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DAY 1 - Raymond Rahbar

Welcome to 31 Days of Blogging! There is no better time than right now to bear down and dedicate yourself to your goals – both personal and professional. As a coworking space, UberOffices plays a big part in the day-to-day life of its members and encourages each and every company to reach its potential. Businesses operating out of UberOffices have access to mentors, pitch rooms, an endless supply of caffeinated beverages, and industry networking events. The perks of growing a business in a diverse coworking environment are numerous and undeniable. The success of UberOffices’ members proves that these benefits help drive innovation. Companies operating out of UberOffices raised millions of dollars in 2013, and more promising startups and young businesses join weekly. The numbers speak for themselves – UberOffices is the place to be. So, follow along reading one chapter per day from entrepreneurs, UberOffices members, founders, and managers alike. Use the hashtag #BetterBiz2014 on Twitter to share anything that stands out to you. For Day #1, write down two goals for your business that you can achieve by the end of these 31 days.


DAY 2 - Brian Patterson

The OHIO Rule – Only Handle It Once Email stresses me out. I’m an inbox zero kind

I started with the old standards – unsubscribing

of guy, so when I receive a new email, every

from useless mailing lists, setting up filters

ounce of me is compelled to act on it. While

for certain recurring emails, and disabling

this was a-okay when I received a smaller

social media notifications.

amount of daily email, a constant increase

helped, the one that really made a difference

in daily email has pushed me to implement

for email management (and my sanity) was

guidelines for myself so that I don’t lose control

implementing OHIO.

While those

over my precious inbox.

The OHIO Rule is simple – when you open an email, you handle it right then and there with one of the following ‘Ds’:

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Do it – Do whatever it is in the email that needs to be done

2

Delegate it – Forward it on for someone else to do

3

Delete it – Get rid of it

image via Flickr/OzinOH

This eliminates that brain-drain that occurs

This has also helped me to not bury my face in

when you read an email and just say to

my phone at every waking moment. Because

yourself, “I’ll get to that later”. For me, that

of the rule, it means that I’m only going to look

always meant that it occupied some of my

at an email on my phone if I’m prepared to

mental cycles until I finally dealt with it. It also

act upon it. I’m not big on doing a lot of work

meant I had ‘email bloat’ – stuff I was aware of

on my phone, so I just don’t read email on my

but didn’t want deal with yet. OHIO meant I

phone as much. This is a big win in the ‘be

dealt with it.

more social’ department!


80/20 It I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always

of the time, I promise email will stress you out

OHIO. Sometimes you simply have to leave

a lot less.

an email in your inbox, or you need to check a new email on your phone even though you

Email still stresses me out, but a lot less than

know you won’t be able to act on it. But, if you

it did before. 

simply do the 80/20 rule and use OHIO 80%

DAY 3 - Bill Slawski

Small Changes, Big Rewards Let’s start with a story… A few years ago, I was visiting a friend at his

about the different folding machines, and

office, and he tossed me a business supply

said, “Good idea.” He placed his order shortly

catalog and asked me if I had any ideas about

afterwards. I didn’t think about it for a few

what he should order for his business. I didn’t

weeks, and then he told me that he had

have a clue, but I leafed through the pages past

received his folder, and that it paid for itself

printers and desks and networking equipment,

within a couple of hours, and that the time it

and stopped on a page about electric letter

was saving him folding client invoices would

folders. I thought quickly about how useful

help him focus on more important ways to

the electric stapler I had was (I received a lot

grow his business.

of work-related mail at the time, and attaching the envelopes to those letters was a good way to make sure that the return address was easily findable.)

What small changes are you going to make to your business this year that can help you focus more upon actu-

I jokingly suggested one of the electric folders,

ally doing business, or can help your

and laughed as I did so. Except, he took me

clients? Solutions are out there.

seriously. He took the book back, and read 4


Small Changes As timing would have it, the beginning of a new

case for it and repeated my friend’s positive

budget was about to start in my office, and

experience), and when we received our electric

we were asked if there was anything that we

folder, my team looked at it suspiciously. I

wanted on a “wishlist� of new purchases for our

had six people who were spending around 45

office, and were given an office supply book to

minutes to an hour a day folding subpoenas

help inspire our choices. I thought about what

and summonses and letters to people on a

might be helpful, and then about how many

daily basis, and stuffing them into envelopes

documents the people I supervised mailed

with windows in them to show addresses. The

out daily, and quickly turned to the section on

electronic letter folder shortened the task to

electric paper folders and made a choice.

around 10 minutes daily for each of them. The time savings were substantial, and the cost

It was approved (after I made a quick business

was slightly more than $100.

Big Rewards A co-worker was tasked with sending out

into the envelopes. A task that used to take

notices to contract attorneys at the end

her around a week was condensed into less

of each year, printing out labels for their

than a day, and the notices were much more

addresses and affixing those to envelopes,

professional looking.

and mailing them. There were around 500 of them, and the addresses were in a plain

Small changes can have big rewards. Not every

text database. The program used to print

problem can be solved with something as

labels was dated and almost obsolete, and

simple as an electronic letter folder, but many

I was asked if I could help. The notice was a

solutions start with understanding the tasks

copied version of a copied version of a copied

that you or your employees or your customers

version, and looked like it had seen a few too

perform, and the pain points involved with

many copy machines. I suggested just using

those, and solutions that help make those

mail merge into a fresh new Word document,

better. What small changes are you going to

and envelopes with windows for addresses. I

make to your business this year that can help

made a new template, ran a mail merge with

you focus more upon actually doing business,

the address database, and printed out 500

or can help your clients? Solutions are out

personalized notices. She used the electronic

there.

letter folder to fold them, and stuffed them 1


DAY 4

Quote of the Day Some good advice to take to heart right now… As we learned in yesterday’s story from Bill, even small changes can lead to substantial rewards. Take a chance. Make a change. It’s time.

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DAY 5 - Brian Patterson

3 Google+ Communities to Get Active in Today We’ve been guiding all of our clients towards

The reason for us promoting G+ in this way

building up a strong and active presence on

is simple – Google WILL eventually use the

Google+. It’s not necessarily because we think

social signals they get from Google+ as ranking

it is the new Facebook, nor because we think it

factors in the search engines. Put simply:

is particularly cool. It isn’t (yet).

How your website ranks in Google’s search result will be impacted, positively or negatively, by your activity on Google+. If you are an expert, they have reason to

Google+), and it is my belief that eventually

believe that you should rank better – and

this will affect every search done on Google.

thus, you will rank better. This re-ranking is

So, what can you do to get out ahead of this?

already happening today for some users (who are logged in and connected to others on

Make It a Goal to Be Active on Google+ Every Day I know, easier said than done. But look at it

on LinkedIn. They are likeminded people who

this way… the people who jumped on Twitter

come together to discuss topics, share links,

early had a great advantage in getting tons

and network. All you need to do is search

of followers and developing influence before

communities on Google+ and click ‘join’ on

their competitors had a chance. This is your

those you are interested.

time to beat the gold rush and be a first mover

posts from other people and write smart,

on an up-and-coming social network.

thoughtful comments and simply engage

Once there, find

people. Before you ever post any content, The best way I’ve found to be active on Google+

just get a feel for things by watching and

is to join and participate in communities.

commenting for a week or two.

Communities on Google+ are just like groups 3


Communities to Join To get you jump started, here are 3 great, active communities that you can join today and start posting/commenting on.

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Entrepreneurs, Self-Employed, and Small Business – Almost anything goes in this community as long as it is related to topics that are of interest to small businesses. This means marketing, employees, administration, and lots of other fun stuff. At over 41,000 members, you are sure to find something on here for you.

