HOW TO SUSTAIN YOUR STARTUP SUCCESS

business, creative collaboration, digital content strategy, Email Marketing, Influencer marketing, instagram, instagram insight, Instagram marketing, Marketing in the Moment, marketing muscle, marketing plans, social media, social media marketing, Technology, the future of branding

This list of market building business tips about how to stay on course while you design epic products and services for the world was originally created for my daughter who is a hard-working, bad-ass fashion designer. Like every child ever born, she asks for advice daily and then ignores a lot of it. SO THAT IS WHY THERE IS SO MUCH EMOTION BEHIND THIS POST.  All of these tips apply to anyone making anything. They work and they are important and today is a SPECIAL DAY because she is FINALLY heeding more of this advice. Amen.

Sure she’s nervous, as any startup who has achieved a bit of success would be. You might be nervous too – the big question – how do I sustain the success? Especially in the finicky world of Insta-fashion.   Here, I humbly give you YOUR GUIDING STRATEGY FOR STAYING  & GROWING SUCCESSFULLY.

WAKE UP, DESIGN, REPEAT

Design EVERY SINGLE DAMN DAY.  Do not let a morning go by without designing. That means you don’t answer emails or texts or schedule meetings unto 1 pm every day. Why? Because the life of your authentic brand depends on you DESIGNING. Designing can mean sketching, shopping vintage, eating something delicious, going to an inspiring store, museum, listening to music – WHATEVER MAKES YOUR CREATIVE MINDFLOW BABY. The only reason you are in business is that you designed epicness in the first place. There is a lot of stuff people can buy out there, they are choosing to drop their bank on yours. KEEP THOSE CUSTOMERS HAPPY.

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DEVELOP SYSTEMS FOR REPETITIVE STUFF.

What is a system? A set of rules that a baby monkey can do. They just learn the system (written or video instructions) and they do it.

Develop a system for responding to customers emails including templates for their frequently asked questions.

Develop a system for making sizing 1,000% CLEAR for all customers. Put it on the website.

Develop a system for ordering office stuff – like your favorite drinks, food, printer ink. Yes. make a list for the intern or assistand – where to go, when to reorder, how to pay for it. Make it so YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO TELL HIM OR HER WHAT TO DO.

Develop a system for packing items for shipment – include the surprise and delight gift – write it down or video it for the new interns. Then make them watch it. Show them PRECISELY HOW YOU LIKE IT DONE.

If you are complaining that an intern or assistant isn’t doing something the way you like it, it is YOUR FAULT. You didn’t set up the easy-to-learn systems.

TAKE PRE-ORDERS ON ALL NEW DESIGNS

The best rule of business is to MARKET BEFORE YOU MANUFACTURER. This is done by the best, most SUCCESSFUL companies. Create the demand BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY MAKE THE style. How?? Start sharing the backstory of design on your Instagram and Pinterest (YES PINTEREST) accounts. Show your customers the inside scoop. Tease them and then create a link to a page where they can GIVE YOU THEIR MONEY. Let them know they are going to be the FIRST TO HAVE IT. How exciting is that?? And give them a little something special for supporting you in the meantime. Make the “landing page” really JAZZY, sexy & FUN. Show the super special parts of designing, what inspired you. What is a LANDING PAGE? It is a special page on your website that you LINK TO THE BIO in your Instagram account every time you POST about that one design to INSTAGRAM. Don’t wait for the customer to SAVE your post. Make it EASY FOR THEM TO SHOP THE LINE. Stop with this I DON’T WANT TO BE TOO “PUSHY” CRAP. THERE IS PUSHY AND THEN There IS MAKING IT SIMPLE & EASY. DO THE LATTER.

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SAVE SOME MONEY FOR GOD’S SAKE

Stop f-ing WASTING YOUR MONEY on stupidly expensive food. That $6.00 matcha drink isn’t good for you. Don’t buy into it. What is good for you is PEACE OF MIND THAT YOUR BANK ACCOUNT ISN’T NEGATIVE. Lack of money is the most stressful thing that can happen to you. You can lose your lover, break a leg, create something stupid that people will laugh at, but if you don’t have dough in the oven, life will SUCK. Make it a habit. Open up a BUSINESS SAVINGS ACCOUNT TOMORROW. Do it after you finish designing. Move $500 over IMMEDIATELY and then add reminders to your calendar to drop $500 in every month. DO THIS NOW. More if you can. Save, save, save. We are going to INVEST that money too, so your money can make baby money. GROW THAT ACCOUNT BABY.

