Honored to have been invited to speak at Chief Agency – WordPress DC Meetup – February 2017

Great talking to the diverse group of attendees. Freelancers, bloggers, agencies and business owners.



February WordPress Meetup

Tuesday, Feb 21, 2017, 6:30 PM

CHIEF
1800 Massachusetts Ave NW, 2nd Floor Washington, DC

116 WP Enthusiasts Went

For our February meetup, we’ll be doing our standard two-speaker set with time for networking before, between, and after. Talk descriptions and bios below!Support, Customer Experience, and WordPressKyle M. Brown (@kylmbrown)This talk will cover best practices that you can use to get effective support from theme and plugin shops as a freelancer, …

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Slides Continue reading

The-Micropreneur-Academy

 

I was looking through some old post and found a draft from a few years back. I started writing this post in February 2013 about the experiences that led me on a journey which has led to bootstrapping several products and a service today. Everything that follows was written on February 21, 2013 with some minor tweaks.

I had graduated from a Tech Accelerator where I had learned a lot about building a start up. Can’t forget that I got a chance to meet some great great like minded individuals. However, most of what I was taught was about building and structuring a company that followed a certain pattern that appeals to investors. And then pitching Angel and VC investors on that start-up /idea. Continue reading

I created this post because I use Cornerstone by Zennaware for version control and have several repositories and recently needed to upgrade from one Mac to a newer Mac.

I found a good post that got me started @ http://www.gigoblog.com/2014/05/19/move-cornerstone-svn-client-settings-and-data-to-new-computer/ . However, there are two important things that I did not find in the article that I’d like to point out for you that I ran into.

  1. The new computer should have the same user directory name as the old computer. So be sure that when setting up the new computer that the username matches the username on the old computer. This is not going to prevent you from accomplishing your goal but if you do not have matching usernames, the Cornerstone repositories are looking for then you will receive file path errors on the new computer. You will have to rename the path at that point which may take time and could lead to further steps.
  2. The correct locations to restore files are in the directory users Library directory. E.g. “Macintosh HD [or whatever your primary drive is named]/Users/[your username]/Library/Preferences/com.zennaware.Cornerstone.plist” AND
    “Macintosh HD [or whatever your primary drive is named]/Users/[your username]/Library/Application Support/Cornerstone”

  3. You can install Cornerstone before or after you being this process. The order should not make a difference. I installed it first.

That should do it.

Penn_State_Morelli_handoff_to_Scott_cropOne of the reasons for creating documented processes for your business is portability. Meaning that the day may come when you want to hand off ownership of your business to a third party. It could be that your business is being acquired or that you have decided to bring in a manager to run it for you. Either of these scenarios  are going to be a challenge if you do not have your business processes documented.

It’s like going to ikea and buying a brand new entertainment center and having the sale rep say that there is no manual. Can you figure it out without a manual? Some people can others won’t even consider trying. That is exactly how people will view your business if there is no manual and documenting business processes provides that manual.

I’ve seen this scenario play out before. A valuable deal fell apart because the companies founder had never documented any of the task required in the day-to-day operations of his company. 10 years in, he had no idea where to start and  when he figured it out, the timeline was lengthy. As a result, the prospective buyer lost interest and moved on.

In fact, I am currently in a the middle of a small deal myself where I am the buyer. The original agreement was to close the deal in two days. We were making good progress toward that end, until I found some documentation to be missing. This documentation is critical to the deal. Ten days later the deal still has not closed, my time planned for other things is now being impacted as well as the sellers. The seller is scrambling through what should be a vacation to get this documentation or I will walk away.

All of this could have been avoided if the owner had documented processes for the business. Very simple if it had been done upfront or overtime and because it was not, it is difficult for him to put together now. So get your business processes documented because you never know when not having them could prevent you from handing your business off to a 3rd party for sale or to be managed.

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010 NoWriting1-300x300You are running your business and conducting the usual day to day operations when your phone rings and it’s one of your vendors who you contacted earlier and left a voicemail asking for a return call. You ask her a few questions and she responds with more information than you can absorb so you ask her to hold on while you grab a piece of paper to write it down.

