Secret – Successful Business Teams Are Not Built Playing Golf

When I used to work in corporate America we used to have team building exercises during our meetings. These exercises were considered to be so important by upper management that they were mandated into every meeting. The goal was to bring the teams together so that they executed the plans with a sense of purpose; the team would rise or fall as a collective.

In my experience the team building exercises usually consisted of golf, bowling, or another event that was a “team event” in name only. The sports chosen were usually embraced by an enthusiastic few leaving the others bored and unengaged. The end result was a shared experience, but not one that built a strong team ready to seize opportunities and overcome obstacles. Instead a team in name only was built.

The Secret Trait To Successful Business Teams
Successful teams – in sports, business, the military, etc. – share one common trait or gene: they care about the other teammates’ success. Individuals who are part of successful teams know that their goals, desires, and dreams can only be achieved if they help the rest of team meet succeed. Everyone possess this gene/trait inside of himself or herself, it just has to be tapped.

How successful teams achieve this bond is through a shared collective experience. This collective experience is one that demonstrates to the other teammates the strengths and weaknesses of the individual members. Typically everyone starts at the same level of knowledge – there are no ringers – and the team faces unknown challenges that they must work together to overcome. In the military it is the initial training and common shared misery of the mud, lack of sleep, and obstacle course.

3 Ways You Can Tap The Common Experience Gene
In business your team most likely is not going to go running through mud or climbing over obstacles to get their shared experience. Then again… why not?

Golf does not build a successful team. In fact most individual skills – while learned and/or experienced in a group setting – do not build successful teams. Only events that make individuals work together, learn together, and overcome obstacles together will build stronger teams.

So the next time you are planning a team building exercise for your business meeting, why not give these a try:

  • Learn A New Skill. Whatever you choose as the new skill should have practical applications and if done improperly real consequences. A great one is learning how cook as a group, which involves communication, delegation, teamwork, chain of command, and listening skills. Sure you might have a budding gourmet chef in your team, but the reality is that most people only know the basics. The goal is to cook a meal for everyone. Get it right and you’ve got good food. Get it wrong and well…

  • Overcome A Problem With Many Possible Answers. These exercises usually have a stated goal and limited resources to achieve it. While there might be one best solution, there are many other solutions that could possibly work. A particular exercise I enjoyed was building a boat out of cardboard and duct tape. To be successful the boat had to pass a strength test on dry land first and then go around a buoy and back in the water: all under a time pressure. Teams that prioritized tasks, discussed possible designs, and staffed their boats correctly made it. Others that did not sank.

  • Scavenger Hunt. Break your team into smaller groups making sure to split apart any cliques you may have. What makes this a great exercise is the element of time pressure, getting everything correct on the list, and great stories everyone will have when they return about their successes and failures during their hunt. If built correctly a great scavenger hunt will have goals that will force everyone to stretch him or herself to achieve them.

Put Down The Clubs And Build Teams
What is great about the exercises above is they require your teams to work together to succeed. One person alone cannot do everything. Success means that everyone has to work together as a team.

While you may learn more about the three other chaps in your foursome on the golf course, in the end it is the individual who must swing the club or make the putt. It does not take a team to overcome the sand trap. Therefore the opportunity to build that common bond, to unlock the gene that brings teams together, is never to be had on the golf course.

What are some other events you have done that help build stronger teams?

Strategic Marketing Using Digital Channels The Right Way

If you are looking to implement marketing from a strategic perspective in your company or business endeavour by making use of digital channels then it may well serve you to seek out some advice first. That’s some of what we set out to do here as we look to highlight some of the ins and outs of executing marketing in the digital age. There is more to digital marketing that ordinarily meets the eye as found in our consulting, devising and executing search engine and social media marketing campaigns.

When a company is looking to [via its marketing personnel or use of third party agencies] market its products and services use the available digital marketing channels such as…

  • Video Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Podcasting
  • Blogging
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Micro Blogging

… all of the activities will need to be carried out via specific digital marketing channels with a view to getting engagement from chosen target market sector clients.

