On Aug. 15 at 6:30 p.m. at Euclid Public Library, 631 E. 22nd St., Euclid, you can learn to identify the social media tools that will be most effective for your business, how to set up accounts on these platforms and how to manage social media so that it does not rule your working day. Instructor Chic Dickson, founder and owner, C7Branding, which specializes in digital business identity solutions understands that non-profits, social work agencies, and government entities have often used social media purely to market their brand to their potential clients and funders. Chic has combined social media with evidence-based strategies to cultivate client engagement and keep client loyalty longer. Chic has been featured in The Plain Dealer, WKYC, The News-Herald, and various other websites and blogs for her success in utilizing social media to reach audiences from all over the world.
This is a no-cost workshop! You can register here.
(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Alec Pendleton, Big Ideas for Small Companies, powered by The MPI Group)
The iPhone was introduced 10 years ago, in 2007—or MMVII, as the Romans would have said. In celebration of that anniversary, Apple has just introduced its latest model, the X—or 10, as we would write it. While pondering this milestone, I realized that 10 years ago, I had no clue that the iPhone was coming, and once it did, I didn’t even begin to understand its implications. And not just the iPhone — but the hundreds of other changes that have transformed both the way we operate our businesses and how we live.
In 2007, Amazon was mostly in the book business and had just introduced the Kindle. Twitter was in its infancy. Airbnb didn’t exist. Tesla made a quirky little sports car. Facebook had about 100,000 business pages. Newspapers were profitable (well, sort of). I had a camera! If I wanted to deposit a check, I had to take or mail it to the bank; to pay a bill, I had to write a check. Buying a used car was a risky business.
Ten years later: Recent purchases from Amazon by my family include dental floss, office supplies, textbooks, a security system, and a hammock. We have a president who got where he is by tweeting. Millions of people pay to sleep in strangers’ guest rooms every night. Tesla can’t build its fancy electric sedans fast enough. Facebook now has more than 65 million business pages, and Internet advertising has taken (almost) all the profit out of the newspaper business. My camera is now in my phone, and I can deposit a check by taking a picture of it; I haven’t written a paper check in months. Even at the outdoor farmers’ market in our neighborhood, I can buy groceries with a credit card, which the Amish farmer scans with a tiny device on his phone. And a few months ago, I almost bought a used car until my daughter discovered – on her phone – that it had been in an accident a couple of years prior.
This is all amazing stuff. It and much more have made us happier and more productive, by allowing us to escape a lot of drudgery. It’s wonderful! But if you’re a retailer, or in the newspaper business, or in countless other fields impacted by these technologies, there’s also been a significant downside. Massive change means massive disruption, made all the worse because it was unforeseen by most of those who were damaged by it. Retailers and newspapers, for example, were caught unawares, and thousands of jobs were lost. It seems unlikely that former journalists and store managers are making ends meet by renting out their guest rooms.
So we must ask, what about the NEXT 10 years? What crazy, unimaginable new technologies will disrupt your business or your life? More importantly, what can you do about it?
I have a manufacturing company. If 10 years from now everyone has a 3-D printer, can I just transmit an e-file to my customer, allowing him to print my product for himself?
The possibilities are endless.
So how do we prepare? I’m not convinced that becoming an early adopter is the answer. All of these amazing success stories rest atop a much greater number of failures. Instead, I think the better course will be to focus on fully leveraging new technologies after they’re reasonably well established. The opportunities from last decade’s progress are still far from fully exploited; for example, there are many ways to deploy Apple or Amazon or Google technologies — or even our phones — to improve our businesses and lives that most of us still don’t use.
I also don’t think that guessing what comes next is a good strategy, because it encourages trying to time your investments — and few of us are smart or lucky enough to get it right. Get in too early and you’re often distracted, discouraged, or just plain wrong. Get in too late and you’ve missed the chance to seize opportunities or avoid threats. Perhaps the best approach is watchful waiting, with test investments of time and cash to embrace new technologies without being smothered by them.
That’s my plan for amazing change, anyway. What’s yours?