2

Strategic Social Networking – This is an active community that covers everything related to social media. There are tons of great tips and best practices from this 39,000-member community to ensure that you get the most out of your social campaigns.

3

Building a Company – Interested in growth hacking or lean startups? Want to know how to build and grow to the next level? That is the topic of conversation in this group, and over 50,000 members are there for you to engage and communicate with.

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Bonus – Search for your industry buzzwords and join all of the relevant communities you find. This is a great place to connect with colleagues, influencers, and potential customers.

Google+ is unlike any other social platform in that it is owned by the major source of traffic for most small businesses, Google. All of our clients want better rankings in Google’s search results,

I know, easier said than done. But look at it this way… the people who jumped on Twitter early had a great advantage in getting tons of followers and developing influence before their competitors had a chance.

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DAY 6 - Kat Haselkorn

Don’t Scoff at Social Media When it Comes to Marketing Your Business You’ve heard it before, but I’ll tell you again:

in Google rankings, improve customer service

Social media can be one of the best marketing

interactions, and push out engaging ad

strategies around. Especially when it comes

campaigns at low or no cost.

to small business, social allows you to reach your customers and stay in touch consistently.

Here are five tips for doing it right and ways

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest,

to avoid outdated, ineffective social media

and Youtube can help promote the business

marketing tactics.

Figure out where your audience is. This is the first step for every successful

the online space and only emulate the tactics

content marketing program. Are your clients

that increased their followings or generated

and

Facebook?

a high amount of customer satisfaction.

Instagram? LinkedIn? Figure out what your

Programs like Social Crawlytics can help you

key demographic is and go after it hard. Be

see what has worked for your competitors

innovative. Do research and figure out what

and then you can adopt those strategies for

brought the competition the most success in

yourself where applicable.

potential

customers

on

Post regularly. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in a big

pictures of what goes on “behind-the-scenes”

promotional campaign and then totally drop

in your office, or industry-specific inspirational

the ball once it’s over. Effective social media

quotes. These are easy to find, and typically

marketing is regular and reliable. You want to

well-received on social media.

continually post useful, informative, enjoyable content to keep your followers interested. Some of the best and most engaging posts and

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Take up space. There is a lot of content out there. To make

most often on social sites. Create a hashtag.

your voice heard, do what you can to take up

Start using it on twitter and include it in cover

space and promote high quality content. Work

photos and promotional materials. The point

with a designer to create several professional

is to gain brand recognition and familiarity

cover photos, background images, and logos

with the business across each social network.

for each social site you plan to use. Post images

Have a presence in your field.

often. These tend to do well and are shared

Promote social IRL. Encourage your real life customers to also follow on social media. Offer deals and discounts to existing customers only and make it clear that you appreciate their continued business and online support. When customers see the people behind the social sites, they’re more likely to follow and check in from time to time.

Don’t outsource (unless you absolutely have to). Social media is great because anyone can do

hire an intern specifically for the role of social

it. If you’re a small business owner and you

media manager. Get expert advice or bring in

hire an expensive firm to be the voice of your

an industry consultant to explain the do’s and

company online, you’re likely not portraying

don’ts of using social to promote services and

your company the best that you can. To truly

you’ll maximize the value of this marketing

better your business, you need to find someone

strategy.

within the company to lead the conversation in the online space. Current employees know

Don’t let social media marketing get pushed

the most about the business and they can

to the side simply because you haven’t seen

accurately and effectively convey the key

instant success. It’s truly one of the easiest,

messages. That doesn’t mean you should dive

least expensive ways to get eyes on your

into social media before you’re prepared or

offerings and raise overall brand awareness.

Start slow, be consistent, and be natural. Lots of humor and plenty of photos go a long way. Good luck! 6


DAY 7 - Dan Hinckley

3 Ways to Leverage Technology to Improve Business Over the last year we were introduced to new

Keeping up with top technology firms is

ideas and technologies that will change the way

unattainable for most of us. However, we can

we interact with the world. Computers were

take advantage of new products and services

added to eyewear (Google Glass), and Robots

to improve business right now. Three quick

started delivering products (Amazon). The next

things we can do include accurately tracking

five years will be filled with new technologies

progress, making work easier and accessible,

and concepts that will change the way we live

and providing our products and services to

and do business.

individuals on the go.

Accurately Track Progress Businesses of all sizes need to collect data that

Every marketing campaign in 2014 should be

will allow them to measure success and failure.

tracked for its effectiveness. Wasting money

Gone are the days of spending marketing

on campaigns that do not improve your

budgets with no sense of the Return on

business should be a thing of the past.

Investment (ROI). Tools like Google Analytics and CallFire make it easy to track the way marketing is impacting business.

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Make Work Accessible Cloud based services are becoming the norm

cloud based services. Microsoft, Google, and

and employees will now expect to be able to

Apple all offer cloud based access and support

access their work information from anywhere,

for their office suites. Data storage is available

at any time, and on any device they may

for corporations through services such as

have access to. Web interfaces, desktop

Dropbox or Google Drive. Even accounting

applications, and mobile apps allow users

solutions are available through companies like

to quickly get to information that they need

Intuit.

when they need it. A business will quickly thrive once it is possible If you have not done so already, make the

to easily access important information on any

investment to move your software packages to

device and any platform.

Be Mobile Ready A recent report estimated that 7.3 billion

If your business can offer a mobile app that

mobile devices will be in use in 2014. That’s

would improve a product or service that you

more than the entire population of the world.

offer then take the opportunity to create that app.

If your website isn’t mobile friendly, then you’re already far behind the times. If you

Through accurately tracking data, making that

haven’t yet, check your web analytics data to

data accessible, and simplifying employee and

see how the number of mobile visitors to your

customer interaction with your business while

website is growing. Updating your website to

on the go, you can improve your business and

be mobile friendly can help you increase sales

bottom line.

and improve the user experience for current customers.

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DAY 8 - David Alison

3 Ways to Leverage Technology to Improve Business Regardless of the type of business you have, I think it’s really important to understand in a reproducible way how to sell your product or service. This becomes critical if you have any desire to grow your company by adding sales staff, large numbers of customers, or different channels. I look at the sales process as an old fashioned flow chart: at one end is a raw lead and at the other is either a paying customer or someone that you may get to become a customer in the future. In between are the various decision points and attributes that must be collected in order to move that lead into the next stage. By breaking down the sales process into stages you can begin to understand what it will take to move prospects through those stages. What is preventing them from moving forward? How many prospects can you expect to see go from one stage to the next? This is where the ability to capture the data in a consistent way becomes critical. If you are regularly capturing what happens to your leads at each stage of sales process you can begin to see trends and start really forecasting your sales efforts. You can see which of your sales activities is paying off and which doesn’t have the impact you think it should. This is where having a decent CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) application is a great investment. There are a huge number of tools on the market for this but I’m particularly fond of HighRise from 37signals. If you own a small business that depends on more than a handful of customers coming in the door every month you owe it to yourself to set up a well documented and managed sales process. There are lots of books and articles on how to do this but my view is very basic and can be distilled down to four pointers:

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Keep it simple! You know your business – break down why you are successful selling your product or service today, create some metrics so you can measure it and then experiment. Each of your steps in the sales process should have a measurable outcome that can be recorded.

Document it! You need to put pen to paper (or bits to disk) and keep track of your sales process. It’s a living document that should always be current and becomes the fundamental guide for your sales people as your company grows.

Track your metrics! It’s hard to know what to do next if you don’t have a stable base to draw from. Compile data regularly and consistently on your sales. Over time you will begin to see trends that may have not been obvious. At a minimum the data will present you with confirmation about your gut feel on why you are successful or not selling.

