Under30CEO » Personal Branding http://under30ceo.com Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:00:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6 Under30CEO interviews successful young entrepreneurs to hear about their story and journey while starting their company. These young founders have over a million dollars a year in revenues and have been through many ups and downs to get there. These stories are meant to inspire, educate and motivate more young people to take a leap and do what they are passionate about. Under30CEO clean Under30CEO jared@under30ceo.com jared@under30ceo.com (Under30CEO) Under30CEO Interviews with Young Entrepreneurs on Starting Businesses entrepreneur, business, interview, young entrepreneur, business advice, startup advice, founder interview, ceo Under30CEO http://under30ceo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/u30logo300x250.png http://under30ceo.com/category/entrepreneurship-2/personal-branding-startup-advice/ Hacking Your Way To Becoming An Authority In Your Niche http://under30ceo.com/hacking-way-becoming-authority-niche/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hacking-way-becoming-authority-niche http://under30ceo.com/hacking-way-becoming-authority-niche/#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 17:00:00 +0000 Under30CEO http://under30ceo.com/?p=38549 So, you want to become an authority… Selling becomes far simpler when everyone in your niche views you as an authority. Think about it… What do people do in the face of authority? They listen and absorb information (assuming they are smart). They listen to every word the authority says. Almost instantly, their own beliefs […]

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authority

So, you want to become an authority…

Selling becomes far simpler when everyone in your niche views you as an authority.

Think about it… What do people do in the face of authority? They listen and absorb information (assuming they are smart).

They listen to every word the authority says. Almost instantly, their own beliefs on the talking point are affected by what they hear. They trust the authority figure to not only to be right about their area of expertise, but trust them to the point that they allow the figure’s words to effect their own beliefs.

The steps below will start a snowball effect which will propel you to becoming the authority in your niche. By putting in the work now, you will reap tremendous benefits when you are looking to sell your next product or service. As a figure of authority it will not be so much about selling, but rather sharing your new product with your audience who will be predisposed to wanting your content.

Step 1: Be absurdly helpful

‘Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value’ Albert Einstein

Being an authoritative person is about building your recognition through the value you bring to others.

If you want to be an authority:

help people

Adopt an attitude of helping people on a one-to-one level to solve their problems.

This accomplishes two things:

  1. Establishes you firmly as an authority in one persons mind.
  2. Gives you an opportunity to intimately understand the problems people in your market experience.

Let’s pretend you are looking to become a recognized marketing consultant.

You could start by asking friends and acquaintances what marketing problems they have. Then, ask the owner of your local coffee shop, newsagent, corner store, local food outlet, what problems they experience in trying to grow their business?

Go away, come up with a suggestion on how YOU can help THEM solve their exact issue. Next time you see them put the proposal forward. The receiver will be grateful and will continue to turn to you for advice (granted you provided a valuable solution).

This is the first step on a small level, and is an essential stepping stone, to repeating this process on a larger stage.

Step 2: Start by speaking at a University

Becoming a guest speaker is the most effective way to add credibility to your personal brand.

Although starting the act of guest speaking can be incredibly difficult, universities and colleges are a little known back door to achieving your goal.

There are a number of options available to secure and promote your own guest speaking gig at a university or college.

  • Book a lecture theatre at a university/college for one month’s time from today. Advertise with posters across the campus. Print some flyers and hand them out at the campus over lunchtime.
  • Contact the unit/program/course co-ordinator of a highly relevant university subject with a proposal to talk after one of their lectures during the semester. Selling the benefits of hearing from somebody with experience will add value and something different to their course.

Once you have spoken at one or two universities you can contact the local branches of large companies and offer to guest speak. Citing you have already successfully been a speaker at a number of universities Be sure to ask for testimonials from each place you speak at. It will be essential in stepping up the chain to larger gigs.

Step 3: Join an association or trade organization

The 3rd party recognition of a trade organization or association raises your level of perceived expertise. The preferable choice here is to join two organizations, do not go overboard and join a ridiculous number just to boost your own ego.

This step should only take 10 minutes and a credit card.

You can find lists of organization to join on dmoz, wikipedia and marketing mentor. This is just three possible starting points, google is your friend here.

Step 4: Connect with the influential people in your niche

There are two options below, my suggestion… pursue both. Regardless of whether you think you are an introvert or not, as an expert in your niche you are going to need to jump over that line of comfort.

I. Twitter Search

Talk and interact with the key people of influence in your niche and related niches. There are a number of tools you can use to simplify your search, however I have used followerwonk to good results (take advantage of their free 30-day trial).

Once you find people worth spending the time to connect with (it should be obvious who these people are), start the conversation by:

  • responding to their tweets with comments
  • retweet interesting tweets from other people and when retweeting it include them. They will appreciate you sending them something directly

The key is to make your interactions with them useful. And if not always useful, than entertaining.

Twitter, like all social platforms, is not a sprint event. You are not going to turn around tomorrow and see a significant return on your efforts. It should be treated more like a marathon. When performed correctly, meaningful results become clear in the long term.

II. Attend events on Meetup.com

There are events on every week, in every location, and they are full of passionate people (and a handful of wannabe’s, or more commonly referred to as business card hoarders).

The best part is each event is a niche unto itself. The people you meet at the events are already pre-qualified i.e. they have already taken the time to attend an event in your topic of interest.

Be sure to bring a couple of business cards (yes this is still a must) and 20 – 30 second story which defines your personal brand and what you do. This story needs to be one which resonates with people. The best way to perfect it: come up with 5 variations, pick the best one and start using it. If it doesn’t evoke a question from the other person you know it is not the one. Move on to one of your backups and repeat the process.

The aim at these meetup events is to get to know people in your niche and let them find out who you are. Find the people who are sneezers, then invest enough time (provide value) with them and your personal brand will spread.

Step 5: Back yourself

Before others will recognize you as an authority, you need to recognize yourself. You must decide that you are an expert in your chosen field of play.

Once you decide you are, you must display it. People will see right through you if you don’t back yourself 100%. Ensure anything which can be seen by others displays your declaration of authority.

If you are having to tell people that you are an authority, then take a step back and start the process over again.

Wrapping it up:

I challenge you to take your first step towards becoming an authority right now. Jump onto meetup.com now and sign up to attend a event relevant to your niche this week. It takes less than 3 minutes to find one and register your attendance. Let me know in the comments below of which meetup event and city you are attending.