LET THOSE DAMN HATERS HATE

It’s their job. That is what they do. Haters are going to HATE. It’s GREAT to have haters. Why? Because you are actually doing something that get’s noticed. Hater’s don’t hate on something that isn’t getting any attention. Why? BECAUSE HATERS DON’T DO ANYTHING BUT HATE. That is how they get their ATTENTION. MORE MONEY, MORE HATERS. That’s okay. Hell, some brands actually pay to have more HATERS. It’s called Facebook and Instagram ADVERTISING.

CHILL YOUR ROLL. TAKE A BREAK.

Every day make sure you do something ridiculously extravagant and/or luxurious. GO AHEAD WASTE SOME TIME. Whatever that means to you. A pedicure, a bike ride, a hello fresh meal with your partner. This business building thing is NOT A RACE. It is YOUR LIFE and you need to enjoy YOUR LIFE. So make some time every day to do something fun that you enjoy. DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT. Just do it. Just like you design, you also  take time to RELAX every day.

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IMITATION IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF FLATTERY – MY ASS

Anytime you can call out some creep ass KNOCK OFF cheater brand copying your original designs DO IT. Make them feel like what they are GREEDY, UNORIGINAL A-HOLES. That’s right. Call them out. Call them out in public in a CLEVER AND FUN WAY. Like you care but you don’t care. Unless they are HUGE creepy conglomerate – a dinosaur – looking to stay relevant. Then EMAIL CALL & SCREAM at the CEO & Founder and their BOARD OF DIRECTORS. Remember, however, when YOU are INSPIRED by something to REDESIGN IT and make it your VERY OWN. Best thing to do really is KNOCK OFF YOUR OWN DESIGNS and start a second business in the weird ass bowels of eBay. LOL. P.S. Don’t spend too much time on this and try to design something so ahead of the curve that the market has to catch up. One step ahead baby.

MOST PEOPLE ARE CLUELESS ABOUT HOW FAST THE WORLD IS CHANGING

So, don’t listen to MOST anyone, except maybe people like Elon Musk and Ray Kurzweil and maybe me because I have made it my business to stay RELEVANT, ahead of the CURVE and on top of my game.  I AM FASCINATED WITH CHANGE AND YOU SHOULD BE TOO. NO JOKE. Every business is being disrupted by technology. This includes INSTAGRAM. You have to start emailing  & MEETING with your customers and clients. WHY? Because Instagram may become the old people’s party and then how you gonna find them customers? SnapChat?

But doesn’t everyone hate email? Hello, people DON’T CHANGE THEIR EMAILS. Some still hang on to their freaking yahoo and aol accounts. Emails are a tighter connection. Better YET get the cell phones of your VIP customers and take them to DINNER. Just, whatever you do, DON’T BE BORING. Create an email you WISH SOMEONE WOULD SEND YOU.

GROW UP WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS OR KEEP ATTRACTING THE YOUNG GUNS

Yeah, your 25-year-old Insta-hottie is going to have a baby and all of a sudden that cropped off the shoulder number isn’t going hide her love handles and/or mother belt.  Oh, am I “body shaming”? Read the HATERS note above.  This is reality. Have a plan as to how you will keep moving forward with your biggest fans now or the babies coming down the pike.

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EVERYONE IS GOING TO WANT A BIG BITE OF YOU. CHOOSE YOUR PACK WISELY

Why? Cause your haute, hot, HOT right now. Yup. Especially the has-beens and the wannabes.  Be DISCERNING. Be choosy. Be SUPER SELECTIVE about who you chill with. Why? Because if you hang with the reckless and wild, you will become reckless and wilder. If you chill with the sorry asses, you, in turn, will be a sadder one. EVERY dedicated entrepreneur experiences a bit of FOMO at times. There should be a LONELY HEARTS CLUB MEETUP for those building something big. Get out, dance, laugh and then get back to work. That BULL SHIT ABOUT WORKING HARD & PLAYING HARD is for drunks and trust fund IDIOTS without a purpose. Balance your work and play and stay away from the MDMA. Seriously, it’s not worth the emotional roller coaster ride.  Get HIGH ON LIFE.

