Tell me a little bit about you, your business, and what you do.
I am the co-owner and lead graphic designer of The Visual Identity Vault in Fairmont, MN where Nothing is Impossible with a Great Identity! We are a printing services company, capable of taking care of your brand with paper printed products, signage, banners, promotional products and decorated apparel. We also do specialty sublimation printing on a variety of materials as well as laser cutting and engraving.
Where did you grow up? What was life like?
I grew up in Des Moines, Iowa and had a wonderful childhood. I was rather shy, but started working at a young age which developed a great work ethic. I started with babysitting and then worked at a Benjamin Franklin and then worked at a hotel in various departments throughout high school. I also worked at a bingo parlor on weekends for a friends grandmother.
Did you have an entrepreneurial family member?
I did not know anyone entrepreneurial in my youth, but developed those ideas with my husand and in our early years of marriage.
How did you get into your profession/industry?
I had gone to college for business management/sales and marketing and had generally held administrative positions. Elementary school secretary before moving to Minnesota and then assistant to the director of an orthopedic clinic after moving to Fairmont. My husband and I had developed an action photography business when our boys were young and when my position at the clinic was going South, I quit that job and went back to school for graphic design and we changed our focus from photography (because more and more people had their own digital cameras) and changed our focus to screenprinting, shirts on site and so on.
y name is Tabitha Melvin and I am a Regional Vice President with Primerica. Our mission is to help families earn more income, become properly protected, debt free and financially independent. We do this by providing financial literacy, a financial coach and a complimentary financial needs analysis. We make finance FUN, so you don’t want to run.
I grew up in Marshall, Mn and graduated from MSU in 1995 with a bachelors degree in elementary education and early childhood special education. I have one younger brother and my parents were married for 36 years before my mom passed away of cancer at 59. My dad was a successful business owner and shared with me a tremendous work ethic and how to get along with people. But most importantly he taught me what integrity truly meant as a business owner and woman. I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I just didn’t realize God would shut the door on my teaching career so I could teach middle income families the rules of money that I had never been taught. It was always a sign. I was always unhappy in the corporate world and soon realized being my own boss was hard but what I truly wanted to do.
Hi my name is Dr. Matthew Hodgden. I am a physical therapist. I help people get their life back. I do this by digging deeper into people’s stories to find out what they can no longer physically do but wish to do. We then find out why they are no longer able to do these things; it is usually due to: pain, loss of motion, or just fearful of trying. We then develop a plan to correct the impairments that are holding the person back from trying these activities and then meet these goals in order to fully restore an individual’s value of life. For example, I just finished up with a client that woke up 5 to 6 times at night due to pain; we were able to address her issues and, in only 4 visits, she is now sleeping soundly -- waking up refreshed and ready for the day.
I grew up in a split family my entire life; my mom, whom I primarily lived with, was in Holloway, MN (near the SD border) and my dad lived in Nimrod, MN (closer to Brainerd). Although I had 4 siblings, I essentially was raised as an only child by my mother and step-father which provided opportunities for me to learn how to push myself to always learn something new. The healthcare field has always been my direction of path as I was the youngest first responder in the state of MN at the age of 14 years old. After that, I became an EMT and went on to attend Paramedic school. My father owned his construction company, so at a young age I also saw the benefits of being my own boss and, therefore, owning my own business has always been a dream for me.
I was originally planning to be a heart surgeon due to the family history of heart attacks before the age of 55 in my family. I was fully qualified and very confident that I would have been successful with this path but heart surgeons have an 89% divorce rate and I had been in a committed relationship (that eventually lead to my wonderful wife and now amazing two children), so I chose a healthcare career that allowed me to also balance well with my family life. The Physical Therapy profession allows me to get to know my patients, really make them healthy, and have a great quality of life.
My name is Ryan Wempen. I run Kato Moving & Storage. We are a professional mover for the Southern MN area to or from anywhere in the world. We have our own fleet of moving trucks and team of professional movers. We will go to your house and pack, load and move to your belongings to your new home. We also move business offices, pianos and safes.
A majority of our moves are “local,” meaning they are within 50 miles from house to house. Then, we do many moves each month that are more than 50 miles whether within or out of state, we can do them all. We are a Mayflower agent which is the largest mover in the country.
We also have over 1000 self-storage units at 3 locations and several warehouse locations for keeping your belongings.
I grew up in St Peter and moved all the way to Mankato (10 miles away). My dad worked/works for several non-profit businesses as the business manager – so I did grow up seeing him have to figure out how to keep these businesses shifting to stay viable. He was always plotting a plan to grow or improve the various places he was involved with. I think this did teach me lots on how to make adjustments as needed. I have 3 brothers and a sister and all of them have businesses, rental property, or are running businesses in the area; so we must have all picked up some of this growing up.
