Combining IN and OUT Marketing Proven the Best Choice


A new study says that neither inbound nor outbound marketing tactics alone are adequate to drive a business. What it takes is a combination of both.

According to the Inbound Marketing Effectiveness Benchmark Study Report – Q2 2016 from Demand Metric and Act-On Software, most study participants agreed that a blend of tactics drives their businesses.

What’s interesting to note is that smaller companies (making less than $100 million in annual revenue) believe that a single type of tactic drives their businesses. In fact, respondents who agree that inbound tactics alone drive their business, 90% are small businesses. The same percentage holds true for those who believe that outbound tactics alone drive their companies.

Which Tactics Drive the Business

Which Generates More Leads?

Neither! (Unfortunately, almost a quarter of respondents indicated that they didn’t know which one was more effective.)

Which Generates More Revenue?

“There is essentially no difference in how inbound and outbound marketing are generating revenue for this study’s participants. Even those who report that inbound marketing tactics alone drive their business still report that over 25% of their revenue is the result of outbound marketing tactics. For those reporting that outbound marketing tactics alone drive their business, over 36% of their revenue is the result of inbound marketing tactics.”

Inbound Outbound Annual Revenue

© 2016 Demand Metric Research Corporation

The reality is that they’re using and allocating budgets for both inbound and outbound marketing!

Top 3 Most Used Types of Inbound and Outbound Marketing

For inbound, respondents are using social and SEO equally (82%), blogging (60%), and PPC (pay-per-click) (41%).

For outbound, respondents are using email marketing (90%), tradeshows/conferences (62%), and press releases/media relations (61%).

The Bottom Line

The study concludes that inbound and outbound marketing have a symbiotic relationship.

As with all things marketing, there’s never one magic pill to success. It takes a multi-channel approach using a researched marketing mix that fits your products/services/mission, and target market segments.

How to Work with Difficult But Important Business Clients


All small business owners have had experiences with difficult clients. It’s a fact of life when you run your own company. Whether these clients are slow with payments, criticize your work, or simply give you a headache, it’s important to know how to deal with them. This is especially true when you’re just starting out. So what are some things you can do to keep these difficult but important clients happy, while also keeping your own sanity? Read on to find out.

1. Communicate

It’s important for customers to know that you two are on the same page. The only way to achieve that is through honest communication. Let’s say you and your client are having a conversation about when you can deliver another shipment of products. If your customer is using words like “guarantee” and you’re responding with words like “probably” when discussing a shipping date, it could make him or her uncomfortable. Clearly, what the customer is looking for is an exact date, but you’re being wishy-washy about when you can make the shipment. It’s best to be honest and say that you’re not sure about an exact date yet, but will keep the client updated. Communication is key to keeping the peace.

2. Acknowledge

When a client is having problems with something about your business, acknowledge that he or she feels this way and that you understand the situation. But be sure to shift the discussion to finding some kind of resolution that will keep both you and the client happy. Try to bring the customer away from the ranting and focus on coming up with a resolution. Also, if you disagree with something your client says, you don’t have to pretend to agree. Acknowledge, but don’t agree with them if you believe the client is in the wrong.

3. Set Expectations

When communicating with your client, be very clear ahead of time about what outcomes the client can expect from your small business. Make sure the client is very clear about what he or she is receiving from your small business, so that there are no surprises at the end. You don’t want to enter into a partnership with this client, only to have the client get upset that the end result was not what they expected.

4. Walk Away

For many small businesses, a small fraction of the clients are causing a large majority of the headaches. If this is the case, and your business can still survive without these clients, you may have to fire them. If things have gotten to the point that the emotional drain just makes this client not worth keeping around anymore, you need to go your separate ways. This should of course be a last resort, but don’t discount the option.

How to Plan a Successful Media Buying Strategy


In order for your media buying strategy to be successful, you need to identify your target demographic, and then place the right ad in the right place at the right time. Seems simple on paper, right? In practice, it’s not that straightforward. Of course, what works for one company isn’t always ideal for another, so some specific, nuanced planning should be undertaken. Here is a basic outline to help you plan a successful media buying strategy.

