If you watch as much basketball as I do, you’ll often hear the announcers say stuff like “he’s the first guy in the gym and the last to leave.” Inevitably, they’re talking about the team’s best player, whether it’s Kevin Durant or Kobe or Derrick Rose. The message is simple: the best are the best because they work the hardest. Even with innate skill and God-given talents, you can’t rise to the top without busting your butt. This is something every small business owner knows.
That’s why this week, we’re focusing on improvement. From laying out smarter emails to increasing the reach of your social media arms, here’s what caught our eye over the past seven days:
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Not to ruin that Zen koan, but technically, yes, it makes a sounds. It just doesn’t change anyone’s perception. Likewise, if you’re blogging and no one is around to read it, does it make an impact? The answer to this one is “nope.” If you’re spending your valuable time on a company blog but your readership numbers are non-existent, you’re not making the best use of your day. But how exactly can you get readers? Quality helps, of course, but here are five great tips to improve your reach, and ultimately, help your business succeed.
We’ve all been The New Guy. You dress a little too well, come in thirty minutes early, and nod attentively at everything you’re told. But the way each company deals with The New Guy is different. Some parade will parade the employee around, make them meet everyone, fill out their W-4 and, essentially squander the first few days. Others just throw The New Guy into the water with a message of “sink or swim.” Neither of these approaches are all that great. Learn how to onboard your brand new hire effectively, professionally, and with a nice dose of friendliness. Those first few weeks can really make all the difference.
If you haven’t heard of the Hunger Games, you should really think about leaving your hibernaculum. Susan Collins’ young adult series is the number one book, movie, and album in America and we’re just getting started. It’s a trilogy, after all, and the mania over the dystopian saga figures to balloon after the massive and concrete success of its inaugural trip to the box office. But Hunger Games movie didn’t just succeed because of three well plotted novels. In fact, the marketing of the movie and, especially, its use of Social Media turned Hunger Games from a “strong bet into a blockbuster.” Thankfully, the tips aren’t just applicable to Panem; they’re good enough to help your business increase its reach.
Not all of us are designers and some small businesses, especially when they’re just getting off the ground, can’t afford a freelancer either. That doesn’t mean that you have to scramble around in the darkness though. This nifty Lifehacker article explains how to use fonts and typefaces to get your message across, whether that message is a direct marketing email, the vibe of your website, or, for the job-seekers out there, a classy resume. And while you might realize that Comic Sans is roundly considered a hideous visual scourge by the design world, there’s a ton of less obvious (and more useful) info in here.
When we think of Big Companies (capital B, capital C), we think of publicly traded international businesses. Folks like Apple and Ford and G.E., the big players in the biggest industries. But if you think every Big Company is on the NYSE, you thought wrong. Companies with tens of billions in revenue remain private and, in doing so, escape some of the bureaucracy, oversight, and compliance issues faced by their more scrutinized competitors. And while our previous four stories might not get your company included in this list of the most massively successful companies in America, it can certainly get you a few steps closer.