These Two Things are the Keys to a Successful Business

Leadership concepts with blue paper airplane

The physical and emotional abuse began when she was five years old.

By the time she was 13, she was homeless and relying on the kindness of strangers to feed and house her. At 14, she gave birth to a son who died in infancy. Shortly afterward, she was sent to live with an uncle in whom she later referred to as her “father.” Even though this teenager had suffered years of poverty and abuse, something fierce and fiery within her would not give up. She attended a Milwaukee high school and earned grades good enough to get her into the Upward Bound program, a federally funded program to help gifted students achieve academic success.

This determined, courageous young woman was later transferred to a suburban high school where she was picked on by her more affluent peers. After being caught stealing money to keep up with the lifestyle of her peers, she was once again sent to live with another relative in Nashville, TN. Here, she became an honors student and joined a speech/debate team that eventually took second place in a nation-wide dramatic interpretation contest.

After winning a college scholarship, working as a news reporter, and ultimately, landing her own TV show, Oprah Winfrey is now one of the world’s most famous, most beloved, and most successful women in history.

Attitude is Motivation and Motivation is Attitude

Imagine you are the owner of a bakery that was handed down to you by your parents and grandparents.

One of the traditions you continue to keep as the owner is wearing a large pin on your uniform that says “Business is Awesome!” While all business have down times, the idea behind the pin is that, no matter how the business is doing, your attitude remains the same.

What do you tell customers who ask you what’s so great about business? In most cases, people asking you this question are going through a rough time in their lives or may be coping with business problems themselves. You might tell them business is awesome because you love meeting new people every day or that business is great because you can work in an environment where everybody gets along and enjoys each other’s company.

At the heart of this story lies the power of embracing a positive attitude. When you anticipate the good things and refuse to become a victim of negative thinking, the motivation to continue naturally emerges, sustained by your sense of renewal, hope and expectations.

Falling Down 10 Times Means You Have to Get Up 10 Times

“I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. Many times I have been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I am not afraid to say that I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” — Michael Jordan

You have to keep “getting up” (as Oprah Winfrey did) to take those next steps toward meeting or exceeding your goals.

The motivation for getting up and getting back on track is more powerful and rewarding if it is for personal rather than material gain. Keep reminding yourself that the most significant accomplishments in world history all started because someone fell down and got right back up again without even giving it a second thought.

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Print Made Digital: How Business Cards Are Still the Best Way to Connect

Close-up of Indian businessman hand giving business card

Digital communication and marketing tactics may be the hottest topics on everyone’s tongues, but there are still some serious limitations to connecting your physical and digital worlds.

There are ways that allow you to quickly trade contact information, but they can require both parties to download the same app and are difficult to coordinate in quick hallway conversations. Business professionals will tell you that you never know when you’re going to meet someone who can tie together the pieces of a particular project, so it pays to be prepared to capture contact information regardless of your physical location. That’s where business cards come in as one of the best ways to connect with people in person.

Boost Your Brand Recognition

Keeping your branding on point can be an ongoing challenge, especially as your business grows.

Marketers must be diligent to ensure that all marketing materials are consistent and cohesive with colors, fonts, styles images, and even the tone of language that is used — or your brand voice.

One particular printed item that often ties together all of your branding is a simple business card! Business cards are relatively inexpensive but can pack a big branding punch when they provide each prospect or contact with the look, feel and logo of your business.

Convenient Communication Tool

Business cards are one of the most convenient communication tools available because you can simply slide your hand into your pocket or purse and immediately be able to share your contact information with others.

If you’re in the middle of another conversation, there’s no need to break off topic and attempt to program a number into your cell phone; instead, you can simply pop a business card into someone’s hand! If you’re at a conference or trade show, business cards allow you to jot questions or topics of interest on the back, which can help jog your memory of the contact and how you need to follow up with them in the future.

Ideal for Direct Marketing

Sending emails and even text messages may be one of the most effective ways to reach a wide range of individuals, but an old-fashioned phone call packs an impact.

Including a handshake with your business card creates a personal connection that people will remember. If the person you’re speaking with isn’t the perfect contact for your business, the good news is that your business card can continue marketing to the next person who receives it, too! Digital marketing tactics such as QR codes add extra bang to your business card by providing your prospects with additional information that couldn’t fit within the space available on a small business card. Have a special offer that you’d like to share? Drop a discount code on your business card and you’ll be sure to create a lasting impression!

Print marketing tactics such as business cards are still one of the best ways to reach your target audience in a personal way that builds long-term relationships. Business today is still driven by relationships. Ensuring that you have personal knowledge of the people you are working with — and that connection — is best formed by creative printed materials that reinforce the look and feel of your brand.