Alec Pendleton took control of a small, struggling family business in Akron, Ohio, at an early age. Upon taking the helm, he sold off the unprofitable divisions and rebuilt the factory, which helped to quadruple sales of the remaining division within seven years. These decisions — and the thousands of others he made over his time as president and CEO — ensured that his small manufacturing business thrived and stayed profitable for the generation to come. The culmination of a lifetime of experience, accumulated wisdom, and a no-nonsense approach to looking at the books allows him to provide a unique perspective on Big Ideas for Small Companies.
(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Matt Williams, HGR’s chief marketing officer)
What does your department do?
The Marketing Department at HGR Industrial Surplus is responsible for all inbound and outbound marketing. Core responsibilities of the department include: e-mail marketing, social media, events and tradeshows, graphic design, videography, blogging, public relations, and community relations.
Over the past two years the marketing team at HGR has focused intently on content marketing (hence all these great blog posts!) in the company’s efforts to learn more about its customers, vendors, and community and to serve as a connector in the manufacturing sector.
How many people work in your department, and what are their roles?
The Marketing Department currently has three full-time employees and one part-time employee and also relies upon the expertise of several contractors and consultants. Gina Tabasso is our marketing communications specialist and is responsible for developing content, interviewing customers and other stakeholders in the community, and managing a variety of different departmental functions integral to the team’s success. Joe Powell is our graphic designer and videographer. Joe designs fliers, website landing pages, internal communications, and a variety of other internal and external communications pieces used throughout the organization. He is also an FAA-licensed drone pilot. Paula Maggio is our social media specialist. She manages our Facebook, Twitter, and other social media posts. She is also a skilled public relations professional and drafts and distributes press releases for HGR. Matt Williams is the chief marketing officer at HGR and is responsible for managing the marketing team. Matt also has principal ownership of the website and e-mail marketing and manages the activities of several contractors.
What qualifications do you need to be successful in your department?
The Marketing Department receives daily requests from various departments at HGR. Organization to make sure that deadlines are met is critically important. It’s also important that team members are able to bring creative ideas to the table and to synthesize the ideas of other stakeholders in the company to help bring those ideas to life.
What do you like most about your department?
The Marketing Department at HGR has the latitude to pursue creative and innovative ideas to drive engagement. This has been evidenced recently through the F*SHO modern furniture show that was hosted at HGR and which drew somewhere around 5,000 visitors during a five-hour period on a Friday evening in mid-September.
What challenges has your department faced, and how have you overcome them?
Working on the website was very difficult just two years ago. The website was developed by a South Korean firm. While the firm is very technically sound and capable, the language barrier required the use of a translator for e-mail and phone calls. Additionally, the difference in time zones slowed things down. The Marketing Department worked with a local Web-development firm to redevelop the company’s website on the WordPress platform, which makes it much easier to publish posts just like this one. It has become the foundation for our content marketing efforts.
What changes in the way your department does business have occurred in the past few years?
The Marketing Department at HGR was retooled in 2015. All of its current employees were hired in 2015. This created an opportunity to take the company’s marketing efforts in a different direction, and the feedback from other employees and stakeholders has been very strong. One of the biggest changes has been the launch of a new website in 2016.
What continuous improvement processes do you hope to implement in the future?
Gina Tabasso has been interviewing customers for the past several months and has conducted more than 100 interviews. These interviews will be used to develop a customer satisfaction survey that will be sent out in the first quarter of 2018 to gauge opportunities to improve how we do things.
What’s HGR’s overall environment like?
HGR is a relaxed work environment where people care about one another. It’s a fun place to work. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we’re serious about the work that we do.
What is your perspective on manufacturing, surplus, investment recovery/product life cycle/equipment recycling?
HGR helps customers to extract the last measure of life out of older capital equipment. Our company serves a role in the manufacturing ecosystem where we help entrepreneurs, startups, and high-growth companies to preserve capital for growth by putting equipment that might otherwise have been scrapped back into service. We also help to validate end-of-lifecycle of capital equipment. If no one buys a piece of equipment from us, it has probably met the end of its useful life and will be recycled. Finally, we are seeing an uptick in interest in industrial elements (e.g., machine legs) that are upcycled into other products, such as modern or steampunk-style furniture.