Be patient! If you want to improve, you need to see the impact your changes are causing. Don’t jump to conclusions because a change you made isn’t having the immediate impact you think it should be having. Continue to monitor your metrics and adjust things at a reasonable pace. This may feel like it runs counter to popular thinking that decisions should be made based on gut instinct and in the blink of an eye. I have always tried to keep everything as simple as possible and the advice I’m providing is about as simple as it gets. If you’re not using a well defined sales process now, at a minimum following the steps I have outlined above will give you a great start in getting it under control. 10


DAY 9 - Mike Moriarty

5 Sales Strategies for Startups Without Leads I prop my laptop up to a comfortable level using the book: The Ultimate Worst-Case Scenario Survival Guide. On the first page it lists three basic principles for surviving life or death scenarios such as angry jungle animals, sword fights, and volcano eruptions. The principles are:

Be Prepared | Don’t Panic | Have a Plan For startups, having absolutely zero leads is a worst-case scenario for hitting your sales goals. Here are my five basic principles to help you survive and even thrive, despite an empty lead list.

1) Family and Friends Many people are hesitant to ask family/

ask if they know anyone who could use your

friends/classmates for referrals. Get over it!

service. If they give you a recommendation,

You provide a valuable service or product that

you’ve now got lead. Treat it like gold and you’ll

will help people and/or businesses. People will

get more from them.

appreciate it if you solve a problem for them. So shoot your friends and contacts a quick note,

As my father always reminds me “It never

letting them know about your company and

hurts to ask”.

2) LinkedIn Investing in a Premium/Business Account

professional…and short. I’ve received positive

is worth it, especially if you are going after

emails back from decision makers who would

difficult-to-reach decision makers for your

have been impossible to track down by phone.

sale. A Premium Account allows you to send a certain number of direct messages

For example, we noticed Qantas Airlines

to individuals even if you’re not currently

didn’t rank in Google when someone searched

connected to them. Keep your message short,

‘flights to Australia’. I sent a direct LinkedIn 11


message to the VP of Marketing titled ‘Your website does not rank for ‘Flights to Australia’. We were in their London corporate office the next week.

3) Conferences and Trade Shows I’m not talking about setting up a booth, I’m

day getting pitched to, so just be upfront with

talking about turning off your computer,

the sales people. They will appreciate it and

shaving your face, and going to a conference

you can become genuine friends. They may

your future customers are attending. Check

even have start-ups on the side! Ask them

out the calendars of a few of your closest

who the decision maker is, write down their

convention centers. Many times the general

name and see if they are at the conference or

trade show exhibit sections are free or greatly

left any business cards behind. You can also

discounted. (If you happen to put on a suit,

ask who they use currently for the service you

throw on a couple of old conference badges,

offer, if they are happy with it, and how best

and walk into an event with confidence, I hear

to get in touch with the decision maker. Now,

many times they are even free….)

when you call the company next week you have a name to ask for, and a background story

75% of the people at these exhibits are going

from the industry conference.

to be sales people. You can’t waste your entire

4) Chamber of Commerce or Networking Group Every county has a Chamber of Commerce, and the reason they are popular is because they work. My advice is to have fun with it. These are local companies, people in your community, neighbors, and friends. Go in trying to help THEM. If you take that approach, time will fly by, you’ll make friends, and after a short time, get leads and business. Check out your local Chamber of Commerce or BNI Group.

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5) Cold Calling Cold calling does work if you do it correctly. Here’s how: Have a business reason for calling them! Check out their website, blog, Social Media pages, press releases and you’ll learn more then you ever wanted to know. I’d recommend cold calling companies within an industry where you currently have a happy client who is willing to be used in a case study, if possible. Not only will you have the facts from the case study to mention but you’ll also be familiar with the industry vocabulary. Examples: New product, new store opening, new hire, recent funding, recent business win, big new competitor….you get it. Cold call similar companies, make it part of a 20 company ‘campaign’. This makes it easier to track your results. 80% of sales do NOT close, so study how to disqualify prospects quickly and what characteristics make up your best prospects. Hope these tips help you plan out your roadmap. With some determination and a positive outlook, getting leads for your business is easier than it seems. See you at the top!  

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DAY 10 - Bill Slawski

Find a Voice for Your Business I wrote my first blog post on September 10th,

But we just didn’t know how to respond to

2001. I didn’t write another post until at least

a crisis that impacted so many, and was

4 months later. It was a blog for a friend’s solo

completely outside of our original plans. We

law practice in the State of Delaware, and we

lost our voice before we managed to get more

had discussed many times the kind of things

than a few words out – sometimes things

that we would be writing about. But we hadn’t

happen that you just don’t anticipate. I wanted

anticipated the events of September 11th, and

to write about what had happened when the

I just didn’t have the words.

World Trade Center was attacked, but I didn’t know what to say that could help others.

We had a strong plan for the kind of content that we would be creating, and it was focused

The blog would go on to be cited as one of

upon tracking and reporting upon legal issues

two examples of the use of blogging as a way

within the state, local events that visitors

to build a positive professional reputation, in a

might be interested in learning more about, the

book published a year later that was cited by

history of Delaware, and what was happening

Amazon as one of the 10 best books on digital

at the Courts and within the State legislature.

culture in 2002.

Create Your Own Soapbox Many businesses now create presences on

and ownership over it.

Facebook and Twitter and Google Plus as a way to get involved in conversations about

I’d been a moderator in a small business forum

their businesses, and to communicate with

on Yahoo Groups back in the days before

others who might be interested in similar

Yahoo acquired eGroups in the late 90s, and

topics. I think that’s a really good idea, but

after the merger, they transformed it in ways

there’s nothing quite like using a site that you

that made it slow and hard to use. We left

have more control over to hold conversations

our Yahoo Group behind to create a forum

like that. You have more control over what’s

that we hosted ourselves, and it grew into a

published, and can take more responsibility

highly visited and respected forum on web

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promotion, usability and SEO related topics. You have no control over changes that might happen at Facebook or Twitter or Google Plus, and relying too much on any one of those might not be a great idea.

Build a Plan Having your own blog lets you become part of a conversation with people who may use your services or purchase the products you make, and enables you to have a voice. Sometimes you may be at a loss for words when something completely unexpected happens, but it’s possible to come back even stronger when you’ve created your own platform. When we decided that we would start blogging again, we stuck to our original plans for what the site would contain. It helped us create relationships with other legal bloggers, attract positive attention with people who were looking for legal help, and get involved in discussions with people whom we met through the blog.

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DAY 11 - Kat Haselkorn

Taking Advantage of Technology in the Workplace can Lead to a Better Business Maybe you work in (or you’ve seen and chuckled at) an office that is completely backwards when it comes to technology. Phone numbers are scribbled on sheets of paper, which are laminated and hung around the office. Paper calendars are posted on the conference room door to schedule meetings. It doesn’t have to be like this. And, in fact, it shouldn’t be like this. If your office (or someone in your office) calls to mind the “Tech Impaired Duck” meme, it’s time to shake things up and bring your business into the 21st century.

Don’t let this be you. Between the BYOD craze and apps meant to improve work productivity, it’s clear that simple technologies are changing things for the better. Daily business needs like scheduling meetings, video conferencing, and even payment processing are easier than ever before. Consider your options and look into user-friendly software and apps to help streamline your business and maximize your time.

