Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What an Employer Looks For

imageThis article was written by Barry McKinley, SCORE Orange County Business Mentor

A good interviewer is going to be looking for qualities in the applicant other than the obvious. They have already reviewed your resume so they know the facts they are now trying to learn about more you. They will be listening to what’s NOT being said, as well as what’s being said. Some of the items that can set you apart from the other applicants would be:

1. Creativity

Are you able to think “Out of the box”? Are you comfortable with the job and responsibilities changing. Are you willing to look at challenges from different perspectives?

2. Confidence

Do you relax in the interview? Are you able to project self-assurance to the interviewer?

Are you able to handle slowdowns in the conversation during the interview without showing nervousness?

3. Standards

All people are shaped and guided by their values. This becomes the core of our personality and being. Are your principles to get the job done at any cost or are good communications more important? Are you more motivated by quantity or quality? Will you be willing to accept the job being done 80% of the way?

4. Persistence and Follow-Through

These are skills (“backbone”) that help you complete jobs particularly when the going gets rough. The employer does not want to hire staff that will give up as soon as obstacles are placed in their way. They will be looking for accomplishments in your life that express your toughness.

5. Integrity

Are you willing to be responsible for your actions both when they are positive as well as negative. Are you quick to blame or point the finger away from yourself? Does your life show that you accept responsibility?

6. Clarity of Communications

Just because you believe that you spoke clearly and precisely does not mean that the listener received it that way. Top notch communication means accepting responsibility for the other person’s listening.

7. Passion

The interviewer will be listening to what you are passionate about. They will try to figure out what motivates you and if your passions will fit with their needs. They will want to insure that you have a thirst for life.

8. Personal Opinions and Views

The employer is seeking what you embrace or your philosophy of life. Do you see the glass half empty or help full. Are you more of a negative person always expecting something bad to happen? Do you blow up the smallest difficulty into a major issue?

9. Genuine

The interviewer is interested in the fact that you are acting like yourself or if you are putting on a front. They are striving to determine if you are comfortable with yourself and not trying to be something you are not.

Real Winners Keep Moving the Finish Line

imageThis article was written by Harvey Mackay, from his column 10/28/2013, reprinted by permission

When the World Series or the Super Bowl rolls around, there’s usually a reliable way to pick the winners: The guys who say "I’m just glad to be here," aren’t going to be the ones wearing the championship rings when the game is over. They achieved their goal before the game began.

What’s really more important, goal-setting or goal-getting?

A teen-ager will mow lawns all summer in order to buy the jalopy that he is certain will impress Mary Anne. The real lesson — learning solid work habits — is easily lost if Mary Anne is not impressed.

We all know companies that were household names, the bluest of the blue chips, that are fading memories today. W.T. Grant, Woolworth, Zenith, Studebaker, Montgomery Wards. Every salesperson knows an ace who was on top of the sales charts for years and all of a sudden lost his stroke. He didn’t go from first to second, he went all the way to the bottom.

In each of these cases, the goal was the same, to get on top. But once they got there, they started to lose their way.

They lost the hunger, the ability to innovate, to listen to their customers, to adopt to change, to be humble.

They had achieved their goals. Now was the time to reap the rewards. About 20 years ago, a fellow named Parkinson, wrote a series of books in which he cleverly framed his observations into "Parkinson’s Laws." Most are just as valid today, because these rules of human nature are timeless. One was, and yes, I’m paraphrasing a bit, "Whenever a company proudly announces the establishment of their beautiful, new, modern, efficient corporate headquarters, you can be sure they’re heading downhill."

Why? Because instead of focusing on their business, the company’s managers are focusing on themselves. Messy desks, cramped quarters, unlovely surroundings are the physical manifestations of people too busy getting the work done to care much about their own creature comforts.

The greatest danger to a business is not risk. It’s lack of risk: complacency. As success piles upon success, the goal changes. Number 1? We are number 1. Roll out the red carpet. Get that door, will you? And where’s my driver?

Look back at that list of corporate casualties and you won’t see Wal-Mart. It didn’t matter how much money Sam Walton made, he still drove a beat-up pick-up truck. Instead of hanging around a plush office, he got out and walked the floor of his stores and his competitors’ stores. His people were well aware of his habits. The Walton-lifestyle is ingrained into the Wal-Mart culture.

Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s, was never so wrapped up in enjoying material things that he lost his desire to get the education denied him by his impoverished childhood. At 60 he went back to high school and got his GED. He attended the prom with his wife and they were crowned Prom King and Prom Queen. His fellow students voted him "Most Likely to Succeed." Not all of today’s high schoolers are in the dark about goal-setting.

What’s your goal? Whatever it is, I suggest you commit it to writing and keep it on your desk where you’ll see it every day. At least quarterly, give yourself a report card. If you ever achieve your goal, be like Curt Carlson, the billionaire founder of the Carlson Companies, the parent of the Radisson Hotels.

As a young soap salesman, Curt used to set yearly sales goals for himself, write them down and stick them in his wallet. About halfway through the year, when he reached his annual target, Curt would tear up the slip of paper, toss it, and set another goal.

