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  • The Agile Brand with Greg Kihlstrom - YouTube

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    Your Annual Plan: Simple Steps to Crush Your Goals in 2019

    I can’t force you to do it. However, I can assure you that of the 200+ companies that I’ve worked with, the ones who do nearly always get great results. I’m talking about documented annual planning.

    It’s really not that hard. If you want to break it down into a sentence, it’s just a roadmap – your vision and mission, your values, the critical focus areas, the major initiatives or projects and the key performance indicators – for achieving your goals in the year ahead.

    Easy, right? You could do it in five minutes and fit it all on one page. At the time of this writing, we at Spiral Marketing are approaching our 2018 objective of doubling in size, both in terms of revenue and number of team members. Candidly, if we were better at involving the team with quarterly accountability, we would have crushed our goal by now. It’s just one document. You can do it.

    Ask yourself the following: “What was your goal last year?” “Did you hit your target?” “How close did you get?” Write down your answers.

    OK, now what is your goal for this upcoming year? If you don’t know, then it might help to compare where you were last year and how rapidly you want to grow. This is usually revenue-based, but it doesn’t have to be. A lot of writers and inspirational speakers like to tout 10x growth. That’s great, but venture capitalists would consider that unicorn-level expansion.

    If you started as a $100,000 company, that kind of growth would give you $1 billion in revenue within five years. Maybe you are the next Instagram, but you can’t count on that trajectory. Even 2x-3x growth is considered a pretty rapid clip. On the other end of the spectrum, 10% growth is seen as somewhat anemic for most startups. So you might be somewhere in between, depending on your level of risk tolerance and strategic vision. Did you write that down yet? I hope so, because it’s a good segue.

    Now, to the “guts” of your annual plan – that is, who you are as an organization. I like to start with defining your vision. If you run a business, then you have one, whether you think so or not. It’s literally how you want to improve the world with what you’re building. It’s the basis for how your customers and employees, partners and audience members feel about about you, so it’s absolutely critical. It’s also worth noting that you can always adjust it and improve your direction; this is a big part of being a leader. Again, document it.

    The next is your mission. A lot of times people think this is the same thing as vision, but the two are actually distinct. Whereas your vision is how your business will improve the world, the mission is how you will serve it. Consider, how will you serve your customers in a way that is unique to your own brand and company culture.

    Now it’s time to articulate your values. I’ll admit it, I’ve skipped the writing of this section in some years. I wish I hadn’t. It sets the tone for your organization and helps guide the work that you and your team perform. Your values are truly the soul of your enterprise.

    Also write down your critical focus areas. These are the categories that you know you’ll need to focus on in order to achieve your goals. For me, these often look like departments – whether it be management, creative production, leadership, sales, etc. – that you see as vital to your growth going forward. Your focus areas might end up looking different after you finish the other sections, and that’s fine.

    The major initiatives are the big projects that you’ll have to accomplish in order to successfully meet your goals. A few common ones that I see: a new website, a re-organized department, better process documentation, a blog, a podcast, new software or new service. You get the picture. These are the projects that drive efficiency or help you capture market share. I find that highlighting between four and six examples is enough to make a big impact, without becoming unwieldy.

    Lastly, identify the key performance indicators that will help you measure the success – or lack thereof – of your big undertakings. For example, if your critical focus area is sales and your key initiative is hiring more sales reps, you might expect ten more sales per week. Without a tangible way to gauge your progress, you’ll never know if you’re making any.

    If all this sounds simple, it is. And yet, the mere act of reaffirming your identity and what you want to accomplish in the year ahead can be incredibly powerful. Instead of making decisions in the moment, you’ll be able to synchronize your actions across the organization and work toward a common goal. Not a bad way to start 2019. Cheers!

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  • “You have to hire if you wanna take it to the next level.”

    Just a few of the points you’ll learn in this episode:

    • Why 50% of the workforce will be remote in 10 years
    • How to have more time for yourself but still thrive in your business
    • Similarities and differences between remote and traditional hiring
    • How believing in a product or service really motivates you

    “My mom always said work hard play hard.”