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DAY 12 - Kat Haselkorn

A Breakdown of Ingredients in Popular Espresso-Based Drinks Caffeine is a big part of most entrepreneurs’ lives. There’s so much to do and barely enough time to do it. That occasional morning coffee turns into a three cup a day (or more!) habit. But if you’re going to caffeinate yourself, you might as well do it right. This infographic, created by the folks at popchart lab, shows us how to make delicious java-based beverages to stay alert and produce our best work. Every UberOffices is, of course, equipped with a Keurig machine to keep members happily caffeinated.

by popchartlab. Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

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DAY 13 - Sarah Haselkorn

How To Be a Young Entrepreneur When you’re young and ambitious, most people around you will try to convince you that you’re too inexperienced to run your own company or to manage other people. It’s easy to believe them because they’re right about the first part: you are young. However, in today’s world, age is just a number. It takes all types of leaders to make the business world go ’round, and your fresh perspective has every chance at success as a more seasoned businessperson. Youth may be more susceptible to other disadvantages – lack of access to capital, weak credit history, lack of credibility – but despite these, young entrepreneurs should persevere and take risks at this unique time in their lives. Starting a business is never easy, no matter how much experience you have or how old you are. Despite being young, entrepreneurs should seize the opportunity to start a business. Ask yourself this: would you rather be pulling all-nighters working on your startup when you have a newborn baby or when you’re free of major responsibilities? Would you rather take a financial risk when the only mouth to feed is your own or when you have a family to support? Right now you’re energetic, enthusiastic, passionate, and lively. I’m not saying these qualities disappear with age, but 18

they certainly take more effort to maintain over time. If being an entrepreneur is your dream, do it, and do it now. You only live once (#YOLO!). When you become a young entrepreneur, be proud, not embarrassed, of your age. For every negative onlooker who doesn’t believe a 19-year-old could possibly be the founder or owner of a company, there are a dozen others who are impressed by what you have been able to accomplish at such a young age. Be proud of yourself for what you have accomplished. Recognize that you have created an opportunity for yourself – an experience in which you can learn firsthand how to succeed in business. Write down your experiences, network with friends of all ages, and enjoy every minute of being a young entrepreneur.


DAY 14 - Gerry Grealish

They Looked Up and Saw the Answer in the Clouds helping

• They have been getting by using stop-gap

companies make the move to the cloud

measures like spreadsheets, macros, generic

(adopting applications like Salesforce, Box,

office applications that are inefficient and,

SuccessFactors, Jive, etc.). We find that when

again, a hassle to use.

My

team

makes

its

living

organizations make this move, they are invariably leaving one of these two scenarios

But the business case to move to the cloud

behind:

is strong no matter what size the company is. For example, even a small company, if it does

• They are decommissioning some in-house

a truly honest total cost of ownership (TCO)

legacy software that they have outgrown and

analysis for an application like Salesforce, will

has become a huge hassle to maintain and use;

find it to be a great investment compared to

or

the costs of a “Spreadsheet Sales Tracking” alternative.

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The same is true for Cloud Storage options,

have specific information about the security

with their built-in collaborative capabilities, vs.

technologies

on-premise. Why? You get a ton of features/

invested in (available on their website). If

functionality with no real start-up costs

you want additional capabilities, there are

(other than an all-nighter or two learning the

specialized companies that can provide

application). All you have is a Privileged User

advanced

Password Management (PUPM) subscription

and tokenization, to help address specific

fee. And you end up with access to the same

requirements you may have (this includes

or better functionality as some of the biggest

bolting on security and encryption to a cloud

organizations in the world!

application, such as our Salesforce encryption

and

options,

processes

like

data

they

have

encryption

and tokenization products). Just a few things to remember as you look at Moving to the cloud, in most cases, can help

these services:

your business save time and money, all while • If your business operates in a regulated

improving efficiency. If your company is

industry,

considering it, there is no better time than the

such

as

Healthcare,

Financial

Services, etc., spend time investigating the policies and certifications that the cloud service provider has in place to ensure your regulatory compliance (e.g. HIPAA, PCI DSS, etc.) is maintained. • Remember that many of the large cloud services, such as Salesforce.com, have a vibrant ecosystem of applications that can be added to them to meet specific functional requirements. For example, if you want to automate bringing a prospective customer’s social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) activities into their profile, applications are available to “bolt-on” to Salesforce.com to do that. • For those concerned about data privacy and security in the cloud, most cloud providers 20

New Year to make a push into the cloud.


DAY 15 - Cat Miller

A Day in the Life of a Coworking Space Manager In the office there’s a stillness, but I know that it won’t last for long. I take 5 minutes to settle in, check my calendar, and respond to emails before the first mountain of packages arrives on my doorstep. “Good mornin’ Ms. Miller!” he says. The delivery man knows me by name. He also knows exactly what office to go to without asking – it’s the one lined with stacked boxes and an assembly line of product materials ready to ship out this week.

The Morning Routine I head to the kitchen and perform my morning kitchen duty ritual. Members wander in around me, hovering over the Keurig machine, waiting for their steaming cup of energy. We make small talk about big things – new hire decisions, potential clients, funding opportunities. But also the real stuff – how their holiday was, their kids’ sports teams, what they’re doing this weekend. Every day I learn something new and genuine and interesting about the people who work around me. I don’t work for them, but I do. The people in our space are our livelihood. Their skills, creativity, and diversity bring a rich array of flavor to our vanilla glass and concrete walls. Back out front, a new member arrives for her first day of work in the bullpen, our shared desk space. I give her the basics; a fob to have 24/7 access to the building, instructions on how to print, how to use the portal to book conference rooms, how to use the coffee machine. She settles down at a desk and my phone rings. Two more members are downstairs at the loading dock, ready to move in. I grab a cart and make my way down with the help of our elevator attendant (yep, our building’s the only one in the city that still has them – classy, right?) to greet our new members. We pile on Tupperware containers, file cabinets, and other random belongings then head back to their office. As the lights go on they look around in admiration, and I can’t help but notice the twinkle of excitement in their eyes as they take in the full experience and realization that this is their space.

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Midday As I leave them to unpack, I’m greeted by one of our members who excitedly announces she’ll be hosting a lunchtime tasting for our members in the lounge that day. A few times a month her company arranges catering for DC-area businesses, but before they decide to promote a caterer they have our members test out the products and give them feedback and approval. Free food? Yes, please! What more could we ask for? Building management comes down to look over building plans for our second floor. “March will be here so soon!” I think, with visions of game rooms and spiral staircases and extra conference space dancing in my head. Excited by the conversation, I take a little aside to research artwork, signage and

You walk in and it just feels productive.

other space enhancements while I wait for a prospective member to show up for their tour. A few other people stop by my office while I wait. They ask for help with printer problems, how to book a conference room, how to connect to the Internet. Then my showing arrives. As we walk around, I point out our Banksy art and purposely stripped, exposed, unfinished concrete floors and open, exposed ceilings. I tell them about how we hand deliver mail, offer unlimited coffee, and host monthly community events for our members to get to know each other. They’re pumped about our lounge, and I have them try out the couches while they look through what super Nintendo games we have in stock. After the tour, a group who’s trying to host a meetup in our space comes through. They take pictures and look around, and we talk through their event details and publicity. When we’re done, a couple members ask what the tour was for, and we chat about ideas for how to make the event better.

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Afternoon I glance at the clock and suddenly it’s late afternoon. I follow up with previous tours and new inquiries from people that want to see the space. Everyone that comes through has their own idea of what this office means to them. It’s my job to make sure that from the minute they set foot in here, I make this feel like their home away from home, a place they’re excited about coming to. Really, the space does that on its own. No other place in the city houses cyber security gurus, design experts, fashion accessory designers, international trade specialists, social innovation champions, foodie connoisseurs, and edu-revolutionaries all under one roof. You walk in and it just feels productive. That’s why I love it. Every day is exciting, and new, and different. And yeah, like any job, it has its trying days. Don’t even get me started about an internet outage, or when a mountain of dish piles up in the sink. But those inconveniences are such a small part of what we’re making happen here that it doesn’t matter. We’re growing a community, and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.