Jason Schulz blogs over at oneleggedduck.com. He sold his online retail business in 2014 and is currently launching the Marketeer Course to help online retail owners grow their business. Check it out at marketeercourse.com

Image Credit: seohamster.com

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6 Tips for Communicating Your Company’s Community Service Online http://under30ceo.com/6-tips-communicating-companys-community-service-online/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=6-tips-communicating-companys-community-service-online http://under30ceo.com/6-tips-communicating-companys-community-service-online/#comments Thu, 06 Mar 2014 18:00:22 +0000 GuestAuthor http://under30ceo.com/?p=38348 When it comes to community service, many companies are reluctant to share their good deeds with the public for fear they will be viewed as disingenuous or self-righteous. In reality, when businesses proactively inform the public of their outreach efforts, it can help those companies establish a positive presence in the community, boost employee morale, […]

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online presence

When it comes to community service, many companies are reluctant to share their good deeds with the public for fear they will be viewed as disingenuous or self-righteous.

In reality, when businesses proactively inform the public of their outreach efforts, it can help those companies establish a positive presence in the community, boost employee morale, and even increase sales.

Luckily, in today’s increasingly digital world, it’s easier than ever to get the word out and reach your audience in an effective, positive way. Here are a few reasons why you should be relaying your company’s community involvement to the public.

It Makes Customers Happy

Believe it or not, many consumers are highly conscious of which businesses are involved in community service, and they will go out of their way to patronize companies they perceive to be transparent and socially responsible.

In fact, one survey found that 56 percent of Americans are willing to travel an extra 10 minutes to purchase a product that supports a cause they care about, and 71 percent would even spend more on that product (at least $2.28 more for a $10 item).

Considering that information, it makes sense that research also shows a relationship between corporate giving and subsequent sales growth, particularly for firms in industries that are highly sensitive to consumer perception.

It Makes Employees Happy

In addition to building a positive reputation with consumers, sharing information about your company’s community involvement can also be beneficial to your employees’ morale and satisfaction, which in turn can benefit your business.

According to a Golin Harris study, employees’ views of a company’s corporate citizenship affect team member morale and pride, their trust in their employer, and their willingness to recommend their company as a good place to work.

Research has shown that the higher employees rate their organization’s corporate citizenship, the more committed they are to that organization. This results in a more positive work environment and better employee engagement and commitment.

Use Your Online Presence to Share Your Community Involvement

With all of these potential benefits in mind, why not make relaying your company’s good deeds to the public a part of your overall marketing strategy? Here are some tips for shouting your good news from the virtual rooftops.

1. Leverage your company blog or website to share and engage.

Use your blog to promote your efforts and encourage the community to get involved. Later, you can write a blog post highlighting your efforts and reflecting on the experience.

2. Create a web page dedicated to your outreach efforts.

Create a page on your company website to list your community outreach efforts and partnerships. This gives community members and customers a central place to find information about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how they can get involved or support your work.

3. Reach out and form partnerships.

Many local businesses benefit from having a partnership program with other businesses in the community. You can utilize such partnerships to spread the word, team up on a project, or even share discounts and coupons.

4. Use social media to share real-time updates on your community service efforts.

Did you just reach a fundraising goal? Tweet about it! Get some great pictures at an event? Share them on your Facebook page. This is an effective and accessible way to engage with your audience.

5. Work with community publications to share your efforts.

Every community has newspapers looking for stories that feature local businesses. Establish contacts at local publications, and reach out to share your good news. When they do write about your company, make sure you share the article like crazy.

6. Consider an email marketing campaign.

This is a good option for sharing the details of your next event and encouraging your employees and customers to participate.

Companies Doing It Right

All of this advice might sound great in theory, but what does it look like in practice?

The New York Yankees have a community section on their website devoted to sharing press releases and video highlights of events. The team uses its social media accounts to share updates on good deeds and highlight players who are individually involved in community and charitable events.

For jewelry company Alex and Ani, charitable giving is at the heart of what the company does. In fact, it features an entire product line dedicated to charity. The company continuously shares information through its blog and social media, and it gets publicity from its charitable partners.

Eyeglass retailer Warby Parker operates on the same one-for-one model as TOMS, and a section of its website is devoted to sharing its “do good” philosophy. It doesn’t just send glasses overseas as part of its “buy a pair, give a pair” model — the company also sponsors its local Little League team.

These companies all give back to their communities in a variety of ways, but by using best practices to showcase their efforts, they open the door for recognition without looking like they’re bragging.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “Doing well is the result of doing good. That’s what capitalism is all about.” Your good deeds matter to your community, your customers, and your employees. Why not do well by showing the world that you’re doing good?

John Boudreau is the CEO and co-founder of Astonish, an insurance marketing and sales platform for local insurance agencies. Astonish collaborates with insurance agencies to provide an optimized online marketing presence, automate tasks with technology, and create an effective sales culture through hands-on coaching. Their platform drives growth in round-outs, retention, referrals, new opportunities, lead conversion, and team performance.

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

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How To Monitor Your Online Business Reputation http://under30ceo.com/monitor-your-online-business-reputation/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=monitor-your-online-business-reputation http://under30ceo.com/monitor-your-online-business-reputation/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 16:00:40 +0000 Under30CEO http://under30ceo.com/?p=38093 Monitoring your online reputation is vital for your business success. Not giving proper attention to this, can cost you traffic and eventually, sales. In today’s world, anyone can write a review, good or bad, on social media, websites or forums. When this happens, you should be the first one to know about this. In this […]

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Monitoring your online reputation is vital for your business success. Not giving proper attention to this, can cost you traffic and eventually, sales. In today’s world, anyone can write a review, good or bad, on social media, websites or forums. When this happens, you should be the first one to know about this. In this article, I will share some tips and tools that will help you keep a clean reputation online.

Treat your customers with respect

The last thing you would want is to get negative reviews about your website or business, all over the internet. To prevent this, you have to respect your clients and never argue with them. Approach all online interactions in a very polite manner. If any of your customers is unhappy by the quality of your services or the products you are selling, offer them a full refund. You never know who your client is, and where he might write a complain about you.

If you are stubborn, you might lose hundreds of potential clients. It happens to a lot of companies managed by careless CEO’s.

Do not post silly messages on social media

Social Media can be a great place to build your reputation, but all your hard work can be ruined in seconds. Check what Chrysler Autos tweeted a few years ago.

1chrysler on Twitter

The person responsible with the Twitter account worked for New Media Strategies, and he was fired. Chrysler immediately apologized, but a lot of people have seen that message. Such a message would have been worse for a smaller company’s reputation.

Always make sure that the person to whom you give your social media accounts credentials is a person you can trust.

Ignore trolls and excessively negative reviews

If you have been in the online marketing business for a while, you know that it’s impossible not to stumble across trolls. The best advice would be to ignore them, because they have more free time than you.

