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Posts Tagged ‘team’

Learning from the Past: KikScore’s Top Twelve Blog Posts of 2011 for Small Businesses and Startups

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

It’s been a great year for KikScore! We’ve gained partners, garnered press, interviewed tons of great startups, and released our first white paper. Sounds like a winning year to me. That’s why we put together a list of our top blog posts for 2011. By highlighting some of our beloved posts, we can reflect on what KikScore has accomplished through the year as well as go over some information that we believe is important enough to bear repeating for small business. We hope you enjoy!

#12: 5 Ways to Develop a Killer Brand for Your Small Business and Startup

If you are looking to establish a good brand name for your business, then this post is for you. Although it’s daunting to see big businesses with huge budgets for marketing and advertising, there are cheaper and more effective ways to build your brand. This post goes over the different ways in which you can deal with your customers and make their experiences so great that your brand will practically build itself.

#11: 7 Questions A Small Business or Startup Should Ask Themselves Every Day

It’s critical to ask yourself important questions. Even if it is just to make sure that you know the answer instead of just thinking you know the answer. This post discusses several questions that you need to ask to make sure that your business is headed in the right direction.

#10: The Day in Pictures & Tweets at the 2011 SmallBizSummit

Just as the title says, this post is a compilation of pictures and tweets from the 2011 SmallBizSummit. Here you can find great quotes and images that focus around how all small businesses should act and what they should do. Take a look and feel like you were there yourself.

#9: 5 Reasons that Startups & SmallBiz Must Engage Their Customers

If you think that this list is already beating up the idea of paying attention to customers, then you aren’t thinking like a business should. This next post builds upon the ways to really engage customers and see results. Give it a read and try the advice for yourself. We promise you won’t be disappointed.

#8: Web Design Contracts – Protect Yourself & Your New Business

This guest post, written by Gregg Hand, is of vital importance when preparing to set up a website. We’ve all heard the speech about why we have to read the fine print before signing a contract. However, now that you’re helping to make a contract with a web designer, you must be twice as cautious. If you’ve never had to make this type of contract, this post can help you with a set of helpful advice on what to look out for.

#7: Top Ten Reasons Small Businesses Fail Series

(Procrastination; Competition; Marketing; Clients; Employees; Versatility; Location; Cash Flow (Followup); Closed Mind; Planning)

Here is a series of posts that we’ve worked on throughout the year in an effort to help small businesses understand what they must avoid. Some say that learning from the past is one of the best ways to prevent certain future events. There’s at least some truth to this saying, so we hope that this series will help your business avoid the easily avoidable.

#6: KikScore SmallBiz Interviews’ Greatest Hits & Top Strategy Tips for Entrepreneurs (Part I and Part II)

These posts use quotes from businesses that KikScore has interviewed in the past regarding lessons they’ve learned and challenges they’ve faced. Each quote has years of experience in ingrained in it, so they’re worth the reading.

#5: Championship Sports Teams…What Do They Teach Us for the Small Business & Startup Arena

Bringing together two seemingly different dynamics, this post talks about how the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and the NHL’s Boston Bruins’ respective teamwork reflect how teams in small businesses must act. Just as in sports teams, the members of your business must be willing to work together and take risks. Take a look and see for yourself just how true this is.

#4: 3 Tools for Boosting Your Business’ Image

This post goes over some tools that all businesses can use, so we think it is worth making the cut. Each tool is free and KikScore utilizes all of them. What are they, you ask? Well there would be no point in referring back to the article if we just said it here, so you’ll just have to look at the post for yourself.

#3: Nonprofit or Going for Broke: Ways to Demonstrate Your Business is Legitimate & Trustworthy

Rather than discussing all small businesses, this post gives advice to nonprofits. Whether for profit or not, all businesses suffer from trust issues. If you are having issues with your nonprofit or even just looking for a way to make it better, this post can help.

