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Leadership

3 Things Business Owners Need to Stop Doing in Order to Grow in 2021

By Leadership, People, Sales, Small Business, Success Stories No Comments

Today’s post is going to be a little bit more focused on three quick talking points for small business owners and entrepreneurs. But hopefully everyone can get a little bit of value from this. 

These are three things that every small business owner needs to give up in order to grow in 2021. These are three things that I have given up or are trying to give up each and every day, and we’ve seen the positive benefits from it. I speak from personal experience. 

Catch Up Calls

You’ve got to give up these spontaneous calls, texts and catching up type meetings. I’m not saying all of them, but what you have to realize is that as a small business owner, your time is the most valuable. You just have to accept that fact. With that understanding in mind, it puts everything into more perspective. 

There’s a lot of pet peeves that I have with some communication that goes on. Even little things. I might offend several people that are reading this post. For example, my voicemail says if it’s an emergency, please leave me a voicemail. If it’s not, please email me and I will get back to you at my earliest convenience. I am shocked to this very day how many people listen to that voicemail and leave me a voicemail. It’s amazing. I will listen to the voicemail. And of course, 99% of these calls are not emergencies. 

It goes to show it’s not a personal thing. I know they’re not out to get me. No one’s doing this on purpose. I think there’s very few people out there that are trying to waste other people’s time. 

I remember there was a colleague of mine who once made a joke, but I took it seriously. He said, you know, you should only take revenue generating calls. And I was like, oh, that’s interesting. Let me actually try that, put that into practice. For a period of about a month and a half, all phone calls, emails, even text messages where people were just asking me for stuff such as, hey, can you do this? Hey, I can do that? What do you think about this? Let’s chat about this, I gave him a short, respectful response. I would say, hey, sorry but for right now, I’m really only focused on revenue generating projects. I was shocked at how little pushback I got from that.

I was also shocked at how it often turned several conversations into really awesome collaborative conversations later down the road. I didn’t have time, but it was just amazing to me to show that if you really do put your foot down, value your time, and show that to others, for the most part, people are going to respect that. You’re going to get a lot more done and you’re going to feel less of this external pressure throughout your workday. You have to put your business and your team first or you will be taken advantage of. It’s just the way things go. 

Long Meetings

The second thing you have to give up in order to grow in 2021: long meetings. And I would add meetings in general. I’m bad at this. I’ll admit this right now, but we’ve gotten a lot better at Big Red Jelly. I think people are stuck in these patterns of having meetings like either daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually and here at Big Red Jelly. 

We’ve got certain team meetings that we have every other week. We found that very, very effective. These are 30 minute meetings within our specific smaller teams. They’re thirty minutes long and they’re every other week. We found that pattern or sequence was the most efficient. Every week felt a little unnecessary for us and every month didn’t feel like we were collaborating or meeting enough.

Feel free to get creative. You don’t have to pick one of these daily, weekly, monthly, maybe try something that really works for your team or that particular process at hand. 

Micromanaging

The last thing you have to give up in order to grow in 2021 is micromanaging. This is on so many different levels. Some of my previous videos and posts, I talk a lot about relinquishing control of some of the technical work. That’s something I have a hard time with if there’s a web design project, branding project, or just a marketing project. I really like getting into that project and working on the actual project, trusting your team, trusting your employees and creating processes. Working on the tools instead of in the tools. 

That’s what is ultimately going to help you develop these processes so that your team can become more autonomous and your business can grow. In that weird, paradoxical way, you have to do less technical work in order for your business to grow. It sounds backwards, but I have learned that lesson the hard way. 

Those are my three points. You’ve got to give up these spontaneous calls and meet ups, you’ve got to give up long meetings and you’ve got to give up micromanaging or spending too much time on the actual technical work in order to grow. Three things that I’m constantly working on. But I’ve seen the benefits of doing that. Hopefully you’ve found value from these three points.

Women in Business: 3 Advantages of Hiring Women

By Leadership, People, Small Business, Uncategorized No Comments
Women are becoming increasingly influential in the business world each year as more females take on leadership roles and form their own businesses. In the year 2020, it was calculated that the US has 12.3 million women-owned businesses which generate about $1.8 trillion a year. Additionally, 40% of all US businesses are actually owned by women. Looking at these numbers, it’s easy to see how women in business are becoming a driving force in the nation’s economy and why it’s important for companies to continue implementing women leaders. In celebration of International Women’s Day, here are three advantages that hiring more women can have on your small business:

1. A Diverse Team Leads to More Innovation

Diversity is the key to creativity and innovation. When a team is made up of people with many things in common, it can be difficult to come up with unbiased ideas and solutions. Teams that are composed of members of diverse backgrounds, however, are more likely to consider new perspectives and thus, open the door for innovation. Because men and women have different ways of thinking, forming gender-diverse teams can be crucial to coming up with fresh ideas for your business.

2. Women Lead Differently Than Men

Studies show that people of different genders tend to lead differently. These varying leadership styles between men and women can largely be attributed to neurological differences within the brain. It has actually been shown that men and women have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to emotional intelligence. In a 2017 study, for example, women typically scored higher on attributes such as empathy, interpersonal relationships, and social responsibility, whereas men scored higher on self-regard, stress tolerance, and optimism. While there are benefits to having leaders who reflect any of these qualities, creating a gender-diverse leadership within your business will help optimize the different strengths held by your team members.