1. Identify Your Target Market

Before a media buying company can buy appropriate media, it must know who it’s shopping for. Some products and services have universal appeal, but many are made for a very specific niche. In order to provide effective ads, it’s critical that you identify the people you want to convert into an audience. Here are some questions to ask that can help you to prioritize your marketing needs:

  • What is the age and gender of the consumer?
  • What is the average income?
  • Where does the consumer live?
  • What are the consumers’ other interests and hobbies?
  • What is the typical consumer’s home situation like (married, family, etc.)

Forbes recommends using data to help you to answer these questions. You can gather survey data and use existing studies to determine who is most likely to respond positively to your product or service. Your goal is to make it easy for your consumers to connect the dots between their needs and wants and whatever you offer.

2. Determine Your Goals

It may seem obvious—your goal is to increase your company’s ROI. However, there are steps you need to take in-between to get you there. Is this advertising campaign going to be used to drive and solidify brand awareness, or are you trying to grow your audience? Are you trying to convert views into immediate sales, or are you just hoping got long-term leads? When you pinpoint exactly what you hope to accomplish, it becomes much easier to find the right steps to get there.

3. Plan the Media Purchase

Now you’re confident that you’ve identified who you need to reach and what you hope to accomplish. The next step is to find the media that will link the two together. If you don’t have any media outlets already in mind, you’re going to need to spend some time shopping around. You may want to watch your competitor’s ads for inspiration, but make sure you keep your approach original.

4. Put Your Plan to Work

Your budget is going to play a major role in your media purchasing, but don’t let it control your approach entirely. Some negotiation can go a long way in keeping rates affordable. You may also be able to keep costs down by using a media advertising agency that offers a risk-sharing program. Call (don’t email) the agencies you’re most interested in. Make sure you ask about bonuses, add-ons, and other specials. After this initial research, write down all of your options, pros, and cons.

5. Make the Right Choice

Eventually, you’re going to need to make a definitive choice. This will involve crunching some numbers and weighing some advantages and disadvantages. Spend some time researching the past campaigns of potential agencies. Some metrics that Forbes uses to determine the success of a media buying strategy include social media, ROI, and movement of product. While that information isn’t always immediately available, you may be able to gauge the general success of a campaign based on some online research.

Don’t Rush Your Decision

Your advertising defines your brand. If you’re not completely confident in your decision, keep looking. Spend some time doing some homework and watching an agency’s past productions. There are no guarantees in marketing, but there are definitely ways to improve your chances of success. Cast a wide net and then spend some time picking through your options. In the long run, the time and effort are going to be well worth it.

Author: Andrej Ssarevski is a marketing consultant at TVA Media Group, a media advertising agency based in Los Angeles, CA. He is passionate about helping companies of all sizes to succeed. When he’s not writing or consulting, Andrej enjoys bicycling, traveling, and art.

Increase Conversion Rate Right Now with These 5 Tactics


Converting prospects to customers is part art and part science. As consumers are fickle, what they want or need to make a purchase today may be dramatically different tomorrow. Therefore, it is critical that you know what it takes to respond to consumer needs if you want to turn site or landing page traffic into more sales and more money for your organization.

How to Convert Leads into Customers with Good Content

All of your digital sales efforts should start with good content. Ideally, you will sell the customer on the benefits of your product or service as opposed to the features it has or how great your company is. At the end of an infographic, listicle or video, the reader or viewer should feel compelled to take action or be ready to share the content with others. Remember, the best content is short, concise and actionable. This means showing instead of telling whenever possible and adding a call to action at the end to tell the prospect what he or she should do.

Converting Leads to Sales by Limiting Choice

If your goal is to get people to your landing page, you don’t want to overwhelm the potential customer with too much information. Instead, the only thing that a prospective customer should be able to do is opt-in to your email list to contact later, call for more information or actually make a purchase. By keeping your landing pages short and simple, customers will know what to do and have what they need to take action with ease.

How to Increase Conversion Rate Through Good Content and Feature Placement

One way to learn how to improve conversion rate, take a look at how your site and content are designed. If you don’t have an opt-in box at the top of your page or have a way to drive phone calls at the top of your page, you are missing out on an effective way to gain more conversions and make more money.