#2: #SmallBizChat Highlights – Tips on How to Make Your SmallBiz Website Look Trustworthy and Credible

Here we recap our great experience of being the guest of honor for #SmallBizChat on Twitter. It was a great way for us to take and answer different questions about how small businesses deal with online trust. A slideshow is included in the post, so feel free to check it out.

#1: Shoppers Trust Businesses Who Share More Information – KikScore Online Trust Survey Finds

Another important hallmark of KikScore’s year is the recent issuing of our first white paper, which is discussed in this post. It took a lot of time and a lot of research, but it came out great. If you are interested in online trust and how it impacts small business, take a look at this post and KikScore’s white paper.

We’ve had a great year all-in-all and we anticipate that 2012 will be even better! We appreciate everyone who has worked with us and taken the time to help us this year and we hope you all have a great 2012!

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Posts Tagged ‘team’

Championship Sports Teams… What Do They Teach Us for the Small Business & Startup Arena

Friday, June 24th, 2011

In the past month, we experienced two of the most exciting Finals’ in recent history in both the NBA and NHL. In the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks destroyed the three-headed monster called the Miami Heat in a thrilling upset, winning the series 4-2. Meanwhile in the NHL’s Stanley Cup, the Boston Bruins came back from being down 3-2 and defeated the Vancouver Canucks on the road in Game 7, concluding an electrifying series (USA!!).

Both the Mavericks and Bruins exemplified great team work which strongly contributed to their respective championships, while the Heat and Canucks both had their weaknesses and choke-artists. In retrospect, certain characteristics of these teams can translate into the business world with regards to small business teams’ and their respective success.

First and foremost, small business teams need to be dedicated to their success while not being afraid of taking risks, committed to doing whatever will benefit their team or business the most.

Before this season, 33 year old veteran Jason Terry of the Mavs had gotten a tattoo of the Larry O’Brien Trophy, given to the winner of the NBA Championship, on his right bicep.  The tattoo of the trophy he yearned so deeply for but had never yet received was a huge gamble, being placed there to motivate himself and his fellow teammates. As a veteran and captain on the team, along with their star Dirk Nowitzki, Terry made the bold move prior to the season and sealing the deal at the end brands it one of the most epic tattoos in history.

However, Daniel Sedin didn’t have the same boldness and confidence in the Stanley Cup Finals, but rather destined his team for failure. Like former New York greats Joe Namath and Mark Messier have done in the past, Sedin staunchly guaranteed a Canucks Game 7 victory on their home ice. While being an extremely daring move, the guarantee demonstrated his trust in his team and motivated them all to perform better. In the business world, every associate must trust and help his/her co-workers, whether it be in group projects or in learning new strategies, in order to maintain an efficient organization. Yet hours before game-time, Sedin rescinded his guarantee, saying that it was the excitement after his team’s 5-2 loss, and the “words came wrong out of my mouth.” WHAT!? After hearing that, I knew the Bruins had the game, and therefore the series, in the bag. Successful teams have good chemistry and are adept to taking risks, doing whatever is the most beneficial. Once teams lose faith in themselves like Sedin had, they lose faith in their product and talent, and therefore I “guarantee” the business will then collapse as a whole.

Another common trait of winning teams and successful businesses is having players stepping up at opportune times and others performing well under pressure, leading to an overall positive team chemistry.

This was most evidenced by the play of the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award winner Dirk Nowitzki. Throughout the entire playoffs, Dirk had stepped up his game and nothing says clutch more than Dirk’s winning baskets in both Games 2 and 4. Down 15 in the 4th quarter in Game 2, Dirk revitalized the Mavs offense and scored his team’s final 9 points, making the game-winning layup with 3.6 seconds left. Similarly, while fighting through a 102 degree fever, he again sealed the game with 14.3 seconds remaining in Game 4. Nothing is more important to a business than its major player stepping up in times of need and doing whatever it takes to succeed. This year’s playoffs solidified Dirk’s ranking as one of the all-time greats in the league, and he finally capped it off with the championship. However, every member of the team contributed to and played a significant role in the winning effort, from aging point guard Jason Kidd, to big man Tyson Chandler, and even to The Janitor, Brian Cardinal.