The next time you’re shaking hands with someone, be sure you’re sliding a business card to them at the same time, and your message will be reinforced even after you are long gone!

Wrangling Your Week: Time Management Success Techniques That Will Give You Hope

Solution Concept with Time

It’s painfully true that there are never enough hours in the day. If “normal humans” are having this kind of trouble, how are CEOs and leaders of major businesses able to run the massive scale of their days? As long as you consider that they haven’t discovered time travel, there’s got to be some tips and tricks that can be learned from their exceptional talents.

These time management success stories will give you hope that you can wrangle your week more effectively. You might be surprised to learn that many of these individuals found adequate time for sleep and budgeting part of their day for meditation or downtime.

Leave Time for Relaxation

Most famous for his theory of evolution in his book The Origin of Species (1859), Charles Darwin spent a great deal of his day in solitary study. His schedule also included walking his fox terrier pup and reading. Most interesting was the two hours each day that he devoted to lying awake in bed solving problems before starting his day. Victor Hugo, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Charles Dickens also devoted many hours a day to walking and personal study. Today, Arianna Huffington is one of the business leaders who believe that spending time with colleagues or eating lunch away from your desk makes you more productive — not less.

Focus on Calendar Management

Focusing only on what is most important each day is one of the time management tricks that Mary Callahan Erdoes, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., swears by. Her busy day is most productive when she spends time prioritizing short- and long-term deliverables instead of reacting to new items that make it to her calendar by happenstance.

Sleep Soundly, Wake Early

People who are making an impact in their world are likely getting enough rest to be refreshed and ready to face their day, but those days often start quite early. Getting less than six hours of sleep on a regular basis can leave you mentally drained or fuzzy and make you less likely to be efficient in your work. The early morning hours are ideal for a quick workout, which not only helps the body stay fit but helps boost your brainpower for the day as well. Billionaire Richard Branson is famous for his 5:00 am ritual to kick off his busy day.

Stop the Multitasking

Sure, we all love to pretend that we’re getting three things done at once, but is anything being accomplished in these sprints? Successful professionals know when it’s time to turn off the electronics and stick to one task at a time. Koel Thomae, co-founder of Noosa Yoghurt, notes how easy it is to be distracted by your inbox and your phone. Add in some music and you’re ready to take on the world!

Just Say “No”

“No,” or “next” are some of the most powerful words in the English language — allowing people to free their time from mundane activities and target those which are moving them forward. There may be some tasks that feel like busywork, so delegate these whenever possible. Turn your attention only to items where you add personal and unique value, and you’ll soon find that it’s possible to be present in your day while experiencing less stress. This can include everything from hiring people who complement your skills and abilities (a famous Jack Welch-ism) to outsourcing tasks when it makes sense.

Not everyone is running an empire, finding the cure for cancer, or creating the next great musical masterpiece. However, we are all struggling with a limited number of hours in the day. There is a great deal of hope and comfort in knowing that these basic time management techniques have been practiced for generations — and are still helping some of the most successful people of our age be productive.

Why Your Brand is The Most Important Asset in Your Business

Hello My Brand Is

Your brand may not be as recognizable as Coke, Pepsi or Walmart, but it speaks volumes about your business.

Your brand is much more than a simple logo or tagline; it is the sum of all the different interactions that your prospects and customers have with your organization. This could include printed correspondence, your website, phone conversations with your sales reps, and more. It’s an intangible asset that is captured on your balance sheet in case you are selling your business, and it should be treated as your most valuable asset. Creating a cohesive brand experience for your customer begins with expressing your brand consistently across your various channels of communication.

Digital Presence

Your website is your digital front door, and when your brand isn’t well represented on your website, then you can cause significant confusion among your core audience.

When you work closely with a designer to translate your brand from printed pieces to the web, you’re ensuring that customers and prospects are comfortable with interacting with your brand on any channel. If you are using social media channels to promote your brand, you may want to audit the design look and feel for consistency. Many brand managers find it easiest to define a brand across all channels during a refresh of the look and feel of your digital presence. Everything down to the color that you choose for your logo mark will help tightly define your brand.

Brand “Voice”

Is your brand a little smart and sassy, or cool and classy? Slightly high-brow or ready for some fun?

The brand “voice” that you define is essentially the personality for your brand. It’s unlikely that a well-established bank would want to suddenly start using emojis in their brand communication, for instance. Alternatively, a fun and feisty new design firm would want to use different messaging than a financial institution! Your voice should be made up not only of the way you want your brand to appear, but also allow you to communicate effectively with your core audience. Based on demographics, your brand may have a slightly different voice when speaking to various audience segments.

Marketing Collateral

Each piece of marketing collateral that you create — from letterhead to your website to your latest printed sales brochure — should all have a cohesive design that sticks close to your brand guidelines.