Also, you should have live chat on your site to make it easy for a customer to talk to a representative and have his or her questions answered quickly. In fact, you should make it possible for customers to use live chat to actually make a purchase if they have made the decision to do so.

While that customer may still opt to go through the normal checkout process to complete the sale, you don’t want to risk an abandoned cart for any reason. Once the sale is made, you should offer email confirmation of the transaction in case there any questions about it in the future.

How to Convert Website Visitors into Customers Through Good Branding

If you are looking into how to increase website conversion in an effective and consistent manner, you may want to look at your branding strategies. There are a variety of conversion marketing tactics that you can use to make sure that your customers can quickly ascertain who you are and what you do.

For instance, you could have customer testimonials talking up how great the service is or how the product changed people’s lives. You may also want to post pictures of any awards that you have won or any other accolades that the company has received. This helps build credibility quickly and can lead to more sales and visibility for your business.

Conversions Are Easier to Get When the Site Works Properly

Do you know how long it takes for your site to load? Do you know if there are any links that are broken or don’t go where you say they will go? Although these may seem like minor details, they can frustrate your customers and make them lose faith in your ability to deliver a quality good or service. Remember, those who have a negative experience will tell everyone about it, which means you have a responsibility to deliver to everyone whether they have come to your site before or if it is their first experience with your business.

Last Thought

Ideally, every person who comes to your site will make a purchase or otherwise indicate an interest in developing some sort of relationship with your company. While this isn’t possible, there is plenty that you can do to capture as large an audience as possible. To do this make sure that your site works properly, is designed properly and caters to your target customer at all times.

Author: Gigi Wara is a professional writer, working closely with many aspiring thinkers and entrepreneurs from various companies. She currently works as a content writer for Web123, a web design company for small businesses. Find her @GGRarekind.

Does Business Education Stifle Creativity?


Does business education stifle innovation and creativity? You probably already know Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk, from 2006, Do Schools Kill Creativity? It’s one of the five or so most viewed and most discussed TED talks. His basic idea is that schools focus too much on the academic, not enough on other kinds of intelligence. He was talking about classic elementary education mostly. What about business, and business education?

I have trouble myself with some of the recent themes about education and entrepreneurship. I shudder when people ask, “Why get an education if I’m going to be an entrepreneur?” And then there’s the other one, “you can’t teach entrepreneurship.” I’m somewhere in the middle on these controversies; I believe general education makes life better; that the value of education isn’t to be measured in earnings dollars after education; that a liberal arts education is great preparation for entrepreneurship; and that an MBA degree was useful to me and can be to others, but isn’t a universal requirement, by any means. I’ve posted here previously 5 things business schools can teach and 5 things they can’t. And also, can business schools teach entrepreneurship?

The James March Question

But there’s also this idea, always in the back of my mind: the talk I had with James March, way back in the 1980s, about how higher education teaches us to do what everybody else has done, not to do things differently.

The best class I took at the Stanford Business School during my MBA years (1979-81) was taught by Professor James March, co-author of the book An Introduction to Models in the Social Science. It was about the same subject. He was funny. He was contrarian. He was brilliant. He had a mathematical model of a cocktail party that predicted how many people would be passed out at the end of the party, based on inputs including how many couples, how many singles, and, particularly important, how many more male singles than female singles. That may be too gender-specific for today’s world, but it was applicable 30 years ago.

I liked and respected Prof. March so much that in the middle 1980s I tried to get him to join me in what would have been a venture to create a game that teaches business. Prof. March didn’t join me and I didn’t create the new venture. I continued with my business plan consulting instead.

I’ve never forgotten the conversation we had in his office that day. I can’t remember the exact words, of course, but Prof. March reminded me that there is an underlying conflict between education and creativity. He was an educator, but he was also a contrarian and a thinker, so he enjoyed flanking our standard assumptions.

“Schools teach conformity,” he said. “Education is about reinforcing the supposed right way of doing something, meaning the way we’ve always done it, the way the establishment expects us to do it.” Schools taught that the world is flat until a renegade proved otherwise.

“New ideas come from people that haven’t been indoctrinated,” he said. This was of course before the phrase “think outside the box” came along, but he would have referenced that if we’d been later in time. Schooling is about learning how to think inside the box. If you believe this line of reasoning.

