Guest Blog

EOS

The Two Surprising Things Traction/EOS Helps With That No One Talks About

The Two Surprising Things Traction/EOS Helps With That No One Talks About 900 600 WildFigAdmin

We’d like to welcome a guest writer to the Wild Fig blog—Sara Stern of Family Business Minnesota! Sara is a trained coach and EOS Implementer™. She has a unique ability to help family businesses leaders maximize the impact they have on their companies, families and communities. She is also a friend of the Fig who has helped a lot of businesses, including a few clients of ours! Read on to learn more about what she does and how it could help your business.

What People Do Talk About

Many people know the incredible power that the Entrepreneurial Operating System (a.k.a., Traction) does for businesses. 

It is a complete, proven system with simple, practical tools to help leadership teams do three things:  

  1. They get a clear vision for the business, and all leaders get 100% on the same page with where the business is going and how it is going to get there. This is a rare and awesome experience in an entrepreneurial company—sign me up!
  2. They also get Traction which is truly what everyone wants. Right?!? It helps the entire leadership team become more disciplined and accountable, executing really well to achieve every part of the vision.
  3. The really surprising and powerful thing you get when you run on EOS is that you become a healthy team. This means your leaders become a healthy, functional, cohesive leadership team—and we all know leaders often don’t function well as a team. And teamwork makes the dream work!

What many people don’t know or talk about is two other incredible things EOS gives you:

  1. One is Happiness. Gino Wickman read about happiness as he was creating the Entrepreneurial Operating System, and those concepts are woven into the tools we use. 
  2. The other thing it helps with is family business succession. Family business succession, when done poorly, can end family businesses. EOS helps family businesses continue by doing succession well.

So how the heck does EOS do that??!

Family Business Succession

Gino was literally working shoulder-to-shoulder with his own dad in their family business when he started reading every book there was to read about leadership and management and how to run a great business. 

He created two incredible tools that help two generations of a family business get together on what they want from the business. He created the Vision Traction Organizer and the Accountability Chart.

Shared Vision

The first tool is the Vision Traction Organizer (V/TO). It is a 1-page document that clearly outlines the strategic direction for the business and how you’re going to accomplish it. It is a simple and a powerful way for family members to truly agree and commit to where they’re going.

Imagine this—if the leadership team of your family business answered these 8 questions and then agreed to make decisions based on them, how much easier would your conversations be?

  • What are your core values?
  • What is your core focus (your purpose, cause or passion, and your niche)?
  • What is your 10 year target?
  • What is your marketing strategy?
  • What is your 3 year picture?
  • What are your 1 year goals?
  • What are your highest priorities for the next 90 days?
  • What are your issues?

Clear Roles

The second tool that Gino Wickman created that really helps family business succession go well is the Accountability Chart. The Accountability Chart is essentially an organizational chart on steroids. It outlines the functions of the business and what each person is accountable for. When done right it starts with the structure needed for the business and then puts the right people into those seats—not the other way around! It helps family businesses make it clear what skills are needed in the next generation. It also helps family businesses avoid building jobs around family members or keeping family members around that aren’t truly supporting the future of the business. 

When family businesses have a shared (and agreed-upon) vision and the roles you need to accomplish that vision are clear, succession gets significantly better. EOS is NOT a tool made just for family business succession but it is incredibly good at helping it happen.

Happiness

So what about happiness and why do I care about that?

As Daniel Pink pointed out in his book, Drive, when people have autonomy, mastery and purpose, they are more engaged in their jobs. When you like your job more, you’re happier. EOS helps people have autonomy by showing them clearly what their job is through the Accountability Chart. It gives them mastery by showing them where they can grow in the business, giving them numbers to shoot for and processes to follow. And purpose—just looking at a V/TO (Vision Traction Organizer), the 2nd item you see is the purpose, cause or passion of the business. Team members who work in EOS companies have a purpose they are fighting for with their colleagues every day.

EOS helps people like their colleagues too. And that leads to happiness. When you spend 1/3 of your day (or more) at work with people you like, you’re happier. Companies that run on EOS hire, fire, review, reward and recognize their team based on a shared set of values. When you’re surrounded by people who share the same values, you like those people more. When you like your colleagues more, you have fewer bummer moments in your day. When you have few bummer moments, you’re happier. Boom.

