The worst boss I ever had

We’ve all had them. Bosses who are so bad that we spend equal time cowering at our desk in case they pick on us then laughing behind their back the second they move onto the next sucker.

(The boss I have in mind is still very much alive and well so I have to very careful not to name names!)

His “best” worst quote:

He had some great phrases particularly about people who didn’t agree with him but in my opinion his worst was “Sometimes you just have to bang people!” (Not to be taken in a sexual way – it was an allusion to hitting them and causing them bodily/mental harm). This was in response to a question about why he had been so rough in chewing out a vendor.

My well-thumbed version of How to work for a Jerk complete with receipt from the Minneapolis Airport June 1996!

My well-thumbed version of How to work for a Jerk complete with receipt from the Minneapolis Airport June 1996!

Most irritating trait:

Hard to narrow it down to one so I’ve selected a 1 & 1a

1. Phoning through from his office (20 feet away) to say “I’ve just sent you an e-mail. Have you read it yet?”

1a. Asking you to create a marketing piece and then standing behind you to tell you what to type.

Silliest trait:

Banning certain popular fonts in any correspondence in the office (including between other members of staff) for no reason other than he didn’t like it. Gave rise to the notion of the “Font Police”.

Nastiest trait:

Berating and confronting people with the harshest meanest language without getting all the facts and then backing down gracelessly while referencing the “bang people” principle from above.

The end of it all:

He asked me for a sales projection going out 12 months. I predicted some choppy waters ahead mainly due to new competition coming into the market. He dismissed my report out of hand – “It will never happen!”. 9 months later sales in my division had dropped off a cliff due primarily to the competitive equipment coming into the market. He blamed me for not taking action sooner and I was fired just after Christmas 3 months later!

Leave your stories below. Maybe you have a “best boss” story – I know that’s unlikely!

Posted by John Tully
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Every small business needs a website – or do they?

So…I use a great free tool from Mr Google called Google Alerts to bring me information about topics I follow into my inbox every day. If you are ever stuck for blog post topics follow a topic that you want to discuss and you’ll never run out of material. I follow “small business” and get 10-15 articles in my in-box every day.

55-don't-have-websitesOne day last week two seemingly competing small business headlines appeared in the alert e-mail:

  1. Skip the website? Some small businesses still do
  2. Every small business needs a website

Intrigued I clicked on both of them. Ha – turned out to be the same article just given two different headlines by the local newspapers that published them. Just goes to show that you can’t trust what you read – especially from the headline!

The article had this fascinating statistic:

Fifty-five percent of small businesses don’t have a website, according to a 2013 survey of more than 3,800 small businesses conducted by Google and research company Ipsos. That’s a slight improvement from the year before, when 58 percent said they didn’t have a website.

Of course, that’s awesome news for me! As a small business web guy my target market remains huge. The bad news is that the people that really need one are the ones that don’t read these types of articles or still believe that the internet is a fad.

Still, as Jim Blasingame says in the article:

“It’s just ridiculous,” said Jim Blasingame, an author and radio show host. “Every small business needs a website. Period. Nonnegotiable. (Without one) you might as well be a ghost”

What do you think? Does EVERY small business need a website? Let me know below.

Posted by John Tully
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Social media and Networking. Different worlds right? Not so fast!

I’m just finishing a great book about doing social media right called “Jab, Jab, Jab – Right Hook” by Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary makes the point over & over that social media is not the place for the hard sell (the right hook) until you’ve softened up your audience with a series of interesting, funny, non-salesy channel-appropriate posts or tweets (jabs).

Earlier in the week at my local chamber of commerce networking luncheon, a good friend and mentor of mine, Glenn Marthens of Milton Terry gave us an insight into how he built his business into the success it is (Morris County Small Business of the year for 2010). He barely advertises, barely markets and attributes all his success to networking. His networking philosophy boils down to a simple formula – “Align with people who have the same values and then Give, Give, Give – Get”

Jab, jab, jab - right hook. Give, give, give - get.