At least Goldberg came through clutch at the end

On the losing front, the Lebron James collapse (for the second time, see here) is probably the most shocking and talked about story of the entire NBA Finals. We have all been witnesses to possibly the best player of our generation, yet he has continued to fail to do what matters most: WIN. After disparagingly taking his “talents to South Beach” (more info here), the best player in the world still managed to breakdown in the fourth quarters of the game. When his team needed him the most, he was inept at hitting his stride, often taking the challenging jumper as opposed to his usual forcing his way towards the basket. He was more hesitant to shoot than Goldberg at the end of D3: The Mighty Ducks, and instead of using his talent and coming through clutch like Goldberg, he often chose to pass to his wingman Wade in the shadows of defeat. Businesses should not aspire to be like Lebron, executing flawless planning and strategizing of your product, but actually failing when it matters and comes down to attracting customers and selling your product. Instead, be like Mike.

In the Stanley Cup Finals, the Bruins managed to win the Cup by relying on the stellar performance of its goaltender, Tim Thomas (we’ll get to him later), while playing physical, unselfish, fast-paced hockey and getting contributions from both their stars and young talents. The Bruins weren’t the more talented team in this series, going up against the likes of the Sedin twins and other offensive stars such as Ryan Kesler and Alexandre Burrows. But they played with more intensity and far greater chemistry than the Canucks, bringing Boston their first Cup victory in 39 years. Their most valuable player excluding their goaltender was rookie Brad Marchand, a quick, energetic spark who always made his presence known when he was on the ice despite his 5′ 9″ stature.

In the small business world, teams with greater chemistry and positive morale are more likely to prosper. Similar to the Mavs and Bruins, businesses rely on all of its members as each employee plays an important role. Whether it is the star player like Dirk or the role specialist like Marchand, each complements one another and the entire team cannot function without all of its pieces.

Finally, small business teams must have a stronghold on its safekeeping and security. Companies need to be secure from external threats, such as thieves and online hackers, against their businesses and customers’ personal information and must demonstrate their trustworthiness to their clienteles.

Tim Thomas kissing what is rightfully his

In hockey, the goaltender is considered to be the security for the team, preventing the pucks from going into the net. And nobody has ever done that better than how Tim Thomas did in this year’s NHL Playoffs. Not only did his legendary performance earn him a spot among Boston’s all-time sports greats, but it also landed him in the record books. At age 37, he became the oldest player to win MVP and he recorded the most saves in a Finals with 238 and the most saves in a playoff run with 798, playing every minute of the postseason for the Bruins. All small business teams need their Tim Thomas’s, blankets of security to rely on, something to demonstrate their integrity and creditworthiness. The closest thing to that for online small businesses are trust seals placed on websites, providing assurance that consumer personal information is safe with the companies they are doing business with.

Now we are entering the toughest and worst months of the year… for sports that is. Small businesses come and go regularly, though aren’t as damaging to the population as the conclusion of these two sports are. Of the four major professional sports, we have the dog days of the MLB ahead, with our teams playing games that are often dull and meaningless in the end. And that’s the highlight. We also have the NASCAR Cup Race, Wimbledon for a few weeks until another Rafa-Federer showdown (which is actually very entertaining), and the PGA Tour, but honestly, what’s golf without Tiger? I’m already looking forward to the football season. Oh wait… oh no.

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Posts Tagged ‘team’

7 Questions A Small Business or Startup Should Ask Themselves Every Day

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

I like to talk.  I like to talk alot, especially when I have had a few really good margaritas.  And my wife, my family and friends can all attest to that fact.  That is all except for where I may have had too much to drink and then I have an uncanny tendency to just fall asleep in mid-sentence sometimes even at a restaurant booth (reference multiple experiences in Columbus, Ohio eating a Barnyard Buster and in Washington DC eating a jumbo slice at Pizza Mart).

