When A Black Cloud Hits Your Business Psyche

English: Managing emotions - Identifying feelings

English: Managing emotions - Identifying feelings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever look at the sky and see the black clouds roiling and churning up dismal and bleak sense of unbalance? Mother Nature has a way making that happen, and unfortunately, it happens to business owners, too.

When a black cloud of obstructionary (yep, coining) thoughts hits your business psyche, then everything is off balance until it’s not. This week, I’ve experienced that sense of forboding. Maybe it’s the time of year when there’s pressure to spend more money than you want on personal things and holidays. Perhaps it’s that constant feeling of playing catch up because there is never enough time to be the best social media buddy any more AND bring in the client work AND service it.

Perhaps it’s the fact that life happens and emotions get the best of us turning what was a solid pathway into a twisted, pot holed crevasse.

When all this kind of life happens and your business psyche are put at risk (because we all know a healthy mind, body and spirit make for an even healthier business), what are the things you do to take a turn for the better?

Here are 11 ways I try to deal with all things black cloud:

1. Cocoon and let the darkness slide in and around until it passes and the light comes on again. Don’t reach out to anyone unless it’s short conversations.

2. Stay away from topics on blogs that push buttons and don’t comment unless it’s neutral and positive.

3. Focus outward on others who need attention.

4. Belly laugh because it relieves stress immensely.

5. Eat comfort food like what I did for supper tonight — grilled cheese and tomato soup.

6. Hit the tennis court after working out the kinks on the treadmill and stretching to open the chakras.

7. Breathe in the nose deeply and slowly and breathe out the nose.

8. Watch mindless TV or read mindless books with no business connection.

9. Write a blog post to clear the head because bloggers are full of ideas and the mind becomes cluttered with topical tension.

10. Ask for a hug.

11. Call a friend and shed a few tears to detox.

Do you have certain things you do to ease tension and get your business back on track? When humans run businesses, it’s expected that human emotion can sometimes get in the way. It’s up to we as business owners to recognize the signs that emotion overdrive is hitting and put remedies in place to manage it.

 

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5 Tips To Select PR For Start Ups

credit: enterpriseirregulars.com

The common thread amongst startups regardless of where they’re located and in what vertical they play is the solo entrepreneur or partner team launching the business.

The characteristics of these professionals are obvious — extreme passion for their business, a need to earn credibility to attract investors, a desire to control every aspect of the company, and the need for expertise to fill the gaps they don’t have.

Soulati Media has been working with many startups of late in varying stages from early bootstrap and go-to-market to companies with healthy sales but no team in place to push the product.

As a practitioner offering a powerful blend of business-to-business social media marketing and public relations, the biggest gaping hole I see is when the business owner crosses the bridge from internal focus to external strategy.

So often the infrastructure consumes every waking moment, and what comes soon after is the realization the team hasn’t put wheels in motion to go to market with a solid plan, financing or time.

What can be a hazard for the team seeking expertise to launch is the extreme knowledge and need to keep control of most every aspect of deliverables. There are financial concerns, ramp up and speed to market.

Tips To Make Start Up Launch Smoother 

From my perspective, often as the consultant joining the founding team or teaming with a solo business owner, here are suggestions to make the ride smoother:

  • Determine the knowledge gaps on the original team
  • Identify the breadth of expertise in the consultant you’re looking to hire
  • Know that a seasoned public relations practitioner often brings business, marketing and strategy to the team
  • Ensure the marketer you hire has the specialty knowledge needed to round out the team and lend new, valuable insight
  • Discuss budget early on; if a practitioner is willing to bootstrap with the team until investors are on board, then that professional should be a strong candidate

As a case in point, I recently discussed an opportunity with a startup to work in a vertical market I’ve wanted to tap for awhile. The fledgling company, yet to be seeded, is funding its infrastructure with Bobby and Mary’s college fund. I agreed to bootstrap the budget because I knew it would be an entry point to my future learning and experience in that sector.

Not too many PR practitioners will go that route to make such an investment; would you in  your space?

Launching SMB Collective

It’s officially a domain, yet nothing is there. As a strategist, the ideas are flowing too quickly to capture. So, this stream of conscious requires a whoa-Bessy from y’all to add the Internet marketing expertise and more strategic input.

To recap, last week was an amazing rapid-fire barnburner to alter Soulati-TUDE! into SMB Chat Forum, registered now on wthashtag as #SMBChat, and morphing into SMB Chat Collective turned SMB Collective. (Thanks, @JennWhinnem and @GinaKayRe for hashtag and naming, respectively.)

Big discussion from a variety of amazing tweeps helped push the idea into fruition, prompted by Neicole Crepeau of Coherent Interactive. Contributors along the way are Michelle Quillin of New England MultiMedia and Gregg Morris of storytelling fame. Jon Buscall is a major help; you’ll see how below.

A designer I use, Glen Moyes, immediately suggested registering the domain (this I knew to do) and launching the blog elsewhere, away from Soulati Media and apart from Soulati-TUDE! After we discussed it further, I saw the light, and registered the domain (something Neicole suggested early on).

