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Growing your small biz in Kansas City starts with “You Suck.”

February 23, 2015

You suck (at something) and that’s your leading edge for growth. Yes. You’re good enough, smart enough and darn it, people do like you, but your small business will never grow until you look deeper and admit that “you suck.” Once you know your suck-factor, you can address it. Small business owners tend to think that they can be great at a great many things. Take the ego down a notch and take a realistic look at what you do worst. Then search for the people with the specific skills in what you suck at.

Stop telling yourself that no one can do things as well as you can. You’re wrong, and it’s impeding your growth.

Scott Elser writes more about your "suck factor" in Inc. magazine.


You. Me. All of us are only in business for one reason:

February 16, 2015

To make friends. 

It's really that simple (and complicated). But if we're not continually making friends with our Kansas City neighbors, then we're not going to be in business much longer.

Manage your social media in 18 minutes a day.

January 09, 2015

Most small business owners loves the idea of social media, “it’s free!” Then reality hits, “this takes too much time.” And so those small biz social media accounts go fallow.

Can you invest 18 minutes a day? If so, Hootsuite put out a pretty smart social media plan for small businesses:

Browse and Engage: 6 minutes

  • Check your Facebook notifications, Like posts your customers have shared and reply to any new posts.
  • Check the mentions tab on Twitter to see if you have any new interactions or followers. Thank your new followers and respond to any inquiries.
  • For Google+ welcome anyone has joined your Circles and see if any of your Google+ content has been shared.
  • On Instagram check your News tab for comments or to see if your business has been tagged in any photos. Again, thank users who have tagged you.
  • Monitor: 4 minutes
  • On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, browse your Feed to find popular stories. Search streams for your business name, any hashtags for your business or industry as well as your competitors’ names.
  • On Google+ see what’s going on with the people in your Circles.

Post: 3 minutes

  • Post any real-time content and any content you have lined up in your daily posting schedule. (Hootsuite doesn’t talk about this, but you’ll want to build up several weeks’ worth of content that you can post in your daily sessions. If you don’t you’ll spend a lot more time than 3 minutes posting)
  • For Facebook and Google+, post a resourceful article that you’ve either written or share one from an informative source.
  • With Twitter, post a customer Tweet to retweet.
  • On Instagram you’ll want to post at least 1 photo a day.
  • Analyze: 2 minutes
  • Most all of these social networks provide insights and some sort of analytics. Use them to get an idea of who’s seeing your posts, which types of posts are getting more attention, etc.

Schedule: 3 minutes

  • Use this time to curate content for tomorrow.
  • Facebook users like visually rich storytelling. Limit  your posts to 1 or 2 per day.
  • Twitter is more immediate (and fleeting). Space your tweets out and tweet different content — photos, video, text only.
  • Google+ is a place to share news from your business and other content that will be interesting to the people in your Circles.
  • Instagram is a great place to give your customers an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at your business and the people who run it.

Your first few days (weeks) will take more than 18 minutes a day. You’ll also need to spend time (and it could be a lot of time) building a content library. Photos. Videos. Articles. 140 character posts. Non-time sensitive content that you can use in your various feeds. But with a stocked content library, once you get into the routine 18 minutes a day should be all it takes to take advantage of this “free” media.

Media changes. The art of good creative doesn’t.

April 11, 2014

Video killed the radio station. Cable TV was primed to be the death of the networks. The internet, eReaders, iPads and dinosaur era publishers burned print to the ground. Now social media, digital gurus, YouTube and the app de jour is fixed to kill every media platform that has come before it.

Technologies are always changing. Where we spend our attention is constantly moving. But what we as consumers pay attention to, what we’re drawn to, and how we want to be treated doesn’t change.

Good, no make that, insanely great creative delivers no matter the format.

We’re constantly looking to make a human connection.
We’re forever looking for groups — tribes — to join.
We want respect, fair play and to be a winner.
We want to be entertained, “in the know” and in on the joke.

If you can deliver that, tell that story, then we’ll reward you with our business.

New technology and big data and tweets and info graphics and Vine videos… they’re all sexy-new, but they’re only tools. Dumb tools in a technologist’s hands. Power tools in the creative’s hand.

Location alone isn’t enough to move your small business

January 24, 2014

“Location. Location. Location.”

Before online checkouts, easy highway access and a Quiktrip on every corner, the location you chose for your business mattered. Convenience mattered. The right rent in the right neighborhood was like printing money. And while you can still run a business driven by your location, commerce moves faster now. 135th Street isn’t a pasture any more. Neighborhoods decay. Every year the suburbs stretch further north and south. New shopping centers pop up to greet the new housing developments. If you can’t pick up and move with them, your geographically-based business is in for lean times.

“Community. Community. Community.”

More stable than basing your business on geography, but decidedly more difficult to build is a business based on community. These businesses don’t try to please everyone in Kansas City. Instead, they cater to those few who are eager to belong. These are businesses that thrive because they’re worth the drive. Their customers are will to pay more because these businesses give them a sense of community. In Kansas City, The Local Pig is one of these businesses. Difficult to find. Well off the beaten path. Not for everyone. But for their drove of shoppers The Local Pig is a declaration of purpose, it says something about you and the group that you chose to belong to.

The Local Pig will never be the largest butcher in town. But they’ll never have to worry about yet another Wal-Mart popping up across the street from them either.

You don’t need the masses to move your business forward. I bet that your year can be fantasically made by a hundred enthusiatic customers. Focus on your community. Make your business remarkable, memorable and the type of  organization your fans eagerly brag about. If you succeed, your location will take care of itself.

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