The KISS Principle: From Innovation to Communication

Written by Dora Cheatham, Program Manager, Emerging Enterprise Center

KISS – alternately known “keep it simple, stupid”, “keep it short and simple” and “keep it simple and straightforward” – is an acronym reportedly coined by Kelly Johnson in the early 20th century, a lead engineer at Lockheed Skunk Works who created the Lockheed US and SR-71 Blackbird spy planes. It’s also a design principle noted by the US Navy in 1960 believing that most systems work best when you avoid unnecessary complexity.

The concept is nothing new and has been embraced by innovators throughout the centuries, from Leonardo da Vinci “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” to Steve Jobs “That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Lean and Six Sigma were both based on the simplification and optimization of processes to increase productivity and reduce the potential for error. Alan Turing – considered the father of computing and artificial intelligence – built the stunningly simple Turing Machine which is today the basis of all modern computers. The same applies in the business world. Whether it’s a go-to-market plan, the design of a new process, or implementing cultural change the key to success is simplicity.

By simplifying and communicating sometimes complex organizational strategies and discussions, it makes them accessible to the entire organization which in turn enables the entire organization to embrace them. So the concept of QA in manufacturing can be viewed less as a system of forms and check marks and more as a fundamental belief in manufacturing products of the highest quality possible. Innovation can be viewed less as a function of R&D or Engineering, divorced from the rest of the organization, and more an overriding vision that is integrated into the mainstream of the organization, engendering commitment at all levels.

Similarly, the communication of complex, technical products needs to be broken down into language understood by anyone involved in the purchase process, with clear explanations of the pros and cons surrounding their purchase decision and based on trustworthy information. Too often, marketing of complex products – especially at a B2B level – is communicated in language and concepts which may hold great value to some in the decision making process, but may hold little value to others. Ensure that the communication is clear enough to be understand by all involved in the purchasing decision.

In their excellent article published in Harvard Business Review, Patrick Spenner and Karen Freeman discussed their findings after a 3-month long study on what drives consumers to opt for, or stick with, a specific brand. They found that “the single biggest driver of stickiness, by far, was “decision simplicity” – the ease with which consumers can gather trustworthy information about a product confidently and efficiently weigh their purchase options. What consumers want from marketers is, simply, simplicity.”

So how do you go about simplifying communication? The steps are simple (pun intended):

DECONSTRUCT: Break down the idea to its basic elements.

SIMPLIFY: Simplify the premise by taking out excess information that does not directly contribute to the value expected by the end user(s).

RECONSTRUCT: Reconstruct by focusing strictly on the value, bearing in mind that value may represent different things to the various members of your audience.

COMMUNICATE: Communicate in a language that is accessible to a wider audience. Use clear language, avoid the use of jargon and acronyms that only a limited audience would understand.

I’ll leave the final word to that great genius Einstein:

“If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”

Think Costco First

Payment Processing the Costco Way: Trust, Value, and Quality.

With more than 500 warehouse locations in the U.S., Costco Wholesale understands the importance of a trusted resource for payment processing. Costco also has deep respect for members who own and operate businesses themselves. That’s why Costco entrusts Elavon to provide members with reliable credit card processing, mobile payment processing, point of sale systems, payment processing products and services tailored to your industry.

Easily get stuff done with Quickbooks.

With the most advanced features and easy to use interface, QuickBooks Online Plus saves time by letting you create recurring invoices, manage your bills, prepare and print 1099s and track inventory. Manage your business on the go by accessing QuickBooks anywhere/anytime via any device. Access 60+ insightful built-in reports to understand the health of your business. Expand your QuickBooks functionality by easily syncing with 350+ apps. Seamlessly collaborate with your accountant to make tax time a snap.

Your Business is Big Business. No matter the size, your business is a big business to us. Intermedia offers a complete package of essential services to make your business more efficient: Microsoft Office 365 with Intermedia’s backup and file sharing service and J.D. Power-certified 24/7 support.

Join over 1 million small businesses and choose the right payroll service for you.