SELECT WHO YOU WANT TO DO BUSINESS & SCREW THE 15 MINS OF FAME

Stop getting so flattered every time someone wants to COLLAB or PARTNER WITH YOU. You are WORKING YOUR ASS OFF and deserve to be noticed. Say NO to anyone not willing to collaborate with respect or who brings their headaches to the table. You have enough of your own problems to solve. If it’s not a HELL YEAH immediately than it’s a F NO. If you have to THINK about whether you want to sleep with someone, then it’s A F NO and collaborating is a lot like sleeping with someone. Create a list TODAY of the discerning people or businesses you want to align yourself with. SAY NO to anyone else who reaches out. Say it nicely. Always be kind. Kind always works. 

You WON’T MISS OUT. Andy Warhol was WRONG and RIDICULOUS about that 15 minutes of FAME. Not true. Most people remain anonymous their whole lives. You may never be famous. Who cares? It’s better to BE GREAT.

KNOW WHAT SUCCESS MEANS TO YOU

Stop measuring your success by other people’s stupid ideas of success. SUCCESS IS SIMPLY DOING WHAT YOU LOVE. Life is short. Everything else is BS.

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IT ALWAYS TAKES LONGER THAN YOU THINK.

Whether it’s sex with an ex or a check-up at the dentist or building your first prototype or sample. So STOP with the anxiousness.  IT WILL TAKE YEARS TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS. Even Google, the FASTEST growing business in the history of the world took 15 years to become a GIANT. SO SLOW THE HELL DOWN.

Building Your Business with Media & Influencers

creative collaboration, digital content strategy, How do do your own PR, Influencer marketing, marketing muscle, Marketing Technology, The PR Playbook

 

This video is part of a lecture in ThePRPlaybook.com, my new online course to help you build your business by leveraging media and influencer collaborations.

When it comes to driving eyeballs and business to your website, influencer attention can have quite an impact.

Now, there are basically three types of influencers.

The Elevated Consumer

A passionate enthusiast, they may not have formal training, but they are learning along the way and taking their community on the journey. Typically, they are sharing DIY’s, How to’s, interviews and product reviews for their fans and followers to try.

The Professional

A skilled, licensed and seasoned professional who has decided to scale themselves to reach a wider audience, typically with a product or service to sell.

The Celebrity Influencer

This celebrity can be a combination of the above or simply so entertaining that they have amassed a large enough following to have star status.

Finding influencers has typically involved some type of Google search but I have just signed up for a free trial at Scrunch.com. I have been waiting for something like this for a while.

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Search the Health & Fitness Directory

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  • Filter by Instagram, Twitter and Blogs
  • By minimum and maximum follower range.
  • By location. In this case North America.
  • By date range of posts.
  • By quantity of posts.

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While influencers with a social reach of one million plus are going to be more difficult and expensive to reach, try finding those with a reach of 20-100K by location.

You will increase your chances of collaboration when connecting with emerging bloggers and vloggers who are on their way up.

 

How To Score Media Coverage for Your Brand

collaborations, creative collaboration, Digital Newsroom, Earned Media, Fitness Marketing, growth hacking, Integrated public relations plan, marketing muscle, media relations, Public Relations, The PR Playbook

Yes you need press coverage. No you don’t need a press release. What you need are answers to the most important questions that writers, reporters and bloggers want to know.

In this video, I quickly move through the top 20 questions on every media influencer’s mind.

The Top Three Questions on every writer’s mind. . .

  1. What makes your story newsworthy right now? Why is it so timely?
  2. What problem does it solve? And, is it a big problem?
  3. Will readers and viewers want to share your story?

If you need help reaching out to bloggers, vloggers and writers about your brand story, check out The PR Playbook, a crash course in winning over the media and collaborating with influencers.

 

10 Commandments of Cool

award-winning companies, Brand Awareness, brand management, brand reputation, building brand trust, Cool Branding, creative collaboration, Creative Marketing Campaigns, customer loyalty, digital advertising, media relations

It should come to no surprise that the brands we covet the most are also those so undeniably cool. The real question is how do these brands remain so timelessly cool? And how did they get there to begin with?