Anyway so what is my point?  Talking is not as good as everyone makes it seem for business.  Instead asking questions is much more important.  It really did not dawn on me, however, until I was reflecting back on conversations with mentors, business partners, and our own team that you really should be asking critical questions about your business almost on a daily basis.  Those questions can help uncover critical gaps in strategy, planning and execution for your startup or small business.  If you ask these questions, then you can increase your chances of addressing these gaps.

So here are a few questions that may help you with your business:

1. Distractions. Are you focusing your efforts on the right tasks for your business and avoiding distractions that take you away from meeting your overall goals?

We all know how bad distractions can be in business.  Distractions can be one of the biggest impediments to building momentum for your business. The trick here is to make sure your business and your team is focused on what will move the business forward by continually weeding out distractions.

2. Customer Satisfaction. Are you doing everything to make your customers’ lives easier in some way through either using your product/service or helping educate them?

If your customers are not happy, then it will be nearly impossible to grow your business.  So in everything you do you need to make sure the goal of the task is that you are helping your customers in some way.  If not, then you should seriously consider abandoning those tasks that do not relate to helping current or potential customers.

3. Customer Value. How can you give your customers more reasons to keep buying from your business and not your competition?

Your customers are likely being bombarded by your competitors with tempting offers and reasons to buy from them instead of you.  So you have to be relentless in making sure you give your customers reasons to remain loyal to you.  Without investing the time to create that customer loyalty, your business will always be at risk of churning valuable customers to your competitors.

4. Facilitating Word of Mouth Marketing. How can you get more customers to refer their friends and contacts to use your product/service?

Word of Mouth Marketing is free.  So all it costs you is the time and effort to give the customer a great experience, but also the means for that customer to spread the word about your business and the product/service that they love.  So always be thinking about how can you arm your customers with information about your business value that you can provide the market.  The best way to do that (and least selfish) is making sure the customer knows the value you have created for them.  They can then go and spread the word for you!

5. Building Trust. Are you doing everything possible to ensure that your customers have confidence in your business, product or service and believe that you are reliable.

Customers know small businesses and startups come and go.  There is a reason why buyers tend to prefer larger and more established brands.  So one way to distinguish yourself is to make sure that everything that you do for your customers and for the public is viewed through the lens that you are trustworthy, reliable and your business delivers on its promises.  That track record of delivering will help generate trust in your business.  Heck, after all that is what KikScore was based on – allowing small businesses to show the world their track record of reliability and trustworthiness!

6. Your Team. Do you have the right team to succeed and grow your business and if not, should you bring in a new employee or a freelancer?

Businesses and startups can be just like my beloved Cleveland Browns.  The Browns team has been terrible since 1999.  Bad teams means lots of losses.  So learn from the Browns and be like this year’s Packers (Collins will like this reference). The Packers built a great team, loaded it up with depth and even got people off the streets in some instances to fill in when key players were injured.  The New Orleans Saints did the same last year on their way to winning a Super Bowl.  As you evaluate your team, make sure you have depth, solid performers and cut the freeloaders as they are a drag on morale and overall team dynamics.  Once you eliminate the underperformers then decide if you need a new employee or perhaps a freelancers that can step in and augment your existing team.

7. Your Money. What are areas of your business that you can manage your costs better?

Always be reviewing where your money is going.  Even though it is sometimes easy to just say well those costs are ones that I can’t really control and I just have to suck it up and pay for them. NO!  Call up that vendor and see what discounts that they can give you.  Threaten to leave and go to their competitor. Also there may be particular functions at your small business or startup that you can get experts to help with instead of you having to spend extensive time on your own.  Time is money so the value of your time may very well be better spent on your core business of serving your customers then performing back office functions or doing things like managing a marketing campaign.

These are just some of the questions that each small business or startup should be asking themselves.  But just like too much talking, too many questions can send you down a spiral of too much analysis and confusion.  Keep your daily self-analysis of your business to certain key questions that are fundamental to your business and watch and see if your perspective and approach changes.

What questions would you ask?