When you find an excessively negative review about your website, don’t rush and try to defend your reputation. Instead, try to learn from what people are complaining and try not to repeat those mistakes. Always think twice before you act.

Tools to help you protect your business reputation

As your company grows, it becomes harder and harder to do everything by yourself, and this is why you have to use tools. Thankfully, there are many available. Without further ado, here are the best tools to use to keep your reputation intact.

1. Setup Google Alerts

If you haven’t yet created an alert for your company’s name, go to Google Alerts and create one right now. A lot of people will mention your company’s name on websites and social media, and you should know this ahead of time so you can check whether it’s a positive or negative context.

2Google alerts

 

You can choose to get an alert when your brand name, or company’s slogan is mentioned. Here are some examples I use:

  • My Company
  • MyCompany
  • Mycompany.com
  • Our slogan on My Company

Choose how often you want to receive these emails, and that’s all.

2. Get alerts when a website links to you

To keep a clean reputation, you will have to verify what websites are linking to you. If you ignore this, you might end up with porn and irrelevant websites linking to your website. This will hurt your reputation, and also your search engine rankings.

To get email alerts when somebody links to your website, you can use Monitor Backlinks. Create an account and connect your website with your Google Analytics account. It will take about 2 minutes to complete this process, and you will automatically get email reports when a website links to you. This is an email sample I just received for my website:

3email alerts

3. Check the influencers who mentioned your company’s name

If Google alerts is not the right tool for you, and you need more detailed reports, check Topsy.

4topsy

Search for you name, and click on “Influencers” to see the most important persons that have referred to your brand on Twitter.  Add your brand name, and click on “Influencers”.

4. Check your grammar

Double check every article or message you share on social media. Users will find consistent grammatical errors annoying. Don’t feed the trolls. Use tools like Grammarly to verify your articles.

There are companies that ask for thousands of dollars per month for reputation management, but most businesses can take care of this by their own. With the advice and tools I have mentioned; you should be able to keep your reputation clean, for any small or medium businesses.

Felix is a young entrepreneur who loves to write about online businesses and internet marketing. You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter

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7 Deadly Social Media Sins That Will Kill Your Personal Brand http://under30ceo.com/7-deadly-social-media-sins-will-kill-personal-brand/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=7-deadly-social-media-sins-will-kill-personal-brand http://under30ceo.com/7-deadly-social-media-sins-will-kill-personal-brand/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 14:00:03 +0000 Under30CEO http://under30ceo.com/?p=37941  Until Facebook and its ilk came along and spoiled things, I had personal branding all figured out.  I could easily make any CEO, celebrity or celebrated author look and sound brilliant in traditional media.  As long as clients didn’t do anything horrifically embarrassing between board meetings, movie premieres and book releases, I made certain their […]

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7-deadly-sins-social-media Until Facebook and its ilk came along and spoiled things, I had personal branding all figured out.  I could easily make any CEO, celebrity or celebrated author look and sound brilliant in traditional media.  As long as clients didn’t do anything horrifically embarrassing between board meetings, movie premieres and book releases, I made certain their reputations — and monetary worth — held up.

Social media turned personal branding into a 24/7/365 challenge.   Everyone makes blunders, including business owners who keep personal branding coaches on their payroll.

Don’t fret about minor gaffes.  Correct them, make amends and move on.

But here are seven social media mistakes too serious to ignore.

7.  Pride

Too much pride is among the 7 Deadly Sins, but it’s having too little that will put your personal brand on life support.

What am I talking about?  Your social media photos.  Not too long ago, you could get way with using a stock photo of a model, a 20-year-old photo or yourself or even a silly icon for your profile picture.

Social media demands greater authenticity and, now that your photo will be made public every time you post a tweet or comment, make sure your photo creates the image you desire.

Get rid of distracting background objects — a headrest can make people think you work out of your car –and, if your weight or hair color have changed in real life, change them in your social media photo, too.

Hate posing for photos?  Ask a friend to take candid shots of you when you’re relaxed — reading a book, talking on the phone or petting your dog.  Choose one that makes you look professional and approachable.

6.  Anger

Disconnect yourself from social media when you’re irritated with a client, your spouse or the world in general.

Go take a walk, write a rant in an old-fashioned paper journal or pummel a punching bag until you’re too exhausted to hit the keyboard.  Do not demonstrate hostility online.  No matter how justified your outrage may be, don’t make it public — and permanent — in social media.

If you absolutely must address the source of your anger, do it in person or by phone.

5.  Rudeness

If your mom didn’t teach you manners, enroll in an etiquette class.  Written communication often sounds harsher than you intended.  It’s hard to be too polite in social media, easy to come off as abrasive when you meant to be clever.

Every keystroke affects your reputation so choose — and type — your words carefully.

Please be a good social media citizen and, if you already are, thank you!!

4.  Ego

Share your successes on social media.  Your followers want to celebrate with you.  But show some restraint and gratitude when you do.

A post that says, “I’m so honored to be named as one of the most promising young entrepreneurs in Memphis,” sounds better than one that reads, “Guess who made the top 10 list — again — and look at all the posers who didn’t make the cut!”

3.  Absence

Social media is a conversation, not a bulletin board.  I average nearly 40 percent engagement on Twitter, a platform that does not inspire much discourse.  There’s no trick to this — I simply make myself available and act as I would at any offline gathering.

Automated posts are convenient, but there’s nothing social about them.  Formal invitations often include this language, “the honor of your presence is requested…” because the host wants you to show up for the party.

Honor your followers by being present on social media, not by sending automated messages while you sleep.

2. Greed

Anyone in business wants to make money, but social media is not the place to announce that this is your sole objective.

In recent weeks, I’ve listened to people boast that they use Facebook only as a way of extracting money from friends,  that there’s  no point in writing a blog unless you charge readers a fee to access it and that Google HOAs (Hangouts on Air) make sense only if you can collect money from sponsors or guests.

I disagree with the premise — social media is an amazing, free-to-use marketing tool that makes it possible for start-up CEOs to compete with major corporations — but, even if you want to tap your Facebook pals for cash, don’t announce your motivation on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

Ambition is attractive.  Greed is not.  It’s ugly and a guaranteed way to seriously damage your personal brand.

There’s only one deadlier sin you can commit in social media:

1.  Mediocrity

This is the career killer.  This is the one mistake you cannot afford to make.

Before social media, it was OK for an entrepreneur to be mediocre.  No one but you and your clients knew your work was average, and many of your clients didn’t care.  You competed on price or speed or some other variable that distinguished you and satisfied your customers.

Social media and its never-ending demand for content is making it increasingly hard for an average professional to succeed.  Every time you write a blog, produce a video, appear in a podcast or post a Google Plus comment, you reveal something about yourself, your talent and your business.