“Jab, Jab, Jab – Right Hook” “Give, Give, Give – Get” notice the similarity? Could it be that social media & networking are similar after all?

Of course it does! Despite their differences many of the same principles apply to both social media and networking:

  1. You have to be in them for the long term. There’s no instant gratification with either social media or networking but they do pay off over time.
  2. Both rely on you-being-you! Phonies are obvious in both social media and networking
  3. Both are free (or at least low cost) but time consuming. There’s no excuse about lack of money – it’s much more about time and commitment.
  4. When done correctly social media & networking are FUN! So much more fun than doing hundreds of cold calls a week, just to keep the funnel full.

You might have seen some other similarities between social media and face-to-face networking – tell me about them below.

Posted by John Tully
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4 Awesome blog posts you should read

How can you possibly keep up with “stuff” when there’s so much “stuff” out there? One method I use is to save the web addresses of interesting web pages I come across by dragging the url into a folder and then going back to the folder later when I have time to actually read them.

Here are four blogs that I saved recently that should get a wider audience:

How to Boost Your SEO by Using Schema Markup

Schemas are little understood by the business community as a whole but are destined to become a huge deal over the next couple of years. Just knowing that they are supported jointly by Google, Bing, and Yahoo should be enough to pique your interest.

12 Awesome Marketing Tools You’ve Never Heard Of

When I see titles like this I like to prove the author wrong, but in this case they were absolutely correct – I hadn’t heard of any of the products listed here. A couple of them, particularly Adobe Voice have huge potential.

4 Easy Ways For Finding And Connecting With Users Who Share Your Interests On Twitter

I’m starting to really love Twitter but keeping up with everything and everyone is tough so anything that uses the words “easy” and “Twitter” in the same headline gets my attention.

The 15 Most Common WordPress Mistakes to Avoid

I tell my clients all the time that WordPress is a double-edged sword. It’s awesome because it’s so easy to use and so popular but it’s a pain-in-the-neck because it has so many potential pitfalls (like being able to edit the code without any safety net). This post is a great list for those just starting out with WordPress.

Posted by John Tully
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Posted in Marketing tips, Search engine optimization, SEO, Social media, web issues | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The hierarchy of things – first things first for Small Businesses

I do a lot of seminars for small businesses including “Email marketing with Constant Contact” and “Internet & Social Media Marketing for Small Business”. I get attendees from across the whole spectrum of small businesses from startup solopreneurs to established multinational companies. I love speaking to other small business owners and I’m always fascinated by how people earn their money.

Most people come to the seminars with the hope of learning something that they can use in their business and I’d like to think that they don’t go away disappointed. However it’s also common to see people that shouldn’t really be there from the perspective of where they are in their business cycle – they don’t yet even have a business, just an idea or a converted hobby, but expect to find answers about how they should market themselves.

First things first

First things first

I’ve started including a slide in my presentations that I hope gives them the message about what they should be concentrating on – I call it “The hierarchy of things” and it goes like this:

#1 Start with your company, product or service. Get this squared away first. An idea for a company, product or service isn’t a business. A business without clients isn’t a business. If you don’t have your company, product or service set up STOP and don’t go any further until you do.

#2 Get your website up and running. This is no longer optional – you will be invisible without a website. And a website is always yours – you “own” the domain and all the content.

#3 Only after 1&2 are completed should you explore Social Media, Email marketing and everything else. If those things don’t lead back to a website that succinctly describes your services then you are wasting your time. And remember Social Media is never “yours” – Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn can change their offering on a whim (and often do).

When I show the slide I just hope it doesn’t come over as too mean-spirited – but it is the truth and sometimes you have to be brutally honest before people start completely down the wrong path.

Posted by John Tully
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“Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

Posted in business lessons, Marketing tips, small business, Social media, Speaking Engagements | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment