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Al D’s Four Keys To Life

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On June 26, 2013 we lost one of the good ones. One of the influencers. One of the thought leaders. He may not have been published in the Harvard Business Review regularly but he influenced the people around him and the students he taught in a way that changed their lives forever. Much, much, more of an accomplishment in my opinion.

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TCBY – The Country’s Bygone Yogurt

TCBYThe scene was a sultry June evening in Regina’s third favourite frozen yogurt (froyo, or “FROYO” to which my my phone has grown accustomed to autocorrecting it) shop. After making plans to bike to TCBY, which is short for The Country’s (self-proclaimed) Best Yogurt, I’d ditched the idea at the last minute in order to take my car and get there five minutes earlier to avoid the awkward the-entire-staff-hates-me-for-walking-in-right-at-close scenario.

Success. I arrived at exactly 10:50pm.

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5 Ways To Be Awesome Online

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1. Be Remarkable

These days, everyone and their dog has Twitter, Facebook, and a website. The quickest way to get lost in the noise is to do exactly what others are doing and expect a different result. Learn to pivot and don’t be afraid to take a leap to get noticed. People will find it refreshing and maybe actually listen to you and follow you. A good way to do this is to create a social object. A good example of this is GEICO and their gecko. They’ve  taken a dull as dishwater insurance industry that has little or no place on platforms people use to be entertained like Facebook or Twitter and entertained people with their little warm-climate lizard.

2. Solve Problems Simply

Contrary to the popular belief that people go online ‘for no particular reason’, people go online for two main reasons. The first of which is to solve a problem. You’ll see the second reason if you scroll down to the next point. But don’t just yet! Think of the problems your clients might have. Even if they’re not directly related to the kinds of problems you solve for them offline, use your expertise and your platform to become the go to place for solving problems of that kind. The successes of mayoclinic.com, livestrong.com, and webmd.com are no accidents. They’ve tapped into the wealth of health problems that people face on daily basis and have become the front-of-mind destinations for people wanting to get to the root of their symptoms. How can you do something similar?

3. Entertain

Here it is; the second reason people spend hours online. The television spots you remember are the entertaining ones. The reason you’re tired at work is you were up late watching 2012’s worst wipeouts on YouTube. It’s no secret that you scroll through Instagram because it adds some entertainment to your day. In terms of your business’ online content and social interactions, seek to entertain. Try different methods, measure, learn, and pivot until you find something that resonates with your tribe.

4. Be Awesome Offline

Who’s awesome on Twitter? Well, typically it’s people that you’d actually enjoy going for coffee with. You think Kelly Oxford only strings together controversial but oh-so-true observational sentences on Twitter? No, I’m willing to bet my first 100 followers that a coffee with her would be the most entertaining encounter of my week. Don’t view your online personality and interactions as being different from your offline ones. Talk to people as though you’re running into them on the sidewalk, not as though you’re yelling at a crowd through a foghorn. Put as much effort into responding to and wowing friends and customers alike as you would if they were standing at your house’s front door or in your store.

5. Attend Our Workshop 🙂

I wouldn’t be adding this point to this post if I didn’t truly think July 18th will be an extremely valuable, collaborative, and informative day. Instead of us telling you what we’ve done with clients and what we do with our own platforms, we’re bringing people we’ve worked with and people who have influenced us from the community. We’re sure you’ll find them to be remarkable, problem-solving, entertaining, and just plain awesome.

PRESENTING: Strategy Lab’s How To Be Awesome Online Workshop 

 

 

 

PRESENTING: Strategy Lab’s How To Be Awesome Online Workshop

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The date has been set! Some amazing marketing influencers and presenters are ready and eager to spend a morning in July imparting upon you their experiences marketing online in this rapidly changing business world.

Kaeli Decelles of the Regina Police Service, Mitch Gallant of Capital Ford, Jackson Middleton of First Foundation, and Brin Werrett of Rockstar Homes all have experience in the trenches and want to share them with you.

The day will be a combination of short presentations and interactive panel discussions designed to equip you with a deeper understanding of how to crush it online. And, of course, our very own Jeph Maystruck will be on the microphone with his unabashed opinions and signature candor.

Whether you’re just beginning to think about marketing online or have vast experience, this interactive, informative, and collaborative day is for you and your company.

See you there!

Register Now

Speakers:

As Soon As You Get A Website, Do This:

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All too often, people come to us having a built a website on their own or having hired someone else to build it for them. They’re often proud of their shiny new tool and eager to put it to use.

The problem is, the tool often isn’t ready for any kind of effective use. Things like semantic URLs, a blog, and SEO optimized plug-ins are completely absent. While these are things that are taken care of by us if you choose Strategy Lab, if you’re getting someone else to build your site or going it alone (a quest for which we commend you), we recommend listening closely to this valuable recommendation:

Use Marketing Grader  to review your marketing efforts. The fine folks at Hubspot.com know what they’re doing and their know-how is exhibited beautifully with their free and easy-to-use marketing grader. Simply entering your website address will provide you with an in-depth analysis of your content, social, and SEO improvement needs and the urgency of each. Basically, if you are inherently great at what you do and also take the advice this tool gives you very seriously, you’re likely going to have some success. Check it out.

The Lean Startup

Business Quote of the Day: Eric Ries on Competitive Advantage

Today’s business quote of the day comes from one of the best books I’ve ever read on innovation and entrepreneurship. Even though the quote is widely applicable regardless of the context, I’ll provide you some. Author Eric Ries is discussing businesses and entrepreneurs who spend their time keeping their strengths, discoveries, and prototypes behind a curtain, making tweaks based on speculation and delaying going to market. Ries explicitly states that in today’s business world, this will not give you the competitive advantage you’re looking for. The only way be a market leader is to learn faster than your competition. The best way to do this is to go to market, get feedback, and make rapid improvements.