You look for a working pen because the first one you grabbed doesn’t write. You can’t find a blank  piece of paper so you turn over a piece of mail that had been opened and use that. You start writing and soon find that you are running out of space because envelopes were not designed for taking notes so your print becomes slanted and gets smaller and smaller as you try to keep up with what you are being told. You thank her and tell her to have a nice day and your call ends. A few minutes later an email comes in about an urgent matter that you must attend to immediately so you spend the next hour addressing that issue. After that, a scheduled meeting starts and you finish your day out with the meeting.

The next morning,  you remember your conversation with the vendor from yesterday but there is one problem, you have no idea where the used envelope that you scribbled on is located. In fact, you can find every scrap piece of paper, junk mail, magazines, contracts, bubble gum, envelopes with notes from other phone calls and everything else except — that envelope containing the vendors notes. Do you know why that happened? I will tell you. Your business happened and as long as you are in business and your doors are open, it will continue to happen unless you stop.

This cycle plays out in business all the time over and over again like a merry go round at the carnival. How would you like to get off of that merry go round. Image if you could still record the things that you know you won’t remember later and not have to worry about losing that information when you need it. I have good news for you. You can do it and it wont cost you a dime. What is it? It is going paperless and abandoning your paper ways for digital documentation. What is that you ask? It’s quite simple, you can continue to capture your notes  but you use digital tools to do it instead. Here are a few options that you can start practicing with today at no cost:

  • Evernote – Lets you write, edit, categorize and saves your notes. Free
  • Google Docs – Lets you write, edit, categorize and saves your notes. Free

If you really want to get productive combine a tablet computer with your new habit and you can now carry your notes with you eliminating the need to search your office for paper. These will cost you but the return on this investment will be well worth it. Here are a few you can consider in different cost ranges:

  • iPad – A portable device that you can write on just like paper $250 and up
  • Penultimate app – Allows you to write, edit and save notes. It also connects to Evernote (Above)
  • Stylus (Optional) – Feels like a pencil or pen and allows you to write on your tablet. $30.

Note: None of these are affiliate links.

Well, there you have it. You can use these tools to stop writing things down on paper that you lose and save yourself a ton of time and time is money. You owe it to yourself to give this a try. Running a business is hard enough without these little things that kill your time getting in the way. Let me know how this works out for you.

AutomationIn my practice as a corporate employee I worked in an environment where downsizing was the rule and not the exception. This activity seemed to be consistently taking place throughout each quarter of the year.

During a conference call, someone asked this question to a member of the senior management team,”How do you recommend that we work toward our objectives given that we are losing resources but are tasked with producing the same level of results?” The answer given was one word, “Automation.”

That call ended shortly afterwards and there wasn’t much explanation given with any level of real detail. No actionable steps or roadmaps were recommended or suggested. We were all left feeling like we had not learned anymore than we knew before the call. Continue reading

3513439212_1d98e95a49_oThis is a rant based on true events. On multiple occasions I have had experiences with a company in its early stages and the customer service is great. They seem to go out of their way to make sure you are satisfied as a customer. However, when that same business starts to generate revenue, the customer service tanks. Your calls to the support number have extreme hold times, your emails go without responses, people start talking, complaints begin to show up on the internet. Sound familiar?

My belief is that these companies fall into one of three categories;

  1. The don’t have any idea how to run effective operations for their businesses.
  2. They are throwing so much at marketing to acquire new customers that they don’t care about the ones that they lose.
  3. They do not care because they have customers now and they are getting paid so thats all that matters.

If it’s 1 then they should read this post on customer service. If it’s 2 then they should get used to pumping dollars into marketing because they will need to to stay in business. If it’s 3 then good luck staying out of bankruptcy court.

RG III
RG III

The term “Speed Kills” is commonly used in sports analogies when someone has been put at an obvious disadvantage during an event. I am a fan of the NFL and its common to hear someone say, “man, he got burnt” which means that one player has left another a few steps behind as he strides into the end zone.

A 15 second search of Twitter shows evidence to back up my statement.

In the Start up world raising Venture capital is referred to as a means of speeding up the process to success. The reason being is that raising money allows you access to resources such as developers, marketing budget and mentors (providing you get the right investors). In the Internet culture, lots of information is shared freely. The pro here is that there are resources available for nearly any topic and those resources are growing. However, there are con’s also. One of those con’s is that noise also known as spam, crappy sales sites for poor quality products or fraudulent sites also grow in number. Continue reading