Most of the content circulating in social media these days is mediocre or worse.  Writer Geoff Livingston calls it the zombie content apocalypse.  And, while the quality of your blog should really only reflect your writing ability, what you say in social media makes a powerful statement about you, no matter what your profession.

Let’s say you’re a shoe store owner and you write a generic blog about shoe care — a post similar or precisely the same as the material found on 100 other shoe shopping sites — you will be perceived as caring little about shoes or your customers.  This may be wrong and it is certainly unfair, but consider this:  Why should a customer spend $200 buying a pair of shoes from you if you can’t spend the time or money to produce content the customer cares about?

I regularly witness business owners, lawyers, accountants, graphic artists, marketers and other professionals reduce themselves to mediocrity in social media.  The damage they inflict on their personal brands cannot be undone by their resumes, some of which are pretty impressive.

Social media is a powerful public platform.  The fact that it’s easy to use doesn’t make it safe.

Don’t pull the trigger on your career.  Aim for excellence instead.

Want to know more about how you can build a rock solid foundation for your business and build your brand? Contact Katherine Kotaw, the chief storytelling, marketing strategist of KOTAW Content Marketing, a digital marketing agency that helps you make all the right moves and stand out from the crowd. Subscribe to KOTAW today and be inspired to grow your business.

Image Credit: www.mediabistro.com

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6 Necessary Steps for Hiring a PR Firm http://under30ceo.com/6-necessary-steps-hiring-pr-firm/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=6-necessary-steps-hiring-pr-firm http://under30ceo.com/6-necessary-steps-hiring-pr-firm/#comments Mon, 24 Feb 2014 18:00:38 +0000 GuestAuthor http://under30ceo.com/?p=38116 It’s no secret that PR has left entrepreneurs and brands wanting more in terms of execution and results over the years. However, whether you’re a budding young entrepreneur or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, the idea of nabbing press coverage, online visibility, and a platform of influence is not only appealing but necessary […]

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BC-PR-bollocks-pic

It’s no secret that PR has left entrepreneurs and brands wanting more in terms of execution and results over the years. However, whether you’re a budding young entrepreneur or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, the idea of nabbing press coverage, online visibility, and a platform of influence is not only appealing but necessary for developing trust, credibility, and authority with potential clients.

To boost your chances of finding a PR agency you’re happy and successful with, you need to do some homework. Here are six things to do before handing over your business:

1.     Identify Company Goals

Oftentimes, companies assume they need PR because they’ve seen it work for other businesses. They believe it’s the natural progression in their business’s lifecycle to hire a PR firm to gain press coverage. Before you even start to converse with firms, sit down and consider what your company wants to accomplish through PR.

Are you looking to gain more promotion, or are you hoping to educate and gain credibility? Identifying your goals will enable you to better define the kind of outcomes you want and allow you to demand more objective results from the firm you choose.

2.     Identify Personal Goals

As a leader, there should be strategy backing the positions you’re creating for your company and yourself. By understanding and creating goals for your company and personal brands, you can align them to make sure they’re playing off each other to help grow the business.

If you value being viewed as an authority in your industry, you can easily utilize content you’ve produced to, in turn, gain authority and shed light on your company. Your brand is inextricably connected to your company’s; determine how you want one to define the other.

3.     Set Expectations for the Relationship

We’ve all heard horror stories of yearlong retainers with PR firms that lead you down a road of unrealistic expectations and limited quantifiable results. This happens when clear expectations aren’t set by either the PR agency or the client; without knowing what’s going to get accomplished, there’s no plan for the firm to execute.

As a decision maker, you have to communicate exactly what you’re looking for and challenge the firm you choose to not only meet these expectations, but involve you in the process. Yes, the point of outsourcing these efforts is to avoid 100 percent involvement, but just because you’re not 100 percent involved doesn’t mean you’re not invested. Understand that the relationship should foster a two-way street of communication to ensure that both sides are executing and implementing what they need to in order to achieve success.

4.     Identify a Firm That Knows Your Niche

A common misconception in PR is that you need to reach the most eyeballs possible. This couldn’t be further from the truth. No matter what your industry or niche is, you need to be educating and engaging your target market, not merely a large, general audience.

Identify and vet the firm you work with to ensure that it not only has experience in your niche specifically, but that it also has a firm grasp on how to help you engage with your market. The adage “No news is good news” doesn’t apply when you’re looking to invest time, money, and resources in return for results.

5.     Look for Skills and Processes You Don’t Have

When you’re looking for a firm to help take your business to the next level, make sure you hire one that can accomplish things you couldn’t do yourself. Decide what you’re looking for, and find a firm that specializes in executing that. A lot of businesses think they just need to hire a full-service PR or marketing firm and don’t see a true return on investment because the firm is spread too thin.

6.     Ask for Case Studies

Ask for case studies showing which reputable companies a firm has worked with, as well as what kind of success they showed their clients. Then, ask how the team plans to achieve that same success for you.

When it comes to outsourcing, particularly with public relations, you need to establish a carefully thought-out partnership. Hiring on a whim and hoping that everything goes well is a recipe for disappointment. As a company leader, you must clearly understand your needs, your goals for the hire, the skillset of the firm you’re hiring, and how it plans to execute for your company. Look past the façade, and you’ll never be left wanting more.

Ryan O’Connell is the Vice President at Influence & Co., a company that helps experts build their businesses through thought leadership and content marketing by producing high-quality content for reputable publications. You can reach out to Ryan on Twitter @Oconnellryan or on Google+.

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A Document and 5 Questions That Will Transform How You Grow Your Company http://under30ceo.com/document-5-questions-will-transform-grow-company/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=document-5-questions-will-transform-grow-company http://under30ceo.com/document-5-questions-will-transform-grow-company/#comments Thu, 09 Jan 2014 18:00:30 +0000 GuestAuthor http://under30ceo.com/?p=37269 Hiring new people can be a daunting process for small companies. Just one new hire can affect a startup’s culture and success, yet many don’t realize this process should begin long before you even post a job opening. I’ve spent a long time developing the best way to identify whether a candidate is a good […]

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hiring

Hiring new people can be a daunting process for small companies. Just one new hire can affect a startup’s culture and success, yet many don’t realize this process should begin long before you even post a job opening.

I’ve spent a long time developing the best way to identify whether a candidate is a good fit for our company and ultimately realized one thing: To identify the right fit for your company, you have to know who you are and be able to clearly express this to an applicant.

To do this, our team created a “painted picture” — a roadmap for our clients, vendors, employees, and potential hires describing our goals, values, and future. We then developed five questions based on our painted picture document that we ask every applicant.