As an example of the statement made above; the decision could be made to use the social media marketing and to connect with clients using an associated advertising platform through which to serve up ads. Going through the process of crafting and executing specific ads necessitates that one understands who the target audience is that the business is concerned with so that time is not wasted running ads that will be ultimately shown up to people that are not interested in the related products or services that the company has to offer. Going through the targeting process will determine where one’s audience ‘hangs out’ so that when the message is seen it is relatively easier to consume [or be interacted with].

When running ads within the social media marketing channel alongside that of publishing engaging and compelling content, connect, following and republishing others content. It is important to make sure that the ads are in fact related to target clients likes, interests and aspirations as this will affect click through rate, engagement and other factors that lead to the actual cost of running the ad itself.

The content aspect of digital marketing is indeed a critical and foundational one as one piece of content can effectively be repurposed for use in various formats and on differing platforms and digital marketing channels. E.g. a well written article can be used as a blog post, then used as the basis for a podcast, this same piece of content can be developed into a video and then used to create multiple micro blogging content pieces. Each piece of content should be used within planned digital marketing channels in order to deliver the marketing message through to the intended market segments.

With the world in which we live in becoming increasingly technology enabled; this is continuing to open up opportunities for marketers and business owners to present their message to clients found the world over. However it is important to execute correctly and to start with the right messages, next the most appropriate digital marketing channel [some of which are listed above] are used in order to put the marketing message in front of the right audience. In other words a targeted approach should used as opposed to a shotgun spray and hope approach.

At the end of the day digital marketing is still a subset of marketing and it itself has its own set of sub digital marketing channels. The strategic digital marketing approach is strongly recommended as when adhered to and the results start coming in, one will understand why it’s important to continue to adopt this approach to business promotion.

The Right Email Marketing Software For Photographers – Built Your Business Fast

If you run a photography business, and you’re wondering whether there’s good email marketing software for photographers, then you’re in luck.

The trouble with looking for email software is there are so many services available, which one should you use? Many of the paid software is good. However, for photographers you should look more broadly than just getting email marketing software.

What do I mean by “more broadly?”

I mean, you should look for photographer business software that includes email software. Not a stand-alone email service. This way you can have a centralized business management operation rather than a hodgepodge of software applications to run your business.

There is no question that using a quality email software application can do wonders for your business. However, why stop with just email marketing?
Did you know there’s software for photographers that in addition to having email capability, also offers scheduling (which nicely integrates with your email marketing), credit card processing, e-commerce platform, financial reporting, time keeping, payroll (if you hire people to assist), and more?

Frankly, the integrated, all-in-one solution means you’ll spend less time managing different software applications and entering data. When your photography business software is completely integrated, you can leverage and integrate your email marketing lists with other aspects of your business.

I’ll explain with an example:

Suppose you have 2,000 people on your email list. Suppose 500 of those people are regular customers with the remaining 1,500 one-off or occasional customers. With a comprehensive software platform, you can integrate your email software with your scheduling. This way, for example, if someone is scheduled for a photo-shoot, you can program the software to send out reminder email messages.

This is just one example of how the right email software can not only maintain your business, but build it.

Consider another example:
You can place a freebie option on your website that is an incentive for prospective customers to sign up for your e-newsletter. An incentive could be anything – a discounted photo-shoot, photograph touch-ups, or a simple informational booklet about hiring a photographer.

Once a prospective customer signs up, you can send them all kinds of useful information about what you do, what you can do for them as well as sending samples of your work. You can start and maintain a dialogue. If and when those prospective customers need a photographer, they’ll very possibly contact you.

Always think about more sales. Suppose in November you want to offer your client base gift cards. A solid photography software program includes the gift card creation (electronic if you wish). You can sell these gift cards via your email marketing.

The point is when you integrate your email marketing with your other business processes, you spend less time administrating, and in fact harness leveraging power to increase sales and revenues.

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