Tuesday, March 4, 2014

“Pinning” a Profit

When I say social media, what comes to mind? Email? Twitter? Facebook? I bet Pinterest wasn’t the first. But why not? With more than 70,000,000 users (count the zeroes!) maybe it’s time to take a second look at how effectively Pinterest could reach your business’ target consumers.(1) Frequent studies have emphasized the importance of social media in business marketing. Here are the top 4 reasons why Pinterest should be your next medium:

1.     PINTERST IS A GROWING MARKET. A recent article by the research company, Enguage stated, “It seems you can’t go a day without reading or hearing about social’s newest sweetheart-Pinterest.”(4) This is partly because Pinterest gets 1.36 million visits per day. (6) Pinterest is the hot media outlet, and the facts to support it. There are 70,000,000 users worldwide, and that number is only growing. In February 2013 the number of Pinterest users was reported at 48.7 million worldwide. By July 2013, just 5 months later, that number jumped to 70 million- a 145% increase!(1) The average user now spends an unbelievable 90 minutes browsing per visit. With more users and more consumer time, there is more far potential for impact.

2.     PINTEREST IS EASY. Pinterest’s overarching purpose is to allow users to save pictures that appeal to them. When these pictures are your products, Pinterest is like similar to window shopping at a mall, but on steroids. This sort of window shopping can be done anytime, anywhere, and because the target audience is not shoppers, anyone with an extra minute on hand becomes a potential customer.  Pinterest is simple because it gets directly to the point… no content development, no advertising, no jingle… just your product. Each post is repinned an average of 10 times. Yielding great potential for quick growth and results.(1) Building a base is fast and easy when linking Pinterest to current social media- most commonly, Facebook and Twitter. But, don’t wait to start. As with any social media, the determinate factor in following and support is time.

3.     PINTEREST DRIVES PROFIT. Pinterest has become more than just another social media outlet, it has become an important part of life. Many shopping lists and family dinners have derived from pinners boards. In fact, an estimated 47% of all online shoppers have made purchases through pins.(1) The average pin produces $0.78 of revenue- an increase of 25% in the past 2 years. (1) More profitable than other social media, “Pinterest produces 4 times more revenue (per click) than Twitter and 27% more than Facebook.”(1)

4.     PINTEREST IS FOR THE TARGET MARKET. Women account for 80% of all consumer purchases in America,(5) and 83% of Pinterest users are women.(7) Need we say more? No matter what your business is, most likely women are key influencer’s or direct buyers. Pinterest is a fast-growing mobile medium that reaches a gigantic market in a key target segment. Don’t miss out. Pinterest has amazing power to drive revenue and results.

A special thanks for the contributions of guest co-author, Rebecca Lyman

Monday, February 3, 2014

Seven Things Your Boss Did Right

So you finally got promoted to the leadership position you’ve been itching to take on and are preparing to direct a team of individuals. Your years as a “junior” in the office were fairly simple: do what your boss tells you and do it well. However with a higher position comes greater responsibility. Vision, hard work, coordination, and communication drive a team. You have been given the reins and the horses are already harnessed. But what do you say to move the team and how do you move forward? Take some advice from bosses-gone-before on what it takes to drive with success:
1.       Trust Subordinates- The people you lead are most likely in positions similar to ones you previously held. Recognize their potential and give them voice and space. Beth Pritchard, former CEO at Dean & Deluca, follows the philosophy that “you can’t do anything yourself. Your people have to do it” (Labich).
Note- Trust does not mean hand-off. Makes sure tasks assigned are supported through follow-ups and reports. Trust for those you lead is not only shown when tasks are assigned but also when you take the time to follow-up and listen to their discoveries.
2.       Develop a Vision- There is a difference between managers and leaders. Managers manage tasks and focus on results. Leaders are not only concerned about these details, but also about the individuals involved in these processes. Dianne Walker, Vice President at DynCorp International, taught that true leaders "are relationship-focused. They must inspire and motivate their followers, often playing the roles of coach and facilitator" (Walker).
3.       Keep Your Cool- Stuff happens. It always does. However, at times we forget this when we try to set plans and goals with the stubborn mindset that nothing get in our way. Long-term goals often reached via an alternative. Expecting change can help us stay flexible and makes it easier to keep a cool head.
4.       Be an Expert- Maybe one of the most obvious characteristics of a leader is that they are always looking to improve themselves. They do their homework, prepare for meetings, and accomplish the tasks they set. A boss worth emulating is one who earns the trust, loyalty, and admiration of their employees.
5.       Invite dissent- Warren Bennis, a professor of business at USC, suggested the best people to work with are, “people of youth and vitality, people who are chronic grumblers about the status quo.” Never allow employees to become complacent. By encouraging dissent, the workplace becomes a place where employees are “continuously growing and thinking big!” (Labich)
6.       Encourage Risks- Empower your employees by encouraging them to take risks. It may seem counter-intuitive, but decreasing strict workforce regulations may increase employee growth and overall company profitability. When employees feel that they are allowed to fail, they feel more comfortable acting on their own initiative and thinking outside the box.
7.       Simplify- Learn from this story told by Glenn Llopis from Fortune magazine:
“When my father came to America – on his way to earning  a degree in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University in 1936 – he took the time to understand the United States and its customs, culture and people.    He was a keen observer of people and always curious to understand what made leaders effective, trustworthy and reliable.    Early in my career he would often remind me that people complicate things to make themselves feel more important.   In other words, leaders purposely make things more difficult for others to make themselves appear smarter and more capable than their peers. (Llopis)”
Have you ever known anyone like this? Occasionally when an individual takes on a greater title, they hide behind it. Remember to be human, and it will be easier to communicate and lead.
With a daunting task in front of you, it may look as though the path to success requires all that you can give. The last piece of advice from past leaders is it shouldn’t.
The leaders we most admire have a sense of balance in their lives. They know when to close the door and go home. Says Sturdivant: 'They simply do not exploit their families. They have real lives away from the office.' In the end, these personal qualities count heavily when we assess those who present themselves as leaders in business, the political arena, or any other field. When we ask ourselves if someone is worth following, what comes to mind sooner or later is the C word, the character thing” (Labich).