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Spray Paint Cans by Antonio Brasko 

1. “People Don’t Buy What You Do…They Buy Why You Do It.”                   Leadership Expert, Simon Sinek believes that the true leaders in the world are those that build their brand on the foundations of their existence. His viral Ted Talk explores the idea that the Apples, Nikes and M.L.Ks of the world are built on their vision as opposed to what they can do for you. If your brand cannot determine its roots, how can it grow naturally? Take notes from Nike, and just do it.

2. Act Small                                                                                                             According to Inc.’s recent article  “How to Create a Cool Brand,” brand experts, Partners & Spade (Warby Parker, Conde Nast & J.Crew) believe in order for brands to be cool they must not forget to ‘act small.’ Act small in your relationships and interactions with customers however big your company may be. One-on-one tailored dialogue via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Ask yourself if you are approachable and realistically responsive. If not, try and get there. In this globalized economy, there is far too much convenience and competitors to act remote.

3. Create, Don’t Replicate                                                                                

Institute cool through dictating trends rather than following them. Imitating is easy, sourcing and creating the content isn’t always. This explains that saturation of bland and overrated brands while the trend setters are so far and few. Just because everyone doing it doesn’t mean you have to too. Be the brand everyone wants to be.

4. It’s All in the Details         

If you have yet to read CEO and founder of Nasty Gal, Sophia Amoruso’s bestseller Girl Boss, you’ll thank us later. In crediting her success through her journey from a small vintage Ebay vendor to a multibillion dollar expansion, Sophia Amoruso thanks her obsessive attention to detail in building a brand worth $130 million on paper today. From selecting the ideal visual thumbnail for a specific garment or spending hours precisely translating the piece’s exact measurements, every tedious detail must be treated with true precision.

5. Give Back, It’s Nice to Be Nice                                                                       According to the Forbes article “Companies With the Best CSR Reputations,” global consulting firm Reputation Institute conducted a study that shows “your willingness to buy, recommend, work for, and invest in a company is driven 60% by your perceptions of the company and only 40% by your perceptions of the products or services it sells.” Brands are considered to have good CSR if they operate in at least one of the following; 1) support good causes and protect the environment 2) behave ethically and transparent in its business interactions 3) an appealing place to work by treating its employees well. Over the past 3 years, Google donated over $353 million in grants globally, $3 billion in free ads, apps and products, and it’s employees invested 6,200 total days volunteering for nonprofits, while continuing to take number 1 in best place to work because frankly, it’s cool to care. 

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6. It’s Cool to Collaborate  Musician, producer and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams is the epitome of cool. Amidst selling over millions of records during his 20 year career, Pharrell is easily the busiest man in business, always managing to produce masterpieces. If it’s Daft Punk’s 2013 Random Access Memories album, collaborating his Bionic Yarn company with GStar Raw to develop a sustainable line composed of littered plastics from the ocean, joining the Voice to champion and train untapped artists or his upcoming Moonrise Jungle World Tour with Bruno Mars, whatever Pharrell gets his hands on, you bet it’ll be the next big thing. Team up or loose out. 

7. Give the People What They Want                                                                

Keep the customer in your vantage point in all ways – always. From R&D and product innovation, managing manufacturing costs, product accessibility, selection of distributors, and most importantly experience and after-sale rapport, keep the customer’s needs at the forefront of these decisions. Let the customer rule.

8. Build High Performance      

You wouldn’t believe how many companies create products that aren’t worth the hype or worse, aren’t even worth the buy. It’s important to have high-performing superstar products or an unparalleled service. There are high customer acquisition costs and even higher reacquisition costs in today’s globalized economy with such a hyper-saturation of brands and substitute alternatives. First impressions are everything, so make it a cool one.

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9. Experience Without A Shelf Life                       Try not to cave into tapping solely into temporary trends with a short life-cycle. If you are here to stay, build your brand to be multi-dimensional without capitalizing on just one social fad. Avoid being the Myspaces, Napsters and Dells of the world. Facebook sees the need to stay relevant while it experiences its growth stage in the social media industry by acquiring gems like Instagram and virtual reality leader Occulus, rather than falling by the waste side once they near their tipping point. Adapt to stay cool, because nothing lasts forever. 

10. Be the Brand You Want to Follow                                                                

Ask yourself, would you follow your brand on social media? Would you want to work for you? Cool comes from within. Establish your cool factor and they will come to you.