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DAY 16 - Stuart Karaffa

Millennials are Behind the District’s WorkLife Culture Shift A few days ago I realized I had hit my fouryear anniversary mark as a DC resident. Though it feels like only yesterday that I left the Midwest and moved into my first dirty apartment on Capitol Hill, the changes the city has undergone during my time here have been swift and tremendous.

The Millennial Growth Spurt According to data from the U.S. Census, my observations are not just another Russia House-induced hallucination. From 2000 to 2010, the millennial population in DC grew 23%, and from 2010 to 2012, the DC region saw an average annual net gain of 12,583 of

The Impact

people age 25 to 34–the largest among cities in the United States. In the past 10 years,

The entertainment and housing markets aren’t

the region added 26,000 new apartments

the only areas that have responded to this

and condos. From 2001 to 2011, 709 new

influx of young go-getters. More workplaces

restaurants (a 50% increase) opened up in the

are embracing dynamic structures to meet

area. The numbers don’t lie. Young people are

millennial demands of flexibility on the job.

flocking to DC, and they’re leaving profound

For instance, the rise of co-working spaces in

change in their wake.

DC–like UberOffices–have made it possible for small businesses to rent workspace that provides a physical location without the constraints of a stuffy office culture. With small businesses such as PerformYard,

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Nice Laundry, and Veenome, UberOffices is making face-to-face collaboration possible, while maintaining the level of flexibility that all the new millennials in DC crave.

2014, Year of the What? The DMV makeover isn’t by any means over. Real-estate authority Urban Turf has already dubbed 2014 the Year of the Renter at New Buildings. New restaurants, bars, and tech startups continue to pop up almost every day. However, with innovative companies like UberOffices laying down a foundation for flexibility and collaboration, change in the Washington area is continuing down the right track. Companies of all sizes looking to improve their business in 2014 should consider these demographic shifts and adapt accordingly. Look out for more millennial-run tech companies, startups, and small businesses. It’s the next frontier for DC.

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DAY 17 - Bill Slawski

Of Mentors, and of Listening The van pulled up in front of our house, and a delivery guy started wheeling a handtruck towards our house, loaded with the biggest box I had ever seen. It was bigger than I was, by a lot. It was a week before Christmas, and I couldn’t help but imagine that it was filled with toys. It was.

I was probably given a bigger gift earlier that

inducted into the Hall of Fame for his industry’s

summer from my father and the people

trade group.

who had shipped that box, in a lesson about listening. We had moved from New Jersey

We sat inside the car, in the client’s parking lot

to Cincinnati, Ohio, a couple of years earlier,

while my father went inside. He was in there

but most of our extended family still lived in

for a while, and we were getting antsy about

Jersey. So we started taking summer vacations

finishing the drive to New Jersey. He came

where we would drive to Jersey, and visit

out smiling after a while, and as we resumed

family. This particular year, my father stopped

our trip, he told us about how he suggested

at a potential client’s factory at a halfway point

that they make their bicycle completely out

in Pennsylvania.

of plastic, and that they had listened. They bought machines from him to do that with.

They were interested in buying a machine my father’s company made, so that they could make bicycles with plastic tires. My dad sold industrial plastics machinery back then, and would go on to design some machines, run a few plants of his own, and eventually be

26


Lessons Learned A few months later, their plastic bicycle hit the market, and was an overnight success. You might have heard of the Big Wheel. The Marx Brothers sold a lot of them. The box they sent that Christmas was filled with what I’m guessing was every toy they made at their factory. They hadn’t set out to create and sell the Big Wheel, but they recognized a good idea when they heard one. It was a massive hit, and my father ended up getting one for my younger brother – I had grown just a little too big for one of my own. But, I never forgot about the value of listening to others who might have something important to offer. Around 10 years ago, I was invited to attend the Hall of Fame ceremony I mentioned above. The person who presented the award to my father was one of his biggest competitors in the industry. He told us that my father was a fierce competitor who helped the industry thrive and grow, and made a positive impact for everyone within the field. My father has been a mentor for years, leading by example. He doesn’t explicitly offer advice very often, but when he does, I listen.

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DAY 18 - Kat Haselkorn

A Lesson in Agility Many

advisers

and

business

owners

recommend startups stay lean and agile. If you grow too fast or hire under pressure, you can essentially sink the business before it has a moment to shine. A little reminder of what it means to be agile in today’s world‌

Pure Agility

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DAY 19 - Kat Haselkorn

Need an Entrepreneurial Idea for Your Startup? Daniel O’Connell has got you covered. A rece nt story in Slate covers the new “wearable tech” trend and offers a solution for those who want to get in on the action. At this point, investors have heard it all. In fact, pitching wearables has become so absurd (contacts that measure your glucose levels! Sports bras that track your heart rate!) one guy built a Random Wearable Gadget Generator to help industrious entrepreneurs land on the idea of their dreams. The first thing I landed on?

So, yes. Not the most lucrative suggestion right off the bat, but a fun tool nonetheless. Small business owners looking for The Next Big Thing might want to check out the site. The full Slate coverage is here.

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DAY 20 - Kat Haselkorn

Blog Post Ideas For the Small Business Owner When you’re a business owner, it’s hard to find time to blog regularly. And even if you do find the time, it’s difficult to come up with fresh topics to write about. Luckily – a recent post by Benjamin of Local Visibility System offers a hundred – yes that’s ONE HUNDRED – blog post ideas for small business owners. Here are the Top 10 to give you an idea of what to expect.

10 Blog Post Ideas:

Answer a recent question “mail bag” style.

Rant.

FAQ’s.

Answer fan mail. (Don’t just be

Confess a weakness. Showcase a new “toy” for your business.

self-congratulatory.) Answer hate mail.

Profile an employee (new or old). Profile your typical customer - or a handful of common types. Discuss a relevant current event.

Click here, for the full list. Sure, not every post will make sense for your site, but it’s impossible to check out these topics and not get at least one idea for a great post. Enjoy!

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DAY 21 - Cat Miller

4 Ways Small Companies Can Get the Most out of Their Coworking Space Coworking spaces are awesome. As the manager of UberOffices newly opened Dupont Circle office, I’m a bit biased, but it’s true! There are huge perks to working in a place where you have access to so many other motivated people and new ideas. But sometimes working in such close quarters can start to feel a little like being stuck in the car on a long family car trip. While great for productivity and collaboration, it can get a little overwhelming at times. After talking to our UberOffices members, here are some tips that can help you get the most out of your coworking experience.

Go paperless. Lugging around briefcases and file folders are the way of the past. Keep all of your documents on Google Drive, Dropbox, or another file sharing site to keep clutter in your space to a minimum. This is especially helpful if you work in an open desk area with no overnight storage.

Switch up your scene. Drab surroundings can bring you down. If you like to just stay put at your desk for 8 hours straight, kudos to you. But if you find stimulation by working in new environments, coworking spaces like UberOffices are right up your alley. In addition to your office, you can work from 7 conference rooms, 8 call rooms (soundproof with fully reclining chairs), a huge shared kitchen with bar and table seating, or a lounge with plush leather couches and cable TV’s for background noise. Who needs a corner office view when you have all that?

Meet the neighbors. You’re here to work, but don’t rule out the opportunities for networking and capacity building that being in a shared space offers. Take the opportunity to chat with that girl in the kitchen, or introduce 31


yourself to that company whose office door is always open. Most coworking spaces also have a community manager – use that person to figure out who else in the space you should get to know.