Curt has the reputation of being a tough boss. There’s a reason: he’s never quite satisfied with himself.

Curt knows the answer to the question I posed earlier: It’s not goal-getting that matters. It’s goal setting. You never want to reach your goal.

Indiegogo Co-Founder Says Be Obsessed With the Problem, Not the Solution

This article was written by Catherine Gifford, October 25, 2013, in Entrepreneur Magazine, reprinted by permission

Most entrepreneurs tell you to be hyper-, laser-focused on solutions. But for Danae Ringelmann, the co-founder of the global crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, it is her obsession with the problem that keeps her going.

When she was in her early 20s and working in finance in New York City, Ringelmann went to a meeting of filmmakers and angel investors, largely, she thought, to watch the goings on, and, she admits, to get out of the office.

What she experienced was a shock. Ringelmann was one of a small handful of attendees from the finance world being eagerly sought after by veteran filmmakers who were desperately seeking funding. Ringelmann was one of the most popular girls at the party because the ratio of artists to funders left her in the significant minority. A few days after the event, she received a FedEx mailer with the copy of a screenplay from an elderly filmmaker, and a painstaking letter eagerly hoping that Ringelmann would fund his work. Ringelmann’s heart sank to learn that she -- a young, inexperienced finance employee -- would be the ticket to this older, experienced filmmaker’s dreams.

This level of inequity, combined with Ringelmann’s childhood, when she grew up listening to her small-business-owner parents struggling to get access to capital to grow their moving business, combined to plant a seed for Ringelmann. She left her 100-hour-work-week life of finance in New York City and went to the University of California at Berkeley Haas School of Business. There, she and her classmates began to pick apart what she saw as a problem: democratizing finance, putting the power of raising money in the hands of the people. It was at Berkeley that Ringelmann met her two co-founders, Slava Rubin and Eric Schell, both of whom came from tech backgrounds.

“If we want to live on this planet and be responsible, accountable human beings, finance is the number one obstacle for bringing the ideas of the world to life,” says Ringelmann. “As a world, we don’t have the option for it not to be fair. It has to be fair. I almost felt like it was my duty to see this idea through, like the world needed me to see this idea through.”

Ringelmann, now 35, and her teammates are well on their way. Since launching in 2008, San Francisco-based Indiegogo has hosted 150,000 campaigns for organizations, nonprofits and individuals raising money all across the world. Currently, Indiegogo is private and doesn’t disclose its financials. However, the company will say that it is distributing “millions of dollars” each week. Top campaigns have earned millions of dollars each, primarily for tech-related inventions.

Last year, Indiegogo launched in French and German. It accepts the British pound, the euro and the Canadian dollar in addition to U.S. dollars. What about bitcoin? “We are looking at everything,” she says.

In her journey from heartbreak to sitting at the head of one of the leading financial platforms, Ringelmann has learned a few things. Beyond the idea of putting your obsession with a problem above your obsession with any particular solution, here is Ringelmann’s best advice for entrepreneurs.

1. Iterate versus create. If aspiring entrepreneurs wait for the moment when they have a world-changing business idea, and they are absolutely prepared to carry out that brilliant idea, they will never launch, says Ringelmann. “Don’t wait for perfect. Don’t wait for the perfect idea because it will never appear,” says Ringelmann. Once you get started, then you can make adjustments along the way, she says. Indiegogo encapsulates this idea with its mantra “iterate versus create.”
2. Don’t wait for praise. Ringelmann attributes her fierce determination to her late father, who, she says, taught her to not be afraid of meeting resistance head on and to continue on your path even if you aren't met with gratitude and appreciation. “The world loves to say no, it is not its fault,” says Ringelmann of what her dad told her. “It is your job to say 'yes' and you are not going to get any pats on the back. I remember him saying that very specifically -- nobody is going to say, 'good job,' 'A for effort.' None of that. You have just got to stick to your guns. The world will say, 'thank you,' not by saying 'thank you.' They will just embrace it, and you will know you have done the world a service and that should be enough.” Ringelmann’s father died in October of 2008, but she still hears his voice in her head.

3. Don’t let competition slow you down. When Ringelmann launched Indiegogo, the word “crowdfunding” didn’t exist. Today, there are in the vicinity of 600 online crowdfunding portals. At Indiegogo, the team isn’t intimidated by the competition, but feels validated for having created a funding model that has been so embraced. “Potential competitors are potential partners at the same time,” says Ringelmann. “In general, we try not to be too focused on the competition and just stay really focused on what we think we are good at and what we want to accomplish, and so far that has worked.”

4. Take action. “Jump in,” says Ringelmann. Just start moving. You will learn from the repercussions, whether good or bad. “Have a bias towards action because in every action you take, there is an equal and opposite reaction and that opposite reaction might be a confirmation of what action you just took or it might be a denial of the action you just took.” Either way, you will start learning and eventually you will get closer to the idea you are searching for.