How to Keep Your Cool

brand reputation, building brand trust, Cool Branding, creative collaboration, Creative Marketing Campaigns, customer loyalty, Earned Media, editorial know how, future of marketing, marketing muscle

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MJMPR is here to serve it up. The universal ‘selfie culture’ pioneered by generation y-ers and millennials seems to be an invitation for big brand marketers to create campaigns based around the self portraiture phenomenon. Take for example, Colgate’s Visible White Selfie Campaign, advising viewers to post selfies to the teeth-whitening app with the tagline, “when you take a selfie, it should dazzle the world.” Albeit, having over 57 million hashtags on Instagram and having been officially coined Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2013, nothing is worse than a cheesy and overdone selfie campaign. What you need is to inject some coolness into your brand.

Collaborating & Listening to your Customers is Cool

A departure from this craze would be advantageous for big players who strive to emulate a cool image and avoid the common brand perception corporations unfortunately receive. Because let’s face it, corporations aren’t always portrayed as cool. Avoid corporate cluelessness by creating trends and not just following them. Think of Starbuck’s 3-year old launch of My Starbuck’s Idea in combatting a plethora of bad press. This crowdsourcing platform allows customers to contribute ideas for new products, give opinions/feedback and even see the status of their pending idea via their blog Ideas in Action. 

Empowering your Customers is Cool

Or think of Dove’s Selfie Beauty Campaign, although it utilizes the omnipresent ‘selfie’ it gives a much needed micro lens into this superficial behavior in efforts to redefine beauty. While remaining consistent with their mission statement of challenging the current beauty status quo, this Unilever-owned brand can emulate authenticity through their 2014 Sun Dance Festival debuted short regardless of their size and corporate structure.

Inspiring your Customers is Cool 

Remember Ben & Jerry’s Capture Euphoria Instagram Contest, where 127,000 users instagrammed their idea of euphoria with the tag #captureeuphoria and of those, 20 were chosen to be placed in print, billboards and a myriad of outdoor venue? A personal, fun and cool way to engage customers.

Ultimately, big brands can be cool if they stay true to their vision statements, avoid bland and cliché selfie campaigns and act progressively cool in their marketing schemes. Small brands often set examples for bigger brands in instituting cool. The difference in their approach is not regurgitating what they see, but rather reacting to it in a new way.

Here are some of our go-to sources we consult to feed our imagination and curiosity in igniting cool vibes:

WGSN – World’s Leading Forecaster 

Trendland Digital Magazine  

The Cool Hunter

Love Branded in Times Square NYC

Brand Awareness, creative collaboration, Integrated public relations plan, marketing muscle, marketing plans, Measureable Marketing

TIMES SQUARE HEART WALK 2A client that spends absolutely zero dollars on paid for advertising anywhere in the US wanted to know my opinion on a special “deal” they received for a Times Square G-Tron (digital billboard) opportunity the other day. He received a “discount” offer for $75K USD for 15/30 second spots from Light Years Media.
The offer was for four (4) spots per hour, 96 spots per day a total of 35,040 annual spot package. The package included the video creative (with whatever my client already had prepared, which is basically a logo and product shots, and maybe a lifestyle image or two).
Yes, Times Square is a busy place and the “deal” price for a year-long campaign is sane enough, especially to be seen in a major commercial intersection between Broadway and Seventh Avenues and 42nd and 47th streets where 1.5 million people pass through each day.

The Geoffrey Tron Screen (the G-Tron) marketing collateral claims that 4.7 billion retail sales are generated annually.  Now that sounds amazing, but is it the brand on the screen that generates that revenue or every single store, restaurant, and retailer in the Times Square collectively? Very confusing and perhaps a bit misleading for my client.

While this type of marketing may seem enticing, it is important to understand that this is really about branding – getting your name out there – without expecting any real measurable data. Sure 1.5 million people per day is fantastic, but are these your people? Your customers?

Other “facts” claimed in the PDF sent to my client –
– 547.5 million people pass through Times Square each year
– 10 million viewers see live shots of Times Square on national TV each year (yeah, for a quick one second scan)
– 9 million visitors annually (once again, are these tourists your target market?)

What intrigued me even more were the little known Times Square Annual events listed in their brochure –

The Times Square “Kiss In” – which evidentially takes place every five (5) years on the anniversary marking the end of World War II

Taste of Times Square – in June is an outdoor food festival with top restaurants and the city street performers

Valentine’s Day renewal of vows which is free to everyone

The June Solstice – a gathering to find peace and tranquility (okay I can’t stop laughing) in Times Square.