    Businesses

    • The risks and rewards of remote hiring (soon to be the normative)
    • What keeps us moving forward despite constant rejection
    • Why virtual assistants can really make the difference between success and failure
    • How you can have a high success rate in hiring processes

    Entrepreneurs

    • Why the entrepreneurial ride is way more fun than the typical 9-5
    • Why you should routinely get away from your business (reflection time)
    • What’s the faster way to get access to top talent?
    • How to turn weaknesses into strengths

    “Prioritize your tasks and get them off your plate.”

    Where to learn more about and reach Nathan:

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  • Detailed show-notes forthcoming.

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  • Thinking Beyond the Logo in Brand Management with Justin Jones of KDG Advertising - YouTube

    “Trust someone that trusts what you do.”

    Just a few of the points you’ll learn in this episode:

    • The differences between brands and logos
    • What’s a transparent brand? What’s an authentic brand?
    • Why you can actually lose money doing things yourself, instead of hiring professionals
    • How easy it is to forget why you started a business in the first place

    “When you’ve made yourself look bad, you’ve made your industry look bad.”

    Brands

    • Why it’s not bad to have a non-transparent brand (Coca Cola, McDonalds)
    • What happens when you step out of the terms you’ve established?
    • Some of the worst ways brands can degrade their company
    • Why chasing huge numbers in social media can get you lost in a sea of nothingness

    Digital Marketing

    • Why treating your big and smaller clients with equal attention has a positive effect on the industry as a whole
    • Why motivational maxims are not going to take you to maximum success
    • The value in not seeking fame and acclaim
    • Do you really need 100 creatives?

    “500 followers who actually like your product will grow your business more than 500, 000 fake followers.”

    Where to learn more and reach Justin:

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  • CryptoCurve on the Spiral Marketing Podcast - YouTube

    “I’m still amazed at what we’re trying to do, doesn’t already exist.”

    Just a few of the points you’ll learn in this episode:

    • The social aspect of cryptocurrency
    • What makes blockchain technology have more permanence than other decentralized services?
    • What is the “hole” in the cryptocurrency space?
    • What is the Curve Wallet?

    “If you don’t have a product for the everyday consumer, what does it mean? Why is it there?”

    Entrepreneurs

    • The importance of bridging the gap between technical innovations and ease-of-use consumer friendly services
    • Why it’s a great time to invest in cryptocurrency technologies
    • What’s attracting very experienced professionals to this new “wild wild west” market?
    • Why blockchain is becoming rapidly popular on a global scale

    Marketing

    • Why blockchain is similar to the beginning of the iPhone
    • Finding ourselves at a tipping point, how do we leverage this technology for the greater good?
    • How blockchain is providing financial access to the world (echoing internet infancy)
    • What are the ramifications of permanent history that organically grows itself?

    “We are so passionate about what blockchain and cryptocurrencies are going to do for the world that it’s a mission worth chasing.”

    Where to learn more and reach CryptoCurve:

    Some of CryptoCurve’s favorite publications:

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  • [More Detailed Show-notes coming soon!]

    Walter is the founder of Brand Fuzion, a marketing and sale consultancy in the B2B and B2C arena. He speaks regularly on a variety of topics regarding to inbound marketing, demand generation and sales enablement. He is the HubSpot User Group leader in Washington, DC, founding member of the Sales Enablement Society and recently has developed an entrepreneur  coaching program through the American Marketing Association.

    Sales Enablement with Walter Pollard of Brand Fuzion - YouTube

    “People don’t buy products and services. They buy outcomes.”

    Just a few of the points you’ll learn in this episode:

    • Why the top level really anchors digital transformation
    • What comprises a strong foundational sales and framework strategy
    • What are the pillars of sales enablement?
    • The versatility of instructional videos

    “Technology is only as good as your strategy and implementation.”

    Digital Marketing

    • When are you making too much content?
    • Why is your technology not helping you?
    • The importance of aligning sales and marketing
    • Why the prospecting stage is becoming more important

    Business Leaders

    • How do you maximize your time selling (most valuable to organization)
    • Which programs do you need in place to be customer-focused?
    • What is “ever boarding” and how does it consistently support your teams?
    • How do you streamline your buying process?

