Category Archives: Business

The First Rule of Growth Hacking

growth-hacking

I don’t know if you’ve noticed lately, but the digital marketing space has been blowing up with talk about “growth hacking.”  From Neil Patel’s “Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking” to the entire Growth Hackers website, it’s clear that the term is making a strong case for being awarded the “Marketing Buzzword of 2014.”

But let me add my voice to the conversation.  In my opinion, the first rule of growth hacking should be… don’t talk about growth hacking! Continue reading

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Business Lessons Learned From One Day of Navy SEALs Training

Navy SEAL photo downloads

I thought I was tough…  I’m a fit guy who’s able to run 10-15 miles at a time and knock out 2,000 pushups in a day.  But recently, I had the privilege to train with the Navy SEALs for a day and in just an hour’s workout, I got my butt whooped.  Despite my sore muscles (and bruised pride), the experience taught me more about myself, my limits and my approach to business – not to mention how intense the SEALs are! Continue reading

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10 Startup Companies to Watch Out for in 2014

smartthings

Last year was something of a mixed blessing for growing tech companies.  While some young startups achieved multi-billion dollar valuations (for example, Snapchat and Uber), others struggled when it came to obtaining the funding needed to power growth (as evidenced by both Fab and Rdio’s staff layoffs).

Will 2014 be any different?  It’s tough to say.  The success of the recent Twitter IPO seems to have increased investor interest in social and tech IPOs, which could lead to more money rolling in to promising startups.  Given how fickle the tech investing world can be, it’s difficult to determine exactly where this interest will lead.  But based on current trends, I’ll be keeping an eye on all of the following startups: Continue reading

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Hitting the Reset Button (and Doing What Makes You Happy)

hitting the reset button

A few months ago, I woke up on a Saturday morning and found myself staring down a mountain full of work.  Sure, my inbox was empty, but I’d gotten so busy that I could no longer finish my work between the usual 9:00am to 6:00pm window I gave myself.  I had just wrapped up a 60+ hour work week and felt like I hadn’t finished anything – even though I was working weeknights and weekends just to try to keep up.

WTF, right??

For all of the changes I’ve made to make my days as productive as possible, I had to own up to the fact that my life was spinning out of control.  With the example of Buffer’s CEO Joel Gascoigne – who periodically fires himself from his company – in mind, I finally got up the courage to ask myself the tough questions I’d been avoiding for months.  What am I doing with my life, and – more importantly – why am I doing it?  If things are obviously this broken, how do I go about fixing them? Continue reading

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17 Unexpected Places to Find Inspiration Content Ideas

content inspiration ideas

Content truly is king these days.  If you aren’t actively putting out blog posts, videos, interviews and other content pieces that build your brand and establish your authority, there’s a good chance you’re falling behind to a competitor who’s taking advantage of these powerful tools.

But that said, becoming a round-the-clock content creation machine isn’t easy.  Finding inspiration for all the different content pieces you should be producing can be challenging, which is why I’ve put together the following list of unexpected sources of content inspiration.  Stop back and read through the list whenever you need help! Continue reading

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A Comprehensive 7-Step Process for Launching Great Ideas

making good ideas happen

So you think you’ve come up with the next great idea?  Well, I hate to be harsh, but… so what??

The sad reality of the business world is that great ideas are a dime a dozen.  What separates the great entrepreneurs from their would-be competitors is whether or not they’re actually able to successfully execute their visions!

I’ve been through the ideation and company creation process a number of times, and I’ve come up with the following system for getting started on great ideas.  Depending on the specifics of your unique idea, you may not need all of the steps below or you might wind up tackling some of them in a different order.  But whatever the case may be, I hope you find this process helpful when it comes to launching your next venture! Continue reading

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10 Startup Expenses You Shouldn’t Waste Money On

wasting money

While I’m happy that Single Grain is now in a financial position to support two individual offices – both filled with full-time employees and the latest tech gadgets – I can easily remember back to the days when we were a bootstrapping startup like so many other companies out there today.

If you’re in startup mode yourself and haven’t yet received the million-dollar financing rounds you hoped for, you’re going to encounter plenty of temptations to spend money you don’t have.  If you want to keep yourself going and make it past that critical first-year hump, I’d highly recommend avoiding the following ten expenses until you’re on more stable financial ground. Continue reading

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23 Must See TED Talks for Entrepreneurs

ted talks

I’m a big fan of motivational videos (which you probably already know if you read my post on my productive morning routine). Because of this, I’m hugely grateful to the TED Talks organization for putting out so much great material that inspires me and keeps me going on my toughest days.

If you’re new to TED Talks, finding great videos amongst the thousands that are out there can be challenging. That’s why I’ve put together the following list of my favorite 23 “must see” videos (note – I’ve added the run time beneath each video so that you can pick one to watch based on the amount of time you have available). Bookmark this page and then come back whenever you’re in the need for a little motivation! Continue reading

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Are You Leading or Managing?

leadership

When we talk about organizational structures, the words “manager” and “leader” tend to be used interchangeably.  However, these two roles are actually quite distinct – and both are necessary for a business to grow.

Take a second to think about Apple during the Steve Jobs era…  There’s no doubt that Jobs’ big ideas played a tremendous role in the company’s success, but he can’t take all the credit for Apple’s industry dominance.  Without managers to take his ideas and translate them into action items, the company might still be operating out of Job’s parent’s garage in Los Altos, CA.

Clearly, you need both a leader and one or more managers to work effectively.  Here are a few of the different characteristics you’ll find in these two groups of workers: Continue reading

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Everything You Need to Know About Managing a Remote Team

Remote work and the transition of employees from the cubicle to the home office is something of a hot topic in the business world right now.  But the truth is, the fact that Single Grain is a remote office with 15 people working from either their homes or one of our two physical offices didn’t happen because some business publication recommended we try it.  It actually happened entirely by accident. Continue reading

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