That doesn’t mean that everything has to look the same, but when someone looks at a piece of your marketing materials, they should have that “Aha! I recognize this brand!” feeling immediately. In today’s fast-paced digital world, it can be easy to create a new look for your website or emails and forget that your printed materials, such as business cards and letterhead, need to be refreshed to match an updated look.

Finding Your Identity

Each interaction, each step of each process, and each conversation that happens between customers and prospects is yet another piece of your brand identity! You can see why this makes your brand one of the most critical assets in your business.

While all of these pieces work together to create this mystical thing that we call “brand identity,” there are some definite hallmarks that help set the tone.

Ready to freshen up the look of your business cards, letterhead, envelopes and other identity materials? These items are often the initial introduction to your brand, and you want them to make a great first impression!

Getting Creative at Work May Be the Best Use of Your Time Today

Light against the dawn.

Better. Faster. Cheaper.

Those are the siren calls of managers today — always on the lookout for ways to make their workers more productive.

What if you discovered that your teams would actually gain productivity by taking the time out of their day to be creative? While carving out time for creativity may feel like a waste of time upfront, you may be surprised to find that the results of making this space will be far-reaching. The daily grind and immediate needs of others don’t leave a lot of time for thinking outside the box, but you’ll see that scheduling time for creativity is a critical ingredient for high-performing individuals and teams.

Small Investment, Big Rewards

Getting creative doesn’t mean you need to pull out the fingerpaints and scissors in your common room.

It just means that you should offer your team members a variety of ways to choose their own path when it comes to specific tasks, brainstorm new ideas (and implement them!) or look for ways to help others. Taking as little as 90 minutes every week two weeks gives people the time and space to unleash their great ideas and helps them work smarter — not harder. This small investment can pay off with big rewards. Even if you don’t implement every idea, your team will be excited to get together and share their thoughts and suggestions and know that they’re being actively listened to.

Creativity Takes Many Forms

Brainstorming is an easy way to build camaraderie within a team and also generate some amazing ideas, but what are some other ways to bring creativity into the workplace?

These tips can help you get started on a productive time together.

  • Create effective work groups. It’s important to ensure that your teams are well-balanced when creativity is your goal. If you have one individual who tends to overpower the conversation, it can be tough for others to join in on the fun.
  • Make it challenging. Consider asking your teams to solve a unique challenge — maybe one that’s not even related to your current situation, but designed to help people come together around a common goal.
  • Give them space. Not physical space, mental space! If individuals are so concerned about daily tasks that they’re unable to devote the mental capacity to the project, you’re not going to reap the benefit you might expect.
  • Allow freedom to choose. If you’re offering a specific work opportunity that needs to be overcome, don’t get too tied down in the details of how it needs to happen. Ask that teams consider the “Blue Sky” approach, where there are no boundaries, no limitations (systems or individuals) and just go for it. The sky’s the limit!

Perhaps the most important thing to remind your teams going into a creative space is that all judgment should be suspended.

There are no bad ideas. Every individual deserves to have their idea or direction fully listened to. Don’t evaluate ideas before their time or you will interrupt the flow of information that is what brings true creativity to light. After a few sessions, you may be surprised to find that your teams are excited — and not reluctant — to join in on the fun.

With luck, this openness, creativity, and conversation will begin to flow throughout your teams on a more regular basis. As people come to realize that others will listen, they are more likely to share without fear. Let your creativity free and reap the rewards!

Labels Are a Promotion that “Sticks” With Your Customers

Delicious cupcakes retro sign for candy shop

Customers can be a difficult and fickle lot.

They’re always shopping around for the “Next Big Thing,” surfing your competitor’s websites, and price-checking on their phones. With all the different business options available today, it can be tough to keep your business in their mind without spending thousands of dollars on local and digital advertising.

There’s a smarter way to keep your customers engaged with your brand’s identity without breaking the bank — labels!

Labels are the ideal way to turn a basic and ho-hum bag or box into a full-color masterpiece that is interesting and fun. See how you can leverage labels to create a promotion that truly sticks with your customers.

Adding Excitement to Your Packaging

Basic white or kraft boxes and bags are simple, inexpensive packaging for your products, but they don’t do anything for your brand identity.

When Maggie, a bakery owner, recently visited her local print shop, she was looking for a logo that could be printed on her various sizes of packaging. What she learned was that each size of packaging would require different setups to print the logo, and full-color printing on non-standard size items could get add up. After speaking with the sales team at the print shop, Maggie realized that there was a better option that would reduce the overall costs of using different packaging for her products.

Full-Color Labels in Any Size or Shape

Part of the challenge of running a bakery is that you’re selling all different sizes and shapes of goods.