Intuit payroll gives you the ability to create unlimited paychecks instantly and calculate payroll taxes automatically. This program is compatible with Quickbooks and can be accessed directly from your iOS or Android devices. Try it risk free for 30 days.

Harland Clarke offers a variety of personal and business checks and accessories to meet your everyday needs.

Harland Clarke offers a variety of personal and business checks and accessories to meet your everyday needs. With the wide variety available you’ll be able to choose the check designs and formats that will fit your business needs. All checks are quality laser checks that works with accounting software. Also available are Quickbooks and Quicken compatible tax forms to help make tax season run smoother.

If you are looking for more information on the business services call (302) 444-9312 or email w246mkt01@costco.com.

4 Secrets to Creating an Engaged Workforce

Written by Cheryl Beth Kuchler, Ballantree Consulting

With over 285 employees, and almost 400 residents living in resort-style accommodations, running The Hill at Whitemarsh says Judy McGruther, who’s been the CEO since they started up over a dozen years ago, is like being the mayor of a small city.

But it’s more than that. “The Hill” is a Five Star Continuing Care Community in Lafayette Hill, PA, north of Philadelphia. And the Five Stars don’t come without a great deal of commitment, time and attention to detail from Judy and her Leadership Team. No more so than back in 2013 when the team realized that their hiring process wasn’t producing the results that they wanted – or needed – to grow.

Numerous challenges faced them. Finding the right employees in a highly competitive job market – for what’s often a very high stress jobs with tremendous responsibility caring for elderly, sometimes frail, residents.  An interview process that was taking too long resulting in lost candidates. Being in an industry that’s known for its high turnover. With an expansion in the works, Judy’s team had to do something different if they were to meet their growth goals.

How did they double their engagement scores and support their culture of high performance service as well? Read on here to learn more about the four key ingredients to their success!

And come to our upcoming briefing to learn more about how we can help you. For more information or just to register to attend for free and learn more click here.

 

Drone Workforce Solutions Begins Training Local Residents in Drone Technology

Drone Workforce Solutions (DWS) began its inaugural class training aspiring drone pilots on September 30, 2017 with the help of a grant from the Delaware Department of Labor.

Twelve Delaware students have been selected and enrolled in the 70-hour, 10-week drone training course that covers everything from the mechanics of flying, to aviation safety, to the aeronautical information they need to become a certified and FAA licensed commercial drone pilot .

“Our students will receive a top-notch education in drone technology that will help them seize job opportunities in this $100 billion dollar industry,” said Drone Workforce Solutions CEO and General Counsel Theophilus R. Nix Jr.

Earlier this year, the Delaware Department of Labor, Division of Employment & Training awarded its second drone-related grant, ever awarded, to Drone Workforce Solutions to start a pipeline of talented commercial drone operators to expand the state’s technology sector and increase sustainable employment for men and women from diverse backgrounds of today’s working families.

This particular grant paid the tuition for the students taking the Drone Workforce Solutions course. As part of their training, the aspiring drone pilots master the FAA’s regulations for drone operators, learn how to build a drone from scratch, learn business and entrepreneurial skills, and experience hands-on, in-field flight coaching by our highly qualified, experienced and FAA certified drone pilots in the industry.

Upon completion of the program, DWS alumni receive a certificate backed by Drone Workforce Solutions; the only drone training company that is approved by the Delaware Department of Education, the New Jersey Department of Education and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.  DWS was recently selected to be a finalist in the Emerging Enterprise Center’s Swim with the Sharks video pitch competition.

Graduating students will also become members with one of DWS’s partners, the digital Drone Pilot Ground School, where they will have access to online tools and resources for five years. DWS offers its alumni opportunities for subsequent training, networking, and potential employment through its drone employment company.

From construction companies, to agriculture, law enforcement, media, utilities, infrastructure, entertainment, construction and real estate many industries have smartly identified drones as a key investment to make their operations more efficient and effective. Few have the staff with expertise to implement the technology. According to one study, the expansion of commercial drones could add $82 billion in economic value over the next ten years and by 2025 employ an additional 100,000 Americans.