3. Gender Diverse Teams Have Better Collaboration

As we move into the future, it’s becoming increasingly important for businesses to create cultures centered around collaboration rather than competition. And interestingly enough, research has actually shown that women can play a huge role in creating this culture of collaboration. It’s been shown that women tend to collaborate connectively, meaning they seek connections between their own ideas and the ideas of their team members. This collaboration is becoming vital for small businesses, in that it can help to create both a unified and efficient team. “It is pure mythology that women cannot perform as well as men in science, engineering, and mathematics. In my experience, the opposite is true: Women are often more adept and patient at untangling complex problems, multitasking, seeing the possibilities in new solutions, and winning team support for collaborative action.” (Weili Dai, director, and co-founder of Marvell Technology Group) Continuing to hire women leaders in business moving into the future will help to diversify skills in leadership and lead to more innovation.

3 Tips to Success as a Future Big Red Jelly Team Member

By Leadership, People No Comments

Be More Proactive and Efficient

This is one of the Big Red Jelly values. This gives you a little glimpse into the culture
and the internal workings of Big Red Jelly and our team here: Be proactive and efficient.
Let me read the definition of proactive: “Creating or controlling a situation by causing
something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened. After reading
this phrase, I know for a fact so many of you small business owners out there think,
yeah, that’s definitely true. If everyone on a team made the commitment to be more
proactive, think about how much more you would get done. Think about how fast the
fires get put out. Think about how many problems would be solved quickly. Think about
how many problems would never appear because you’re being proactive and planning
on the problem.
There’s always an opportunity to be more proactive than you would think. A lot of
times we have team meetings, a lot of times that are action items that are discussed.
And you’ll see that someone is not taking notes. Or you might look at someone and say,
hey, I really need you to do this by 4:00 p.m. today. They look at you, they give you that
blank stare. They say, “Yeah, got it.” And you think, are you sure you got it? Are they
being proactive instead of reactive? That’s a big difference between the two classes of
people. To be honest with you, there’s always going to be the reactive type. They’re
checking the boxes that are already there. They’re responding to situations. They’re
answering emails that are coming into their inbox. That’s good. We need that. But the
next step is being proactive.
Here’s the definition of efficient: “Achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted
effort or expense.” Imagine if all your team members were both proactive and efficient.
The reason why I say efficient is because at the end of the day, if you’re an efficient
team member, if you’re an efficient professional, if you’re someone who’s looking for a
job, and you can prove in an interview that you are efficient or in an internship that you
are efficient, you get the job done, you get done correctly and you get it done quickly
and efficiently with minimal wasted effort, both on your time and the rest of the team.
Right. If there’s less friction, then you are improving or increasing the bottom line for that
business. That’s just the end goal. Be proactive. Be efficient. Those are two great adjectives. Maybe in your next one-to-one with the team member to say, hey, how
efficient or proactive do you think you’ve been this past quarter? Can you give me some
examples of when you were proactive when you were efficient? What do those words
mean to you? Great questions to ask.

Get Good at Something

I know that’s poor English, but it’s important. It’s becoming more and more apparent that
in order for you to get an effective job or be able to participate efficiently and proactively
in a serious business, you’ve got to be good at something. That means a technical skill.
If you’re in construction, you’ve got to be able to build that thing. You’ve got to be able to
make that cabinet if you’re going into a cabinetry business. We need more employees,
team members, participants, citizens, who can do what they preach, who can walk the
walk before they talk the talk.
There are several examples that could be used here. At Big Red Jelly, team members
who were doing a certain thing for years, we pivoted their role or responsibility slightly
and they picked it up like that. We saw the passion align with that skill and they enjoyed
learning about it and it just took them to a whole other level. We are convinced that old
dogs can learn new tricks and you have to be good at something. You don’t have to be
the best web developer. You have to be the best coder. You don’t have to be the best IT
technician, but you have to be good at it and you have to have a solid, fundamental
understanding of that thing. Even if you are in a higher leadership position, challenge
yourself to make that part of your weekly, monthly, or quarterly learning process to go
back to the basics and see what’s happening.
For example, I run Big Red Jelly, and it would be easy to focus on big picture stuff or
have client calls from 9:00 a.m. till 5:00 PM, but to always be working on specific client
projects, both in the branding and the building and the growth is important. It always
keeps my tools sharp. I continue to learn new things, and especially in our industry
where things are changing all the time. I have to be on my toes and learning what the
latest plugins are. The latest software is with the latest updates are the latest design
trends. Now, how to apply this to incoming Big Red Jelly team members. Let’s think about the
resume. There’s a couple of things that will instantly jump out. Is it important that you’ve
got a degree? Yes, to a certain extent. That might help get an interview. I’m not saying
to drop out of school, but I’m also not saying that that’s the end all be all.
If they had at the top of their resume that they were Google Analytics certified, that they
were HubSpot inbound marketing certified, that they’d gone through and completed the
Facebook blueprint ads, online courses, if they went to a boot camp like Dev Mountain,
for example, that’s an instant qualification for me. That’s almost going to guarantee a
video interview unless something else in the resume, like just removes that positive
quality like as a minus one. That’s going to tell me some very important things about
these people. Those are real platforms that are used every day that are super important
in our industry. For you to say that you’re certified in that, it means that you know how to
use it, at least the fundamentals. That’s a huge bonus. There are tons of great affordable
boot camps out there. There’s a big movement to get back into trade schools. There are
great certifications that are free, such as HubSpot certifications, Google Analytics, and
Facebook ads.
In a recent episode of “The All In Pod”, they stated that coding and software
development will become the new blue-collar job. That will be the new engineering job,
the construction, the development job, and it makes total sense. We need to need to
wipe away these misconceptions that that’s a certain type of job. It’s something that
requires learning and skill.

