Category Archives: Business

Who Started This?

I didn’t start Tinderbox Consulting.

I believe in God. I am a Christ Follower. Three years ago, when I found myself unemployed (again), I was determined to get another “real job.” God had different plans.

Because I listened and obeyed God, because I had faith in his plan for me, Tinderbox began. And because God is so good – despite my faults – Tinderbox remains, three years later.

We didn't start the fire.

It’s also how I can be at peace, even when the business waters are rough. And why I can’t rest when a client isn’t satisfied. I feel compelled by a greater mission: to serve God by serving others. Being mission driven means I can be confident God will bring in more clients, and that I’ll find new opportunities to serve existing clients. It also means I’m responsible to apologize when I mess up with a client.

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Tough Love

-You just aren't any good at this, Bob.- (3)

As a biz owner, you have to (or should) make tough choices. Like not assigning work to team members who have no business doing that work. Which doesn’t mean they aren’t a good fit for your team, or that they should be fired. It means you recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each team member and you work accordingly. That conversation may require tough love. “I’m sorry, Bob, but this just isn’t your strength.”

The easy choice is to just keep assigning work to team members that shouldn’t be doing that work and then beating your head against the wall when that work stinks.

An ineffective team member may be more of an indication of ineffective team leadership.

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Why Does Tinderbox Exist?

Companies, heck even people, need a mission. Most companies and organizations operate from a mission statement, vision statement, or beliefs statement.

According to Wikipedia, a mission statement “is a statement of the purpose of a company, organization or person; its reason for existing; a written declaration of an organization’s core purpose and focus that normally remains unchanged over time.”Our mission statement follows a formula borrowed from Simon Sinek, often referred to as a WHY Statement. To create the WHY Statement, a paragraph is constructed using three elements: why an organization exists, how the organization does what it does, and what the organization does.

At Tinderbox Consulting, we believe we can serve God by serving others. We use a philosophy called the campsite rule, leave everyone in better shape than we found them. Much like you would a campsite after a weekend of camping. This is done by working diligently to serve our clients and put them in a better marketing position than when we found them. Creating a marketing plan is one thing. Executing said plan is quite another thing. This is how we operate. Create and execute marketing plans, and leave our clients in better shape than we found them.

Tinderbox WHY

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The One Thing Starbucks Never Does

The one things Starbucks never does is ask me to leave if I am there just to enjoy the free wifi. I can set up shop for twenty minutes or three hours and never order a coffee, Frappucino or Chicken Artichoke Panini on Ancient Grain Flatbread.

The One Thing Starbucks Never Does

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Hide the Mop Bucket

Your customers are going to be tough on you. You may think it’s personal, you may think it’s unfair. But, as a business owner, you need to accept the fact that your customers are going to judge you, and in some cases, they may not even be nice about it.

Mop bucket on floor in toilet

Here’s a hypothetical situation: you go out to eat to a new restaurant, and It’s your first experience there. The dining room is clean and well-decorated, and the staff is all friendly and professional. The food is served and it’s amazing! Then you look over, and in plain view, next to the hallway to the restroom, is the mop bucket left out in the open. You wonder that if the hallway is left in this condition and you can see it, what about the kitchen you can’t see!?

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Don’t say sorry, apologize… then ask for forgiveness

There’s a difference between saying you’re sorry and asking someone to forgive you.

Years ago, my wife and I did the Growing Kids God’s Way curriculum. In it, the Ezzos talk about having your kids apologize when they get in trouble. Not only that, but the Ezzos recommend having your kids ask for forgiveness. According to the Ezzos, and later confirmed by me in practice, this repairs any damage done by the mistake.

Back when I selling advertising, I had an issue with a client. An agency. In fact, one of the largest agencies in town. I could’ve easily blamed the client, or found some other way to blameshift, but the responsibility was clearly mine. Instead of take the easy way out, I took the Ezzos’ advice and apologized to the client. I then asked for forgiveness. The client began trusting me more, despite my mistake.

Today’s world – with cell phones, social media, instant messaging, etc. – it’s easier than ever to be a flake. Don’t flake. You’re better than that.

Don't just say sorry

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How Etiquette and Manners Can Elevate You

In a world full of crassness, vulgarity, hyper-sexuality, insensitivity, bullying, criticalness and crudeness, how can you expect your tweets, posts, blogs, or other brand messages to stand out? As a marketer or small business owner with something to say, how can you make sure your voice is heard?

You could take a short cut via a crude joke, rude humor or by being intensely critical. Or, you could be polite, avoid swearing, and say thank you.

These (online) times are filled with overreactions, hyperbole and superlatives. One way to stand out is to be truly awesome and inspirational. It won’t be easy – read my blog and you’ll see I don’t always get it right- and it won’t happen overnight. As much as we’d all love to be an overnight success, that’s not really what we’re doing here, right? As marketers and small business owners, we’re looking for sustainability and credibility, for a model of doing things that ensures long term success.

 

Negatives Positives Computer Keys Showing Plus And Minus Alternatives Analysis And Decisions

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How to get people excited about what excites you…

People get excited about what excites you.  When a keynote speaker is jacked up about a topic, it’s hard not to be jacked up as well. If your pastor is passionate about a Sunday teaching, you’re more likely to remember it and absorb that teaching.

Passion

As a marketer, small business owner, or salesperson, remember that people will listen when you’re passionate about whatever it is you do. Someone once told me, “you can’t sell it if you don’t love it.” If you truly love your product, business, website, blog, whatever, then people will be infected by your passion.

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Evidence of Progress

I have the pleasure of having a group of educators as a client. Educators have a fascinating way of looking at the world. Typically, they talk and think about the same things as people in the business world do, educators just have different ways of describing those things.

Return on Investment

Take ROI (Return on Investment). In the business world, this typically refers to the expectation that you’ll receive a fair value for a service/product that you purchase. There can be positive ROI – you received equal or greater value. There can also be negative ROI – you received less value.

As marketers, we are constantly looking for ROI. To do so, we measure the analytics. How are our social channels performing? How is the website performing? How did our recent sale do? How did the [name your paid advertising campaign] do to increase sales? The analytics help us collect dots and hopefully paint a picture that defines the ROI.

Educators do the same thing with their students. They want to make sure that the time invested in their students is producing a positive result. They don’t call it ROI, however, they call it “evidence of progress.” Educators are constantly looking for evidence of progress. This is such a positive way of looking at things.

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Pinch vs. Punch

The difference between a pinch and a punch is as simple as preparedness. Being prepared for obstacles and setbacks means that your business will feel a pinch, rather than a punch.

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Do you have a client(s) that makes up more than 25% of your revenue? If so, losing one would be a gut punch to your bottom line. If each client took up no more than 15%, that punch would be a pinch. Uncomfortable, but not impossible to overcome.

In the personal finances realm, this is called rainy day funds or emergency fund. In the business realm, it’s called being smart.

Action Steps:

  • Know your business and where you make your money.

  • You’ve heard the saying “hope for the best, plan for the worst.” I prefer to plan for the best, be ready for the worst.

  • Make a plan to avoid being – or move away from being – beholden to single or limited sources of revenue (clients). A golden goose is great, for a season, but being ready for the day the goose flies, is greater.

  • Be flexible and nimble.

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