Here again, I run into paradox. I believe in education but I also believe what Prof. March suggests. Is the answer that you have to know the fundamentals before you transcend them?

The Unexpected Journeys of R&D: A Parable


This is a story about Randy and Dave (R&D).

Today, Randy runs a small startup that has about two months’ worth of cash left, and he’s more than a little nervous.

Dave works for a huge, famous worldwide company that is doing the same thing today as it did when your grandpa was a client, and he’s really excited. (You’ll understand why in a minute.) But as you’ll see, he is nervous as well.

Randy does lots of research. It comes naturally to him; and besides, he has to. He knows if he doesn’t, he’ll deplete the little money he has left in the bank. So he invests almost every ounce of his energy testing, prototyping and failing forward. He understands that if he moves with agility and empathy, responding to market feedback, he may get to a product that people will buy. He’s quickly running out of time and cash, so he tests and listens with a vengeance. He’s making great progress and believes he’s nearing a breakthrough! But belief doesn’t help you pay the mortgage. All he has to show for his efforts so far is a dwindling bank account and his nerves, which grow more frayed by the day.

Dave’s life has suddenly changed. For decades, his team didn’t have to do too much research because his company knew how they make money. They devoted a finite amount of money annually to tweak their offerings so the company could continue to make money as it always had. Development and introduction of incremental improvement was easy. Creating new things was not so important.

Then one day, Dave heard his bosses were nervous because profits had started to slip.

To augment the incremental improvements to their existing product line, senior management started an internal venture fund, thinking they could invest in early stage startups that might be able to bolster the business and its profits. Besides, nobody wants to be “Ubered.”

They are ready to back multimillion-dollar investments in startups in hot areas like big data, disintermediation, driverless gadgets, telematics, the sharing economy and, ironically, anything that is really similar to their existing business but involves an app. Because all this stuff is new and in theory falls under Dave’s purview, he was put in charge.

Dave’s team is now the envy of the firm. They spend as much time as possible in Silicon Valley and in New York learning about disruption and hearing about the end of days (The robots are coming! The robots are coming!). Dave now knows his way around every rooftop martini bar and startup incubator. He even gets to meet with members of Congress who love those “entrepreneurial companies.” If you have a piercing, a tattoo and an MBA from Stanford, Dave wants to have lunch. Experts have told him that he needs to invest in 20 companies to hit one “unicorn.”

Those Were the Days

Boy, have times changed. Back in college, Randy was the yin to Dave’s yang; they completed each other. Randy had a knack for giving Dave the advice he needed and point him in the right direction––just in the nick of time. They seemed to slow each other down just enough to have a great insight and create a winning strategy.

Armed with Randy’s advice, Dave would take calculated risks, and his gambles always seemed to work out. Randy knew he’d never take those risks alone, so he enjoyed watching his partner in crime make a great plan come together. Needless to say, they charmed a lot of ladies and went on a lot of dates. They were a great team!

That was then; this is now.

Randy and Dave have drifted apart. They didn’t mean to; life just happened and they went their separate ways. Surprisingly, neither seems to notice that things aren’t working out like they used to. Randy has unbelievable ideas and insights but doesn’t have what it takes to make them real on his own.

Dave now has the experience and cash to change the world but is all over the place. On his own, he can’t seem to focus on the things that would make the biggest impact.

Randy needs Dave, and Dave needs Randy.

But they are too busy to notice. The future is coming faster and faster, which pushes them to act without each other. Sadly, neither of them have had the realization that together they could change the world; but apart, they are impotent.

(Since this is the moral of our parable, it is worth repeating.)

R&D: Apart they are impotent.

A tremendously bright future awaits for large companies that learn how to marry their financial, distribution and brand dominance with the impatience, empathy and fearlessness of entrepreneurs. I’ll call it the incubator of the future, and it will operate independently and many, many miles away from the corporate governance of the mother ship. In that magical place, R&D will disrupt the very industry that is funding them.

In the end, Randy and Dave will be back together, much to the delight of shareholders and entrepreneurs everywhere.

The question is, will they be working for your company?

My First 3 Years as a Co-Franchisor in Review


PLAYLive, the innovative gaming franchise I am a minority owner of, is rapidly approaching its third year. As any franchisor knows, launching a new franchise brings an oscillating journey filled with learning curves, small wins, and hard work.

