company culture

Your Company Culture: Your Success or Demise?

Your company culture is the one thing that can determine whether or not your company succeeds or fails. The right culture will help you scale up by attracting talented people who will drive incredible results and innovation. The wrong culture will make your business crash and burn. Despite the importance of a successful business culture, many emerging companies still don’t understand what a good company culture is, or how to create one, and are left scratching their heads when persistent issues continue to surface. The first step to avoiding the pitfall of poor company culture is understanding what a company culture actually is. Many companies take the buzzword approach to creating their company culture, and use a collection of terms like, “Integrity, Communication, Respect, Excellence” as their statement of culture. For reference as to how well this works, “Integrity, Communication, Respect, Excellence” was the company culture statement of Enron. The reason the buzzword approach fails is because a company culture isn’t just a list of the keywords you think are most important. You’re company culture is how your company treats its team members and customers, solves problems on a daily basis, and who your company hires and retains. In short, …

mary barra - great leader

Never Stop Learning…

One of the biggest takeaways from this article is to never stop learning. Learn from some of the most successful people in business and life. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Though there is a lot of talk about the moral superiority of the road-less-traveled, often the best path to take is the one that’s already been blazed. To help you avoid having to break your own trail as you build your business, I’ve brought together some key points of advice from business leaders who’ve walked the path you’re on right now. Mary Barra – CEO, General Motors Decisiveness The current CEO of General Motors, and the highest ranking woman in the automotive industry, emphasizes the need to make educated decisions. Mary Barra is known for her collaborative approach, often using a town-hall meeting format to collect information and opinions from her teams. She says it’s important to surround yourself with experts, so that every decision is as informed as possible. No one person has all the answers. However, all that input is only good as long as it’s driving the decision making process forward. Mary Barra stresses the importance of taking the decision making reigns …

scaling a sales team

Five Steps to Scaling a Sales Team

Once you’ve got a solid product, and the team you created is successfully selling your product, you’ll reach a point where it’s time to scale your sales team to match your sales volume. Scaling a sales team is largely a matter of timing. There are no magic number or milestone that will tell you exactly when you need to expand your team. However, following a consistent process will enable you to identify the metrics that you can use to establish trigger points for expansion that work for your business. The steps for scaling your team work in a cycle. Since you’ve got a strong vision, and a team of experts supporting you, your business is going to grow, and each time you bring in new team members, you can return to step one, and renew the cycle of scaling your team. Evaluate your salesforce playbook Evaluate your business and update your salesforce playbook before you start bringing on more team members. It’s important to continually evaluate the tools you’re using, the procedures you employ in your sales process, and what your metrics for success are. Make sure that your system is streamlined for your current volume of sales. Techniques that …

passion, hustle, drive

The Secret to Creating a High-Performing Team

Vision + Passion, Hustle and Drive Is the Secret to Creating a High-Performing Team! One of the highest performing teams in the world is the rowing crew. Each member not only has to pull his share of the load, but also must do it in perfect unison with the rest of the team members. To achieve this sort of efficiency, each crewmember is carefully selected and placed in the position that will most benefit the crew. As an entrepreneur, you want to create a team that can operate with the efficiency of a rowing crew, but what’s the secret of building that kind of high-performing team? The formula for successfully putting together a team would be incredibly complex, if there were one. If you search for information on how to build a successful team, you’ll find a lot of multi-pronged advice, laid out in a bunch of bullet points, or several steps. The suggestions range from, “be aware of how you work,” to, “clearly define roles and responsibilities,” to, “always celebrate success.” This is all great advice, but what’s the common factor that makes all these suggestions valid? The spine of all this team-building guidance can be stacked up on …

your blueprint for success

Your Blueprint for Success!

If a blueprint for success exists, I imagine it would be pretty complicated. Lots of moving parts. Something only the engineer of the universe could understand. But I also believe there’s nothing so big that it can’t be broken down into its smaller elements. So, if we were to zoom in on this blueprint, what would we see first? Yourself, of course! If you’re going to imagine along with me, you might as well make yourself center stage (or center-blueprint). How would you sketch yourself onto the blueprint for success? To do this, you must know yourself – inside and out. You need to catalogue your strengths, talents, and skills. This is who you are and what you can do right now. It’s not who you want to be or want to do. No superpowers or invisibility allowed. You Are the Foundation If you get stuck on this part, don’t forget there are people out there who know you all too well. Ask them for help. And honesty. Be thorough because you are blueprinting a one-of-a-kind individual. You don’t have to be an expert in everything you write down. After that’s done, write down your passions, interests, fascinations, and obsessions. …

