in how to achieve compliance. There are numerous good applications now that help track and store passwords so personnel can use unique ones in all instances.
AROUND THE FIRM
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January 15 – MLK Day. Offices closed. January 31 – Building Blocks Webinar: “Finding Possibility.” To attend, register at buildnotbilled.com.
February 6 – Networking luncheon at Havana Central. To attend, register at 516ads.com . February 9 – Long Island Business Forum Women’s Lunch. To attend, contact me. February 19 – Presidents’ Day. Offices closed. February 28 – Building Blocks Webinar: “Contracts 101.” To attend, register at buildnotbilled.com.
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Forging a Path Forward INSIDE THIS ISSUE 1 2 The Secret Behind Hubspot’s No. 1 Salesperson
Will Fads Lead You to Ruin?
Protect Your Passwords
Book Review: ‘Entrepreneurial You’
ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT BUSINESS BOOKS OF 2017
You’re busy, but you’re always on the lookout for sources of inspiration and new resources you can apply to your business. This is true of a great many entrepreneurs and small-business owners. As discussed in this month’s cover article, one resource you absolutely want to have in your office is the book “Entrepreneurial You: Monetize Your Expertise, Create Multiple Income Streams, and Thrive.”
Author Dorie Clark helps entrepreneurs understand the need for – and the way to create – multiple income streams in order to protect yourself against market fluctuations, whims, and changing interests. If we’ve been taught anything in the last decade, it’s that we cannot be reliant on bigger institutions to take care of us. Instead, we must be self-reliant and build up diversified ways to guarantee our own success and provide for our families. What I love about Dorie’s books, however, is that they aren’t “get rich quick” schemes. Everything she teaches requires hard work and investment. But she lays out a path with clarity, so that you feel confident in your ability to take her advice to heart and to action. There is a good reason why Inc. magazine called it one of the most important business books of 2017. “Entrepreneurial You” has substance. Dorie explores ideas and their real- world applications with relatable examples — examples you can explore further on your own, should you choose to do so. If you consider yourself an entrepreneur or a small-business owner, or you want to be sure you’re not sidelined by a changing position where you are, and you’re aspiring to be better than you are today, this book has the insight and advice you need to take that next step. The last line of her book inspires me greatly: “The world needs your ideas — and you need to be paid for them. That’s the path to lasting influence, impact, and freedom.” This book is a worthy addition to your business library.
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