Happiness often comes out of keeping things in perspective. It comes out of knowing what is the highest priority and knowing you can get it done. It is about having clarity and confidence that what you’re doing is the right thing and moving you forward. EOS is full of tools like that. Just think about rocks, to-dos, measurables, and the rarely used and very important clarity break!

EOS requires you to have open and honest communication and to avoid politicking in your work and with your colleagues.

Finally – EOS Is designed to help you have the EOS Life. What is the EOS Life? It is this:

  • Do work you love
  • With people you love
  • Make a huge difference
  • Get compensated well
  • And have time for other passions

If that isn’t a recipe for happiness, I don’t know what is!?!!

Now what

If you want more happiness or a clearer path for family business succession—or even more fun—or all of those things, here is what you can do:

  • Email me to get a free copy of the book Traction that talks about all of these tools and more
  • Call me and let’s talk about how this could work in your business

Call or email me today at (612) 220-6559 or sara@familybusinessmn.com. Let’s talk about the future of your family business.

business photography tips

7 Business Photography Tips to Increase Your Bottom Line

7 Business Photography Tips to Increase Your Bottom Line 902 600 WildFigAdmin

Guest Blog: By Dan Iverson
theanthologie.com

Does your company have online curb appeal? These 7 photo mistakes may be impacting your bottom line.

Imagine searching for a new home and you come across two properties that are shaping up to be the perfect fit for you and your family. When you swing by for an in-person inspection, however, you discover the options are worlds apart. One home looks well maintained and features a stunning landscape while the other looks like it’s been neglected for the better part of a decade. In the blink of an eye you realize what you thought was going to be a difficult decision is now rather easy. 

That’s because whether we like to admit it or not we are prejudiced by appearances. In fact, our brains process visual information 60 times faster than words alone, so it’s plain to see how as you’re gazing at a home in a state of disrepair your brain has subconsciously eliminated it from the running and is probably already picking out window treatments for the charming one. Image matters.

So, how does this translate to your business? You need online presence with curb appeal. More people than ever are shopping from home even when it comes to big purchases and what they see first has a huge impact on how they perceive your brand. People may poll their online audience of friends and peers for recommendations for products and services, but as soon as potential customers have your business name you can bet they’re going to search your company online. If your website and social media aren’t grabbing their attention with strong photos your message may be lost, or worse, you may be sending the wrong message about your professionalism. In contrast, high quality images — and better yet, images that put a face to your company — can build trust in your brand before prospects ever hit send on your contact form.

Doing all that with photography may sound confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. And you don’t need to invest $20,000 in camera equipment to do the job right. There are definitely times when you should consider hiring a professional photographer for your branded photography, but if you’re a DIY’er these tips will help ensure you’re sending the right message to your online viewers even if the best equipment you have is a mobile phone.

1. Show don’t tell.

business photography tips

Be strategic about your photos. Think about your picture as a story with no words and always be thinking: “Why am I creating this photo? What is its purpose?” and you’ll be ahead of the competition. Not only will your pictures be more engaging, but they will instantly convey your intended message to your audience and help them to remember your company first! 

2. Look on the bright side.

Photographing your subject in an area with too much sunlight and shadows interfering with one another or in an area that’s too dark can be distracting to the viewer. One of the easiest things you can do for better pictures is to explore your subject at different times of day. You may find that the scene looks completely different at 7 a.m. vs. 7 p.m. As a general rule of thumb midday is the often most challenging time for photos as there tends to be too many harsh shadows. Softer, more-pleasing light can often be found closer to sunrise or sunset. Midday can work, however, and provide a pop of color when the light is even across the entire scene.

3. Declutter.

Another big no-no is to create a photo that just has too much going on. If you want to think like a photographer the mantra may be: simple is best. Remove items from the background that visually compete for your attention with the main subject. Be sure a tool in the background isn’t aligning on center with someone’s face in the foreground. This will subconsciously create tension with your audience. Be sure the space you’re working in is clean, too. If you’re showing off a completed remodel, for example, you’d want to make sure there aren’t boxes, packaging, tools or cords present anywhere in your pictures.