A run through of NY’s Finest on St. Patrick’s Day. Enough said.

And a preview of the Best of Broadway performances – free in September.

Oh and then there’s the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, “Good Riddance” Day on December 28th in Times Square complete with a mobile shredding truck and of course New Year’s Eve for the big ball drop.

My client was rightfully concerned that their brand did not have distribution or key brand messages to support something with this type of exposure. I also recommended we cover the basics first with a more customer-centric approach.

He believed that in general this type of thing – slamming $75K down on a digital billboard – works better for a known brand to continue top of mind messaging. Agreed.

Photo in today’s post – the “heart walk” in Times Square reconstructed out of boardwalk debris left over by Hurricane Sandy.

Your Brain on Pinterest

Collaborative Consumption, creative collaboration, Entertaining, intellectual property rights, Uncatergorized

Pinterest has been the talk of social media week here in NYC.  Word on the street is that this site represents the best of what an emotionally driven interface can do, while being both sharable and pleasurable. We didn’t think we had one more second in the day for another social sharing website, but then along came Pinterest. We do it for fun.

Pinterest  represents what many websites want to be when they grow up. So does Gojee, Pinterest for foodies.  Can’t get enough? Check out these similar sites –

We heart it

Yay Everyday 

Inspire Me Now 

Fresh Bump 

Fuz Biz 

Buamai 

Picocool

My Modern Net 

Today’s featured image is a photograph by the talented Claire Oring.

A Well Spring of Innovation

creative collaboration, Uncatergorized

In this new era of creative entrepreneurialism what does Jeremy Lin have in common with all of the exciting collaborative brain power inside the new business incubators racing to create the next big innovation in technology, bio-technology, food, medical devices, education, energy and nanotechnology? Both are making every body better.  Lin is raising the bar for the players, the spectators and not only New York’s pride, but also the NBA.

Incubators hold the promise for tomorrow’s innovation and they are popping up all over Manhattan and Brooklyn.

This week we sat in a start-up incubator meeting at Columbia University. It was hosted by Columbia Technology Ventures, Columbia University Engineering, and the Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia Business School,

Now we are a bit biased as we happen to work at WeWork, the best collaborative workspace anywhere, that also has a tech and entrepreneurial incubator which is expanding throughout the nation and world.

However those creating new ways to learn and collaborate are also raising the bar for a better future.

General Assembly – a campus for technology, design, and entrepreneurship, providing educational programming, space, and support to facilitate collaborative practices and learning opportunities across a community inspired by the entrepreneurial experience.

Hive at 55 – coworking space offering affordable workspace, a variety of office amenities, and a community of like-minded professionals eager to collaborate and share resources.

Varick Street – NYU-Poly managed incubator focused on internet software and services, fintech, and cleantech.

DUMBO – NYU-Poly managed incubator focused on digital media, adtech, gaming, and edutech.

Women Innovate Mobile – startup accelerator and mentorship-driven program designed for tech companies with a woman founder and focused on mobile applications.

The Alexandria Center™ for Life Science – New York City – laboratory and office park designed to foster unique and innovative collaborations among New York’s renowned academic and medical institutions, preeminent scientific talent, top-tier investment capital, and the broad and diverse commercial life science industry.

The Audubon Business and Technology Center – research facility managed by Columbia University and designed to encourage entrepreneurial development and growth for firms engaged in research, development and commercialization of biomedical products and services.

HBK Incubates – Hot Bread Kitchen’s incubator providing licensed commercial space and technical assistance to scaling food entrepreneurs.

Downstate Biotech Incubator – located in Brooklyn adjacent to SUNY Downstate Medical Center, offers early –stage life science/technology companies affordable lab/office space, and access to core facilities, a library and a vivarium.

BioBAT at the Brooklyn Army Terminal – provides more mature life science/technology companies with an affordable, dynamic, state-of-the-art research and manufacturing facility.

Check out this article from Forbes about the Ten Technology Incubators that are changing the world

Interested in learning who’s putting their investment dollars towards tomorrow? Check out CB Insights, a company that tracks private equity funding trends.

Successful Creative Collaboration

creative collaboration, Guiding Principles for Success, social media marketing, workforce training

It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” – Charles Darwin.

