Category Archives: Small 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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Save Time and Do Less

The folks over at WeWork have put together a great blog post that features seven tricks and tips to save time by doing less. It’s a great article on productivity, especially as it concerns being efficient.

My favorite tip – although they are all excellent – concerns the delegation of certain tasks. From the blog post:

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I am My Worst Customer

I often joke that marketers – especially those who are also small business owners – are our own worst customers.

During the course of any given week, I give my clients all kinds of marketing and sales advice:
– Post daily on social channels. Post content that is valuable to your followers, not you.
– Have a marketing plan.
– Set sales goals.
– Be consistent.
– The list goes on…

Funny thing is, I am terrible at taking my own advice. In fact, I am my own worst customer.

I like to tell myself that I’m too busy to do certain things, like blog regularly, but the truth might be something scarier. Maybe I’m afraid. Afraid that my advice won’t work when applied to my own business. Afraid it will work and I won’t know what to do when it’s time to expand Tinderbox Consulting.

Those things you aren’t doing in your business, are you not doing them because you’re afraid? If it’s because you’re too busy, that’s a good thing. Find someone to do the things you’re too busy to do. Even if it means you hire an employee, or contract with someone like me. Just don’t sacrifice best practices on account of being cheap, lazy, or afraid.

 

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Taking Care of Business

What do you consider to be marketing? When you tell your friends and family that you’re starting a new business? When you open for business and there’s a write-up in the local business journal?

Many things small business owners and entrepreneurs do are considered marketing. It’s just that, all too often, they don’t realize or consider that what they are doing is actually marketing, so they don’t do them well. They don’t develop a good pitch for their business. They don’t send a press release to announce their grand opening.

Even the sign on your door is considered marketing. I’m not talking about the sign on the street that you paid umpteen thousand dollars to have put up. I’m talking about the sign you hand wrote in sharpie on a neon green piece of paper and taped to the front door of your retail location to display the store hours. This is marketing! Those afterthought things we do as small business owners and entrepreneurs are, in fact, marketing. If we don’t do them well, we aren’t taking care of business. Our business.

Tinderbox Consulting

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Love and Respect

You can’t expect your customers to love and respect you, your business, your company, your employees, etc. if you don’t love and respect your customers and employees. Love and respect = value.

When you take advantage of your employees, your customers will inevitably find out. Think Abercrombie & Fitch. If you take advantage of your customers, your employees will have low morale.

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The Small Business Express Podcast

image001A few weeks ago, I was blessed to be the first guest interview on the podcast The Small Business Express. My friend Mike Monroe, along with Gary Shouldis, are packing the podcasts full of great information for small business owners. Definitely worth downloading, and the best part is that the podcasts are free.

The topic for the particular podcast is how to have success on Twitter in 15 minutes a day. My favorite part is Mike’s disclaimer when introducing me, “..he is a very fast talker, for those of you that have never spoken with Josh or don’t know Josh. But definitely worth listening to cause he packed a lot of really great information in very short period of time.”

I feel very honored to have be interviewed by these two gentlemen.

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No Magic Pills

There are very few magic pills in marketing. Marketing your business, like anything else, comes with almost no guarantees.

Social media is often viewed as a magic pill – a fix everything marketing solution that will magically bring in customers. Social sites like Facebook and Twitter have done a lot of good, and in some ways, leveraged the playing field for small businesses. Still, they aren’t guaranteed.

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Never Get a Case of the Mondays Again

Do you hate Mondays? Do you find yourself saying, on a weekly basis, that you have a case of the Mondays?

There are two simple cures.

The first, quit your job and find a job doing something that you love.

Or, the second cure, start your own company doing something that you love.

It may be trite, but life is too short to waste away at a job you despise. If you truly love something – fishing, hunting, snowboarding, skiing, video games, music, arts & crafts – I promise you can find a way to do it for a living. Write it down as a goal (or as a prayer) and meditate on it daily. You can’t just meditate on it, you have to take action as well. You have to move in that direction.

In the meantime, try on a little positivity. There are things to consider. At least you have a job, and although it’s not your dream job, it’s paying the bills. And, it’s only a temporary gig until you discover what it is you want to do from now on.

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How to Build a Great Website…

This is a pretty big announcement for me, as well as an experience that has been truly humbling.

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of HARO. I’ve even shared on this blog articles I responded to through HARO that ended up quoting me. The times I’ve been quoted have been awesome, but those quotes were only published in online articles. Not that I’m complaining, in fact, it was quite the experience the first time I was mentioned on someone else’s blog.

After a while, I figured the best use for HARO was the free press I’d get when one of my quotes was published. Then, a few weeks ago, I was contacted by a gentlemen looking to use my quote in a book. I’d seen HARO requests from authors writing their latest books, but I never thought I’d qualify as a respectable authority to be quoted. I was wrong.

Jason Swerk has released the book How to Build a Great Website & NOT Get Screwed.

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