4. Sharpen up.

Modern cameras and mobile phone cameras make auto focus very simple — you just have to know how to use it. Mobile phone camera software autofocuses to the foreground of your frame. However, sometimes what you want to be in focus isn’t obvious. To adjust where you want your camera lens to focus just tap on the screen where you want to to sharpen the image. If you’re photographing something in motion try activating the burst setting on your camera, which will take a number of frames in a matter of seconds. It’s more likely one of them will have better focus than the others. Don’t be afraid to take a lot of pictures. You can delete the not-so-great ones later on.

5. Give it some space.

Too often I find when a team member is tasked with creating employee portraits the standard practice is to push them right up against a wall and stand very close to one another. For business portraits and headshots have your subject stand at least a few feet in front of a wall or background. This will help to ensure attention is clearly on the individual and not something else. You can also have a little fun with this concept if you put even more distance between the subject and the background to tell a little more about your company by subtly including some visual cues to your services in the background.

6. Photograph from different angles.

Not every picture is compelling from eye level, yet that’s where so many people are holding the camera for 99.9% of all of their pictures. Try kneeling down, or using a step ladder to gain a new perspective from above. Most pictures of physical spaces used to show off your business location, for example, often look better when photographed at or near hip level. You may be surprised that laying down completely may create a truly unique image, too.

7. Frame your subject.

A more advanced composition technique is to use the environment to frame your subject. This combines many of the tips above and helps to instantly draw viewers in to the message you wish to convey. Aside from doors and archways, keep your eyes open for patterns with arching trees, rows of lights or even railings to help isolate people and highlight them in an unexpected manner.

Learn more about Dan Iverson and Anthologie at www.theanthologie.com.

3 BLOGGING TIPS THAT WILL HELP INCREASE YOUR EXPOSURE

3 BLOGGING TIPS THAT WILL HELP INCREASE YOUR EXPOSURE 900 600 Kari Switala

Guest Blogger & Expert: Janet E Johnson, This post was originally published on September 30, 2013 and updated on February 22, 2021.

Janet E. Johnson

I recently asked my clients and prospects what questions they had when it came to blogging. There were 3 main questions that most people had. I asked my friend, Janet E. Johnson a social media and blogging expert for her input on these 3 questions. Here’s what she had to say…

Do you need a large following of subscribers on your blog in order for it to have positive affect on your business?

No, there are multiple ways to get your blog seen.  Personally, I’d rather have one subscriber on my blog and thousands on my email list.  People are not using feeds like they used to.  Even Google realized this because they shut down the Google Reader.

So I would not worry about subscribers on the blog as much as subscribers to your email list.  I make sure readers see my email opt-in form on my blog multiple times.  I have it on the side bar, in the blog post and at the end of the blog post.  They won’t miss it.  Other ways get people to your blog is consistency, search engine optimization, social media, guest blogging and blog sharing sites like I discuss in number 3 (below).

How often should you be blogging in order to increase your search engine rankings?

The frequency below found on About.com.

  • For maximum growth: post multiple times per day to drive the most traffic (3-5 times or more is considered best for power bloggers).
  • For steady growth: post at least once per day.
  • For slower growth: publish at least every 3 days or 2-3 times per week.
  • For very slow growth: posting less frequently than 2-3 days per week is most appropriate for bloggers who maintain blogs as a hobby with no strategic plans for growth

Here’s my take on the above list.  It completely depends on your goals!  If you are a small business, not a blogger, you still should blog.  And you can get amazing results with consistent content, even if it is 3-4 times per month.  I know this first hand.  My husband is a general contractor, so about a year ago I started blogging there 2-4 times per month consistently.  Our goal is every other Tuesday and sometimes more.  His search results for local listings on Google have grown to the top positions for multiple keywords that we focused on in our posts. This leads me into my next point, optimizing each post for specific keywords.

For search rankings, it is not as much about how often you blog.  It is more about consistency and making sure each blog post is specific to ONE Keyword. You can write one post well and get it ranked immediately if you do the pieces right.  I suggest the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.  With this tool, you can put in the specific keyword and it tells you where you need to have the keyword in your post for proper optimization.

Where can I find great copy from other bloggers to repost on my blog site?