DWS is currently seeking interested aspiring drone pilots for their next class scheduled for the Spring of 2018. Through its website, www.droneworkforcesolutions.com, candidates should send their full name, email, and phone number to receive upcoming dates to attend DWS’s FREE Open House Informational classes.

About DWS

Drone Workforce Solutions is dedicated to helping small unmanned aircraft(sUAS) pilots and everyday businesses work together to find innovative solutions for a rapidly-changing marketplace. DWS offers customized workshops to all kinds of businesses; from utility companies to real estate companies. Backed by over 25 years of legal, business, and aviation experience Drone Workforce Solutions is not only committed to producing top-quality work, but using its network to transform industries. Drone Workforce Solutions corporate office and drone training school is located on the Wilmington riverfront at 920 Justison Street, Wilmington, DE 19801.

What You Need To Know About Security Warnings in Google Chrome

Written by Advertising is Simple

View originial article here.

Are you in charge of your own standalone IC Site or client sites that have forms on web pages that are HTTP (not HTTPS)? If so, you might have received an email from Google Search Console recently reminding you that starting October 17, 2017, these pages will be showing security warnings  in Google Chrome.

Do you manage websites that are HTTP and have pages with forms capturing some sort of customer data (eg. contact us form)?  If yes, this notice is very important for your case and you should definitely care about the difference between http and https. Why?

It might seem so sudden, but the Google’s plan to change labeling HTTP sites as non-secure has been gradually taking place since January 2017, following the change of Chrome 56. In recent statements, Chrome explained this initiative as cracking down on HTTP infractions with credit cards and passwords. “Passwords and credit cards are not the only types of data that should be private. Any type of data that users type into websites should not be accessible to others on the network, so starting in version 62 Chrome will show the “Not secure” warning when users type data into HTTP sites.” – Chromium Blog

So what’s the difference between HTTP and HTTPS?

Whenever you’re visiting the HTTP site, you sit at your browser and interact with data. However, how the data travels from Point A to Point B, or even if it travels at all, is none of HTTP’s concern.

It’s similar with HTTPS, BUT when security is a must, HTTPS differentiates one sender and receiver from another. The SSL actually encrypts the coming and going data. This means that SSL uses a mathematical algorithm to hide the true meaning of the data. The hope is that this algorithm is so complex it is either impossible or prohibitively difficult to crack, therefore making data submitted through HTTPS web page (contact details, credit card info) more secure.

How to avoid these security warnings in Google Chrome?

  1. Host with a dedicated IP address.
  2. Buy a Certificate.
  3. Activate the Certificate.
  4. Install the Certificate.
  5. Update your site to use HTTPS.

 

If you migrate your site from HTTP to HTTPS, Google treats this as a site move with a URL change. This can temporarily affect some of your traffic numbers.

See the site move overview page to learn more. Also, here is more information on Google Search Console recommendations about https.

 

 

Green Grazer Goats wins this year’s Swim with the Sharks Video Pitch Competition.

Written by Dora Cheatham, Program Manager, Emerging Enterprise Center.

Beating out ten other startup companies, and despite tough competition, Green Grazer Goats grazed into the no. 1 position to win the Emerging Enterprise Center’s Swim with the Sharks Video Pitch Competition—now in its 5th year and with a Grand Prize totaling over $22,000 in cash and services.

Green Grazer Goats is an eco-friendly farming operation that works hard to turn problem areas into manageable property, efficiently clearing areas of noxious weeds and brush without the need for human labor, heavy equipment, dangerous chemicals – and all at about half the cost.  With their clear vision and plan, Kalyn Butt and Kevin Connor convinced the judges that they had a viable business.

For the first time this year, the Emerging Enterprise Center, Delaware’s first small business incubator partnered with New Castle County Government, as well as multiple sponsors, to offer its largest ever prize package which included:

The competition required participants to submit a 3-minute video pitch showcasing their company and describing how their prize package will be used to grow their business.  The three finalists pitched live before a jury composed of judges from the entrepreneurial and business community.  Judging was based on multiple criteria, including clarity of message and vision, value proposition and feasibility of business concept.