Building Our Painted Picture

We created a painted picture by envisioning what our company will look like in three years. This three-page document dictates our day-to-day activities, long-term planning, and decision-making process. Our staff then works backward from the painted picture, using it as a guide for achieving our three-year goals.

A painted picture isn’t a mission statement or a five-year plan; it’s a vision put forth by the founder explaining what a company could become in the near future. The concept, developed by our mentor, Cameron Herold, uses visualization to realize goals and achieve success. Unless everyone in your company has a clear idea of where the company is headed, there’s no way you’ll ever get there. Three years is the golden number for our painted picture — it’s just enough time to accomplish big changes without looking too far into the future.

To get started on a painted picture, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What do you see in your company’s future?
  2. What do you want to see there?
  3. What’s the epitome of success for your business?

Focus on the “what” of success — instead of the “how” — by visualizing every aspect of your company’s future, from what your job will be like to who your future customers will be. A full explanation of this idea can be found here.

Why Our Painted Picture Guides Our Hiring

I show my company’s painted picture document to every person we interview so she knows from the get-go what we’re about. It helps the interviewee see whether she’s a good fit for our company and vice versa. After that, I ask the interviewee these five questions:

1. What was your key takeaway from the painted picture?

Our picture is chock-full of details that emulate the heart of who we are and what we do, so an interviewee’s response to this question can be very telling. An insightful, like-minded response to our plan means we have a candidate worth pursuing.

2. Why do you want to work for us?

A viable candidate will refer to values in the painted picture as reasons to work for us. We’re looking for people who fit with our core values and are excited about our vision.

3. What are your core values?

The better you know your candidate’s personal values, the easier it will be to see if she aligns with your company. We seek a true alignment of ideals that make our company and the candidate a good match.

4. What are your long- and short-term goals?

Is this job a stepping stone on an ambitious career track, or is this candidate committed to making our company the best in the field? We’re looking for candidates who see working with us as their best choice.

5. Tell us something interesting about yourself.

This part of the conversation not only gives me the chance to get to know a candidate better, but it also shows how willing the person is to be open. A genuine response will garner more respect than a brush-off answer meant to steer the conversation back to the job. Through this question, I get the chance to engage in some real conversation with a candidate, which can give me hints about her true personality.

Building Momentum

Using the painted picture has guided us toward our vision and, as our company grows, has helped us find new employees who share that vision. If you want to improve your hiring process, simply take a step back, look at your company’s goals, and set aside time to create your own painted picture. Using that document as a hiring guide means you’re transforming your company from the inside out, ensuring your company is filled with people whose dreams and personality align with it.

Ben Kirshner is the CEO of Elite SEM, an award-winning, fast-growing online marketing agency with a passion for building a team of elite industry experts. Elite SEM was recently named Crain’s New York Business #1 Best Place To Work 2013. Ben is an entrepreneurial thought leader, a SEM expert, and can be found on Twitter or Google+.

Image Credit: blog.atrinternational.com 

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Don’t Want to be a Digital Nomad? There Are Other Kinds of Lifestyle Entrepreneur http://under30ceo.com/dont-want-digital-nomad-kinds-lifestyle-entrepreneur/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dont-want-digital-nomad-kinds-lifestyle-entrepreneur http://under30ceo.com/dont-want-digital-nomad-kinds-lifestyle-entrepreneur/#comments Wed, 27 Nov 2013 14:00:12 +0000 Under30CEO http://under30ceo.com/?p=36031 The term ‘lifestyle entrepreneur’ is one that you hear bandied around a lot in the current digital age and it’s probably one that you will have encountered on your travels around the web. Generally it tends to conjure images of sitting on a beach somewhere sunny while sipping cocktails and tapping away on a computer. […]

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lifestyle entrepreneur

The term ‘lifestyle entrepreneur’ is one that you hear bandied around a lot in the current digital age and it’s probably one that you will have encountered on your travels around the web. Generally it tends to conjure images of sitting on a beach somewhere sunny while sipping cocktails and tapping away on a computer. These are the sun-worshipping, digital nomads that we’re all secretly envious of, but often too afraid to try and emulate.

But that’s not actually what the term lifestyle entrepreneur means. Simply, the title really only describes someone who chooses to become an entrepreneur for the lifestyle rather than necessarily any financial reward. Often this means sitting on a beach and sipping cocktails – because apparently that’s what people want to do (though it doesn’t have to mean that – that’s what we’ll be addressing later…).

How to Become a Lifestyle Entrepreneur

Regardless of how you choose to use your new freedom, becoming a lifestyle entrepreneur has a number of requirements. Here are some actionable steps that will show you how to go from working 9-5, to gaining the kind of freedom that you previously thought impossible:

  • First of all, choose what kind of entrepreneur you want to be. What are your interests and hobbies, and more importantly – your skills. By playing to your strengths and choosing a type of work that interests you, you’ll find it’s easier to get ahead and to stay motivated when you have to put in a lot of work. Being a lifestyle entrepreneur doesn’t have to mean working online, but that is one of the easiest ways to start out as it means you’ll be freer to work when and how you choose. Popular choices for business models include selling an eBook, running a website and making money through advertising, selling apps and software, providing a service such as writing or web design, doing SEO and web marketing, or acting as a reseller of services by hiring white label services.
  • If you current work a normal job then you don’t need to give up on that right away. Instead, put in some hours around your other commitments and start building up your business that way – once you’re earning a steady flow of income you can then think about reducing or quitting your other work. Note that you will be very busy at first and that you will work very hard for the first few months to a year. It’s putting in the work now and setting up your passive income that will buy you the freedom later though. There’s light at the end of the tunnel!
  • Now you need to start automating your business so that you can expand and scale while reducing your own work load. You can automate your business through the use of software, outsourcing, marketing and more. Build systems and identify the repetitive work that you could easily replace.
  • Finally, start designing the lifestyle you want. Being a successful lifestyle entrepreneur means being able to comfortable live the life you choose – and part of that is finding ways to spend less and to work in different ways. Often you will find that more freedom is gained by learning to spend less, than by working out how to earn more. Of course this is when you also need to take a long hard look at yourself though and ask yourself what kind of lifestyle you want. Do you want to travel? Do you want to work from home? Do you want to go to lots of business meetings? Or would you like more time to spend with your family? Sometimes it can be almost scary regaining this kind of freedom as you won’t right away know what to do with it. Being a digital nomad is just one option – it’s not for everyone.

The Problems With Being a Digital Nomad

The problem is that not everyone wants to commit to the whole idea of being a digital nomad. Sure it sounds fun – travelling from country to country with nothing but your clothes and a laptop, working on beaches and then partying during the evenings – but it’s certainly not for everyone.