Flex your schedule for productivity. If your circadian rhythm dictates that you work best from the hours of 11 PM-3 AM, take advantage of that. Most coworking spaces offer 24/7 access to their offices, so whether you’re a night owl or early bird you can find the time that works best for you. When it comes to running a successful small business, it sometimes takes the perks above to keep employees happy and maximize work output. Keep these factors in mind when looking for office space and you can get the most out of your work environment.

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DAY 22 - Joseph Ellington

Payment Options for Small Businesses It might sound obvious that these days, every business should accept credit cards for payment. While this is true in the majority of cases, there are some gigs that are still primarily cash-based ventures. Babysitting for example. Or individual, in-home tutoring. But, for those entrepreneurs who want to scale the business, it becomes imperative to accept plastic.

How do you know when it’s time? If you’re accepting payment, plastic better be an option. In the early stages of a company when you’re a single entrepreneur turning your idea into a reality, a simple PayPal account might be enough. As soon as you start accepting payment regularly on behalf of the business, it’s time to incorporate credit card payment solutions.

What are the options? Luckily, there are a number of low cost options for small businesses looking to modernize their business. Read on for some of the more popular choices for small business owners and entrepreneurs who are looking to accept credit card payments for the first time.

PayPal At this point, most people have heard about PayPal and are comfortable using it as a service. This option is particularly convenient for ecommerce merchants. Customers can link their credit cards to a PayPal account and pay for goods and services simply by signing in to the program. It’s quick, easy, and convenient.

Square Apps like Square are often the first choice for startups – especially those in a mobile setting. The square dongle connects easily to smartphones or tablets so storeowners can accept electronic 33


payments easily. The fees are reasonable and extremely transparent, so you always know what to expect.

Merchant Account Providers Finally, there are options for those businesses that have a harder time getting approved by traditional financial institutions. Oftentimes startups or companies operating in an unconventional industry can work with merchant account providers to set up credit card processing for their business. The fees associated with transactions might be higher, but if it allows for a high risk business to accept credit cards from customers, it can mean the difference between a business being successful or failing to turn a profit. As evidenced above, there are a number of options when it comes to payment solutions for business. The above list is by no means exhaustive, but could be worth looking into if you’re a young company exploring options. Today there are just no excuses for not accepting credit or debit cards as a form of payment.  

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DAY 23 - Dan Hinckley

Build A Better Business By Scaling Your Team You’ll often hear startups talk about the difficulty to scale their hardware and software as they start to gain traction, but one of the most difficult things to do in building a better business is growing your team.

Take advantage of tech With a down economy, open job positions

resumes on your own can be a daunting task.

often receive more than 200 applicants, at

Instead, use software to help you identify the

least that was the case for the New Media

best candidates to bring in for an interview.

Associate position we opened at Go Fish

We utilized HireWorx and it helped us find an

Digital in 2012. Sifting through all of those

All-Star that makes our team better.

Make it a group effort Coordinate with your current team to identify

they aren’t completely sure which position to

the type of job you need to fill and pinpoint

fill first. To combat this issue, it’s crucial to map

what type of person would fit the company

out the current pain points for your business’

make-up best. A major problem for growing

processes to see where a new employee

businesses is that they often know they need

would have the biggest impact on your team’s

help and it’s clear when it’s time to hire, but

overall productivity.

35


Train your staff Since we work with the web, we purchased an

These tips and strategies can help you scale

account at Team Treehouse to help our team

your team, increase everyone’s effectiveness

learn more about the wide variety of courses

and productivity, and help you grow your

the website offers. If you offer a unique

business over time.

situation, investing in a custom elearning company will allow you to develop a platform for training each new hire that you bring onto the team.

DAY 24 - Bill Slawski

SEO Mistakes You May Not Know You’re Making If you’re working on a startup, or even if you’ve

business, but I’ve had the chance to work with

gotten past the “start” phase, you should be

a lot of startups since, and a lot of businesses

spending some time working on promoting

that are learning how to bring their businesses

your business online. It’s been a few years since

more visibility on the Web. These are some

I first worked as a site designer/developer and

things I’ve seen that people might ignore or

in-house web promoter (and then SEO, when

miss, that can hurt how they are trying to use

search engines started showing up) for a single

SEO to market their business.

Don’t Use Paid Search Traffic Numbers to Choose Organic Search Keywords Many people may tell you that it can be helpful

of those is that when search engines display

to use paid search to test and investigate the

advertisements within search results, those

value of some keywords that you might want to

ads might be targeted not only to the exact

include on your pages in an attempt to do SEO.

keywords that a searcher typed as a query, but

This isn’t a bad idea, but it has some caveats

also to what Google refers to as “broad match”

that don’t always accompany that advice. One

results. The ads might be within a category

36


that matches a searcher’s query, but may not

pages of their site based upon the numbers of

rely solely upon the terms chosen by you as an

visits that they received for those terms using

advertiser. That may mean that you may get a

paid search, without realizing that the amount

lot more people clicking upon your ad in search

of traffic was for broad match advertisements

results based upon those categories than just

based upon categories rather than the exact

the exact keywords that your advertisement is

match numbers. Broad match ads might send

based upon.

1,000 visitors to their pages, but exact match ads would likely only deliver a fraction of

On August 28th of last year, Google replaced

that amount, and so using those numbers for

the keyword suggestion tool that they offered

SEO is going to be disappointing. The Google

with The Google Keyword Planner. The

Keyword Planner does show search volumes in

Keyword Planner now shows search volumes

exact match numbers now, and is more likely

for keywords on an “exact match” basis, but

a closer reflection of the traffic that you might

the old suggestion tool used to show “broad

see if you optimize a page well for organic

match” search volumes by default, and you

search and rank highly.

had to go through a couple of steps to change it to display “exact match” search volumes. This led to some confusion, and I’ve worked with more than one client who was trying to do keyword research and had gathered search volumes using the broad match numbers. It was a little heartbreaking telling someone that the search volume that they might expect to see for a particular keyword phrase wasn’t 500+ searches a month, but rather around 12 if the keyword suggestion tool was set to exact match instead of the default “broad match.” The exact match numbers are closer to what you might see in terms of search volume on the organic search results you might see at Google in organic results. Since the switch over to the newer Keyword Planner Tool, I’ve had some people tell me that they planned keywords that they optimized 37


Don’t Write Your Website For You and Not Your Audience Many industries use jargon that their audience

The food additive you’ve created might

members may not be aware of. Many site

use a scientific break-through reported in

owners show off the features of what they

subscription-only journals. If the audience

offer without describing the benefits of those

you’ve created your products for haven’t heard

features to their audiences in words that the

of those terms before, they might not find

audience might use to search for them, and

you, even if what you offer is exactly what

expect to see on a page offering those services

they want.

or goods. You really need to be able to get into the heads of the people who might be most

You need to spend some time learning about

interested in what you offer, and anticipate

who your audience is, and how they talk about

what words they might use to find your site.

the kind of products or services that you offer.

The app that you offer might use cutting edge

Then you need to use that language on your

technology that no one has heard of before.

site.

Don’t Mix Audience Messages and Confuse Visitors A friend showed me a page on a site about

they both shared in common was that they

financial services recently. The company

were both offered through the same division

behind the site is a household name, but the

of the company, and so the home page for

division of the company offering the services

the site was focused upon both audiences,

decided that it would be a good idea to create

showing pictures of younger couples moving

a site where they showed off what they offered

into new homes, and pictures of older people

together, even though the services were aimed

setting up offices. It gave me a headache.

at two different audiences. The text on the page included messages One offering was personal loans, aimed at

about financing, but didn’t target either

people who may have just left their parents

audience very well. I couldn’t help but think of

homes, and were setting out on their own. The

how much stronger both messages would be

other offering was for business loans for people

if they were presented on two different sites,

who were setting up a business, and that was

instead of reflecting the organization of the

targeted at a somewhat older audience. What

business.