Avoid Semantic Satiation and Phrases like “I’m waiting on a client to respond”, “Let’s Circle Back”, “Let’s Put a Pin in it”

Semantic satiation is a psychological phenomenon in which repetition causes a word or
phrase to temporarily lose meaning for the listener who then perceives the speech as
repeated meaningless sounds, extended inspection, or analysis. Staring at the word or
phrase for a lengthy period of time in place of repetition also produces the same effect.
You’re already thinking, yes, I’ve experienced this. If a printed word is looked at steadily
for some little time, it will be found to take on a curiously strange and foreign aspect. This loss of familiarity in its appearance sometimes makes it look like a word in another
language. We sometimes proceed further until the word is a mere collection of letters
and occasionally reaches the extreme where the letters themselves look like
meaningless marks on the paper.
Take the word flower, for example. The flower in the field. The flower in the grass.
Flower, flower, flower, flower, flower, flower, flower, flower, flower. Keep reading it.
Over time it starts to lose meaning. We start to think what does that word even is not
even a word. What is that sound? What is that combination of sounds? This is
what’s called semantic satiation.
There are some phrases and words here at Big Red Jelly that are abolished.
Sometimes they will pop up every once in a while and we have to shoot them down. We
have to abolish them to remind whoever uttered those words that they are no longer
allowed. We send them away. Some of these phrases or words are, for example, and
many of you have heard these:
“I’m waiting on…”
“They haven’t got back to me.”
“Let’s circle back around to it.”
“Let’s put a pin in it” (One of my personal favorites).
“Let’s add this to the notes and talk later.”
Since we used to hear them so much at Big Red Jelly, they lost all meaning. And to any
serious business owner, they should lose meaning to you too. They don’t mean
anything. That’s not proactive. That’s not even reactive. No more semantic satiation with
these phrases. This small principle, even though it’s vocabulary, it can be applied to other areas. Don’t just do things because that’s the status quo.
So to sum everything up, be proactive and efficient, get good at something, and avoid
semantic satiation. Don’t be putting pins into anything for the rest of your professional
lives. That’s our challenge to you.

Advice For Young Entrepreneurs: 4 Tips To Start Off Strong

By Leadership, People, Small Business No Comments

You have a great idea, you’re passionate that you can solve unique problems, and you’ve started your own business. However, it feels intimidating for someone like you, who is young and inexperienced, to know how to move forward. Maybe you haven’t yet found a mentor or have heard the startling startling false myth that 90% of startups fail. You don’t need to worry because there is a plethora of advice for young entrepreneurs. You can ride on the backs of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs to build that booming business that you’re dreaming of. 

Here is advice from 4 of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs to help you do exactly that: 

1. Henry Ford 

“It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.” 

Henry Ford, who not only is the founder of the Ford Motor Company but also invented the assembly line, completely revolutionized the way businesses operate. Take his advice in your entrepreneurial project, being successful is all about time management. Being successful as an entrepreneur is not only about being diligent and working hard but also about working wisely. Read Big Red Jelly’s in-depth exploration of this here

2. Oprah Winfrey

“When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.”

Oprah Winfrey is the epitome of the rags to riches story and embodies this advice.  She grew up in a rural town in Mississippi and experienced sexual abuse as a child. She valued who she was and what she offered, eventually founded the Oprah Winfrey Show which ran for 25 seasons, her own production company Harpo Productions, and later Oxygen Media and O Magazine. As young entrepreneurs, it can be easy to sell yourself and your product short but success comes when you unwaveringly insist on the value that you bring to potential clients and customers.

3. Bill Gates

“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

Follow this great advice from the co-founder of Microsoft. As a young entrepreneur, it’s important to celebrate your successes but it’s also important to recognize that more often than not, you’re going to fail. This happened to Gates himself when he founded his first company, Traf-O-Data which later went out of business. Gates and his business partners realized from this venture that they needed more market research to be successful. They learned from their failure and eventually founded a wildly successful company. Gates net worth is now more than $129 billion.

4. Melanie Perkins

“Solve customer problems and make sure that the customer is representative of a large market and then you will have a pretty good formula.”

At only 32 years old, Canva founder Melanie Perkins has discovered the key to entrepreneurial success. She follows her own advice. Between 2006-2007 while teaching students to use design tools such as Photoshop and Indesign, she noticed that it was difficult for students to master these tools. That’s where her idea for Canva, a design tool so easy that anyone can use it, came from. This is vital advice for young entrepreneurs. Make sure your idea is solving customers’ problems and make sure you understand your target market. 

Follow this advice and you’ll find success as an entrepreneur whether you are young or old. Big Red Jelly is proud to support entrepreneurs. Schedule a free consultation with us to know how we can make sure you’re starting off on the right foot with all things digital here.

3 Tactics to Employ to Be More Productive

By Leadership, Small Business No Comments

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, at Big Red Jelly we believe that 2021 is going to be the comeback year for small and local businesses. How do you make sure your business is going to be one of the ones that make a comeback? Here are 3 tactics small business owners, entrepreneurs, managers, and anyone who helps run businesses across the globe and the United States can employ to be more productive.  Employing these three tactics helped me significantly improve the amount of stuff that I get done every week and not just stuff, but important action items and projects that actually move our business forward.

1. Make Your Calendar Your Friend

The first tactic that I employ that helps me get more done and be more productive is to make your calendar your friend. I love that phrase. It’s a little bit of a cliche so maybe you hear that every now and then. However, I cannot express this enough to those of you who either don’t use your calendar as much as you should, or your calendar is more just a place where it has your meetings for the next day. It can be so much more than that. Let me explain exactly what it can be. 