In order to move forward in today’s connected world, companies large and small are collaborating for sustainable solutions and true progress. We collaborate daily with our clients. Here we outline some of the guiding principles for successful creative collaboration.

1. We have to begin each project believing that everyone involved is bright, eager, and willing to come to the table with fresh new ideas. In order for this to happen, each collaborative member must be reliable and consistent in their behavior to build trust among the group.

2. Everyone on the collaborative team must agree to a common vision and mission – with everyone moving in the same direction and with the same agenda.

3. All should make an honest attempt to understand what energizes and motivates each and everyone one. It is important to identify everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and how they might affect the solutions and outcome.

4. It’s a good idea to ceate a list of expectations and manage these expectations before you begin. Ask questions like –

What is expected from us?  What tools do we use to meet those expectations? How do we manage expectations? Unmet expectations can add incredible strain to a collaborative effort. Each member should clearly understand what is expected of them and keep focused on accomplishing those tasks.

5. In order to move forward in a productive way, everyone should appreciate the complementary strengths from each team member and work towards building mutual trust among all members.

6. The collaborative effort will go no where without honest communication. All should agree to open and honest communication with regularly scheduled meetings.There must be a plan that includes the day-to-day management of strategy and implementation.

7. Although it may seem rather formal, creating an agreement in writing, that everyone can refer to, is an ideal tool for staying the course when the road get’s foggy and the vision is lost.

8.When things get heated up, remember that points of contention can make the collaboration stronger. There must be a willingness to ride out the rough patches as well as a fair division of work and benefits.

10. Try to remember that the team can make a lot less mistakes by bouncing ideas off each other first. Everyone must be adaptable and flexible but stay true to the collaboration’s mission and vision.

11. It is okay to disagree. Remember that you can work out problems with more robust solutions if you understand that disagreeing is not a problem, but the beginning of a solution.

12. Don’t let bad feelings build. Put out fires before they begin. We are human and we will let emotions get in the way. Being kind and respectful to everyone on the team is crucial.

13. Even though you all came together with the intentions of creating solutions, it is a good idea to develop an exit strategy before you even begin.

Read more on successful collaboration here written by Francine Allaire, revenue acceleration strategist.

All Together Now

creative collaboration, Creative Marketing Campaigns, future of marketing, Uncatergorized

If your company is like most, you are in dire need of – or probably already using a collaboration tool to keep track of projects and tasks.  We are currently working on three different web-based solutions for collaboration and project management with three different clients and we really like the one we chose to manage our own new business venture, Glass Cubes. We are so happy to say goodbye to long drawn out meetings, finding folders in different drop boxes  and organizing emails by projects and people. We really like Glasscubes for its simplicity and ease of use, not to mention how affordable this tool is compared to others.

A web-based solution is the obvious choice for communication between a geographically dispersed group of people to share files, plans and tasks while saving time on what use to be spent on meetings and electronic communication.

Today we share a list of some of the best that we have found rated by how well you can manage your business more efficiently, boost collaboration and increase productivity.

What should be your criteria? We recommend you look for –

  • 100% web-based project management software
  • A platform that is intuitive, simple to use and requires very little training (if any)
  • No software to purchase
  • Easily available help and support – 24/7
  • A collaboration tool that is secure and reliable, which can be branded for your company
  • A tool for any team that is affordable that allows for –
  • Real time chat
  • Video conferencing
  • Shared whiteboard
  • Thread discussions
  • The ability to track projects, milestones, teams and tasks
  • A streamlined mobile site that works on any smart phone
  • Everything you need  in one place with documents, messaging, conferencing and social media

A connected workforce and enhanced customer experience with –Moxie Soft

Real time access to project status and schedules with – Robohead

The elimination of unnecessary work so you can focus on project completion with –Central desktop 

Solve email inbox chaos and manage 50 plus projects at once with –Wrike

Prepare for diverse business challenges with –Quickbase 

Work better together for as little as $3.00 per year with –Mini Group

Manage communications between suppliers and manufacturers with  Grovesite

Stream line work flow and increase productivity with – Mavenlink

An awesome alternative to base camp with milestone tracking –Teamworkpm 

Get the right product to market faster than your competition with – Pivotal Tracker

Access documents, calendars and tasks from any mobile device with –Hyperoffice