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Avoid Omnibus Services or Features Pages It’s not unusual to run across a page on a site

meaningful content and images. But when a

where site owners show off and describe all

page bundles all of those services or features

of the services that they offer together, rather

together, titles and descriptions and page

than having separate pages for each service.

content tends to be more generalized and it’s

Or that provide a list of features that their

much harder to optimize a page for specific

goods or service address. Separate, each of

services or features that people might be

these service offerings or features would be

searching for.

easy to optimize a web page for, with unique titles and meta descriptions, and relevant and

DAY 25 - Kat Haselkorn

An “Innovative” Look at Innovation “Innovation” is a common buzzword at startups and incubators. Young companies feel like they have to be creative, groundbreaking, and “disruptive” every step of the way. Though there is some merit to this approach, and great companies have been born from such a process, sometimes sticking to more traditional procedures is what a business needs to succeed. This humorous cartoon by artist Mark Anderson touches on “innovation” as a social nuance. The illustration essentially says: If every company relies on successful businesses for innovative ideas, it’s no longer innovative; It’s just plain copying. He sums it up nicely here: Truly forging your own path and thinking outside the box sometimes means blocking out the outside noise and following your own quirky ideas. Thanks to Mark Anderson of AnderToons.com for this humorous comic. Source: Mark Anderson via www.andertoons.com

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DAY 26 - Kat Haselkorn

A Small Business Success Story Any small business owner knows that running a company is hard work. Some days – backbreaking work. When things feel impossible, it’s easy to cave, but often there’s a happily ever after waiting just around the corner. A popular Reddit thread is based around exactly this situation. Reddit user JJC_Osaka asked the small business community:

And the replies were heartwarming. One response illustrates the power of hard work and perseverance. It absolutely belongs in a series promoting better business strategies! Here is xMoey’s story:

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DAY 27 - Kelcey Moriarty

Stop and Think For Faster Writing OUTLINING, SIMPLIFYING, and using ACTIVE VOICE are three quick tips to remember each time you hit the keyboard, whether drafting a blog post or a business proposal.

OUTLINE Even the shortest pieces deserve a brief

investment with immediate return. Jotting

outline. On a deadline? Taking the time to

down a quick skeleton of your ideas helps

outline actually speeds up the writing process.

remind you to make your most important

Doing so focuses your thoughts into a concise,

point first and last. The final step of your

organized list. With a good outline, your piece

outline is to title your piece.

will begin to write itself. Think of it as an

SIMPLIFY Use short sentences. Stop and think before

gives perspective. He can zoom out and

you vomit a lengthy paragraph onto the

show—not just tell—the big picture.

page. Thesaurus.com is your best friend. So is “Delete.” Don’t stray from your bottom

For example, instead of writing: Dan is a mean

line. No one wants to read a run on sentence

boss.

that rambles and confuses because it’s really annoying and hard to digest so the poor reader

Try: Dan stole Bill’s Halloween candy and ate it

will probably stop and give up on your ability

all, even the Snickers.

to use the English language. Give your company human qualities by making brief comparisons and analogies. A good writer

41


ACTIVE VOICE Using active instead of passive voice is the

What’s the bottom line? An outline will save

quickest and most effective change you can

you time. Use simple, active voice to give

make to your writing. What is active voice? The

credibility to your writing. These are small

subject does the action in an active sentence.

changes that yield a big return.

In a passive sentence, the target of the action is promoted to subject. My favorite, catchy active voice example: Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” To demote Marvin to passive voice: “It Was Heard By Me Through the Grapevine.” Not a hit.

DAY 28 - Cat Miller

10 Reasons Why UberOffices is Great for Office Virgins Ever see that show on HGTV Property Virgins? Well in UberOffices I get to meet a bunch of office virgins – first time office space buyers. Here are a few reasons why UberOffices are ideal for companies looking for their first place.

42


1

Competitive office pricing. Shop around – you’ll see that our office spaces are cheaper than

2

Lots of add-ons and frills, no extra cost. One low monthly fee will get you access to internet,

our competitors.

power, cable TV, a kitchen, free coffee, a video game lounge, 7 conference rooms and four private call rooms.

3

No long term commitment. Tour today, move in tomorrow. Stay for life, or leave when you’ve outgrown us. With month-to-month commitments, UberOffices can be your long-term home or your short-term launching ground.

4

Security. Every office comes with a lock and key.

5

Branded space. When you move in, we’ll put your logo up on the door, add you to our

6

Furniture included. Every office comes furnished with a sleek wood desk, adjustable rolling

member directory on the UberOffices portal, and add you to the building directory board.

office chair, and bookshelf.

7

24/7 Access. Tight deadline? All-nighter in your future? Not to worry – with an access fob you can come and go as you please.

8

Free coffee.

9

Member Community Access. Rub shoulders with movers and shakers from DC’s public, private, and nonprofit scene.

10 Use our space for your big debut. Product launch? Hosting investors for a lunch meeting? We’ll help you with the arrangements for your company’s most important days.

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DAY 29 - Brian Patterson

4 Workout Options for the Hard Working Entrepreneur Several years ago, my business partner and I used to make a daily commute from Ashburn, VA to Washington, DC and back. We had many conversations over those 90+ minute commutes, as you can imagine. One that we still joke about to this day is the idea of, “Do we want to be fit? Or, Do we want to be rich?”. We were in the midst of building a business, so who doesn’t dream about riches at that stage? And, with all of the effort that was going into it, we thought it was a ‘this or that‘ decision. Either we spend a lot of time at the gym to ‘get healthy’, or we spend a lot of time on the business and ‘get rich’. These were serious, albeit humorous, discussions. We both decided that we were going to skip the gym and focus on the business. This wasn’t so great for our health, but the business has succeeded. The decision just left us both tired and embarrassingly out of shape.

Reaching a Tipping Point Around this time last year a couple of us

a fitness guru that resonated with me. It was

headed west to visit clients. Every day it was

simply:

a power lunch and every night was a heavy dinner. I returned home feeling worse than I

80% of your body composition is determined

had in a long time. Sure, the jet lag didn’t help,

by what you eat.

but it was more than that. I decided things needed to change.

- Mark Sisson

I did a ton of reading and found a quote from

Ah, the good old Paretto Principle rears its

44


head again. This simple statement helped me

Once I had eating down though, I was ready to

resolve the ‘this or that’ dilemma in my head.

tackle that remaining 20%. What I found is that

Changing my diet wouldn’t take time away

when carving out time for a workout, the 20%

from my business and could have a profound

is easier than it sounds. You just need a couple

impact on my overall performance. I was in.

of hours a week dedicated to it… and you can easily do that by cutting out a few TV shows or

I chose to do Paleo, and won’t bore you with the

improving the efficiency of a recurring process.

details, except to say that I’m a big fan. I think

Whatever your way of making it happen, just

any entrepreneur could benefit from choosing

know that the ROI is well worth it. Your return

a healthy way of eating. Anything from Atkins

will be a healthier you. Here are some of the

to Zone, and everything in between. In fact,

things I, or my colleagues, do to stay active.

UberOffices Tysons is home to Prana Living, where you can be coached on healthy eating and a healthy way of life.