Mainly, the process has brought a wealth of knowledge and experience that I want to share with other entrepreneurs embarking on a similar journey.

Here are the key lessons I’ve come away with reviewing my first three years as a co-franchisor:

Organization & Systems

As we grew, organization and systems became increasingly important. When we had two units, it was easy to remember when operators signed leases, anticipate timelines, and know when renewals were coming up. When we grew to 72, it was impossible to know that information off hand.

Implementing customer relationship management (CRM) software was essential. For a small operation like ours, investing in a robust system from the start wasn’t feasible. Once we scaled, we bit the bullet and brought in a strong CRM. Purchasing it as soon as we were able was important. Not doing so would have resulted in not having the proper tracking to ensure franchisee compliance with the franchise agreement and renewal time frames for leases and insurance.

Challenges of Brick and Mortar Locations

Navigating tight real estate markets was one of the more unexpected turns of growing PLAYLive. Competitive and tight leasing markets added months to the timeline for opening units. Couple that with the challenge of finding buildings equipped for the 21st century proved that real estate was a bigger obstacle than anyone anticipated.

We ran into challenges such as:

  • New offices not being up to code;
  • Buildings not wired for Internet;
  • Zoning issues requiring conditional use permits;
  • Spaces without adequate sprinkler systems.

The faster we were able to streamline the real estate process, creating robust initial checklists to evaluate potential properties and becoming familiar with the nuances of each market, the faster we were able to get units open. There were times when unexpected roadblocks would emerge. We worked with our franchisees to address them as quickly as possible, putting the unit back on track for an expedient open.

Allocating Territories

For a young franchise, the science behind allocating territories was a work in progress. We wanted to ensure that each franchisee had an adequate population to pull from to grow their business without the threat of another franchisee being located to close in proximity to an existing territory thus competing for the same customer base. While we collected data and measured the size of the population in areas franchisees were operating, we aired on the size of caution. Our assigned territories were likely larger than they will be in the future, but we are confident we have given franchisees territories with a sufficient population base to be successful.

While there were companies who help with territory mapping, their services were beyond the financial means of PLAYLive in the startup phase.

Success Breeds Success

As more franchisees became operational, organic leads started to filter in and interest in PLAYLive grew. People resonated with PLAYLive, understanding the potential in other markets.

A picture is worth a thousand words. In the franchising world, experiencing a successful franchisee in operation far surpasses the impact any photo can create. For PLAYLive, it helped create momentum not only for selling other franchises but also for creating brand recognition in different regions of the country. Over time our aim is to have PLAYLive become synonymous with the video gaming experiences.

On the Horizon

In the next three years, we would like to sell a minimum of another 100 units. Within that time frame almost all of our current franchise units will be operational, giving us momentum as a franchisor.

We are currently in the process of building out our team to handle current and future growth. They will help us focus our efforts on expanding into states in the Mid-West and Northeast.

While we will always be in the process of developing software, maintaining our intranet systems, and implementing systems, we are currently in the process of what will be one of the bigger system builds. Our goal is to make the entire process as efficient and streamlined as possible.

5 Powerful PR Trends You Should Not Ignore


Don’t have a beard, fixie or some cool headphones.

Feeling left out.

Then you are maybe not up with the latest fad. But fads are one thing and trends are another. Fads come and go but trends have the potential to become a powerful influence for long term change.

Change in the past was slow. Tesla is the first major car manufacturer in over 100 years.

But we are now in the midst of a digital and communications revolution that is disrupting life, business and media in just the space of a few years.

Change is scary

Humans are creatures of habit.

We get into the same side of bed each night, put our shoes on the same way each morning and drop into the same coffee shop before work.

Teaching old dogs new tricks is a challenge that may seem not worth the price and investment in time. It requires constant re-education that offers no guarantees of change. But the new digital world is unrelenting and change is constant.

Today’s digital disruption is fast and ruthless.

It takes no prisoners. Old industries are dying and new ones are rising. We have seen the Kindle destroy the book store, Apple transform the music industry and Netflix make a video store a fond memory.