The brand, SMB Collective, implies so much:

  • A collection of SMB experts offering commentary about all things pertaining to business. I can see immediately the need for how-tos on blogging and Internet marketing musts (ala what Jon Buscall  of Sweden has been sharing with me).
  • Home to many guest posters each with a perspective from some corner of the world or vertical that provides fodder for our own blogs to comment and link in parallel with cross-pollination of ideas and content.
  • A collection of resources for SMBs from all walks of life to interact with some of the best and least-known social media practitioners in the industry who offer a wealth of skills and capabilities.
  • A location for SMBs to tap and hire a virtual team with all the expertise to promote, position and run a business anyone could imagine needing. To see common opinions and perspectives come alive on this blog (similar to Mark Schaefer’s extremely engaging and global-encompassing blog {grow}) would enable the interaction and community that make social media so rich.

I share all of this because this is a strategy in the making. Perhaps you’re in the position of “just launch it already, Jayme” (me, too), but the intricacies of all the moving parts and the ability to speak out loud and garner feedback are what’s making me use this social media forum to secure consensus and confidence in a concept. Consensus is very required, as this endeavor ideally is going to include guest posts from a variety of tweeps.

So, thanks, everyone, for the expertise and commentary this past week or so. Everyone is helping to shape an idea that is now more real than it was yesterday.

More SMB Chat Recap

It’s been an exciting few days growing a community of SMBs (that’s small-t0-medium businesses) yesterday and the day before right here. To recap the heretofore in brief:

  • The news about health premiums rising to “pay for” health reform and targeting SMBs, individuals put me over the edge. In speaking with Neicole Crepeau   in a fabulous Twitter conversation detailed here, I asked how we bloggers could unite and create a larger voice. She suggested a Facebook page, and off we went.
  • By engaging my tier one tweeps (you can see their identities via links in this post), what resulted was the most rewarding exchange of social media brainstorming world-wide without speaking one word. (I am in awe and thank each of you for participating in this experience.)

The results are still unfolding:

  • Facebook was initially suggested as the forum for our SMB community to reach the small service businesses and others needing  information and peer group support we’d offer. Comments to the contrary said it was a “personal” place while LinkedIn was pushed as the first choice.
  • Comments about LinkedIn say it’s highly professional and peoples’ experience with its groups hold low regard. My sense is lack of familial exchange and inability to create a friendly forum in which to exchange commentary and free thought.
  • This blog, Soulati-TUDE!, is new. Its voice written by moi as a public relations practitioner is not theme oriented per se; it’s about social media, PR, teaching and observation about what impacts me. While some see this as not having direction, it is perfectly me — I thirst for knowledge and return it back strategically. The SMB audience is always a focus albeit not an emphasis.  
  • To grow the SMB community here, this blog’s backend needs work with new plug-ins, upgrades, and a general-take-it-to-the-next-level thrust; Facebook Like, LinkedIn button, e-mail comments plug in, and other things as advised by you. (I develop content; the tech stuff kills me until I learn, learn, learn.)
  • I’ve officially registered #SMBChat on What the HashTag. (Thanks, Jenn!) People asked for a Twitter forum to review issues easily and trend the topic, too. No official name as of yet for this; I like SMBChat, really. (How about you?)
  • Neicole suggested yesterday this blog would suffer SEO if some of it is devoted to SMB and the other posts to PR. Not sure I really care about that? As said earlier, my agency PR background pings me all over. Who has expertise to share on the importance of that, please?
  • On that note, differentiating a blog from others in the same vertical takes consistent effort. This emphasis would engage hundreds of tweeps in no time at all from across verticals and offer rich perspective for those with no voice at all.

And, so, away we go! Please suggest other thoughts to push us into the home stretch. Thank you!

Should We SMB Facebook?

Twitter offers lovely surprises when you least expect it. I had no idea I’d banter intelligently with Neicole Crepeau (@neicolec) and invite her to a phone chat which resulted in both of us describing ourselves as SMBs frustrated with the health care reform situation. Nicole runs Coherent Interactive  and blogs on social media here.

My initial thrust in reaching out to Neicole was oriented to “what can we do as bloggers” to fight back?

Neicole, idea person that she is, suggested a Facebook page. That put the wheels in high gear. I’ve been avoiding starting a Facebook page for Soulati Media, Inc. because the Web site is still not where it needs to be (my designer is in la la land and not responding), and my blog pages need to be built with informed content. Why open yet another channel when my house is not in order?

Rather than Facebook about me and be so repetitive and boring, Neicole and I briefly addressed a Facebook fan page for small business owners struggling with high emotion about taxes, insurance, finance, and all other issues that form the backbone of our businesses.

Several years ago, I registered a domain name that would address the administrative inside of a business; the site would be a plethora of resources for all SMBs to tap and enable a smooth sail for these issues that plague us. My dream is still a dream, but this Facebook page is more a reality and easier implemented, too.

Here’s the invite…

We’re seeking SMBs (that’s small-to-medium businesses) to join us on this venture. Our aim is to create a forum for us in business to voice our concerns, share tales, and lend support to our peer groups. The role of those who engage would be to add links, content, comments and encouragement to anyone stopping by.

There’s no monetary gain here unless you get a lead from a prospect eager to engage in our conversation. The commitment is one of intellectual stimulation, some time, and the ability to freely say “I’m ticked off that SMBs continue to be gouged for more taxes, higher premiums, and more accounting demands…etc.”

As Neicole and I run successful ventures that keep us hopping (see above), we’re eager to find like-minded folks to launch this yet-to-be-named forum.

If you deem this cause and our mission agreeable, please join in. Just a note below is all we need to engage. If you think the Small Business Forum worthy and you’d participate, please also give me a nod here.

From the pod of a seed, big ideas come and a community is generated.