Balance is the new business

 

While at the 2011 Inc. 500 Conference, the PicFlips team enjoyed hearing a talk given by Jessica Herrin, the founder and CEO of Stella & Dot.  For those of you that don’t know Stella & Dot, it’s a company that has over 10,000 stylists who sell custom jewelry and accessories at home parties.  Did you know that Jessica Herrin was also the co-founder of WeddingChannel.com at the age of 24?  She sold it to The Knot for $90 million…not bad.  This woman has entrepreneurial blood running through her veins!  Here are some of the points I took away from her speech about running a successful business:

1.) Stay curious and nimble.

One of the advantages of small businesses is that we can move faster than large corporations.  If we sense a change in the marketplace, we can meet the needs of our customers quickly and efficiently.  Good entrepreneurs are always on the lookout for new ideas, new ways to serve the market and are flexible enough to change quickly, if needed.  “Sometimes you have to throw back a small fish in order to catch a larger one.”

2.) People are everything.

a.) Trust your gut when hiring. Don’t just hire because of an impressive resume.  Make sure the person fits your needs and is a good fit with the team.  b.) Recognize and reward your team members for a job well done. Doesn’t have to be much – a bottle of champagne or flowers goes a long way.  c.) Declare the soul of your company. Tell your team the vision of your company, what you stand for, what makes the company tick.  It helps create an atmosphere that everyone wants to be a part of.

3.)  Love your life.

Build a good support system around you.  Stay healthy – it keeps you on the top of your game.  Keep perspective to stay grateful.  And, finally, leave the right things undone.  We can’t do it all.  “When juggling balls, find out which ones are glass, which ones are rubber, which ones need attention right now, and which ones can wait.”

A Day at the Media Circus with Collin County’s SBDC

 

Collin County SBDC Media Circus LogoMy head is just spinning from all of the helpful and insightful information I just picked up at Collin County SBDC (Small Business Development Center) and Constant Contact’s event called the Media Circus!  There was so much info packed into a small amount of time, but it was just what I needed to energize my passion in strategic marketing and feed my entrepreneurial soul.  Sometimes I get so bogged down in the day-to-day activities and events that I forget to look up and use some of that energy to further the growth of PicFlips in the long run.

I haven’t been to a seminar or class lately at Collin County SBDC.  We’ve been in our busy season and I, honestly, haven’t been to many networking events or seminars at all.  But when my friend, Denise, told me about it this morning, I finished my work early and zoomed over there.  I just knew it would be worth my time.  …And they didn’t disappoint!

Derick Shaefer and Jerod Morris of Orangecast talked about Taming the SEO Beast and Juggling Social media, respectively.  (This company is I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E.)  Julie Niehoff from Constant Contact spoke about making an impact with the Cannonball Email Blast, while Dane Miller of Azure gave a wonderful overview of Clowning Around with Multimedia.  Carol Thompson of Prism Web Media wrapped everything up for me with a talk about Walking a Tightrope to a Better Website.  Since you probably weren’t able to make it, I am going to give you my 5 favorite nuggets of wisdom:

1.)  When writing content for your social media, find out what you are an expert in and give tips that are valuable to other people.  By providing value and not self-promoting, you will gain followers and repeat visitors.
2.)  Using videos as part of your media strategy helps you connect with your audience and build a relationship, as well as showing off a product or service that can’t always be described in words (hello…flipbooks??)
3.)  However, when starting out with any social media for business, develop a clear strategy of what you want to accomplish, who you want to reach, and the tone you want to take (funny, informational, etc).  When dealing especially with videos, also take into consideration where it will be viewed and the quality you want to have (friend’s help vs. professional).
4.)  New to blogging and need some tips?  Check out www.how-to-blog.tv for step-by-step pointers!
5.)  Just released last week from Constant Contact….*drumroll please*…NutshellMail.com – a free service that takes all of your social media sites and simplifies them into one email message.  I like simplicity.

And in true Collin County SBDC fashion, the details weren’t forgotten.  The participants were treated to cotton candy, large salted pretzels, animal crackers, peanuts, popcorn and drinks!  YUM!   Marta Frey and her team had fun hats on, and you can’t forget the stuffed tiger in a cage on the table as a centerpiece – too cute!  The price for the seminar was a little steep….oh, wait!  Did I tell you it was all FREE?!?  Unbelievable.  If you are a small business like we are or are looking into starting your own business, please, please check out your local Small Business Development Center.  The mentoring is free (thanks, Steve Falldine!), the seminars are free, the classes are free.  Finally, I agree with the way our government is spending our tax dollars 😉  Take advantage of it!