• 6 Signs Your Leadership Skills Could Use Some Work

    Profits have dropped, productivity has slowed, and your business has felt like it’s been on a roller coaster for years. Before you blame the economy, you might want to take a look in the mirror. Those conditions could be clues that your organization is lacking strong leadership, according to management consultant and trainer Ed Eppley.

    Eppley is a leading expert in professional management, sales strategy, and performance management. His clients include a "Who’s Who" of business category leaders that include BMW, STERIS, Sara Lee, Speedway, Steamboat Ski & Resort Company, Emerson Electric, Safelite Auto Glass, and others. As an instructor of the Course for Presidents at Aileron in Tipp City, Ohio, Eppley also helps owners of private businesses apply a system of professional management to identify and correct workplace problems.

    With 30 years in the business, Eppley has honed a skill for spotting problematic management. In advance of his forthcoming book that teaches his preferred system

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  • Appreciation

    For many of us, feeling a sense of belonging in the places we work, homes, and with the people we love and care about is satisfying. We work hard to make sure that what we do counts, and that we are able to support ourselves. But more to our need to survive and make every moment count is an even deeper, psychological need: the need to be appreciated.

    Appreciation is such an important factor in our lives and workplaces that organizational researchers find without appreciation, productivity in the workplace decreases, and employee morale is greatly affected. Closer to home, not being appreciated by the people you share a home with can be discouraging, and can sometimes lead to hostile home environments.

    Many agree that communicating appreciation is important. Then, why don’t we practice it more? As individuals, we lack practice in our appreciation skills. It costs you little to show appreciation on a consistent basis, and the rewards will far exceed your expectations.

    The 5 Languages of

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  • Secrets from the Scalerator: Focus on Established Revenue Sources

    Part 3 in a 4-part series about businesses that met the AmEx OPEN Scalerator challenge to grow their revenues 15 percent in three months.


    Bill Reilly says what he learned in atwo-month intense sales- and growth-focused training workshop last fall was “not rocket science,” but it enabled him to grow his revenues by 15 percent in a matter of weeks and invest in new equipment that is already contributing to his bottom line. Now he’s scouting for a bigger location and planning a 25 percent headcount increase.

    Reilly is co-owner of Hands-on Garage, afull service automotive maintenance business that also provides mechanic bays, tools, and professional guidance for customers who want to work on their own cars. He was among 12 Milwaukee-area business owners who were selected to participate in the American Express OPEN pilot Scalerator program last September.

    At the end of the training, participants were challenged to devise a strategy for exceeding their first quarter 2014 revenue plan by 15

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  • Trolls

    When you start your entrepreneurial journey, you will inevitably have visions of what your success will look and feel like. Perhaps you picture yourself on a boat, drinking champagne? Or maybe you see yourself winning a Nobel Prize for making major change in the world? Whatever the dream and vision, I’m sure it doesn’t include being attacked online and being hounded by strangers.

    Unfortunately, in the world we live in, this is a possible reality. I wanted to write this piece to warn you, but also support you and give you tips on how to handle your success haters; also known as internet trolls. You see, you don’t have to be Richard Branson to be considered worthy of trolling. In fact, at the age of just 24, I already have a troll crew that follow me from blog to blog, success to success, shouting negative, untrue abuse.

    So why do we attract trolls in the first place?

    That’s easy - for sticking our heads above the parapet! By our very nature of being entrepreneurial we want to stand

    Read More »from Trolls: the modern indication of success or five ways to handle unwanted attention.
  • Storytelling

    This is a guest post by Shane Snow, chief content officer at Contently, a New York company that connects freelance journalists with corporate assignments. The article first appeared on the Content Strategist blog.

    In 2012, a pale woman with crazy eyebrows and a keytar strapped to her back made a video of herself, wearing a kimono and holding up hand-Sharpied signs on a street in Melbourne. One by one, the signs flipped, explaining that the woman had spent the last 4 years writing songs. She was a musician, and had parted ways with her record label, which had said the cost of her next album would be a whopping $500,000. She and her band mates were very happy to no longer be with the label, and had worked hard to create some great new music and art. But they couldn’t finish producing the record on their own. She needed people’s help to get it off the ground and to make what was now her business — independent music — work.