Photo from Flickr user Marco Bellucci, CC 2.0.

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Posts Tagged ‘team’

7 Tips for Startups & Small Businesses from Our First 200 Posts!

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

On Friday, we passed the 200 blog post mark on the KikScore blog.  For us folks that are working on the blog on nights and weekends, I think that is a pretty special achievement seeing that we hit that 200 posts mark in well under a year’s time since this blog was launched late in 2009!  So to my fellow writers, I say thanks and great job.  But much more importantly to our readers and the community we say thanks.  We hope that the next 200 posts will be even better.

So to mark this occasion I thought it would be nice to give some our our tips and lessons learned for small businesses and startups through our prior posts.  So here they go.

1) Stay Positive & Remember Why You Are In Business - The road for small businesses or startups is paved with many roadblocks.  The key is to keep your chin up and do not let those obstacles get you down.  To that point, we talk about the continual need for small businesses and startups to be optimistic in a post that makes its point from a spilled margarita.  Also in addition to staying positive, it is important that you remind yourself why you are on this entrepreneurs journey.  We actually discuss that need to keep in mind the influences of the entrepreneurial spirit in your day to day business.

2) Launch Early - Every startup engages in that internal discussion of when should we launch our product and when is it really ready?  For every startup it is a little different, but I think we would likely come out on the side of launching as early as you can.  We actually discuss this debate about when is the time to launch your new product and whether you should wait until it is just right.

3) Get & Act on Customer Feedback – As a small business or a startup, it is critical that you have the tools to gather customer feedback.  But perhaps just as importantly, you business needs to analyze and then act on that feedback. This is a post that describes some of the tools that are available for getting customer feedback.  Also we laid it bare to give you an idea about how we were looking at customer feedback when it came to our own KikScore product features.

4) Stay Focused & Have a Plan – With so many distractions for your startup or your small business, it is often a challenge staying focused.  We covered steps to address this issue with two posts that highlighted ways to stay focused with an analogy to the great SNL skit “More Cowbell” and tangible actions that your company can take to keep your team focused.

5) Have the Right Team – This point is so important because without the right team, a company will fail.  The right players, in the right position with the right game plan help increase the chances for startup and small business success.  These points were highlighted in our posts about the US World Cup Team, building the right team, lessons from team building from the NFL Draft, and learnings from the recent Lebron James fiasco.

6) Be a Leader and Roll Up Your Sleeves -  Following on the right team, each of the team players in a startup or small business need to be leaders and be proactive, relentless and constantly trying to push the business forward in big ways!  Wall flowers are generally not the best for startup and small business teams, instead you have to be able to wear multiple hats, improvise when necessary, be creative and always be aggressive.  Our two part series on small business and startup leadership discussed this important topic in more detail here and here.

7) ABP – Always Be Pitching – Our tips to startup and small business is get out there and talk about your business, your product, and get feedback.  Do not be one of those people that is always talking about themselves, but at the appropriate times at networking events, with contacts, with key players and potential mentors talk about your business so you can get different ideas and also potentially get introductions to people and companies that can help you build and grow your company.  We had posts on this topic about elevator pitches and again an internal lesson at KikScore we learned from talking to people titled, Why Didn’t We Think of That?.

We have many more posts and hope to have many more in the future. Please let us know if you have any thoughts or tips for small businesses and startups!

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Posts Tagged ‘team’

Startup Lessons Learned: Hire people who roll up their sleeves

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Link: Lessons Learned: Hire people who roll up their sleeves

I came across this excellent 3 minute video of Matt Greeley, CEO of Brightidea who was interviewed by Bambi Francisco of Vator.tv on the startup lessons he has learned.  It is a good video interview and he has some great guidance for startups (and frankly small businesses too) including one that probably every startup and small business should follow: hire and surround yourself with people on your team who will roll up their sleeves.  I will add one additional point to his recommendation.  Make sure your team is full of self-starters that every day are helping the startup show tangible progress that contributes to meeting (and exceeding) the company’s goals.  You can roll up your sleeves and get busy work done, but not show real progress.  On the other hand, self-starters that contribute every day to moving the company forward are invaluable.  The success of your startup is only on the line if you do not have a team made up of these types of people.  For more information on team building for your startup, here is an earlier post on this subject.