In my first business, which is still in operation, Sellers Minnesota, an estate sale company; we ended up moving or cleaning out many self-storage units over the years, I got interested in buying a location. So, after a few failed attempts, I finally got one purchased. After growing this business, I used this location to grow my locations. I ended up buying a moving company because they had some self-storage I was interested in. I did feel this was a great addition to my group of companies because it allowed me to shift some of the heavy lifting from myself to the professional move crew.
I love that every day is different. I have to work hard and long hours but it does not feel like going to work because I like what I do! We have a great team and that also makes each day fun to talk to the crew.
The Tough Days
I like the pressure days, so no hard days for me.
Most Valuable Lesson Learned
Be honest, fair and take care of the customers and employees!
I know you feel this, yes you. I know you have felt guilt about the lack of time, money, attention, or focus you have lacked due to your entrepreneurial adventures. I also know you feel like you have to continue because you want better, you need better for yourself, for your family. I bet you're still smiling. You're thinking, yes, I feel that way at times, but it's good. I like being busy. I like that I am working toward something. I am setting an example for my kids. It is not easy, but good will come of it.
Oh, I'm going to have to go first, eh? Alright, let's go:
I unraveled today.
1. Disappearing Act
Ever get exposed to a new business and do some research before you book or shop with them? We've all come across Facebook Business Pages that haven't been updated since 2014. I don't know about you, but when I see that, it screams to me "I don't care about you or my business!"
You don't have to post on every available social media platform. You don't even have to post the industry suggested 1-3x per day. Just post regularly and consistently! One quality post that is customized for the audience of the one platform you are posting on daily is an outstanding start. Better than many!
2. Its Not All About You
This could be airing political opinions, making it the family page, or making it a personal blog.
First, I have seen businesses close over standing by political opinions. Just don't. Even when you think you are making a decision about what is right...its just not right to everybody and if family and friends will avoid you so they don't have to hear it, trust me when I tell you everyone else will too (even if they agree with you).
Second, this is a bit of a gray area, so let me try to do my best to explain: your customers want to know about you and your life. I promise you they do. This is part of trust building in relationships. That said, you have a personal Facebook page. Posting your daily pic of your kid, spouse, dog, car, vacation, etc. is NOT for your business social media. Specifically written, relative, applicable content that highlights your life, but is professionally put together as a business would, is another story. Here are a couple good rules of thumb to help you think about your posts:
What do you feel when you hear the phrase Passive Income? Do you light up and feel a longing for the freedom of easy Passive Income? Do you feel disgust and roll your eyes at that sleazy pitch of Passive Income? Does your interest peak at the idea of being able to work without doing much? If any of those are accurate, you are sorely mistaken at the realty of Passive Income.
Passive Income is a real thing. It is not a myth. It is not just a scam.
The thing is, whoever thought of what to call it ("Passive Income") is a jerk because it is severely misleading and, because of that, it is often used as scam bait. Here's the truth:
What is a Branding Consultant and why on earth would I need one? Oh honey, let's talk. In the past, only big business has been concerned about branding. They utilize entire marketing teams to focus on their branding to ensure their name is chosen before the competitor. Pepsi versus Coke, chances are you have a giant opinion on which is better. A branding consultant of sorts probably assisted in that opinion yours without you knowing it. In this age of mass entrepreneurship, branding is more prevalent to establish market advantage and is also likely why you hear the title Branding Consultant more often.
Here's what they do:
Poor employee experience rears its ugly head in many forms. The most common is, arguably, high attrition. It can also show itself in the form of attendance issues, lack of interest in advancement, negative attitudes and drama, or consistently mediocre performance. If your company culture has tanked, here are 3 tips to getting it back in gear:
Talk to the team you have now. Ask them where the company has opportunity for improvement. Give them several avenues to share their opinions and ideas. Make your leadership team and HR team available in time slots for employees to sign up and chat. Put out several ways to share anonymous feedback for those who don’t feel comfortable talking about their opinions, or fear retaliation. Make it easy for them to make suggestions. Then, wait. It will take time for some to feel comfortable enough to share. But, eventually, if you show this is ongoing and not a fly-by-night attempt, you will earn the trust and engagement of many of the game players.
If you are super committed to gaining the feedback of your employees, incentivize it! Put guidelines around it and make it easy, but the most process improvements or thoughtful suggestions made might earn a gift card or another small incentive. You’ll be astounded at the culture that builds around encouraged collaborative improvement!