    “This is the future of music,” one of her signs read. Another, “I

    Read More »from Why Storytelling Will Be the Biggest Business Skill of the Next 5 Years
  • Secrets from the Scalerator: Incentivizing Crossover Sales

    Part 2 in a 4-part series about businesses that met the AmEx OPEN Scalerator challenge to grow their revenues 15 percent in three months.

    When ScaleUp Milwaukee brought the American Express OPEN Scalerator program to town last fall, Tom Dougherty, owner of Advanced Chemical Systems, was among 12 area business owners and managers who were accepted to enroll to learn how to scale up. Less than four months after completing the intensive two-month workshop, Dougherty has already translated what he learned into impressive results at his 12-person business. He attributes the sale of a $100,000 contract in November, as well as a 16 percent spike in his chemical sales since then, to the growth plan the Scalerator helped him conceive.

    “Every small business is trying to grow,” Dougherty says. “What prompted me to join the Scalerator were the specifics the leaders asked about my business during the interview. The professor did enough homework on us that it was like getting a personalized

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  • Secrets from the Scalerator: How Three Businesses Scaled Up Fast

    Leaders in Milwaukee began an initiative last year to spur economic growth by helping businesses in the region learn how to scale up. The payoffs are already coming and other metro regions ripe for revival are taking note.

    Yahoo Small Business reported here last year about the Rust Belt city’s “entrepreneurship ecosystem project” called Scale Up Milwaukee. Led by Babson College entrepreneurship professor Daniel Isenberg, the program has support from the Greater Milwaukee Committee, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, as well as funding from AmericanExpress OPEN for Enterprise: Coalitions for High-Growth Entrepreneurship. The AmEx program aims to foster high-growth entrepreneurship by giving select communities, starting with Milwaukee, the right resources and tools for a better entrepreneurial environment.

    Among the resources AmEx OPEN brought to Milwaukee last autumn was the Scalerator—a two-month series of two-day workshops

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  • When most small businesses think about social media, they automatically think Twitter and Facebook.  If your business caters directly to individuals I think it is hard to argue that you should not have a presence on both.  For B2B businesses, however, there is a better option.  In this article I am going to tell you about slideshare, why I think it is the best avenue for generating leads for B2B businesses, and exactly how you should use it to do so.

    Why is slideshare great for marketing your B2B business?

    slideshare is where your audience is

    As I look through the most popular presentations page on slideshare.net I see titles like Productivity Hacks From LinkedIn Influencers, High Performing Firms - Winning Through Culture, and The Most Important Small Business Trends In 2014.  Compare these to the most popular content on social networks like Facebook and Twitter (where Miley Cyrus and pet pictures rule) and it’s not hard to see why slideshare is better for B2B businesses.


    Read More »from Practical guide to marketing a B2B small business using Slideshare
  • Sometimes, Goliath is the underdog: How small innovative businesses can have the upper hand

    Let’s get one thing clear before we begin.  While I’ve lived and breathed the startup world since founding BodeTree in 2010, I’m not your typical startup founder.  First of all, I don’t live in the Bay Area, or New York, or any other hub of excitement.  I grew up in the sprawling metropolis of Phoenix, Arizona and now live in the Mile High (in more ways than one) city of Denver.  Up until recently I always viewed this as a weakness.  After all, all of the hip, wildly intelligent, and dynamic entrepreneurs on the coasts must know something that i don’t, right?

    I’m beginning to find, however, that isn’t exactly the case.  In the rush to prove how disruptive and innovative they are, many entrepreneurs are inadvertently conforming around common assumptions and, as a result, missing a huge opportunity.  I’ve written in the past about my love/hate relationship with business books, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve yet to shake my addiction.  My latest foray into the land of business

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  • Remote Meeting ManagementThe way teams work and collaborate is changing. Consulting, remote workforces and outsourcing are all on the rise. Even if you operate a team that is technically based in the same physical office, it’s becoming more and more common that your clients prefer to communicate in a virtual manner instead of in-person meetings due to time constraints.

    One of the biggest issues that has surfaced around remote work is how to handle meetings. How do you communicate effectively when the meeting is with teams that are several hundreds or thousands of miles away instead of face-to-face in the conference room? How do you ensure that your employees are a part of the meeting instead of just following directions?

    Below are seven strategies and techniques that will make your next virtual meeting just as effective as its in-person counterpart.  After incorporating these tips, you may actually find that you prefer remote meetings, too -- even if the other party is accessible for an in-person meeting:

    Read More »from 7 Tips for Running a More Effective Remote Meeting


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