The two other finalists:  DEact Medical Solutions and Drone Workforce Solutions, both of which also impressed the judges with their forward thinking innovations.  All three finalists received prize packages. Videos of all the submissions can be seen on Emerging Enterprise Center Website.

Initiating and Engaging in Courageous Conversations Important Elements for Successful Outcomes

Written by James Gulezian, Adjunct Professor, Goldey-Beacom College specializing in  leadership, business management, and human resources.

As leaders we are often faced with extremely challenging, problematic situations stemming from inappropriate behavior or unsatisfactory performance on the part of one or two people who seem to occupy 80% of our time and attention. More often than not, the at-work behavior or performance issue is more deeply rooted in the individual’s personality/temperament that serves to reinforce and self-rationalize their behavior or mode of performance. As such, the leader, and person’s co-workers grow increasingly frustrated, angry, and resentful of the “problem child” and, in effect, suffer from this toxic presence in the work environment. It’s bad enough that this problem person is performing at a sub-par level, he or she has now impeded the performance of the whole team, stemming from delays from work-arounds, others having to constantly follow-up and pay strict attention to everything he or she does, etc.

For various reasons stemming from the employee’s personality, time with the company, time in the job, etc. the leader knows deep down inside that time is running out and the need to effectively address the issue(s) with the person is NOW. By this point, the eyes of the leader’s boss, peers, and staff are on him or her, expecting that this situation is resolved once and for all. The leader also realizes that, notwithstanding the other person’s personality, feelings, and temperament, he or she must come to grip with their own emotional framework; recognizing all the personal obstacles that could impede an effective collaborative problem resolution outcome. While important to identify these derailment influences, it is equally important to identify what the leader will keep in mind and demonstrate to keep the discussion on a productive course.

For leaders who face these high-stakes, high-impact situations, it is critically important to feel confident in knowing what to do and, for that matter, what to avoid when having these extremely challenging discussions. It’s all about the manner in which the discussion is started and navigated to completion that spells the difference between success and disaster.

Come to our workshop (click here to register) where you will be provided a practical hands-on framework for leaders to plan and execute effective interactions with problem employees. Significant attention will be placed on interpersonal dynamics and effective use of important tools such as active listening, emotional intelligence, collaborative problem-solving, preservation of self-esteem, and building greater trust.

7 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Small Business

written by Kristin Drake, LinkedIn Careers Team.
Grow your small business with LinkedIn by using these seven proven tactics.

There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States, but only half of them will make it past five years. To ensure your small business is in the successful half, we encourage you to capitalize on the various ways LinkedIn can evolve your business.

With LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you can generate leads, produce sales, and hire top professionals to fuel your growth. Here are seven ways to grow your business using LinkedIn:

Create a LinkedIn Company Page

We’ve found that LinkedIn members are 50% more likely to buy once they’ve engaged with your business on LinkedIn. But they can’t connect with you if you don’t have a LinkedIn Company Page. According to Forbes, only 57% of companies have pages. The remaining 43% are missing out on a free opportunity to generate leads, talent, and, ultimately, revenue.

If you don’t already have one, create a LinkedIn Company Page. Personal profiles don’t have the same marketing, advertising, and recruiting features as Company Pages, making them less effective at promoting your business. As you create your page, think about the kind of impression you want to create among potential customers and employees. This will help you select the right photos and messages to use on your page.

For a step-by-step guide on how to create an above and beyond Company Page, view our LinkedIn Company Page Best Practices. 

Promote Your Company Page

Once you have a Company Page, announce it to your clients, employees, and personal network. This will help you gain your first followers, who in turn will help to promote your Company Page on the content you post to it.