Make it Personal
Be intentional about your purpose in change. Create a mission, make a plan and stick with it. This will encourage consistency in the message which, in turn, will build trust in a shorter time frame then an ever-changing ideal. It may take serious time, especially for those cultures that are particularly tainted, to turn around and become a positive flow of engagement. Do not give up!
A true commitment to creating a positive employee experience will involve every employee at every stage of their employment. It will look very similar to and be as intense as creating a business plan. In fact, it is a business plan. It is not a bunch of fluff to try to make people happy. It will take the true and authentic vision for the company and embody that mission through unified focus on a complimentary culture. It will not be for the faint of heart. You cannot make changes by throwing a few pizza parties or handing out bonuses. Be prepared for the long haul. The results will amaze you!
Give it Time
This is not a project or an initiative. This is a commitment to lifelong change for a positive work environment and company of growth. A commitment like this will be an investment and a struggle at times, but the results will only be as long-term as you commit to them. If you make a short-term effort, that effort will likely backslide, and things might end up worse off due to lost trust.
You will not become Amazon or Zappos overnight. You might not even ever come close, but you will set your own path and see definite results. Lowered attrition saves on recruiting, on-boarding, and training expenses. Positive cultures breed productivity. If you take those savings and increases, reinvest them back into your team; suddenly you have a long-term, sustainable culture to be proud of.
Taking employee experience from not so desirable to a positive company culture is a long, hard road with abundant destinations. The keys to setting forth on this journey is to work with your current employees, designing a set plan to reach goals, and being patient with the process.
For a plan of action to improve the opportunities in your current culture and processes, please visit Captiv8 Marketing HERE to book your Free Initial Consultation. Join the conversation at facebook.com/captiv8marketing!
Gone are the days where you could take your time and find the ideal candidate without wasting considerable money. No longer is it likely for you to receive an abundance of applicants with one generic job posting. Unemployment is at an all-time low and the worker demand is slim. Below are 5 tips for gaining your ideal candidate:
It’s All in The Details!
Take the time to thoroughly review your job posting. Be sure it fully and honestly includes every skill and experience you require and prefer in the ideal candidate. To be generic may get you more applicants, but they will be applicants that do not necessarily have those skills needed. More unqualified candidates equals unnecessarily long interview processes and wasted time. That doesn’t benefit anyone and has a negative ripple effect.
Identify things about your company that make your employees excited to work there. Identify unique perks you currently offer or might consider offering. (There is a company near me that manufactures boats. That company, with specific guidelines, offers the ability to take out one of their boats for free several times per year. That is unique!) Highlight those unique perks in your Job Posting and when speaking with candidates. Sell your company without begging for help!
People not Numbers
Review your hiring and onboarding process. (If you don’t have a process, create one!) Realize that the interviewing and onboarding process has a large impact on the lives on your candidates and their families as well as their opinion of your company. Dragging your potential hires through a 6-week intensive interview process where they must drive to your location repeatedly and potentially go without income awaiting your decision, just plain isn’t nice. It’s also not a very good initial impression on your new employee(s). Condense your process, maximize your resources, and give options. If you do have a large candidate pool, start your interviews over the phone and go thru several in-person steps in one day. Start your employees off on the right foot, loving their new company. You’ll be glad you did.
What’s it Worth?
Minimum wage has risen drastically over recent years, and many are trying to pay as close to that wage as possible as a result. Pay your positions what they are worth to the company. If you cannot offer a compensation package that is worth what you are asking from people (this includes the stress or drama that may come with your department) then maybe it is not the time for you to hire. Maybe, instead, you need to invest that low salary into assessing and revamping your company culture, so it is a better place to work. Think about it.
Outsourcing and Staffing Agencies
If you don’t have the time or commitment to perform everything above, or you simply would prefer someone else do it right. Instead, spend some time interviewing companies that can staff your position for you from an already established, large candidate pool with qualifications that fit your needs or who can take on a department or section of one and train, operate, and mange it for you. This can be a giant cost savings to you if you choose the right company.
Old practices will no longer get you the same old results. Generational differences and supply and demand shifts have all but eliminated the “I’m just lucky to have a job” mentality. To truly build a successful and efficient team, an environment now must be cultivated for satisfied employees. The true secret in workforce strategy, is asking questions of your current team and potential candidates!
For assistance in evaluating your current processes and a plan of action to improve, please visit J. Fre Consulting HERE to book your Free Initial Consultation. Join the conversation at facebook.com/captiv8marketing!