Labich, Kenneth. "THE SEVEN KEYS TO BUSINESS LEADERSHIP A Presidential Campaign Raises the Question Anew: How Can Corporate Chiefs Go beyond Managing and Learn to Inspire? Here Are Lessons from Some of the Best." CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 24 Oct. 1988. Web. 03 Feb. 2014.
Llopis, Glenn. "6 Ways To Make Your Leadership And Workplace Fun Again." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 23 Sept. 2013. Web. 03 Feb. 2014.

Walker, Dianne. "Effective Leadership in the Workplace." Black Business. The Network Journal, 16 Nov. 2009. Web. 03 Feb. 2014.

Thursday, April 18, 2013



“When I was in 1st grade my Dad took me on a Father and Son campout sponsored by our church. It was late spring at Lake Tahoe – cold, gray and drizzly… So when one of the dads broke out some boxing gloves and drew a ring in the sand, I was thinking this whole thing might not be a bust after all.

“I watched while the older boys – 10 and 11 year olds – had their matches. I was pretty confident that I could do better than they were—after all I watched Wild, Wild West every week and had all the moves down. I begged Dad to let me get in the ring. He finally relented, and I was matched up with a 5th grader who weighed twice as much as me. Frankly, I was quite surprised at how easily he knocked me on my can – repeatedly. When it was over, his dad said to mine, ‘I guess my son is too well-built for your boy.’ I remember thinking, ‘Too well-built! He’s 10 and I’m 6!’”

(The previous is an excerpt from a blog I recently read by Lance Boldt, Vice President and Co-Founder of AutoNetTV and a BYU alumnus.)

A buzz word in today’s terminology, SWOT analysis, is all about planning ahead and strategizing to play your strengths and fortify shortcomings. While it’s the same concept as watching Wild, Wild West every week to prepare for battle, its components have proven to be a little more reliable:

1. Identify your strengths and use them to get you the biggest bang for the buck
2. Acknowledge your weaknesses and reinforce flaws till you have overcome them
3. Opportunities for improvement can be identified and turned into positives
4. Threat identification and risk planning can eliminate their likelihood

We have all had situations when the competition has been immense. Figuratively speaking, what are you doing to make sure that you’re not knocked around too much upon entering the job force? We want to know!

Thursday, April 11, 2013



It’s a well-known fact that in archery that if a bow is left strung all the time, it will lose its spring. This inattentiveness diminishes the tool’s power to launch and makes it fairly useless.

While we, too, need to give ourselves a break and not constantly be “strung up,” in a manner of speaking, we must continue to hone and not neglect our skills or they will ultimately disappear. That happens in all aspects of our lives: learning a language, mastering the piano, conquering computer programming; we either use it or lose it.

The myriad of resources made available through the BYU Alumni Career Services help arm those seeking employment or career development with success. These can be assets in our careers, or we can allow them to waste away and go unused, ill-advised, or remain idle. These resources include the following:

·         Resume and cover letter critiques
·         Career assessment tests
·         Career fairs
·         Webinars
·         Networking and mentoring opportunities
·         Job board with positions from all over the nation

There are nearly 300 LDS Employment Resource Service Centers worldwide that help members with employment, education, and self-employment. While their programs include a plethora of the same resources, there is an expensive cost associated with the alternative. “The same 3-day career workshop that we teach every week in our Professional Career Workshop program costs as much as $7000 per person in corporate settings,” explains resource center missionary Carolyn Horrocks.

On the other hand, BYU Alumni Career Services is completely free…

Accessing the wealth of resources at your fingertips can make all the difference.