1. CrossFit for the Alpha Entrepreneur A friend posted this on Facebook yesterday, and unfortunately I’m not sure I can disagree: Crossfit is like the anti-fight club. The first rule of Crossfit is always talk about Crossfit. I’ve been doing CrossFit, and yep, I’m gonna talk about it (briefly). I started about 5 months ago and am in better shape than I ever have been.

It

combines elements from weight lifting, gymnastics, sprinting, and mobility to create a well-rounded athlete. If you are an alpha entrepreneur who goes all out, I think CrossFit could be great for you. In just 45


3 hours a week, you’ll come out stronger and more fit. Anyone, at literally any level, can start on CrossFit. Everything scales.

2. Boxing for the Angry Entrepreneur Before CrossFit, I was a member at an LA

downside if you want to build muscle).

Boxing off-and-on for two years. I enjoyed my experience there, and I think boxing and other

If your business is high-stress, or if you tend

combat sports are great for releasing pent-

to be anxious, this may be a way to work it

up anger, energy, and frustration. The only

out in a healthy, productive manner. This way

downsides I found were that, after a while,

you get a workout and aren’t simmering with

it can get a little monotenous as there isn’t a

frustration or aggression every night when you

ton of variety available. Additionally, it won’t

head home.

help you build much muscle (which is only a

3. Yoga for the Zen-Like Entrepreneur My exposure to yoga has been limited to a

Kat says: Yoga really does help you relax and

few post-workout exercises to stretch out

decompress, all while increasing your mobility

and loosen up after weight training. However,

and flexibility. If an entrepreneur has a laidback

I know a ton of entrepreneurs really think it

personality, this could be a good fit as it isn’t

adds an extra dimension to their approach

“in your face” like CrossFit. On the flip side, if

in business, so I think it is worth considering.

a business owner is under a lot of stress, yoga

Since I know almost nothing about it, I solicited

can be an amazing outlet to quell anxiety and

some input from my colleague, Kat Haselkorn,

release tension. I look at yoga as an important

who is a regular yogi.

piece of an overall program for well-being.

4. Running for the Insane Entrepreneur Ok, so that headline sucked. Truth is, I’ve never

of running for more than 10 minutes at a time

been able to enjoy long distance running. I love

is the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard for

sprinting and interval training, but the thought

me.

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Running is ultimately the route that Dan chose to go with to get healthy, and good for him. It’s not for me, but if it is your personality, go for it. If you try running for distance for a week or so, you’ll quickly decide whether or not it’s a good fit. If it isn’t, you have plenty of other options. So there you go… 4 places to turn to take your mind off of your business for a little bit and focus on yourself. This is the time of year when resolutions are broken. Stay strong and find something that you enjoy, which will make it infinitely easier to stick to!

DAY 30 - Mike Moriarty

Turning a “No” to a “Yes” You can’t be afraid to hear “No” from people. As a startup you will and should occasionally hear the word. It might come from sales prospects, potential employees, vendors, or customers. When someone says yes to you, you have no more information, the deal is done and you’re on to the next problem. A “No” is so much more fun! Now is when you have a chance to learn more about the person, their reasoning, and help change their decision to a “yes”. Here are few steps to help you do that.

1. Ask “Why Not” Be polite, and be respectful as you’ll need to keep them talking. Humor doesn’t hurt from time to time either.

2. Repeat verbatim their reason for saying “No”. This allows you to make sure you understand. “So you don’t want to move forward with the contract because you feel the monthly cost is too high?” 47


It also gives the other person an opportunity to adjust their reasoning for saying “No”. It happens almost every single time that they will expound and you’ll be able to learn more.

3. Ask if there are any other reasons for them saying “No”. I normally will say something like: “If the expense portion of this contract was resolved, would you then want to move forward?” Over the half of the time, people are not honest as to the real reason they do not want to move forward. Many times it’s a combination of reasons

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3. Get all the concerns out in the air until they say “yes”. Make sure they agree that if their listed reasons were resolved they would say “Yes”. It’s psychological, but powerful and puts them imagining working with you.

5. Ask them what they would suggest as a solution for each identified objection. This is the step that is most often overlooked. Most people when they hear an objection immediately jump into their rehearsed reasons for defending their point. It’s natural, but it just pushing you further into your corner and them further into their corner. If a solution comes from the person saying “no” and is reasonable you’ve won! If it’s not acceptable at least you have more information as to what they are leaning towards and you have some momentum to work with to find a solution.

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6. If they have no ideas, use a credible third party resource to make your point. Finding a source you can both agree is respectable and impartial to provide information supporting your position. This is the most powerful resource at this point. Remember as with all negotiations, be respectful and be someone who they would want to work with and spend time with in the future.

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DAY 31 - Bill Slawski

Blogging with a Purpose When I first started blogging on the site that would end up becoming the home page for my own business, I had a purpose for the site. I had just come back from an industry-based conference, and while I enjoyed the presentations of my peers, the cost was staggering. I was fortunate enough be a speaker, so the cost of the conference itself was covered. But the conference was in New York City, and between paying for hotel, cabs, food, and transportation, the budget I had been saving towards putting my own shingle out was significantly diminished. A friend and I started talking about hosting a conference of our own, but one that was affordable for anyone who might attend. Instead of holding the conference in a large and expensive City, it would be in the resort town we both worked in, Havre de Grace, Maryland. Instead of going through a process where we would have potential speakers pitch ideas for sessions they would present, I wanted to have people attending be ready to give presentations of their own. The idea was similar to today’s barcamps or Wordcamps, where the people who were attending were also the people sharing their thoughts and ideas. I decided that the conference should have a website, and paid for hosting and put up a WordPress site, where I started blogging about the conference. I blogged about local Bed and Breakfasts to stay at, attractions in the area, local history, and some topics that might be covered during the conference. I rented a local historic skipjack – a kind of boat that had been used on the Chesapeake Bay for over 100 years by waterman engaging in hunting for oysters, and wrote a blog post about it being one of the events happening at the conference.

Then I lost my Purpose… The event came and went, and while I had a number of people show up, it didn’t attract the crowd that I had hoped it would. But, I was left with a web site that would end up becoming a platform that I grew my business and personal reputation upon, and used it to attract conversations about the industry I was working within. I had some thoughts in my head that I would write it as if it were

50


a personal workbook, like Davinci’s work notes, or like Walden’s journal. I started writing about search engine related patents and whitepapers, and industry news, and it led to opportunities to write as a columnist for some of the biggest web sites in my industry, invitations to speak at other conferences, and brought me clients whom I caught the attention of with things that I had written. Image from the Library of Congress, reference number LC-USZ62-76142, originally published in Harper’s Weekly, Mar. 1, 1884

I engaged in conversations on my blog

with people whom had written about one side of a topic, and I replied with my own thoughts about the other side. I wrote posts about the companies that Google and Yahoo and Amazon acquired that were little known at the time, and people picked up on those posts, and worked them into discussions at places like Digg and into Wikipedia entries. I kept at it, and a couple of years ago, wrote about Google acquiring over 1,000 patents from IBM, which ended up being reported upon in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, and in a media roll that ended up going around the globe. A blog helps you to be part of conversations about things going on in the world around you. It can help you start a number of conversations as well. A month or so ago, I received an invitation from someone at LinkedIn, and I added him, and sent him a message thanking him for connecting with me. He responded, and told me that he had been reading my blog since he was 12, and thanked me for helping him get excited about, and getting into the search industry. That was better news than having been mentioned in the Times and the Journal and Bloomberg News, and others. The conference that was my purpose for starting the blog didn’t pan out the way that I hoped it would, but the newer purpose of sharing ideas and information that I adopted had.

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