5. Make sure the reason you launched your company is something you care very deeply about. “Entrepreneurship is hard, and it’s being connected to that reason for being, that why, that will get you through the tough times,” says Ringelmann. If you aren’t committed to the problem you are solving, you may not have enough resolve to stick to your goals through challenges and turmoil of launching a business. For Ringelmann, that was -- and still is -- removing the gatekeepers from the finance world. “That has influenced absolutely everything we have done. It influenced our values, it has influenced our mission, it has influenced our strategy, our product. It influences the people that we hire, everything. If you have a really clear reason for the problem that you are solving, it will get you through a lot of hard times and help you make decisions in the future.”

How to Make a Good Product Video

From Success Magazine, October 2013 edition, reprinted by permission, a discussion with Bob Serling and Andy Jenkins

Today’s question is: What tips do you have for using videos to market my products on my website?

Bob Serling: To help answer that question, I asked my friend Andy Jenkins, the leading authority on website video marketing for small businesses and an Emmy-winning videographer. Much of what I do with video on my own site, I learned from Andy.

Andy Jenkins: There is a saying in the film, television and photography business that the best camera is the one that you have with you. A well-crafted video doesn’t have to be feature film or television broadcast quality—it just has to be on your website.

We’ve come to a point in video production where the cost of the technology no longer differentiates it from quality. I did an entire video series using an iPhone, which was indistinguishable from the video shot with a $7,000 camera by the time it was prepared for streaming on the web. In fact, the iPhone quality was magnificent.

You can get a Logitech C920 webcam that shoots in full 1080p, which is the highest form of HD resolution. That little $75 webcam with enough light is gorgeous and easy to shoot with. It’s auto-focus or you can manually adjust for color, white balance and other technical elements.

Another tip—good lighting. A $500 camera with good light will look as good as a $50,000 camera with poor light. So consider investing in good lighting equipment.

Bob: Adding good lighting made the biggest difference in my videos. I paid around $120 for two light boxes with stands and it made all the difference. People could see everything clearly, which removes a major distraction.

Andy: One of the wonderful things about digital video is that experimentation costs nothing. Take your iPhone or your Android smartphone or whatever camera you have and put your subject outside. Then get what’s called a bounce card. This is essentially a 2-foot by 2-foot or 3-foot by 3-foot solid white piece of foam core. [Try fine-grained Styrofoam sandwiched between matte or glossy paper, available at any craft store.] Use that to bounce the sun or the sky back up into the face of the person that you’re shooting [Try holding it above your subject.]. You’ll find that good light, especially outdoor light, can really make an amazing difference.

When you shoot inside, there are many different lighting kits that are available inexpensively. A Smith-Victor lighting kit was my first when I was a destitute creative artist. This was back in the ’80s, when $105 was all the money in the world. Fortunately, they’ve only gone up slightly with inflation, so a good Smith-Victor lighting kit is only about $120. It’s essentially two really big light bulbs in this lighting instrument that looks like a scoop that works great when you’re looking at the camera and talking directly to your audience. [You can also place a lamp on either side of yourself but never directly in front of your face, as this will cause overexposure.]

What’s even more important than the technical aspects of your video is the quality of your message. I teach a lot of subject matter experts who are very passionate about what they’re doing, but they all have the same concern—they think they aren’t experienced marketers. I always tell them that’s great and means they’re going to do fantastic.

Today we are desensitized to hardcore marketing messages, but something that will make us sit up and pay attention is the quality of the information. So here’s a formula I recommend for creating the message for your video: number one, teach; number two, teach to transform; and number three, transform to transact.

Make your viewers smarter than they were before they watched your video. Teach them to solve their problem. The transformation part relies on your personal experience. A viewer would much rather learn from someone who is teaching them from their personal experience, than from something that’s clinical and filtered out.

Finally, the transaction. We can never forget to ask for a transaction. Sometimes that transaction might be to hit the Add to Cart button. Other times it could be to hit the Like button, to hit the Share button or to enter your name and email and join my list.
The best skill for entrepreneurs is the ability to effectively communicate their message while being on video. Many of your competitors don’t have the will to create great video and the ones who do are using old principles from a decade ago that simply don’t work in today’s age of socialization. That puts you at a great advantage.

Bob: That’s true. I don’t worry about what I look like or what I sound like on video. I just try to be myself and connect with people. When you teach something of real value to people and come across as an authentic person, you can’t beat that combination.

Andy: You mentioned not worrying about what you look like. In my first videos, I was about 70 pounds overweight and didn’t want to put my face on video. So I created slideshows using Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple’s Keynote and recorded them using my voice for narration. So I didn’t even need a camera.

Bob Serling helps business owners and entrepreneurs generate more traffic, make more sales, and do both more often. Get his free e-book of interviews with 30 leading experts, including SUCCESS Publisher Darren Hardy, at www.ProfitAlchemy.com/success.

Andy Jenkins helps business owners and entrepreneurs create brands, build subscribers, and convert visitors into loyal customers with Story-Based Video Marketing. Dig into his massive resources of tips and Video Marketing tricks on his blog at www.AndyJenkinsBlog.com.