    “Always stay at the top of your game and focus on providing value.”

    Where to reach Walter and to learn more:

    Some of Walter’s favorite publications:

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  • Shaun Masavage is a DC-based engineer turned entrepreneur with over 10 years of engineering experience including the U.S. Navy and within the private sector. As CEO and founder of Edge Tech Labs, he designed, developed, and launched my company’s first product using crowdfunding. After that, it was just the normal hustle and grind of the startup world. From investment to new products, they’ve had quite a wild ride- and it’s still happening!

    Just a few of the points you’ll learn in this episode:

    • Why it’s so challenging to track your success
    • Why you have to bypass news agencies for crowdfunding
    • Why outsourcing your workforce is better in a lot of ways (not just cost-effective)
    • Making major business decisions with an objective mentality (despite how great your idea sounds)

    Crowdfunding

    • Why 90% of your feedback will be negative but that’s not the majority
    • The importance of empathizing with your community
    • The power of YouTube
    • Why anyone can market a new product, but it probably won’t be easy

    Entrepreneurship

    • Why physically showing how your product or service works makes a lasting impression
    • Why you must listen to your audience
    • The power of finding an activity that counterbalances your challenges (breathing, running)
    • How do you reinvigorate a traditional industry?

    Where to learn more and reach Shaun:

    Some of Shaun’s favorite publications:

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  • Josh Greene is the CEO for The Mather Group, a digital agency, that helps companies manage how they’re found online, through Wikipedia and Search Engine Optimization, and drives targeted high value leads for B2B companies Prior to The Mather Group, Greene was the VP of Marketing for both 1-800-PACK-RAT and Zippy Shell where he was responsible for all marketing including online, offline, and the launch of national television campaigns.

    “Consumers are starting to expect authenticity about people and what they’re like.”

    Just a few of the points you’ll learn in this episode:

    • How to connect with your target audience by inviting outside perspectives
    • The rewarding challenges of working within a budget (spirit of experimentation)
    • How important it is to be “hooked up” to your goals
    • Why seeing direct results is tough (unless you’re benchmarking)

    “I think we’ve really seen a breakout of personality showing through and authentic business to consumer models.”

    Marketers

    • How to bring a new perspective to solve your client’s problems
    • Why it’s important to join a new platform as soon as possible
    • Why you should definitely email more often!
    • Why the client is as interesting to their audience as their product or service

    Brands

    • Why you shouldn’t just focus on your strengths (especially B2B)
    • Why it’s important to invite an outside perspective to improve least performing channels
    • Which oversight occurs often that marketers can help you with
    • Why spending money on a service doesn’t mean it’s as optimized as it can be

    “It’s important to keep fluid and try new things to get incremental growth that you’re looking for.”

    Where to learn more and reach Josh:

    Some of Josh’s favorite publications:

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  • “The best content marketing tries to stay true to the facts and is informed as much as possible.”

    Just a few of the points you’ll learn in this episode:

    • Why original researched content is necessary for long term growth
    • How to open lines of communication with top players in your industry
    • What happened when Simon helped people block their exes online
    • What’s better: Four people pay you $2500 a month, or 2500 people pay you $4 a month?

    “You have to manage expectations properly.”

    Content Marketers

    • Why it’s hard to stand on your own principles as a marketer (bias is unavoidable)
    • The importance of working on your own content
    • Why you should talk directly with industry influencers
    • Why you shouldn’t forget about your own archive (especially for your new readers)

    Journalism/Communications

    • Where does objectivity end and brand bias begin?
    • Why you should be reading large amounts of content
    • Why it’s getting harder to attract eyeballs and ears to your message
    • Why buying social media attention is becoming unavoidable (even The New York Times has to)

    “Figure out what you’re actually an expert in and then start brainstorming content that you can create around that.”

    Some of Simon’s favorite publications:

    Where to learn more and reach Simon:

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