Please tell us your thoughts on the video and your approach to your team.

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Posts Tagged ‘team’

What We Can All Learn From the US Soccer Team's Success in the World Cup

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Most of the country is still talking about the US’s last minute victory against Algeria on Wednesday (well except for New York who just cant quit Lebron James).  I have watched a lot of sports in my life – so much that it drives my parents and my wife crazy- but that game may have been one of the most exciting sports moment that I have ever experienced.  Then again the bar is not that high for me since I am a Cleveland sports fan.  I digress.  Wednesday’s match was so big that there are reports that the game set all sorts of internet traffic records and it brought Twitter to its knees right after Landon Donovan knocked in the game winner in the 91st minute of the game.

Now the US team that came into the World Cup was criticized and heavily scrutinized for a number of reasons.  People said that the team had not jelled, there was questions about the leadership potential of key veterans, this was the coach’s first time to the World Cup and parts of the team were huge question marks like the entire defensive unit.  So you can say there were lots of concerns and doubts about this US team.  So what did this team go on to accomplish over the last few weeks:  merely going undefeated in their group play that included the mighty English team, clawing back from dead after being behind from a nearly insurmountable 2-0 deficit to Slovenia, overcoming a terrible blown call that should have given them a monumental and historic victory against Slovenia and then finally winning their group after coming back from yet another blown call against Algeria when they scored in the final minutes of the soccer match of the century (at least for us Americans and our fans!).

The US team has a long way to go as they have just reached the “knock-out round.”  Nevertheless, there are so many lessons learned from this team and the group of US players that are applicable to business, startups and life in general.  These lessons are born out of how the US team played, were coached, executed their game plans and relentlessly played each game.  Here are a few that come to mind.

1) Have a Strategy

2) Make Sure that Strategy is Flexible

3) Put Yourself & Your Team Members in the Right Positions to Succeed

4) When Needed, Substitute in Team Members to Help Drive Change in the Strategy

5) At All Times, Make Sure Your Leaders are in a Position to Create Opportunities

6) When You Get Behind, Be Super Resilient and Do Not Lose Faith

7) Even if You Initially Fail, Keep Trying and Taking Chances (i.e. keep shooting the ball!)

8.  Move On & Keep Pushing Ahead Because Some Calls Do Not Go Your Way

9. Trust in Your Teammates

10. Always Play with the Passion Like Its Your Last Game

11. Even After a Big Win, Get Up & Get Ready for the Next Game

Now on the other side of the spectrum of the US soccer team is our friends in France.  Their World Cup was a widely publicized disaster.  The French team literally did the opposite of everything on the above list and were the antithesis of the US team in that they had serious infighting, their coach and players got into fights, they played with no energy and were a bunch of selfish malcontents that went out of the tournament in grand fashion with loss to the much lower rated host country South Africa.  Their follies could be the subject of an entirely separate post on more lessons learned, but I point out the French team’s approach just to draw the contrast of what is also possible on the other side of the pitch.

So as you watch the rest of the World Cup (and especially tomorrow for the US v Ghana match)- see what other lessons you learn.  Now that the “knock out” stage has started, the stakes will be higher and I am sure we will be able to learn a few things about leadership, strategy and team execution when teams, players and coaches are under far greater pressure than the first round games.

Please tell us what did you learn from the first round games?

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Memorial Day Weekend: Check That BBQ & Also Your Company's 2010 Goals

Friday, May 28th, 2010

So Memorial Day weekend 2010 is here!  First, we all know Memorial Day is a weekend that we use to reflect on all of those that have given their lives in service to the country.  Beyond this very important commemorative part of the weekend, it also marks the unofficial beginning of the summer season.  Many people take this weekend as the first time of the year to roll out the grills, take out the lawn furniture and throw a little barbecue for family, friends and neighbors.