You may need a small bag for a donut or bagel, a nearly-square box for layer cakes, and a large rectangle for sheet cakes or a dozen baked goods. Creating a single logo for packaging that would look good on all of these sizes and shapes would be difficult. However, labels are so easy to create that you can utilize a variety of labels to make a custom-printed look that features a stunning full-color image.

Add Promotions When You Need Them

Labels are an incredibly versatile promotional tool.

You can add them to a package or leave them off to create a different mood or message for your customers. If you’d like to offer a coupon on a particular type of order — for instance, a dozen donuts — then you can utilize a label to attach a printed coupon to draw added attention to the offer. The label itself could become the offer, too. You could have a batch of labels printed offering “10% Off, Tomorrow Only” and then be able to pull out this promotion anytime sales are experiencing a bit of a slump.

Operational Labels

You can also use labels within your business to classify items at a glance.

For instance, a tiny sticker that denotes which day of the week a particular item was baked, or showing a ‘Sell by’ date. Write-on labels and waterproof labels are available based on your particular needs and are a great way to keep your business organized and running smoothly.

In this particular instance, Maggie was inspired to create a series of labels for each day of the week to indicate freshness to her customers. She also worked with a designer to envision a new look for her packaging that included a single-color package and full-color labels that added a pop of color and plenty of personality to her baked goods. Since people “eat with their eyes” it made good business sense for the packaging to be as appealing as possible!

Ready to revamp the look of your products or rev up your organizational skills?

Print is Alive and Well

edge of colorful magazine stacking roll

Is Your Phone a Part of Your Body?

This may not be far from the truth! Recent research found that the average person reaches for their smartphone 150 times a day, including e-mails, calls, photos, messaging, or checking the time.

This begs a crucial question. In terms of modern day marketing, does this rise in digital dominance erase the power of print? Not a chance!

Hard Copy Rules

Naomi Baron, author of Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World, surveyed university students worldwide and came to a profound conclusion: young people have a near-universal preference for print.

When given a choice of various media – including hard copy, phones, tablets, or laptops – 92 percent said they could concentrate best on hard copy.

Respondents said drawbacks of digital media included distraction, eye strain, physical discomfort, while hard copy benefits included stronger visual memory, an increased desire to “re-read,” and sensory connection enabling one to touch, experience, and “keep” printed materials. Baron said that in the Slovakian respondent data, one out of TEN mentioned smell. “There really is a physical, tactile, kinesthetic component to reading.”

Don’t Forget the Fun

Looking to draw attention back to print marketing but need some inspiration to get you started?

Print comes alive through color and texture, but also through humor. Here are a few spunky print ads that helped restore our faith in the creativity of the medium in 2017:

Snowbird Ski Resorts.

Snowbird was looking to overcome its ho-hum ski magazine campaign with something different. Cloaking its sales pitch in sarcasm, Snowbird featured one-star reviews from complaining customers.

“Too advanced,” read one review. “I’d heard Snowbird is a tough mountain, but this is ridiculous. It felt like every trail was a steep chute or littered with tree wells. How is anyone supposed to ride in that? Not fun!”

Snowbird’s agency hand-picked reviews that would tantalize hardcore athletes to give the resort a try. “We’re known for our steep terrain, long runs, and deep snow,” said Snowbird marketing director David Amirault. “Beginner skiers and snowboarders . . . often find this a challenge. However, for our core guest, it’s what makes them come back year after year.”

Creative campaigns like this will definitely keep print marketing fans coming back as well!

Burger King.

One audacious print campaign was Burger King’s “Burning Stores,” which showed actual BK restaurants on fire with the headline “Flame grilled since 1954.”

Showcasing one of its worst moments was ridiculously brave, tying BK’s “flame-grilling” service near a flame-grilled franchise in a shocking, hilarious graphic. “Burning Stores” reminded us that engaging modern audiences includes a willingness to be vulnerable. Grey Africa’s Fran Luckin, chair of the Print & Publishing jury at Cannes, called “Burning Stores” the ideal print ads for a social media age:

“We’ve got a brand being brave enough to be authentic,” she said. “It’s a move away from having every single piece of print communication be so carefully crafted and put out there as an official announcement. There’s a sense here of being more playful, more authentic, a sense that you can be a little bit more edgy in your communication.”

Luckin reminded content producers that it’s ok for companies to laugh:

“I once heard a Coca-Cola executive use the work ‘flawsome,’ which I loved. In the social media age, where people can find out information about your brand quite easily, you have to be a little bit more real. You embrace your imperfections. You have more of a sense of humor about your corporate image. [Burger King] is a brand that’s brave enough to stick its tongue in its cheek and be a little bit young again.”