The perfect storm

The social web and the smartphone revolution is supercharging the perfect communications storm.

To put some perspective on it. Here is some of the latest data on the scale, size and scope of the ecosystem that is feeding the trend tornadoes.

  • 3 billion social media users
  • 97 billion active mobile social users
  • 42 billion internet users

These are not fads.

Traditional media is struggling.

Newspapers were the focus of the PR professional. Build a relationship with a journalist and you could get some column inches. Press releases were the primary way to get breaking news out about a brand. These are not as effective as they used to be.

So…. it’s time for reinvention. You have no choice unless irrelevance is a word you enjoy.

The technology is different and the communications channels are Facebook and SnapChat. They play to a different tune and tactics. Disappearing content and multi-media that tells a story with videos and images.

5 PR trends to watch

So what are 5 big PR trends that you need to be aware of so that you don’t become a dinosaur in your own lifetime as a communications and PR professional?

#1. The online influencer is now a marketing force you can’t ignore

The online influencer has moved from a fad to a mainstream trend that PR professionals and brands are embracing.

Today it’s more about finding the right influencer to get your story out rather than the best newspaper. Influencers are already talking to your customers. They also have credibility and trust.

The rise of the influencer is a hot trend as revealed by Google Trends. In fact the rate of interest in this term is classified by Google as “breakout” (this means the term’s growth compared to the previous period exceeds 5,000%).

In 2013 the term influencer started to trend up. But you can see from 2015 the growth has been explosive as marketers, brands and organizations started to recognize that influencers on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube could provide communications impact influence at scale.

They started to evolve their digital marketing and communications to tap the trend.

Traditional channels don’t carry the same communications cred (or interest) anymore.

Want to supercharge your communications?

Amplify it with some influencers who already have the hearts, minds and trust of the people who want to hear that message.

#2. Technology is now needed to scale your communications

Dozens of communications channels, rich multi-media and a ton of digital noise means that you need technology to scale your efforts. Otherwise you are going to be busier than a one legged man in a kick boxing competition.

So in essence…not productive or effective.

Technology that automated much of the communication and publishing was seen as almost evil. But the splintering of media requires tools and digital marketing automation tools and listening posts to handle the complexity and noise.

#3. The social web is democratizing communications

The gatekeepers of old media were the media barons and the journalists. You had to beg permission or schmooze.

We have all become publishers with social network platforms that allow us all to create text, video and photos and share on our smart phones. Companies have become publishers in their own right. Red Bull is now almost more a media company than a drink producer.

This has allowed brands to reach their customers without paying the gatekeepers. They are becoming digital asset owners.

So…start building those online portals now that communicate directly to the world.

#4. Digital content is the new PR spin doctor

In a digital world of bloggers and digital media platforms with large global reach you are now defined by your online content. It is how you build credibility and trust in a digital world. Content that is found in Google is perceived as the truth.

Content marketing is now front and center of any savvy brands communication and marketing. As a term its interest is still trending up.

Make sure that you have positive bulwark of content that rises to the top in search and social in a world that judges you by a YouTube video, a blog post or a photo on Instagram.

#5. Brand influence is measureable

Old buddy networks still work and human connections are still powerful and useful. But real influence is now starting to be measured with data metrics. The data reveals who is being heard, how many are listening and even what actions they are taking.

You can measure positive or negative sentiment.

Digital data can measure what works and what doesn’t. The size of the social networks that are following a brand on Facebook reveal a brand’s popularity.

The biggest challenge

You can mentally get all this…..but the biggest challenge to embracing innovation and disruption is this.

Forgetting old habits.

John Maynard Keynes had this to say about change and innovation. “The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping old ones1

This will mean a life of continuous learning.

It doesn’t mean going back to university but consuming online training, reading blogs and even attending online webinars. Killing old habits means a force fed diet of new information and ideas.

Let Your Benefits Tell Your Story


Let your benefits tell your story. What does that mean? Most prospects and customers have no idea what your company’s mission statement or tagline is but they definitely know how they felt when they did business with you. Those experiences spark more word of mouth marketing than anything else.

The interactions your employees have with your customers, be it in-person, on the phone or online, are often the foundation for how your business is perceived. Which makes those exceptional employees one of your most effective and valuable marketing assets. Assets you do not want to lose.

