I have seen a ton of ups and downs in the web development field over my 19 years as an owner of a small business. Looking back, like many people in my position, I had used two different styles of running my business depending on the times. In the great times, the revenue was flowing and there were tons of opportunities to shine and strut your stuff. In some of the lean times, I had more than once kicked into survival mode. I guess it was instinct, and some people may say that is why I stayed in business all this time, especially through the busts of my industry. But could it be that also caused my business to hold back?
I recently watched a Tony Robbins DVD, and he was talking about how to go about and capture revenue no matter what the state of the economy or your industry. Tony said you should go into every situation with the idea of not only planning to win but also leading your industry. This made me really think about something. What made me change to get out of that survival mode?
I have had the great fortune of still being able to play my favorite sport (ice hockey) at my favorite position (goaltender)… OK, I will allow you to pause and enter any remark about how crazy a goalie is or the line I get the most, … ‘Now that explains everything!’… Done? OK… back to our program!
When I step out on the ice, the only thought I have is about playing my best and being the ultra-competitive person I am, I always strive to be the best goaltender on the ice… no matter what… whether in a game or just pick-up hockey… doesn’t matter.
I want to be the best for that time frame and focus on only that. By the way, this is not about the other goalie on the ice or having any malice towards him.
Most of the goalies I meet are really nice guys and very talented; I like and respect them. In fact, there are times I play against my son, who is a goalie, and I play the same way (talk about a constant struggle between routing between him and me for the win).
There is absolutely no reason to be in business without wanting to lead your industry. And it shouldn’t matter the state of the economy or your industry. In fact, in lean times, it is essential you have the frame of mind to lead.
What happens in a sports environment can sometimes be a parallel to the business world. In this example, it is definitely the case. Own what you do!
So join me…
Be a leader and innovate. Do what has made you successful and keep learning. Not only will this benefit your company… it will benefit us all!
Posted: 1/30/2013 11:43:51 AM
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Every successful business needs momentum. In today’s economy, a business is a dead duck if sitting still. The business current will sweep aside or worse tip over any business that is not moving. Small business needs momentum and it is up to the business owner to create it, live it and maintain it. Sounds simple enough right?
I always like to think of a business as a boat and the size of your business determines what type of boat you have. Most small businesses have the type of boat that is powered by their people. The bigger the boat, the more people are needed to row the boat. And the more people required to row the boat, the more important it is that everyone goes in the same direction. Where do the people get the direction?
It needs to come from the top!
Do you know the direction you want your business to go? Make sure you do and make sure you believe it. If you don’t believe it, it won’t work. I can go on and on about the power of believing but that is for another article. Once you believe it, live it! Make sure every aspect of your business can incorporate this direction. Two of the most important areas to focus on are your people and your website. Make sure both are equally in tune with your message.
Your people are your lifeline to success. You can have the best direction in the world. You can have the greatest product or service in the world. But if your people aren’t on board, you have serious problems. You can be the best leader but it won’t work if you can’t lead the people in the boat. The message needs to be clear. The plan needs to be explained. The direction needs to become their vision. If you as the business owner really believe in the vision, then your people will follow. If not, find people who will follow.
Remember the boat concept. The bigger the boat, the more people need to row to make it move. It becomes so much easier when all are rowing and all are rowing in the same direction. If either of those are not happening, the full potential of the business will not be realized. This is where the business owner needs to make some tough decisions. Either find a smaller boat or find different rowers.
What moves faster… an eight man boat or a kayak? Well that answer depends on many things. However, ANY boat will go faster than another boat that is either standing still, going backwards or going in circles.
You as the business owner are in charge of the momentum. It comes from a great vision. Get the vision and create a plan. Then implement it! Only you can make it happen… so start today!
Posted: 7/15/2012 10:49:41 PM
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Softmedia is proud to be attending the 2012 NEMRA conference
in San Diego. Come visit us at booth number 811 in the business service provider’s room on Wednesday February 1st and Thursday February 2nd. We are offering a free website competitor analysis for attendees. To receive your free analysis stop by our booth or fill out the online form here
. We look forward to meeting you at the conference.
Posted: 1/31/2012 1:59:27 PM
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I listened to my voice messages today and one hit me in the core! It was from someone who lived in Wyoming who was calling to dispute a credit card charge. Caller stated he was charged $105 and it came from Softmedia. He wanted to know what the charge was for. Boy did that startle me on many fronts! First off, we do all our business by invoices and checks. We don't have the ability to charge someone's credit card. Plus, how could this have happened! Startled turned to curiosity as I put everything I was doing down and was now on a mission. (I may regret that action later due to my current to-do list but that is for another blog!)
When I decided to start a business and incorporate Softmedia in 1994, the Internet was not known by many. In fact, our core business was Client/Server applications in Powerbuilder. I know I am dating myself and I apologize to anyone who has no clue what client/server is or what is Powerbuilder. Think of it as the Internet and .NET applications of today! Anyway, we didn't even venture into the web world until the late 90's. And when we did, much to our dismay, Softmedia.com was already taken. What? Wasn't I the only person in the world to come up with a great name like Softmedia? There was a French company called Soft Media whose business model was software and video for TV, not even in our market. So we searched for Softmediainc.com and sure enough it was available. Nobody would confuse the two companies!
Over the years different websites called Softmedia started popping up. I really didn't think anything of it until we started to focus on SEO techniques. We searched for our company in search engines and we were constantly referred to Softpedia. Why was Google or Yahoo telling me that I must have misspelled the name and meant Softpedia? (By the way, Softpedia is a website for free software downloads) It was a tad annoying but at least we were listed first. As the months went by, I saw more sites called Softmedia but still it didn't register.
But that changed today...
I now did my search on "Softmedia" and scrolled thru 4 pages of Google. The results were astounding. Look at the list!!
All of these have NOTHING to do with my company. One even showed up on a complaint board. Lovely! I started to click on all the above links. Some had a similar set of services and even one logo looked similar. How did this happen? Do I have to change my business name? What do I do? Or maybe I do nothing?
Today small businesses have a lot on their plate! We all are trying to separate ourselves from our competition in all ways possible including products, services and price. We try to find that one thing to make us stand out! Something! Now I have to add to the plate that even my name isn't unique!
Just like there are several John's or Mary's or Dennis', there is a very good chance your name may not be unique on the Internet. But it's the total package that counts. Even if you have similar qualities, find that one that stands out! Maybe it's your customer service (this phrase may be foreign to you but trust me, it still exists out there!), maybe it's the extra mile you show your clients or your potential clients, or maybe it's the way you do something else! Whatever it is, find it and run with it. Make it stand out! That will get you noticed! And when you do, nobody will mistake you for some other company!
SEO is key to all of this as well. Do the necessary steps to move your website as high as possible. The good news is even if there are other companies with a similar name, if you did your homework you will be listed first. This is a good thing, even if you have to take some calls from people who think you did something that some other company did! Of course, if you need help with SEO, contact us and we can help you find your way through the maze!
Oh and a couple of final thoughts... the good news in all of this, they won't confuse Softmedia with the other sites once they click. I compared the quality of both the design and the content of each site. We probably may get more leads because of it!
And I couldn't find that French company that had the original Softmedia.com. It is now a parked site! We must be doing something right after all these years!
Finally, I left a message with that person who called me. Should be an interesting conversation when he calls back!
Posted: 10/13/2011 7:28:55 PM
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