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Full Quote:  “A head start is rarely large enough to matter, and time spent in stealth mode-away from customers-is unlikely to provide a head start. The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.” – Eric Ries

Where to Learn: Photoshop, Coding, Everything

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At Strategy Lab, we strive to educate every client on how to eventually manage their own website and create their own content. While we give you the tools to do this, your website’s performance will be enhanced by teaching yourself how to create dynamic content. For this reason (and because we love learning so much) here are three of my favourite places to learn online.

Code.org
Created by Hadi Partovi and backed by many big names like Gates, Zuck (yeah, we’re on a nickname basis), and Dorsey, Code.org tackles the challenge of improving computer science education. Even if you don’t plan on creating the next Facebook, Code.org will put you on a path to understanding coding basics while changing the way you look at the internet.

KhanAcademy.org
Salman Khan began by making extremely simple videos to help his family learn basic math concepts. His pleasant voice and knack for explaining things in easy to understand ways led to his creation of the Khan Academy. It’s an amazing place to learn or refresh your skills in the areas of algebra, world history, or anything between.

Lynda.com
Started by self-taught computer expert Lynda Weinman, Lynda.com is an amazing place to learn the basics and the intricacies of everything from Photoshop, to AutoCAD, to everything Apple.

Have a favourite place to learn online? Please share!

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Networking? Get Outta Here

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Almost exactly five years ago, I was playing cards with some friends and talking about business school, careers, and how to be successful (according to one of its many definitions). One of the friends in attendance, already a successful businessman (or as Jay-Z would say, a successful business, man), decided to chime in when someone mentioned their plan to accomplish their business goals and land the job of their dreams by “networking”.

Having already made his first move toward the door, on his way to conduct a 12:00am conference call, his voice of reason exclaimed:

“No, no. Networking is nothing. It’s about building relationships. Networking will result in you possessing a network that’s an inch deep and a mile wide. Relationship-building, which takes more time and genuine interest in others, will give you a circle that’s an inch wide and a mile deep. And that’s where things happen.”

This simple explanation made sense to me and I knew it complied with what I truly believed. I was forced to eat some earlier words and was provided with a new perspective. Since then, I’ve swung almost completely to the relationship-building side of things to the point where uttering the word “networking” leaves a foul taste in my mouth. Now, five years later, it’s plain to see that the vast majority of valuable friendships, mutually-beneficial business deals, and  progressive idea sharing partnerships have come from relationships built on trust and shared value rather than from shallow networking touch-points.

I don’t doubt that you have had a similar revelation; instantaneous or gradual. I think many people have and I think that this is great and a rite of passage of sorts.

But now there’s a problem.

The same businesses and careers that were built by relationships are now turning to social media and online strategies to create loosely connected networks and flimsy touch-points. A person sending an email to a business or business professional is met with a reply from the business or professional asking them to contact them via a website or preferred social networking platform. Requests to a small retail store for more information on the sizing of a clothing item are left unanswered. Words of thanks go unnoticed or simply feed a business’ ego.

The worst mistake a business or professional can make is taking the social media/online plunge and forgetting that everyone touched is a real person.

Instead of spreading yourself thin and neglecting real people in order to adopt an outside-in promotional/customer recruitment approach, blow those closest to you out of the water with your service, your level of care, and your product. Adopt on inside-out approach, wow those around you, and then look outward.

These are my thoughts. I’d love to hear yours.

 

Professional Stock Photos-the we can make a mobile and a desktop website

My Birthday Wish For You….

…is to inspire someone to do better. To achieve more. To aim higher. We love to undercut ourselves, underestimate our abilities, and set underwhelming goals. Stop it. It’s not fair to yourself.

It’s not hard to inspire someone. All it takes is any random act of kindness.

Buy the first round.
Send a text to someone you haven’t talked to in a while.
Give someone a bag full of candy. (Who doesn’t like candy?)
Give a stranger $5 and tell them the bill fell out of their pocket.
Hold the door open for someone.
Do more than is requested.
Tell someone you love them.
Tell that person who smiles too much how beautiful it looks on them.
Give someone a chocolate bar for no reason at all.
Buy breakfast.
Leave your waitress/waiter a $20 bill and write on it “pass on the love”.
Tell an elderly lady her hair looks gorgeous.
Pay for someones’ coffee in line behind you.
Leave $20 in the bathroom and wait till the next person goes in, which for their smile when they come out.
Fill someones’ parking meter.
Actually give something to the guy who plays guitar at the liquor store.
Make cookies for your significant other.
Say yes the next time someone asks a favor of you.
Buy someone at your office a coffee, someone who you’d never buy coffee for.

Etc.

Get creative, the more you try and help others the more you’ll end up helping yourself. Trust me.

Psst, now pass it along…

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Management Entitlement: The Actual Problem At Your Company

Almost everyone I talk to these days who’s over the age of 50 always complains about the The Entitled Managerentitlement of young employees. Some have even gone to say that being “entitled” is the worst characteristic in a young budding employee. I’m not arguing this point, I think it’s valid. What I am seeing more and more of though is management entitlement.

You know these managers. They expect employees to work harder than they do because they’ve been around since the great depression and have more management experience that Drucker himself. The owner who thinks they can run their company in an autocratic style, fast-forward a couple years and this chap can’t figure out why none of his employees have ever invited him out for a pint and turnover is thru the roof.

You can lie to employees for a while and still make money as a business. But sooner or later the market will find out, it always does. Information travels too quickly.

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