My favorite website to connect with other bloggers and share their content is triberr.com. Triberr is a community of talented bloggers and influencers that have come together to read and share great content.  And it’s FREE!  You can share excellent blog posts to all your social sites directly from inside triberr.com.  There are different tribes you can connect with to follow bloggers in your niche.

They also have a WordPress plugin to reblog right on your own website.  When you set this up, it is like having a guest post without all the extra effort of finding someone.  Plus, your content gets shared and reblogged.  It is a robust system that simplifies the blogging world.  Here’s a sample of a post that I thought was excellent content by Mike Allton, so I did a ‘reblog’ on my website.  All I have to do is hit the button ‘reblog’ (see image below) and it automatically saves into my drafts.  So I added the image, bolded some text and add credit to the author.  Amazing, huh? There’s even more and I feel I could go on and on, but head over and sign up for yourself.

Want more great blogging tips? Click here to learn how to write a blog post in 6 easy steps from our friends at Pixpa.

Your Website isn’t an Ad, it’s the Main Event

Your Website isn’t an Ad, it’s the Main Event 900 600 WildFigAdmin

With our amazing Figstory event fast approaching, we thought we would let you hear from the speakers that will be presenting at this amazing event on January 25th. Here’s a blog by Brian Johnson of PageCrafter. Join us on the 25th to hear more from Brian on exploring the power of using empathy to connect with website visitors!

By Brian Johnson of PageCrafter

Unless you’re in advertising, odds are you do not seek out advertisements or relish being aggressively sold to. So why then, is your website built like an advertisement?

In today’s marketing climate, your website is the central hub that connects all of your marketing efforts. It is where your potential clients are going to find out more information about you, and if done right, it is where you will generate the majority of your business.

And yet, you’re doing it all wrong.

If you’re treating your website like a glorified infomercial and trying to ram your offer down your visitors’ throats, read on. I’ve got three main tips to telling a better story, improving your communication, and maximizing the leads you get from your site.

1. Use Empathy to Connect with your Visitors.

You need to put yourself in the shoes of your visitors. Why are they on your site to begin with? What do they want? Who are they?

If you can answer those questions and if you’re able to truly understand their needs, you’ll have a much clearer picture of what to say on your website.

If you’ve determined that your visitors are generally there to find out more information about your product, make sure it’s easy to find that information. If the primary purpose is to find your contact information, make that easy to find as well. Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to buy something and not knowing how.

The bottom line of empathy is to figure out what your visitors want, and give it to them in a way that feels natural and intuitive.

2. Tell Your Story in a Way That Appeals to Visitors

While simply listing endless specs may be heaven to a small subset of the population, you are generally going to have more luck making things a bit more interesting. Third-person narratives are generally cold and impersonal. Nobody wants to read that!

Instead, use first-person. On your “About Us” page, for instance, instead of giving a cold and stale “Acme, inc. was founded in 1492 to meet the needs of consumers yadda yadda,” why not try an interview with the founder? Giving a first-person account is always more interesting.

In general, it is better to demonstrate the expertise or capabilities of your product or service. Sometimes that is as simple as having a video that shows a product in action. Other times, it might mean producing how-to articles that show off how knowledgeable you are in your field.

Why? Because it’s almost always better to actually prove you are something than to simply say you are. Especially in situations where people are already distrusting because you are trying to sell to them.

For instance, imagine you are using one of those newfangled dating apps. Which person would you choose: the person who says they are funny in their profile, or the one who tells a hilarious joke? Easy choice! It’s much easier to say you’re funny than to say something funny.

3. Capture Your Visitors Into a List so that You Can Keep the Communication Going

Depending on your industry, it could take many months or even years to get through to people. If you can get them on your email list, you stand a better chance of getting in front of them and demonstrating your worth.

Even if you have fantastic content and tell a great story, if there’s no next-step, what was the point? You need to convert.

Getting your visitors in to your email list means that you can consistently get in front of them and show off new products, demonstrate expertise, or generally keep them updated. This is all extremely valuable, and if done right, will eventually lead to them becoming a customer.

If you keep these three things in mind, you will be worlds ahead of the average business website. It can be challenging to work through some of this, but if you want to succeed then it is absolutely critical!

And remember: stop treating your website like an advertisement.

