Optimal iQ Blog

Posted by: Jason Smith on 1/26/2011 | 0 Comments

I was reminded this week of a good life and business lesson while reading to my eight year old from the Laura Ingalls Wilder book Farmer Boy.  In the book one of the main characters named Almanzo is at the county fair with his dad walking through the carnival grounds.  As they walked they came upon a particular carnival game that we are all familiar with; the shell game.  Almanzo watched as others bet and the carney started the game.  It should be simple.  You see where the ball is and you just keep your eye on that shell as it moves.  Almanzo watched as the shells were moved and was sure he had picked the correct one when the game stopped.  As the carney lifted the shells Almanzo realized, along with those betting that he had chosen poorly.  As Almanzo questioned his father about what happened his father wisely told him that you rarely win when you are playing another mans game.  

There are a lot of business lessons in this but the one I want to focus on is this:  many business people get one, two or a handful of large clients and then strain, contort and change how they work to fit into the structure of those clients.  Instead of focusing on what they need to do to grow as a business they constantly focus on playing another companies' game.  To serve clients well companies need to focus on what they do, continually improve on that and pass on the opportunities that seem like an easy win at first but eventually lead to a dead end.  

The web is becoming more crowded every day with lots of noise to confuse prospects.  Any business, and especially those that compete on the web, need to continually refine who they are, what their message is and make sure it resonates with customers.  

Posted by: Jason Smith on 1/24/2011 | 0 Comments

With every website or digital marketing initiative that I am involved in it becomes more apparent that putting a good long term plan in place is very important.  A company or team needs to commit to 12-18 month goals that allow for a focused effort and time for strategies to take shape.  If that is not done it is easy for two things to happen:

First,  the people involved with website maintenance on a day to day basis to become overrun with immediate requests and emergencies.  With a good plan in place emergencies often tapper off.  

Second, a website is launched and then left to stagnate on the web.  Without a good plan in place busy people often don’t put the time into using their web presence to its full potential.  

I recommend putting a clear plan in place and meeting as a team to review it, look at performance statistics and make needed revisions every 6 months.  

Posted by: Jason Smith on 1/24/2011 | 0 Comments

Many of you know that I am a big fan of the virtual office.  I like virtual office arrangements for various reasons.  I am planning a new blog post to discuss this further in the near future.  In the meantime I ran across a great new tool that would fit nicely into a virtual office set-up. It is a credit card reader/swiper that plugs directly into your iPhone or iPad.  There is no longer a need to have a bulky credit card reader wired in at the store or office.  

Solutions like this have been around for a few years that allow wait staff or other service people to swipe cards while in the field but now no additional hardware is needed beyond the "Square" that plugs directly into your smart phone or tablet device.  

This saves space, time, and can be a more tangible way to close a deal in the spot.  

You can learn more at www.squareup.com.

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