You see the reality of digital nomadry (nomadness…?), is actually a rather harsh one. Sure, you get to see the world and escape the office – but do you really want to give up having a warm bed to sleep in? Do you really want to say goodbye to any kind of financial security? And are you really happy to live away from your friends and family for years on end?

The Alternative

Thus I am here to propose an alternative. As being a lifestyle entrepreneur means designing any lifestyle that you enjoy, you don’t necessarily have to make these compromises at all.

I personally would describe myself as a lifestyle entrepreneur. I’m not immensely rich, but I have the lifestyle I want, and I got there by choosing to become an entrepreneur. So what does a day in the life of me look like?

Day in the Life of a Unique Lifestyle Entrepreneur…

Well I live at home with my girlfriend who works a normal job. So when she wakes up at about 6am, I stay in bed an extra hour before joining her in the livingroom to watch ‘BBC Morning’ (I’m a Brit you see…). She then heads out to work at about 8, at which point I… kick back and relax. Sometimes I’ll read a book, sometimes I’ll play a game… but generally I make sure I have some ‘me time’ to just chill.

After an hour or so I will then go and wash up while watching YouTube. Now that may sound odd, but it makes a huge difference to my life and my general happiness. Ever felt depressed because tidying is getting on top of you? I never feel like that and it’s good for our relationship too.

Next I hit the gym for an hour. I’m an avid bodybuilder, and it’s only thanks to being an entrepreneur that I have time for this particularly intense hobby. I have access to a very nice gym complex that’s just across the road, so once I’m done I’ll have a nice, long hot shower and then a sit in the steam room.

It’s only now – at about 11am that I start work. To do that, I will grab my laptop and then choose a random place in London to visit. I’ll then work on the tube, and once I get to the destination, I’ll work in a park or a local coffee shop. Sometimes I’ll meet a friend who works in the city on their lunch break, but always I focus for about 6 hours of work to get back at the same time as my girlfriend. During this time I write articles which I sell, and develop some commercial apps. The writing is creative, while the apps are challenging and bring me great personal satisfaction.

Once home I then chill like anyone else until about 11pm before bed. But there are other perks too. You see often I’ll hop on a coach for about £10 and head to another country in Europe to spend a day or weekend working there (often with my entrepreneur friends). Sometimes I’ll go into work with my girlfriend for moral support, or I’ll head back to my childhood home in Bournemouth to visit old friends. I have all the freedom of a ‘digital nomad’, except I also have a home, and a routine and a personal life. And I can have a warm cup of English tea whenever I like…

Designing Your Own Lifestyle

But this is just how I chose to live my life. My routine might sound like a living hell to you which is fine – in fact it’s kind of the whole point. What matters is that I chose my lifestyle to suit me – and if you’re an entrepreneur then you can too. And it doesn’t have to mean living on the beach…

So take a look at yourself and ask yourself what would really make life better. Don’t be pressured by your responsibilities and commitments (we too often choose to use them as excuses), but likewise don’t feel pressured into ‘living life’ when you’d really rather spend your time at home with a good book. Be honest with yourself, and don’t be afraid to change your mind or to experiment a little until you find just the right balance – you might be surprised with what really makes you happy and there’s nothing wrong with taking a while to get it right. Becoming a lifestyle entrepreneur means accepting full responsibility for your own life, career and ultimately happiness. Are you up to the task?

The author of this post, Gregory Fisher, started Berkeley Sourcing Group eight years ago after realizing the need for efficient processes and coordination between manufacturing firms located in the United States and factories in China. He has a strong manufacturing and engineering background, and is proficient in Mandarin.

Image Credit: www.topwallpaperphoto.com

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Response: 8 Ways to Be Remarkable http://under30ceo.com/response-8-ways-remarkable/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=response-8-ways-remarkable http://under30ceo.com/response-8-ways-remarkable/#comments Fri, 15 Nov 2013 14:00:23 +0000 Yasmine Khater http://under30ceo.com/?p=36639   Being Great, Being Unforgettable, What is it really all about?  A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about 10 Simple Ways to be Unremarkable: But then, who really wants to be unremarkable? It got me really excited about how to be remarkable! I am a firm believer that we should all be willing to […]

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 Choose_to_be_remarkable

Being Great, Being Unforgettable, What is it really all about?  A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about 10 Simple Ways to be Unremarkable: But then, who really wants to be unremarkable? It got me really excited about how to be remarkable!

I am a firm believer that we should all be willing to make mistakes, maybe even get a little comfortable…

  • To be willing to be completely vulnerable.
  • To be willing to dream a little.
  • To be willing to love + be passionate about the work you do.
  • To be willing to make an impact.
  • To be willing to travel, see new places + meet people.
  • To be willing to give a shit about something, maybe a friend, family, neighbor or even a stranger.
  • To be willing to look at things different + even wonder how things work.
  • To be willing to follow your happiness.

What’s the worst that can happen? Like seriously, what’s the worst that can really happen?

You become a little more memorable, a little bit more interesting, and maybe even a little bit more… REMARKABLE!

I spent a little time, thinking about remarkable people I know and the tips below are ingrained in those women. They live it, eat it and dream it. And the good news is that you can learn it all. I believe that by following the successful people, we can become like them. We can all be remarkable!

8 Tips on How to be Remarkable

1. Be Yourself

You are a Wonder Woman! There is nothing and no one better than you. I know you probably think that’s easy to say. I struggled a lot with this, especially in the beginning when I started my business. I tried to be “corporatey”. But the funny part is that I left the corporate word, because it didn’t allow me to be me.

Why was I trying to settle for that again? But thanks to great teachers like @daniellelaporte, @marieforleo, and @garyvanderduck who are so goddam authentic, I soon realized that I should be true to myself too. It seems stupid, but it gave me the permission to realize that I am who I am and you are who you are!

Are you willing to be completely vulnerable?

2. Dream Big

When I was in university, I joined the coolest organization in the world, AIESEC. Within 5 months, I was on a sit-in conference in Ghana with 300 young people from 35 countries who were there to discuss HIV/AIDs advocacy in Africa.

I always thought I was going do something for my community, but as I sat there during a session of God-knows-what, I looked around me and realized that everyone in that room wanted to change the world, and the only difference they had to what I had, is the belief that they could.

I decided then and there, I was going to dream big and be freakin’ remarkable, because that’s the difference between the ones that are and the ones that aren’t – just that belief that they can be remarkable too.

Are you willing to dream a little?

3. LOVE Your Job

Don’t bitch. If you are bitching about your job,  you shouldn’t be there.