Do You Wear a Costume Daily?

Do You Wear a Costume Daily? 900 600 WildFigAdmin

With our amazing Figstory event fast approaching, we thought we would let you hear from the speakers that will be presenting at this amazing event on January 25th. Here’s a blog by Char Dobbs of Char Style and Image. Join us on the 25th to hear more from Char on creating an authentic presence to attract the clients you want as well as several others on growing your business!

By: Char Dobbs of Char Style and Image

I must say it’s always fun to look at all the cute babies in their costumes for Halloween. What’s even more fun is hearing from friends about how their kids absolutely refuse to take off their costumes, contrary to what the parents want them to do. However, the kiddos love their costume so much, that they want to wear them all day, EVERY day.

And I must admit, I don’t blame them. The kiddos just want to feel & be great. In their costumes, they experience surges of energy…and some may even feel invincible, all because of how the costume makes them feel.

When was the last time you felt that way?
Unstoppable…
Amazing…
Invincible…

Recently, a woman told me that nothing in her closet made her feel great. Not. ONE. thing. I could hear my heart break a little…

Think about it, you literally wear clothes every. single. day. You more than deserve to feel invincible for at least 1/365 days, right?

Experiencing at least one day where you feel so great that you are brave enough to ask for that promotion you’ve been waiting to get or closing a huge contract.

It is perfectly okay to desire to feel how those kiddos felt in their costumes. Happy, beautiful, fierce, powerful, sassy, pretty, fun & confident.

Dare to feel great as much as you can. It will do your confidence & your wallet some good.

Do you desire to feel great? Maybe that hit home for you. If it did share with me by commenting below.

With style & love,
Char

You Are Your Brand

You Are Your Brand 900 600 WildFigAdmin

With our amazing Figstory event fast approaching, we thought we would let you hear from the speakers that will be presenting at this amazing event on January 25th. Here’s a blog by Carol Little of The Little Training Company. Join us on the 25th to hear more from Carol on growing your business!

A guest blog post by: Carol Little, The Little Training Company

Here’s the secret successful marketers know: customers don’t buy a product, they buy you: your personality, your experience, the unique qualities only you possess.

There was a time when “branding” meant a corporate-looking logo and a slick catalog but in today’s online marketplace, the real value is not in appearing to be a big company, but rather in just being you. And your personality shines through in a variety of ways.

Your Authentic Voice

How you speak and write and even how you act on camera or in an audio interview has the power to instantly identify you to your audience. You can see this in action if you scroll through your Facebook feed. It’s easy to know who has posted a particular image or status update, just by recognizing the voice with which they generally speak.

Here’s an even more important aspect of your “voice” though: it has the power to attract a specific audience. In recent years, a few high profile coaches and product sellers have become celebrities of a sort, largely because of their harsh, “don’t hold back” language. Ash Ambirge over at www.TheMiddleFingerProject.org makes no apologies for her use of offensive words, and her fans love her for it. And those that don’t? Well, as she says right on her home page, her site and services are “not for humorless bores.”

Snarkiness and foul language are not the only way to go, though. Carrie Wilkerson has built her brand almost entirely on her ability to be kind and generous. She always has a nice word, never appears defeated or overwhelmed, and is an inspiration to her fans and clients.

While very different in their approaches, these two women have one thing in common: authenticity. It’s clear that if you were to meet either of them in person, they would speak and act exactly as they do online. And their brands are stronger for it.

Your Story

How did you get to where you are today? The backstory—which to you might seem boring and uneventful—is a powerful tool that can help solidify your brand and attract just the right audience.

Melissa Ingold tells of being a struggling single mother, and of creating an online business rather than simply choosing to work one dead-end job after another. Her success is an inspiration to her audience, and is a huge part of her branding.

Kelly McCausey often speaks of how she got started online when she was looking for a way to earn just a few extra dollars every month to keep the lights on. Creating graphics at $5 each quickly turned into a full-time online career.

Your story doesn’t have to be dramatic, and you certainly don’t have to share more than you’re comfortable with, but it does have to be yours. Be your true self, and you’ll never have to worry about attracting the right audience. They will self-select, and your perfect client will find you.

Speak up * Speak easy * Speak often!