characteristics-successful-companies

Characteristics That the Most Successful Companies Share

As an entrepreneur or business owner, you look for ways to ensure your company is always moving forward and making improvements. You’ve seen articles like this: “Seven Traits of Successful Businesses” or “The Five Characteristics of Enduring Companies.” These articles all have a slightly different spin on the same subject — recognizing what distinguishes a wonderful, enduring company from the average, here-today-gone-tomorrow company. Below we are going to step through characteristics successful companies share. These articles can’t ALL be right, can they? It’s possible. Just like a human being, an organization is a unique entity. What one organization considers as vital as air could be lethal gas to another company. What’s likely is that common elements exist across these articles. With that in mind, this article attempts to aggregate them. But first, two absolutes Even a company with the best bundle of the best characteristics aren’t worth diddly without these two elements: #1 The business provides a great user experience. #2 The business provides an innovative solution (or an excellent product/service). In measuring these two absolutes, it doesn’t seem as if #2 can stand on its own. It’s like when you go to that new, gourmet restaurant that everyone raves …

San Francisco Bay Startups: Good and Bad Branding

With today’s fierce competition for startups in the San Francisco Bay area, it’s important for new companies to establish a brand early. A good brand can easily help a startup make it big, and a bad one can just as easily kill it. What makes a good brand? Good branding goes beyond just an attractive logo and catchy name. It’s important for startups to be consistent in all of their branding, and take every opportunity to convey their brand’s image. Everything a company does or says should reflect the brand, creating brand unity. A brand’s message should be unique and fresh, communicating regularly with its audience in a distinctive voice. Example: Airbnb San Francisco-based startup, Airbnb, has become a go-to app for travelers and vacationers looking for an affordable place to stay. The app provides rooms and guest houses all over the world that are available to rent by the night. Airbnb uses several different social media platforms to spread their message and convey their brand. Their Facebook page is updated every few days with photos and videos related to travel and hot vacation spots, as well as interviews with Airbnb hosts. Their Twitter page shares Tweets from app users …

SF-Based StartupStats Helps Investors Find the Most Talked About Startups

San Francisco-based entrepreneur, Nick O’Neill, is known in business circles for founding SocialTimes, a news website that reports on all things social media, from Facebook news to Twitter trends and everything in between. The site launched in 2007 as AllFacebook, and in 2010, O’Neill sold it to WebMedia Brands. Recently O’Neill started a new project designed to connect investors with the hottest startups. StartupStats was launched in 2012 and has been adding new features ever since. The site matches investors with new startups by analyzing data from AngelList and Twitter to determine which startups are getting the most attention. This data is used to generate a rating called a “StartupScore,” which shows how many AngelList investors are following a particular startup, and how many Twitter users are linking back to it. Investors who have joined StartupStats have found the service to be a good indicator of which startups will be funded soon. “It surfaces upcoming startups earlier in the cycle and they can get earlier access, ideally,” O’Neil told Business Insider. “Now, whether or not they’re going to turn out to be legitimate companies is a whole other thing, but we’re at least beginning to see that our system surfaces …

Tech Startup, Breather, Provides Private Spaces for San Francisco Workers

When writer, Julien Smith, toured the country promoting his best-selling book, he had a difficult time finding a quiet place to work or relax. “I would find myself in cities… where I didn’t know a lot of what was around me, and I just wanted—I don’t want to say a sense of safety, but more like a sense of just feeling comfortable or feeling at home,” he told Inc. “So I would end up at Starbucks.” Coffee shops like Starbucks proved to be too noisy for Smith, and he didn’t want to pay high hotel rates for just a few hours of privacy. This need for a familiar space in an unfamiliar city inspired Smith to co-found Breather, a company that rents out private office spaces in several major cities for between $15 and $40 per hour. In San Francisco, Breather currently rents 16 locations at a rate of $25 per hour, and they plan to add another eight to 10 more over the next month. The company recently secured a new flagship office on Mission Street near Transbay Terminal. Breather spaces offer amenities like Wi-Fi, chargers, couches and access to bathrooms, and are well-stocked with complementary candy and books. …

San Francisco’s Found Conference Proved Dog Tech is Big Business

Technology has gone to the dogs. In March, startup CEOs gathered at Digital Garage in San Francisco for Found, the first ever dog tech conference. The event was hosted by Pack, a local startup that provides a social network for dogs and their owners. Pack co-founder and CEO, Megan Casey, said the purpose of the conference was to discuss the growing industry of technology for dog owners. “We wanted to get a group of fellow dog startups that see the same type of opportunity and solutions together into one room to say this isn’t an underdog issue, this is something that’s actually a really big market,” she said. Guest speakers at Found included Aaron Easterly, CEO of Rover, a service that connects dog owners with dog sitters in over 10,000 US cities. Easterly discussed the trends he feels are driving pet tech, including an increased demand for pet products and the lower cost of tech startups. “When you have an increase in demand and an increase in supply, you get an explosion in pet tech,” he explained. Easterly said he sees a huge undeserved market in dog technology, and urged fellow startups to think big. “Don’t get overly stuck on …