You need to love what you do. Really love what you do. One of my friends, Sara loves what she does. It’s incredible when you see her speak about cleansing and juicing. She literarily lights up. She loves what she does, helping women get healthier.

Are you willing to ask yourself what makes you smile + gets you excited in the morning?

4. Work… like for real – DO something!

One of my favorite quotes is from Indira Gandhi, she said “My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition.

Did you know that 27% of time online is spent on social media? So that means, that estimates to 17 hours per week. That means one who day of your week might be wasted. What about the projects you want to do? Your community who needs help? Or how you can grow your business and your freedom? Or that book you could have wrote?

Are you willing to stop thinking so much and start doing?

5. Travel

When I was 17, I boarded a flight to spend 4 months in a country I knew nothing about. I went to Estonia. It was the first time I had left home for more than 2 weeks and I was excited that I was about to embark and live with 15 people from 12 nationalities. Normal conversations would range from “Does God Exist?”,  to “What do you have for breakfast in your country?”

It was really uncomfortable because for 4 months, I would wake up to seeing these people every single second of every single day. I would have to speak in front of large groups, taste different foods and even perform belly dancing  in front of hundreds of people… and I’m not even a good dancer!

Travel made me question everything. It made me question my beliefs, my values, my perceptions, my understanding of myself, my culture…

It completely shifted me and it was my first crash-course in personal development. And the strangest part is that when I came home,  everyone else was exactly the way I had left them.

Are you willing to go an adventure? Travel to cities you have never been to before, perhaps it’s even neighborhoods you have never been before…

6. Care + be grateful

When I was 11 my mother dragged me, literately,  to go and volunteer with the children cancer sufferers. As I walked around with kids, my age maybe younger, I wondered why these kids my age were suffering so much.

I realized that life was not fair.

The fact that I was born in a comfortable home, with great parents and access to a fantastic education opened up so many doors for me.

That’s when I realized I was given two eyes to see, two hands to make something and two ears to listen. But I only have one heart and I guess that’s because it’s because it must be so important that we only need one, and we need to grateful for what we have, care for someone and maybe just maybe, make the world a bit of a better place – or at least try. We don’t even need to be that big really; it could be just for your friends and family making them feel somebody gives a shit. As it is, major depression is the No.1 psychological disorder in the west.

Are you willing to give a shit? Pick a person, give them a call today and tell them that you care!

7. Be Curious

Da Vinci was the greatest example of what being curious could do for you. He did everything and anything if curiosity took him there. Why are not letting ourselves be curious? Seth Godin is a genius and he spoke at a TEDx on Stop Stealing Dreams, it is focused on kids and education. But there is a lot to learn. Curiosity is a gift; it’s a gift that animals don’t have. Why don’t we use it?

Recently, during a workshop, some participants shared with me that they came to my workshop because they were curious about my background because it was interesting to them. But it’s not really so much planned for, but it was just my curiosity of what I would learn if I tried all those things.

What about you? What are you curious about? What do you want to try?

8. Trust & be happy

Life can be complicated, life can be strange, but trust yourself, trust your intuition, and let it take you where you need to go. Let it be part of your decisions. Don’t worry about being part of the status quo, there is no one forcing you to do it except for you.  There is a great Dutch saying that goes “No one is normal, stop trying to be.”

Are you willing to make happiness start now?

If you are inspired, share it! And please share with us: How are you going to be Remarkable?

You don’t have to want to change the world, but you can be awesome by breaking some of these rules. Want More Than This, Design Your Dream Life, Break the Rules! If you are ready, check out our new course on Lifestyle Design: The Art of Living on Purpose.

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How to Be an Approachable Genius http://under30ceo.com/approachable-genius/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=approachable-genius http://under30ceo.com/approachable-genius/#comments Fri, 01 Nov 2013 17:00:00 +0000 GuestAuthor http://under30ceo.com/?p=35899 Once, as a twentysomething, newly minted U.S. Marine Corps officer, I was asked by my commanding officer to fill in at a big staff meeting. I was eager to impress this room full of experienced, confident warriors. After all, this would be their first impression of me. I had to make it good. I was […]

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albert-einstein-simple-quote

Once, as a twentysomething, newly minted U.S. Marine Corps officer, I was asked by my commanding officer to fill in at a big staff meeting.

I was eager to impress this room full of experienced, confident warriors. After all, this would be their first impression of me. I had to make it good. I was pretty proud of myself for working the word “tangential” into my presentation — especially after I received four or five amazed looks. Unfortunately, I pronounced the word “tangenital” and didn’t realize my mistake until I heard someone use the word (correctly) later.

I’m all for using the right word, especially if it’s more accurate and shorter than another option. For example, “esoteric” has a very specific meaning that’s best described by using that word. But when you start saying things like “utilize” instead of “use,” you’re wasting syllables for the sole purpose of sounding smart. When you try to make yourself sound smarter by using bigger words, you look silly at best — and unapproachable, unlikeable, or fake at worst.

The Benefits of Speaking Simply

Next time you pull out your thesaurus, ask yourself why. Is it to avoid repetition, add clarity, or to just try to sound smarter? If you find yourself replacing a common, approachable word, you’d better have a good reason. Speaking simply has some great benefits and can even make you sound more intelligent than using a bunch of obscure words.

First, when you speak simply, people actually listen to what you’re saying. Unless you’re speaking to a room of genetic scientists, talking like one will only get you glazed, droopy eyes. It’s impossible to keep people engaged and get your message across when they can’t understand you.

Probably the most important benefit of speaking simply is that people will talk to you. Being “approachable” means you are open to discussion. When people feel comfortable (instead of intimidated by your complex vocabulary), you have an opportunity to communicate your message, listen to what they have to say, and learn from them.

What It Means to Be an Approachable Genius

Anyone can be an approachable genius. You don’t literally need to be a genius, and you don’t have to be naturally approachable. In fact, I’m neither of those things. You just have to be clear in your communications, speak in a way that welcomes discussion, and avoid saying anything for the sole purpose of sounding smart.

If there’s a more common word with fewer syllables that means the same thing, use it. Speaking or writing simply shows confidence and makes a very important statement: Don’t listen to me because I sound smart. Listen to me because what I’m saying has value.

The same principles apply to your marketing copy. Practically speaking, keep your copy clear and simple. Smart copy is fine, but as soon as you start throwing out big, unnecessary words, people will view them as an attempt to feign intelligence, and you will seem inauthentic. Follow these three tips for becoming an approachable genius:

1. Start small.

A good way to train yourself to be an approachable genius is to review your emails. Make it a habit to read each email before clicking “send” to see if you’re following the approachable genius principles. Can you make it shorter? Can any of the words be changed to add clarity? Is your tone accusatory or negative? If the answer to any of these is yes, make changes.