Set Times to Check Your Email

First of all, I’ve learned various parts of the day where I feel like I’m more productive. One of the really bad habits that I used to have was I would have my email tab almost always pulled up while I was at work. As soon as I came into work until the minute I left, I have my email tab pulled up and you can even see that number in the parentheses up there. Every time it would go up a notch, I  had that impulse to go click it and see who emailed me. When I was doing that, my entire day felt reactive. I was reacting to every possible incoming email and at the end of the day I felt like I didn’t really move the ball forward in any significant way. I felt like I answered a lot of requests,  I answered a lot of questions, I was able to kind of put out a lot of fires. However, it did not feel like a productive day. Instead, I’ve made my calendar work for me where I closed that email tab and instead I have two, maybe three short email blocks. 

As soon as I come into the office, I do like to check my email first which might be different for other people. I’ve actually heard some people say they do not recommend opening their email first thing, work on a project first. It really comes down to your personal preference. In my opinion. I’m the type of guy where when I come in, I do have to open that inbox. I will not open it at home. I will not wake up and open it up on my phone. I just think that’s a bad idea because I’m not realistically going to be able to solve any issues while I’m at home and on my phone or going through my morning routine. There is no point in putting that anxiety upon yourself when you can’t handle it effectively anyway. However, once I get to the office and I open up my laptop, I’m situated, I’m ready. Then I can dive into my email and I usually spend thirty to forty-five minutes just going through those immediate emails. I respond to the ones that are urgent. I schedule a time for other ones that are not as urgent but are important, etc. Then what I do is I have a small block of time, maybe in the late afternoon, kind of that lull period where I don’t have a lot of calls anyway. Finally,  I’ll have one more block of emails before I go home for the night just to clear my inbox. That might be too much for some people. I do like to reply to all emails within 24 hours, but that really helped me.

Schedule the Big and Little Things

One thing I have learned is that for the most part, as human beings, we’re usually overly optimistic with our to-do lists. In other words, we will think we can get 20 things done tomorrow and we’ll really only get 10 things done because there are so many unforeseen things that always pop up. I’ve always learned as well to block off some time in my calendar for just those unforeseen things. Trust me, it always fills up. I never block back to back meetings the next day and think I’ll have a great workday. Emergency situations always might come up and you need to give yourself that flexibility. I’ve kind of found that balance for me where I know exactly how many calls, client calls, reviews I want to be on in a day. I also know my email blocks and I know my flexible time for unforeseen circumstances. The rest of my time is major projects that I’m focusing on and I know I want to get done. It’s much more effective for me to just pick my top two or three biggest projects or action items for that day and just make sure I get those done instead of 20 smaller things. One practice I’ve been using recently is I will write down the top 20 things I have to get done tomorrow, circle the top three or four and and and delegate the rest or really rethink about even doing those things. If you are just looking for things to do to be busy, you might not be productive. 

Have Calls When You’re Productive

Something I’ve done that’s really effective for me is I will not have calls probably the first two or three hours of Monday morning and the last two or three hours of Friday. You might think this is probably just because I want a long weekend. However, the real reason I do this is so I have time to assess major projects and have extra time for unforeseen circumstances that happen over the weekend. On Friday I use that extra time to review my week. This includes reviewing my team’s action items, doing important updates and note-taking, and just taking into account my entire week. My weeks feel chaotic and my weekends are not nearly as enjoyable when I have calls all the way up until five or six p.m. on Friday. I have seen a stark difference even in my weekend enjoyment. It is the same thing with Monday. Don’t put that pressure on yourself where it’s Sunday night and you’re just dreading that call that you’ve got at 9:00 a.m. the next day on Monday. You don’t want to start your week that way. You can easily solve this problem by not having 9:00 am on Mondays as an availability. 

If you make your calendar your friend, you will be more productive. There are many easy ways to make your calendar your friend such as the ones I have described above. Find out what works for you and then do it. You’ll find you’re able to be more productive in the time you have. 

2.  Ignore Convention and Find What Works For You

Many people think they need to follow the traditional American Work Week which runs Monday through Friday from 9:00-5:00. In the entrepreneurial world this can differ with people coming into work much earlier and leaving at who knows how late into the evening. I have found in the past that I was always trying to match what was typical. I thought in order to really be grinding I had to be in the office at certain times doing certain things. I thought I had to be on calls first thing in the morning and no matter what accommodate our clients. However, I’ve learned how my body works. I’ve learned that, because I’m not a morning person, coming in before 9 helps me get into the groove. I try to be here at 8:00 for one particular reason. I like to be ahead of the nine a.m. influx of messages and emails and requests even from our own team. Even a small difference between coming in at 8:45 and 9 makes a big difference in my day. Everyone is different, to be your most productive you need to listen to your body and you may do something that is different than convention. 

In the early days of Big Red Jelly, I would fall into this convention where I would go home and I would have dinner and try to get some type of exercise and I’d come back to the office during those really startup years, which are necessary for many people. I would come back to the office and I had this second surge of energy, which I’m sure some of you have felt. I’m much more of a night owl. I felt more creative, I felt energetic. After doing a little bit more research and talking to some people  I think that my cortisol levels would even increase during that time. I felt that kind of second wind. There’s a lot of terms for it. But I found that if I could power through my afternoon slump, which was much later than most people. For me, between five and seven p.m. is when I get that wall of fatigue and I have an immediate decision to make, either go lay down on the couch and inevitably end up watching hours of NBA highlights and never get back to the office or I eat dinner as soon as I get back and I just immediately get changed and do some type of exercise, go to the gym. When I followed the second pattern I would bypass that kind of tired window. By 8:00, I’m back to that kind of creative level. I like to have what I like to call kind of my second work session where it’s purely just creative thinking, long-term thinking, goal setting, etc. I don’t condone that for everyone. I think it’s important to turn off, but I like to have that second window. 

The ultimate thing to remember here is that you need to remember what works best for you. Move certain tasks that are more autopilot like following up with the team on certain things, adjusting my notes, adjusting my calendar, preparing my calendar, things that I could really just plug and chug. Move those things to the time of day where you’re not performing the best and creatively right. Don’t force yourself into certain areas of the day just because conventionally that’s what’s done. Find what works best for you and you’ll be more productive.

In the next couple of decades, I believe that we’ll see many changes in the workweek. In the past there were certain things that were typical in the workspace, it was always nine to five you go to the office. You work here, you sit here, you clock in here, you clock out there. I think that’s going to look very different in the next few years. Covid-19 has kind of opened a lot of people’s eyes to that, especially working virtually. It’s also opened many eyes to the fact that people have different schedules. People’s bodies are different. There is a reason that some people are classified as early birds and night owls and we can’t just keep ignoring that. Listen to your body, experiment, try different things, and see what works best for you. When are you the most creative? When are you not? Adjust your calendar accordingly.

3. Follow the Pareto Principle

The third tactic to employ to be more productive is to live by the Pareto Principle. The Pareto Principle states that for many outcomes, roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes. Other names for this principle are the 80/20 rule, the law of a vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity. 

The Pareto Principle was created by Wilfredo de Parado was an Italian sociologist and an economist who realized that in general, 80% of a nation’s income was in the hands of only 20% of the population. He realized this could be applied in many situations. For example, 20% of criminals can commit 80% of crimes, 20% of drivers cause 80% of all traffic accidents, 80% of the pollution originates from 20% of all

factories, 20% of companies products represent 80% of sales, 20% of employees are responsible for 80% of the results, 20% of students have grades 80% or higher. 

There are many ways this can apply to your work life. It goes back to that to-do list. When I write down my ten things, let’s say 20 % of the things on my list are going to move the ball forward 80% more than the others. Basically, 20% of those to do things are going to result in 80% of the production of Big Red Jelly or my time. In order to accomplish the most, you need to focus more on that 20%. This needs to be applied to your calendar; your to-dos for the next day; your meetings; your priorities for the week, month, and year. Try and find that 20% that ultimately is going to lead to 80% of your growth. 

It’s always interesting to do this mental exercise. Stop right now where you are and look back on the last year, two years, three years of your business or your startup and think about which two or three major decisions, major changes, services, pricing changes, campaigns, think about the top two or three things that moved your business forward the fastest or that helped it take the biggest step. I’ve done this practice many times and I really can start to write down a short list of things that we did at Big Red Jelly that seemed to make 80% of the difference.  Doing this exercise more frequently helps us remember what the next 20% is. 

After we recognize what made 80% of the difference, then we can focus on what we can do now? We will know what we should focus on. Doing this moving forward, helps you refine and delegate focus as a decision-maker and the business owner to what is most important and what’s going to help your company move forward.

So let’s review. To be more productive follow these three tips: make your calendar your friend; ignore the conventional and listen to your body or what works best for you, your energy levels, your focus, etc.; and remember the Pareto Principle. By following these three tips you will find that you get more done in less time. 

To hear more tips to help run your small business check out Big Red Jelly’s Youtube channel here.  

man learning late at night

3 Management Lessons Learned in 2020 the Hard Way

By Leadership, People No Comments

Today I’ll be covering three lessons that stood out to me in 2020 as an agency and small business owner. These are valuable to any business owner and especially to small business owners and those who work in agencies or in the B2B space.

1. Being Busy Does Not Always Mean Being Productive

The first important lesson that I learned in 2020 here at Big Red Jelly, is that being busy does not always mean being productive.  Russell Roth, the president of Kotter Consulting to Forbes, has said “When we see people doing what they did last week or last month, just because they did it last month and not changing it because they want to get somewhere different, that’s busy. People think that it’s urgent, but that’s not urgent. That’s not focused. That’s just perpetuating what’s always been done.” I found myself doing a lot of that in 2020. I have a bad habit of creating a to-do list the day before and the length of my to-do list that I was able to get done the next day. In a way, I saw that as an accomplishment, which it is to a certain extent. However, over time I really started to learn that being busy does not mean you are being productive and it certainly doesn’t mean you are being smart or efficient with your work. Starting in 2021 it’s a big goal of mine to be a lot more efficient in what we’re doing.

I recently heard of a practice experiment to help improve efficiency. First, you write down the things you have to do the next day. Most of us wouldn’t have a hard time doing that. In fact, you’ve probably been down that road before. However, the next step is that you circle the top three things you need to get done. The point here is that the rest you don’t need to do and you shouldn’t do. Those are things that should be delegated. Those are things that you added because you felt like you have to. According to the quote from Russell Roth, you are just doing it because, well, that’s what you did last week or that’s what you did last month. Not only would you find that you’re doing this, but maybe people on your team are doing this at the company you work with. It’s a habit we need to get out of. We often see this especially in the entrepreneurial or the startup space. It’s cool to be on the grind, to always be so busy that you’re at the office at 10 p.m.

For a while, I fell into that trap. Here’s what I’ll tell you: it’s not cool. What is cool is to be efficient and productive. It’s a double whammy. What I finally learned in 2020 was that if you actually focus on those top three tasks and you delegate the rest, not only are you more efficient but in a bizarre way that I cannot explain, most of the time you end up getting more done by doing less right. You might have a three day weekend ahead of you or a full day off. And you say, oh, man, I have so much time ahead of me, I can’t even begin to imagine the number of things I’m going to get done and what inevitably ends up happening in those days where we have the most amount of time, we get the least amount done. However, when we have a busy day ahead of us and we’re strategic with it in a bizarre way, we get even more done in our personal lives and lives at home on those busy workdays. Maybe that’s just me, but I think that does apply to other people. Time management and prioritization make a big difference. So again, lesson number one of 2020 that I learned is that being busy does not mean being productive. 

 

2. Always Reserve Time for Long-Term Planning and Strategy

The second lesson I learned in 2020 is one that I am still learning: I need to always reserve time for long-term planning and strategy. I don’t know when this lesson really hit me, but there’s been this common thread that was going through my mind, through Q3 and Q4 of 2020.

 As I mentioned, I have a bad habit of doing a large amount of client work. I continuously have my hands-on projects to move things forward, I’ll do sales and digital marketing myself, I’ll be involved in design, etc. Often, I feel like I am giving to the team in that respect when the reality is that if you’re in a leadership role, whatever that might be, if you’re spending even a portion of your time doing that you’re doing a disservice to your team. This was an epiphany for me. Your employees are not capable of doing some of the things that you can as a leader because they don’t have the responsibility, access, or the credibility to make certain decisions. For example, they’re not going to go and hire new people. They’re not going to make adjustments to your services, your pricing, what services you offer, and how you offer them. They’re not going to make major changes to your processes, branding, marketing, positioning, who you have on the team, or your training. They are going to work on the client work which is what they’re best at.

That really hit me. Every hour that I was spending on client work was one less hour that I was spending on the business. And in that respect, I’m doing a disservice. I almost could visualize my employee’s voices or their thoughts, even though they probably weren’t thinking this all the time. But, you know, hey, Josh, we’ve got this. We need you to focus on what’s going to take us to the next level. We need you to hire that next team member. We need you to train the team better. We need you to prepare better processes. That’s what the team needed me to do. I started blocking off some time on a weekly basis where there’s nothing else that intrudes on that time. It’s just for me to sit down and go over some of the big questions. What services are we offering? How are we offering them? What does our team look like? What’s our culture look like? These are big things that only I have control over.

3. Understanding Managerial Output Will Help you Focus on High Leverage Activities

One of the books that I finished in 2020 that I would recommend is High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove, the former chairman and CEO of Intel. What I liked most about this book is that it gives real practical things you can do today and tomorrow. It gives practical techniques on how to be a better manager at the end of the day. This quote sums up what high output management is all about: 

What is a manager’s output? I asked a group of middle managers just that question. I got these responses: judgments and opinions, direction, allocation of resources, mistakes detected, personnel trained and subordinates developed, courses taught, products, plans, and commitments negotiated. Do these things really constitute the output of a manager? I don’t think so. They are instead activities or descriptions of what managers do as they try to create a final result or output. What then is a manager’s output at Intel? If she is in charge of a wafer fabrication plant, her output consists of completed high-quality, full-process silicone wafers. If he supervises the design group, his output consists of completed designs that work correctly and are ready to go into manufacturing. If a manager is the principal of a high school, her output will be trained and educated students who have either completed their schooling or are ready to move on to the next year of their studies. If the manager is a surgeon, his output is a fully recovered, healed patient. We can sum matters up, matters up with the proposition that and here’s the key. A manager’s output equals the output of his organization, plus the output of the neighboring organizations under his influence. 

This is an interesting way to think about it. Grove goes into the bread and butter of any business. A successful business is built on good management no matter what your size is. If you can be a good manager and those immediately beneath you can be good managers, you’re off to a great start. Part of being a good manager includes things like meetings, the medium of managerial work decisions, planning today’s actions for tomorrow, hybrid or dual reporting modes of control, task, growth, and maturity. These are real, practical solutions. When I actually finished reading the book, I applied some of these things the very next day.

When we understand managerial output then we better understand what constitutes high leverage activities. High leverage activities are the things we do that have a big effect on our businesses. At the end of his book, Grove has an exercise with various quick things you can do right now. Each one is allocated points and the goal is to get 100 points by the end of the week or the month. Now, when I try to allocate my time and plan out my day, I ask myself, is this a high leverage activity? 

There are several examples of high leverage activities that I do increasingly. Recording training or academy videos can be a high leverage activity. I record a video one time and it’s used an infinite amount of times for future team members implementing a process that’s going to touch probably hundreds, if not thousands of clients going forward. People like to frown on meetings a lot, but we have to remember that if done correctly they can be a high leverage opportunity because it’s communication from one to many instead of from one to one. Another high leverage activity is effectively training a manager or someone whos going to train other team members. If you can effectively train someone one on one then they will affect who knows how many in their team and throughout the organization.

In 2020, I learned that focusing on high leverage activities leads to strong outcomes. I really try hard when I find myself going down that tunnel vision road where I’m stuck on the client work or the technical work to remember that I need to take a step back and say my team needs me to focus on some of these other areas. When I focus on my output as a manager, then I understand what high leverage activities are.

The past year has been a year of learning. To review the three biggest management lessons I learned in 2020 were: 

  1. Being busy does not always mean being productive
  2. Always reserve time for long-term planning and strategy
  3. Understanding managerial output will help you focus on high leverage activities

Implementing these lessons at Big Red Jelly is helping us grow and become more efficient so we can continue to help our clients succeed. 

Today’s article comes from a previously recorded video. Check out the video here!

 

Attention: Agencies and Businesses Looking to Hire Agencies

By Leadership, Small Business

Agencies are the backbone of the digital marketing world. Everyone knows that outsourcing your digital marketing to an agency saves businesses time, money, and frustration. How will agencies continue to adapt in an increasingly digital world? Here are my predictions for 2021 and beyond. I will dive specifically into what this upcoming year will look like for agencies and the digital space, as well as the continued relationship between agencies and businesses. 

If you’re a business owner who works with agencies, these are things to look for in an agency or things to follow up or address with your current agencies. If you’re an agency owner, maybe these are things you’ve thought about when it comes to the future of digital, when it comes to the future of marketing, advertising, branding, etc. These are my predictions for 2021 and beyond. This is what we’re going to see more of and the changes we’re going to see going forward. 

Changes in the agency realm

What changes can we expect to see in the agency realm? Data will be the biggest change in the agency realm. This is no longer a debatable topic. Data is the new valuable commodity, maybe the most valuable commodity. Peter Sondergaard of Gartner Research, who once said, “Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.” I think that data and information, going forward, if not already, will become the most valuable commodity. What does that ultimately mean for agencies and businesses working with agencies going forward? Data and analytics will take center stage when it comes to strategy and implementing marketing campaigns and advertising campaigns. Agencies must prove that they are experienced and comfortable around data analytics information. But more importantly, what the data and information mean for a client. I want to dive into a short little snippet here by Information Week. This is data shared by Gartner Research, and these are some of their predictions we’re trying to any one as it relates to data and information. 

Decline of the Dashboard

Gartner Research emphasized, what they titled, the “Decline of the Dashboard”. And this really caught my attention because a lot of agencies do this, right? They’ll say, “Well, we have a dashboard. Look at all these cool KPIs we share. You will get it once a week, once a month, every other quarter. We can edit it according to what you look for.” That’s not going to be good enough, I think, going forward. Let me read this paragraph again. 

From Information Week, “Data stories, not dashboards, will become the most widespread way of consuming analytics by 2025 and 75% of these stories will be automatically generated using augmented analytic techniques, AI, and machine learning. AIs and machine learning techniques are making their way into business intelligence platforms and dashboards. Users currently have to do a lot of manual work to dive into further insights, but these data stories provide the insights without requiring the user to perform their own analysis.” (Watch my previous video or read last week’s article which dove into AIs and machine learning specifically!) 

That’s huge. Leveraging the power of AI as it becomes exponentially better will be important for agencies and businesses to capitalize on. We have seen major growth and progress in the AI/machine learning sector because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021 you’re going to see softwares and tools leveraging A.I. and machine learning in these dashboards, data, and analytics to create data stories. 

Data is Valuable + Must be Protected

So, OK, we’ve got this data. We’ve got these analytics. We’ve got a data story. So what are we going to do about it? What does it mean? The first step is recognition of how valuable this data and information is. It’s going to become increasingly more important for these agencies to treat it with respect and know how to use it. Businesses are going to become more cognizant of how the end user views their data. You’re seeing a lot of these movements toward data and user privacy. For example, all the new browsers that are coming out that protect people’s data. Apple leverages user data privacy as one of their big marketing approaches. This will pay off big as people become more aware of their personal information data and how valuable it is. Agencies understanding that data is a valuable commodity, knowing how to use it, being comfortable around it, and then knowing how to treat it with respect and be transparent and not abuse this knowledge. This is a power that businesses are going to appreciate, because at the end of the day, the end user is going to appreciate it. 

Online Advertising Will Be More Commoditized

Online marketing and advertising platforms, channels, and tools are going to become more and more commoditized. Look at Facebook ads, for example, when those first came out in the late 2000s. Look at Google, PPC. For those who were in those platforms in the early days, you will be the first to acknowledge how much those have changed between then and now. SEO, for example, building a website. These tools were almost impossible for anyone without very specialized background and expertise in those areas. Now, and you can feel free to debate me on this topic, they’re becoming so much easier to manage, optimize, and improve.

I bump into a lot of small business owners, mom and pop shops, who are, in my opinion, running pretty phenomenal online ad campaigns. I mean, I’ve seen some pretty amazing things that small business owners are able to create on PPC – Google, Bing, Facebook, Instagram ads, you name it. This is a result of these platforms becoming more user friendly on the back end. The platforms themselves have made it easier, therefore opening up their reach.

As younger audiences are moving into leadership roles and opening their own businesses, of course, they’re familiar with these platforms and tools. They grew up on social media and digital marketing. Naturally there is a little bit of a learning curve, but these tools will become more commoditized as a result. 

Agencies Need to Emphasize and Hire for Creativity and Strategy

What does this mean for agencies and companies working with agencies? There’s going to be added emphasis in value on two things. Number one, creativity. Number two, strategy. I think those are the two elements that will probably be the last, if ever, to be commoditized. That’s the human element. I know it sounds cheesy, but that’s what I cannot duplicate. It’s hard to create a SaaS product that replicates human creativity and strategy. We have the tools to automatically harvest data and create stories or dashboards displaying the data, but what do we do with this dashboard? What is the strategy behind the numbers? We know how to create and run online ads, but  how do we decide which ad to run? And when? How do we position ourselves on those ads? What colors and designs attract certain demographics? What phrases are specific to buyers in this geographic region?

If you’re working with an agency or you are an agency, there should be extra emphasis on creativity and strategy. Even if you’re an agency who works specifically in Asia or Facebook Ads, and that’s all you do, think about highlighting the benefit of your creative spin on those Facebook ads or the nicheness of your Asian market. Creativity is hard to teach, and it’s hard to duplicate. 

