In light of the changes coming to the SBA, it seems prudent to keep in mind the SBA’s history. And what better way than an infographic?
Some great posts from stalwart content creators in the last week or so in the realm of customer service:
Ron Kaufman, guestposting at Who’s Your Gladys?, writes a great piece on overcoming initial defensiveness when faced with customer criticism and how he got beyond that to create an engaged customer. His anecdote is as telling about himself as his methods, and worth learning from.
Lisa Barone articulates a nuanced point here about the difference between being the face of a company or a brand and “injecting personality” into your social media. A serious misstep from a well-known brand to learn from here.
At Duct Tape Marketing, Jon Jantsch gives an overview of how to create both a shared sense of ownership between employers and staff as well as guidelines for actual, brick and mortar shared ownership. A bit controversial, but easy to see the benefits of “…remove[ing] politics and free[ing] people to stretch far beyond the confines of the normal job description.”
The Susan Boyle intro, while a lovely story, actually seemed to distract from the point made by Cynthia Clark over at 1to1 Media about centering the customer’s voice in company reflections. Click through for case studies including Avon and Boston Scientific.
Most folks have heard about the elevation of the SBA head to the Cabinet. This seems to be a predominantly considered a good move, with the caveat that the focus on small business must not be diluted by such a change.
Interestingly, the White House is selling the change with infographics. See below for their explanation of the “Now & Next” state of affairs and let us know what you think in the comments.
There’s been a flurry of posts in the last few days talking about the dos and don’ts of business cards, a number of them predictably conflicting with each other.
Todd Wasserman at OPEN Forum basically wonders if business cards are dead, particularly in light of the rise of social media, mobile apps and related interconnectivity. He highlights the interstitial program CardMunch promulgated by LinkedIn as an example of a technology that could bridge the gap between folks who still use them and those who prefer the information in digital form.
Hillary Reinsberg at the Jane Dough probably needs to tread carefully in order to avoid a reputation as a stodgy business card traditionalist, but I think we can agree with her insistence that one not include tip calculators on the back of your card. We would respectfully disagree with her idea that coupons are always inappropriate, but appreciate her fervor either way.
The ever captivating Lisa Barone writes here in an effort to inform the increasing use of QR codes, which seemed appropriate to include considering their increasing use in business cards to address the same concerns Wasserman wrote about above. If this was something you were considering as well, heed Lisa’s words.
If you’re looking for ways to use business cards differently, turn to Lifehacker for ideas. They have posts highlighting Todd Maffin’s ways to remember what exactly a business card was meant to remind you of as well as a potentially whimsical way to make your business cards more memorable.
Have strong feelings on business cards? Share them in the comments.
As a woman-owned small business, ARMA has a vested interest in the forward-moving perspectives on the successes and barriers that women find in their professional life. Articles on the role of women in business can significantly miss the mark on what the true barriers to success actually are and we’ve seen mixed results in terms of angel investors contributing to women owned companies. But there’s been some great guidance on how women-owned business can capitalize on the successes they have already achieved:
1.) Establishing support networks early in the startup process is one way to position your business for growth. Joining the board of a company in your industry is one way to do this.
2.) She also urges successful women entrepreneurs to become role models and mentors for younger ones.
3.) And she urges more networking and collaboration between startups and bigger, more successful firms.
These are doable action steps. If you had any concerns, perhaps this infographic we spotted over at the Jane Dough will relieve them for you:
(For another treat from Jane Dough, enjoy this article about five former girl scouts in powerful positions within the business world.)
Some articles we’ve been perusing at ARMA:
Ivana Taylor at OPEN Forum wrote an article including great tips on improving customer service, particularly through website design and navigation. If you’ve been struggling with how to bring the mobile and digital experiences to your business, this could be a good introduction.
Marilyn at Who’s Your Gladys? has a consistently fresh perspective on customer satisfaction. Her most recent article on company vision is no exception. She starts by asking a question that makes you groan, but then smartly turns around and demonstrates that she knows very well that its groanworthy. In the interest of broadening company vision to include the perspectives of employees, she poses a few questions that you could as well. One in particular stands out: “If you were to take 5% more responsibility for creating a happy work place environment this year, what would you do?” Your employees’ answers might surprise you.
Ginger Conlin at 1to1 Media has issued a call to arms, particular for those who frequent NYC, to chime in on your most customer-centric venues. Head over to give your two cents or just check out the list!
We’ve posted links over to them a number of times before, but we here at ARMA would like to highlight the excellent series of posts that American Express OPEN Forum publishes called Government Contracting Insights.
They have two recent posts that are great for highlighting the benefits of networking your way into relationships with other small businesses doing contracting work as well as the importance of certifications. If you’re thinking about getting into contracting, especially if you’re in the DC/MD/VA area, get in touch. We’d love to talk about partnering.