2. Listen.

When people interact with someone who’s trying to sound intelligent, they often feel as though they are being talked at. It’s incredibly difficult to communicate with someone like that, so turn off your transmit switch and start receiving their messages. Even when you know that interrupting will shorten the conversation, let the other person talk.

3. Let it be.

This is a tough one, but it’s important. If someone is wrong, let him be wrong. As long as it’s not a critical point and there aren’t consequences for him being wrong, just leave it alone. If a person says to you, “The average number of foals in a European rhinoceros litter is 12,” just let it be. First of all, if you’re wrong, you will seem very un-genius-like. Even if you’re right, correcting others unnecessarily just makes you sound like a know-it-all.

Never forget that the purpose of communication is, obviously, to communicate. Speaking in a way that alienates your listener is counterproductive, and if you do it wrong — a lesson I learned the hard way with my “tangential” blunder — you’ll appear far less intelligent than you actually are.

So next time you sit down for a meeting, don’t say, “Let’s commence.” Say, “Let’s start.” Don’t use words like “vis-à-vis,” either, unless you’re very fond of rolled eyes. And, finally, even if you know a female rhinoceros will only give birth to one baby rhino (called a calf) every two or three years, it’s usually best to keep it to yourself.

Jack Holt is founder and CEO of MATTR. Jack founded S3 Matching Technologies in 2001, bringing to market big data SaaS products with matching algorithms. Tens of thousands of users, including Hewlett-Packard, the New York Stock Exchange, Proctor & Gamble, and others depend on these apps each day. Follow Jack on Twitter!

Image Credit:  http://blog.aeguana.com/

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CEO Reputation Can Kill or Strengthen Your Business http://under30ceo.com/ceo-reputation-can-kill-or-strengthen-your-business/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ceo-reputation-can-kill-or-strengthen-your-business http://under30ceo.com/ceo-reputation-can-kill-or-strengthen-your-business/#comments Sat, 19 Oct 2013 17:00:00 +0000 Under30CEO http://under30ceo.com/?p=35303   Imagine for a moment, the immense pressure that must come with the control of a multi-million or sometimes billion dollar company. How many jobs are at stake with every decision that must be made? How many product releases will be delayed by your indecisiveness? Some people are cut out for the pressures of this […]

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 Michael Ballmer

Imagine for a moment, the immense pressure that must come with the control of a multi-million or sometimes billion dollar company. How many jobs are at stake with every decision that must be made? How many product releases will be delayed by your indecisiveness?

Some people are cut out for the pressures of this job. For others, the work is less becoming. Some are outright failures who ought to be ousted, and yet somehow persist. Whichever side of the fence you’re on, know that the things you do in your personal life can easily cross over into your professional world. Consequences can be dire too, often costing millions to settle differences or manage reputation in times of crises.

Ballmer’s Culture Kills

Perhaps the most consistent aspect of Steve Ballmer’s career is that his instincts have almost always been wrong. Ballmer’s decisions on mobile music, his failure to successfully launch the Zune brand and his troubles breaking into the tablet market punctuate a career full of missteps. Seemingly unaware of the speed at which technology moves, Microsoft has consistently underwhelmed PC users since 2002. Within two years of taking the helm, shares tanked to $20 down from as high as $60.

New products were constantly delayed, and those that did make it out (like Surface and Windows RT) have been looked at as failures. In fact, the products released by Microsoft were so bad that customers actually tried to actively avoid upgrades by purchasing older versions.

Ballmer’s risky strategy on Windows 8 ultimately killed his opportunities at Microsoft, but he’ll be stepping down within the next twelve months. So it goes.

Mike Duke Caught Bribing

When Wal-Mart expanded globally, Mike Duke’s International business unit bribed officials in Mexico, and along with other executives, attempted to cover the whole thing up. The company is currently under scrutiny by the US Department of Justice, which has ordered Duke to appoint a law-firm to scrutinize company practices.

Wall Street is even less satisfied with Duke, whose enthusiasm about online growth is less than stellar. Rising competition from dollar stores, and a seeming unwillingness to adapt to the online sector have some whispering of his demise. Wal-Mart’s employment policies and the scandals those have created have also tarnished the brand reputation, inspiring entire towns to rally against the construction of new stores.

Whatever the board decides to do with Duke, one thing is clear: shares aren’t skyrocketing under his leadership.

Mike Jeffries and His Preferences

CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch Mike Jeffries made a remark in 2006 about not wanting unattractive people to wear his clothes. He admitted that he was glad his clothes did not appeal to a certain segment of the market, saying that he wanted “the cool kids” to wear his merchandise.

The interview, conducted in 2006, found new life when the Web found it and created a social media uproar. Jeffries’ marketing strategy is deliberate, but off-putting. His advice? Deal with it.

Bob Parsons Kills Elephants

When the CEO of GoDaddy posted a video of himself killing an elephant, the social media back lash was almost instant. Gurus across the Web were asking site owners to pull their domains from GoDaddy, including high-profile websites like Wikipedia.

Apparently Parsons intended to kill a raging elephant that was destroying crops, and provide food for the people of a starving village. He dismissed critics as good natured, but ultimately wrong. This only threw fuel on the fire and gave more credence to statements against Parsons.

Eventually the backlash did soften up, but GoDaddy definitely lost business from the trouble.

Marissa Mayer’s Effect at Yahoo

When Yahoo announced that it was hiring Marissa Mayer as its CEO, investors were shocked. Mayer has since met every challenge with her own style, making unexpected acquisitions and actions at Yahoo that have continued to turn heads.

She bought Tumblr for Yahoo, and has been steadily working toward integrating more of Yahoo’s services with mobile applications. Then she ended work-at-home programs for her employees and introduced a new logo as part of Yahoo’s 30 days of change program.

Mayer’s moves are bold, confident and show she is willing to take the reins of the ailing search giant.

Reputation Management Tips

Safeguarding your reputation comes down to awareness most of the time. Set up alerts for your name, and add variations like “scam” or “scandal.” These trigger words are easy to search for and may be suggested by Google if you don’t take steps to correct your image.

Create a Web use policy for your company and your employees where everyone knows what is ok to share with the public at large.

Kevin is an account director at Online Rep Management and has been working within internet marketing and public relations for over 8 years. Kevin got his start working online in SEO, link building, and some affiliate marketing. Kevin is most passionate about helping good brands become online entities. Check out ORM or follow Kevin on twitter!

Image Credit: www.bloomberg.com 

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