Promoting your page on other platforms or via email is also a great way to grow your audience. Here are some simple ways to get the word out:

  • Announce the launch of the Company Page on your personal LinkedIn profile
  • Encourage employees to follow the Company Page by making it a part of your onboarding process—Social Media Today reports that content shared by employees receives eight times the engagement as brand shared content
  • Link to your Company Page in the footer of your marketing emails or newsletters
  • Embed a Company Follow button onto your website so visitors can easily follow your LinkedIn Company Page

Share Content Regularly

The more you post, the more people you can potentially reach and convert. Best-in-class LinkedIn Company Pages are consistently updated to ensure that visitors have plenty of new content to consume and share.

To get started, try posting at least once per week. It’s not uncommon for companies to post three or more times per day. Post whenever you have something worth saying. Posting consistently shows Company Page visitors that your company is active on LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn’s Company Page analytics to see your top performing updates, your best times to post, and which members of your audience are the most engaged. With this information, it’s easy to make data-driven decisions to optimize your Company Page content.

In addition to posting often, here are a few more stats to help you boost engagement:

  • Posts with links receive up to 45% more engagement
  • Images see an incredible 98% increase in engagement
  • Posts that have relevant “best-of” lists get almost 40% more amplification

When a post gets good engagement, consider promoting it to a wider audience with LinkedIn Sponsored Content. Take the Sponsored Content Tour and discover how Sponsored Content amplifies your best content.

Showcase Thought Leadership

Seventy nine percent of buyers say thought leadership is critical for determining which companies they want to learn more about. To get started with thought leadership content, try to provide a unique perspective on your industry, product, or organization. Sharing your opinion on the future of your industry or creating a definitive guide on your product are just two ways to demonstrate your expertise and position your company as a credible partner.

For more ideas and advice on expanding your brand’s authority, download our Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Thought Leadership to learn more.

Target Sales Prospects

LinkedIn has over 500 million users to date. That may seem like a lot to sort through, but LinkedIn also provides you with tools to identify and target your ideal audience.

LinkedIn members are more likely than other social media users to keep their profiles up-to-date, making it easier for you to find the right people. Use LinkedIn profile data to search for LinkedIn members based on geographic location, education, experience, and even connections. Once you’ve found prospects using the search feature, visit their profiles. Their endorsements or recent profile views might surface additional qualified prospects, too.

For more ways to reach your ideal audience, learn how to advertise on LinkedIn.

Build an All-Star Team

LinkedIn has helped 75% of job switchers make informed career decisions, making LinkedIn a top recruiting network. What are candidates looking for when making those decisions? Our research shows that 66% of candidates want to see company culture over everything else. To take advantage of this preference, consider enhancing your Company Page with a LinkedIn Career Page.

Career Pages allow you to target audiences with a personalized look into your company, culture, and jobs. They give you dedicated Life and Jobs Tabs on your Company Page that attract and engage relevant professionals.

In addition to creating Career Pages, encourage employees to share job postings and “day in the life” content as well. This gives visitors a genuine idea of what it’s like to work for you and adds to your authenticity. If you have a few employees who lead the pack in sharing content, consider linking them to your Company Page’s Life Tab. Their shared articles and recent updates will automatically populate, providing visitors with up-to-date information. Watch our video below on how to use the Life Tab to attract the right talent for your company.

 

Hire Freelancers

You’ve probably had an employee who took on a task outside of their domain. You might have even done it yourself a few times. While the effort is commendable, learning on the fly can also be detrimental.

Fortunately, finding the right talent for the task at hand isn’t as tricky as it once was, even if you can’t afford the salary of a full time employee.

LinkedIn ProFinder enables you to post your projects, receive free proposals, and hire trustworthy professionals all in one place. ProFinder will even pair you with local professionals to ensure you have the best freelance experience possible. With 172 professional services available on ProFinder, it’s easy to find the perfect professional for any task.

LinkedIn vets all  the professionals on the platform to ensure they are qualified and leverages your network to find freelancers your connections have used, so you’re never in the dark about who you’re hiring.

By using freelancers, you’ll get access to outside perspectives & broad experience of professionals of all kinds, from creating websites and designing logos to managing your books or crafting your marketing strategy. Plus, with none of the management overhead of a full-time employee, you can focus solely on the job at hand.