Online and Offline Data

Agencies would be wise to start to position themselves around connecting online and offline data. Digital marketers and digital agencies have long boasted about the ability to track a lot of what they do because it’s digital. Connecting  online and offline data is going to be huge. This is a great quote from Tech Native IO, “When you take a closer look at the gap, it leaves in a digital marketing operation, it’s pretty huge. After all, most customer activity still happens offline. In fact, 90% of retail sales take place offline. So if they haven’t connected the data living in their CRM email and point of sale systems to online, then marketers are making important decisions with incomplete, imperfect data and they’re missing out on a huge chunk of the action.”

Marketers are getting really good at connecting some of these points, and that’s another article we can dive into, but I think agencies that are comfortable with the connection or making predictions between online and offline data are very powerful and well-positioned going forward. As our lives become more integrated with the Internet, or just digital, the data that used to be considered offline will become more measurable. One of the things that I think is going to bridge that gap is what’s called the “Internet of Things”. What is the “Internet of Things”? Let me give you a few examples: 

  • Connected appliances, think Smart Fridges
  • Smart home security systems 
  • Wearable health monitors 
  • Wireless inventory trackers 
  • Ultra high speed wireless Internet 
  • Cyber security scanners
  • Logistics and shipping container tracking

These are digital tools, online Internet connected tools, that are integrated and embedded with real world things that we use each and every day.

If you are an agency or a business working with an agency going into 2021, these are things both groups should start to explore and become more comfortable with because they’re going to become very important in 2021 and beyond. 

Let’s continue this conversation on our social media channels! Check out our weekly industry videos on our Facebook or Instagram accounts at 1:30PM (MST) every Thursday.

Today’s article comes from a previously recorded video. Check out the video here!

Case Analysis: 3 Ways Zach is Bringing Success to 2 Big Red Jelly Clients

By Leadership, People, Small Business, Website No Comments

Zach Webber has been with Big Red Jelly from the beginning. He was there when Big Red Jelly was just 3 brothers in a pool house creating websites and has been with Big Red Jelly every step of the way to become the established digital agency it is today. These days, he is the Director of Web Design and Development and leads the web team in creating websites that bring the business success our clients are looking for. Here are just a few ways that Zach is driving that success for two of Big Red Jelly’s clients: Summit Pizza Co and Yara Yoga.  

Focus Web Sites on Strategic Messaging 

Something unique that Zach brings to the table is that he originally studied Public Relations at Brigham Young University. This means that in addition to knowing all the in and outs of the backend of websites and understanding the tech side of web design, he also has been trained to create websites that reflect strategic messaging. He says, “a lot of what PR is in my opinion, is understanding your audience. That applies to me as a designer because I have to understand my client’s audience and what they want in a website.  Understanding your audience really is the first step to anything.” He knows how to create a website that not only looks good but also is strategically developed to resonate with your customers. 

 

Summit Pizza Co saw the benefit of this focus on strategic messaging in their recent website project where they worked with Zach. They came to Big Red Jelly because they were in the process of re-branding their website and changing their logo colors. Summit Pizza Co. was originally started 31 years ago by a man who was working at a big corporate Pizza Place and got tired of corporate life and started his own business focused on home-style pizza. It now has 3 different locations and has grown exponentially since then. Zach helped Summit Pizza Co refine and create a website that reflected the new Summit Pizza Co. 

 

The new website is focused on connecting with Summit Pizza Co’s target audience and reflects the brand story of how pizza is really all about connecting experiences with family and friends after they go hiking or at a family reunion or just anytime people want to be together. The website also reflects Summit Pizza Co’s mission to have top-notch ingredients such as cheese without fillers. Zach was able to create a website that not only looks good but is focused on telling a story of good food and good experiences. 

Understand The Business Goals of the Client 

One of the most important things that Zach does in his work is to make sure that the website the team is building is going to help the client meet their larger business goals. This all starts at the very beginning of the Big Red Jelly web design process when the web team conducts an analysis of the existing website and business as a whole before getting to work creating a digital presence that is going to follow a larger strategy. This emphasis continues throughout the web design process as the web team continually checks in to be sure that the website they are creating is holding to those key business objectives. 

 

This is something that Yara Yoga has seen in its recent website project with Big Red Jelly. Yara Yoga is a Yoga studio focused on empowering people to live well. Before Big Red Jelly got involved, all Yara Yoga’s sales were coming from word of mouth and they had essentially no digital presence. Zach was able to take its business goals and create a website that was strategically designed to help them meet them. Yara Yoga wanted to create a way to drive traffic to their YouTube channel, connect their social media, and display a calendar of their classes. Zach took that information and built a website that didn’t have fluff in it but was focused directly on those business goals. 

Focus on Problem Solving With Design 

Web design at Big Red Jelly is focused on being both artistic and professional. Zach describes how one of his favorite parts about his job at Big Red Jelly being restricted by the challenges and requirements of various clients. This helps him problem-solve with their website. He says, “I like that challenge in terms of how do I visually make something that is expressive creatively, but also very professional. That same idea applies in terms of problem-solving what people want to achieve with their website people. Sometimes that’s phone calls or emails and that’s easy enough but some people want solutions that are a little bit more complex and so finding tools or solutions that work for all those people is a lot of fun. That’s what I enjoy.” Zach knows how to take a website and find creative solutions that center around design. 

 

Design helped Summit Pizza Co problem-solve with design on their website. The success here came from the simplicity of the website. It was important that customers could find the information and order as fast as possible and Zach was able to design a website that allowed customers to do this. The simplicity of the design allows Summit Pizza Co to enjoy more business. 

How Can Zach and the Web Team Help Your Business? 

If you’re looking to establish the digital presence of your business then Big Red Jelly is the place for you to go. Zach and the Web Team can help you design or edit your website to be messaged strategically to your customers, that will meet your larger business objectives, and that solves problems with design. Click here to get started.