For businesses, the Memorial Day time of the year can serve as a great initial milestone to gauge where your company stands in regards to your goals, priorities and key initiatives that need to be accomplished for the year.  So take this time to  objectively look at some of the following areas of your business to make sure you are on the right track to achieve your goals for 2010 and beyond:

1. Focus. Is your business focused on the rights things to meet your goals?  If not, take the time to refocus and eliminate the clutter that is distracting your company.

2. Goal Review. Take the time to review in detail each goal you have for 2010.  Also take a close look at every activity that relates to that goal.  That will allow you to take a status check of how far along your business is toward meeting each goal for 2010.  If you do not have a list of goals and activities, here is a post that describes the importance to putting together annual goals and critical activities.

3. Team Review. Look at your team and make sure all of the team members are in the right place and that every team member is working toward the company’s goals.  Also this is a good time to make sure you are building the right team.  If you have a gap, make sure your team can fill that gap or hire the right person to fill the need so you ensure you meet your goals.

4. Customer & Product Review. Ask yourself these two questions we have discussed previously: A) Are you supporting your customers manically so they have a great customer experience and B) Are you improving your product on a daily basis?  These questions go to the fundamental core of your business so they are of critical importance for you to keep asking yourself and your team.  Once you take stock and get your answers, make sure you act on the feedback you give yourself for these two questions.

5. Flexibility. Now is also a good time to look at your goals, team, activities, tasks and plans and take the time to re-prioritize based on what you are seeing in your business.  The key is to stay nimble and do not get in your own way.  Reacting quickly to a market opportunity that has arisen or to a new customer demand that you can meet will put yourself in a position for even greater growth for your business.  But be careful, do not fall into the trap of lurching from one project or task to another and not fully completing items that your business and team have already started.

So during this Memorial Day weekend, take a little time to also do a status check on your business.  If you do this review, your business may be in a better position to achieve those 2010 goals.

So how are you going to spend Memorial Day weekend?

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Diary of a Tech Start-Up: Disagreement Over Product Features

Friday, November 13th, 2009
Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies

If you’re doing a start-up with other people, I guess it’s unavoidable to have disagreements with your team. If you’re lucky, the biggest disagreements center around where to go for happy hour. Personally, I like Chili’s. I know it’s not necessarily cool, but the chips and salsa is really good (very salty chips) and the margaritas are big (and unlike I’ve mentioned in previous postings, the glasses are very easy to hold onto). It’s also very unlikely that you’ll run into your competitors at Chili’s — as these weak-kneed companies can’t buck peer pressure and social convention and won’t be caught dead there.

Recently, our team has been caught up in a larger kerfuffle.  It centers around how we promote and/or explain the shopper experience that can be expected on our customer sites — via a numeric score. Some of the customer feedback is the concern that shoppers may equate an 820 (which is a really high score) with a “low B” rating (which would get you valedictorian status at my high school).

A contingent of our team believes that, because we already spell out the guidance of the numerical rating (“great experience”, “good experience” and “poor experience” expected), to remove customer confusion, we could eliminate the actual score. Other team members argue that the numeric rating shows the precision and sophistication of our scoring model (see posting on our algorithm), and it is something that our customers need to accept.  Take a look at one of our customer’s sites, at www.17thandriggs.com to see the current version of the user experience.

We’re working through how to please all the team members, but this disagreement doesn’t seem to have a clear mid-point. I guess that’s the point of working with the right team. If everyone has an opportunity to express their views, whether the decision goes the way a particular team member wants really isn’t important. It’s that there’s an underlying level belief that ultimately, with enough deliberation, the group can reach the best decision for the business and the customer.

On the other hand, instead of thoughtful deliberation, we’re also thinking of implementing Mixed Martial Arts in our team meetings. I may have a bit of a paunch, but I have a pretty good reach.

Feel free to give us your opinion in the comments below on your feedback on this issue.

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