Couple that truth with what sources like BloombergThe Economist and US News and World Report are saying about the oncoming high skilled labor shortage. As businesses struggle to find new employees, it’s only natural they’re going to start trying to poach yours.

A strong benefits package actually packs a double wallop. There’s no doubt it will help you retain your best employees and keep them on the front lines, delighting your customers, but what many business owners don’t really understand is how much your benefits package can also build your brand internally. By carefully creating benefits that speak to your core beliefs and values, you can weave those elements deep into your organization’s culture.

Many companies struggle with how to infuse their brand into their employee base in a way that rings true and will reinforce those beliefs so they get translated accurately in all customer interactions. When an organization walks its talk, the employees don’t just hear the brand values, they see them in action.

Does your current benefits package actually reflect your company’s values and brand promise?

One way to think about your benefits from a more holistic point of view is to look at them by category.

Benefits that make life easier and communicate family, trust and life/work balance: This would include perks like time off, child/elder care, flexible work hours, and space, concierge services, discounts on legal services, counseling, personal space at work (lactation room, exercise room, etc), summer hours and gift cards/certificates.

Benefits that focus on the employee’s health and the importance of living a balanced and long life: There’s lots of room to get creative here beyond health insurance. Don’t forget about benefits like gym discounts, long-term care insurance, wellness programs, a health risk appraisal, disability insurance, and access to health care options like eye, dental and mental health care coverage.

Benefits that help them grow professionally and speak to thought leadership, expertise and the value of helping others: Many employees know that the best way for them to earn more money is to be more valuable to the organization. Look for opportunities to give them career visibility, frequent feedback from managers, relationship networks, learning opportunities, trade or professional memberships, coaching or mentoring, education reimbursements and perhaps the best professional perk of all – an engaging culture.

Benefits that make your place the bomb and communicates fun, passion, serving the community and play: Not all benefits need to be traditional or ongoing. A day at the ballpark, an internal paper airplane competition, a potluck just because, bringing in a chair massage service or working together for a charitable cause all create a workplace that’s hard to duplicate.

Benefits that help an employee build their wealth and demonstrate your belief in being prepared, rewarding performance and legacies: Beyond paying a fair salary, there are plenty of things you can offer to help an employee stay in the green. Think about offering tax preparation discounts, access to financial planning services, bonuses, or retirement savings accounts with employer matches.

Use your benefits package to not only keep your employees happy but to remind them every day what you and your company are all about.

A Vision for Success


We all have a different idea of success. For some of us it might be a house or luxury vehicle we’ve always wanted, and for others it could simply be having the financial stability to provide for our families. To accomplish these particular goals, we craft a vision for our success and rigorously strive toward fulfilling the vision we have for ourselves—but have we defined what success truly means to us?

We control our success.

How much time do you spend perfecting your craft? Are you dedicated to growing each and every day in your profession? The most successful individuals do whatever it takes to be great and don’t have time to make excuses. Figure out what exactly it is that you want to accomplish, and don’t stop until you achieve the accolades you’ve sought after. “To achieve success, you have to be able to envision yourself being successful.” How do you want to be remembered?

Learn from your experiences.

Every experience, good or bad, is a valuable piece to this puzzle we call life. Whether it was a terrible boss who taught you everything not to do, or the promotion you have been waiting on for years, every obstacle we face or milestone we accomplish plays an important role in shaping our success.

Celebrate your successes.

Maybe you’ve taken on a new client, had a weekend trip with some friends, or hit your sales target for the month—make sure that you take time to recognize even the smallest bit of success that you have on this journey. It’s so easy for us to get caught up in the pursuit of our long-term goals that we fail to recognize the smaller achievements along the way.

Comfort zones don’t exist.

It is important that we strive to be a better version of ourselves every day. Take calculated risks, explore opportunities that arise—not everyone has the courage to take a risk that could potentially jumpstart their career to the next level.

Money isn’t everything.

Relax—you deserve it. Don’t get caught in the trap of only pursuing financial freedom and let life pass you by. Take a step back and enjoy the company of your friends and family, appreciate the little moments in life, and try not to take yourself too seriously on your path to success.

Most Popular