BarnRaisers


Archive for the ‘Personal Values’


Prayer for the new year 0

Posted on December 26, 2016 by Rob Petersen

BarnRaisers

May the new year bring:

  • Friends who understand you and still remain friends
  • Work that has value
  • An understanding heart
  • A sense of humor
  • Time for quiet, silent meditation on the things that really matter
  • Patience to wait for these things
  • Wisdom to recognize when they arrive

– Anonymous Prayer

 

From Rob and all at BarnRaisers, all the best in the coming year.

10 small business stories that achieved big things 0

Posted on November 30, 2015 by Rob Petersen

 

small business stories

  • Over 50% of the working population works in a small business
  • 52% of small businesses are home-based
  • Small businesses have generated 65% of net new jobs since 1995 (source: Forbes)

Starting a business is a challenging endeavor and achieving entrepreneurial success a great accomplishment.

Success for a startup usually occurs because the business fills an unmet need or creates an innovation in an industry that is under served.

But in all cases, there are significant obstacles, big sacrifices and nothing occurs without the individuals who have the ideas and perseverance to make them happen.

To celebrate the companies and individuals that have made this journey, here are 10 inspiring small business stories that achieved big things.

  1. 505-JUNK: After seeing a used trailer for sale on the side of the road one day, Barry Hartman and Scott Foran decided to look into the world of junk removal. While not a completely new idea for a business, they realized that they could diversify their business in two ways: The first to charge by weight of material removed and the second to recycle as much of that junk as possible. Barry and Scott wrote their business plan and presented it to Futurpreneur for financing. They were approved, and with the money, purchased their pickup truck and trailer and started the business in the basement of Barry’s parents’ home. Today, 505-Junk has been voted Best Junk Removal Company by Homestars.com, the online directory for renovators, repairman and retailers.
  2. ADAFRUIT INDUSTRIES: Limor Fried, who earned her master’s in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, runs Adafruit Industries, which sells do-it-yourself electronics kits. She welcomed people to use the information, and saw it as a way to foster innovation. Fried launched her company in 2005 with $10,000 that was supposed to go to her tuition. Anytime she made a profit, she made a tuition payment. Today, the company ships 150 to 200 orders a day, some of them worth thousands of dollars.
  3. APP EMPIRE: Chad Mureta was running a real estate business when a devastating car accident left him hospital-bound. Mureta decided to try his hand at producing mobile applications. At the time, the industry was relatively new, but he felt the growth potential was worth the risk. Mureta took out a loan for $1,800 to produce his first app, Fingerprint Security – Pro. It soon became one of the 50 most popular apps in the App Store, earning him $140,000 in the process. From there, Mureta founded and sold three app companies — Empire Apps, Best Apps and T3 Apps. He has produced 46 apps to date.
  4. CHARITY: WATER: When Scott Harrison was 28, he realized he was a “selfish scumbag” while on vacation in Uruguay. So Harrison founded Charity: water, which brings clean drinking water to developing nations. Charity: water has funded 3,962 water projects, providing access to clean, safe drinking water for 1,794,983 people in 19 countries.
  5. GAS BUDDY: Jason Toews and Dustin Coupal saw a need for a site to help people locate the cheapest local gas prices and founded GasBuddy.com in June 2000. The partners nurtured the website over the course of the next decade, persuading drivers to log in and share gas prices. Then, in 2009, they realized the potential of mobile apps. So the company launched Android and iPhone apps later that year, which were instantly popular. 6,000,000+ people have downloaded the apps with more visiting the website.
  6. OAK STREET SHOES: John Vlagos, a Greek immigrant living in Chicago, wanted to show his son George how hard it is to work with your hands for a living and hopefully choose another line of work for himself. He was a cobbler so he made young George come into his shop every weekend to shine shoes. The plan backfired as George Vlagos is now a cobbler as well. George is a bit more than that though – he is one of the most successful independent shoemakers in America. He saw an opening in the market for top quality shoes made with traditional materials that could be bought at an affordable price. George Vlagos’s shoes, known as Oak Street Shoes, are sold in some shops but he mostly sells them online. He regularly has to operate with a six-week waiting list.
  7. SPANX:  Sara Blakely was getting ready for a party when she realized she didn’t have the right undergarment to provide a smooth look under white pants. Armed with scissors and sheer genius, she cut the feet off her control top pantyhose and the Spanx revolution began! With a focus on solving wardrobe woes, the Spanx brand has grown to offer bras, underwear, jeans, pants, active and more. She obtained her own patent, set up her company and started pitching her idea. She was repeatedly turned down until she got the buyer from Neiman Marcus to try on Spanx. She got an order and other retailers started to follow suit. And then came a mention on Oprah. Blakely is the world’s youngest self-made billionaire and in 2012, when she was just 41, Blakely made it on to the list of the top 100 most influential people in the world, as determined by Time Magazine.
  8. TASTY: Liane Weintraub, a local Los Angeles TV reporter and Shannan Swanson, a Cordon Bleu-trained chef and former cook at one of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants thought, given the current obsession with label reading and organic ingredients, there must be dozens of organic baby food brands. But they were wrong. The pair started making organic purees for their own babies and couldn’t believe how few options were available in stores. Today, Tasty Brand is carried at Whole Foods, Fairway, Tops, and other chains. The company turned a profit four years after its founding, and it’s on track for sales of $2.5 million this year.
  9. USEFUL CHARTS: When starting his business, Matthew Baker initially sold small laminated study guides. But he quickly noticed that what people wanted was posters. He discovered that there was a real need for visual-learning material. His chart-based posters now help students, teachers and home schoolers the world over. His Timeline of World History poster is especially popular, and has on several occasions reached Amazon.com’s Top 500 items.
  10. ZANE’S CYCLES: Chris Zane, 46, got his start at age 12 fixing bikes in his parents’ East Haven, Connecticut, garage. At 16, he persuaded his parents to let him take over the lease of a bike shop going out of business, borrowing $23,000 from his grandfather at 15 percent interest. His mother tended the store while he was at school in the mornings. In his first year, he racked up $56,000 in sales. Now, Zane’s Cycles has annual revenue over $21 million.

As a small business ourselves, we’re inspired by these stories. We started Barnraisers, a full-service digital marketing agency, with the belief that what companies want is to be guided by data-driven results to help them achieve greater levels of success. We’re glad to have taken a similar journey to these inspiring entrepreneurs and to be able to help those starting out.

Do these small business stories inspire you? Are you motivated by the entrepreneurial spirit of the people who started them?

20 compelling characteristics of purpose driven companies 0

Posted on August 30, 2015 by Rob Petersen

 

 

 

purpose driven companies

  • 91% of respondents who believe their organization have a sense of purpose report strong financial showing in business over the past year
  • 82% of respondents working at organizations with a strong sense of purpose believe that their organization will grow over the next year
  • 79% of employees and executives at purpose driven companies are optimistic about their organization’s long-term ability to outperform the competition (source: Deloitte Core Beliefs & Culture survey)

What drives a company? The answer might be the pursuit of profit. But as you can see from these statistics, solutions that relate to human concerns and considerations also show a strong correlation with success.

What defines purpose driven companies? You don’t have to be out to save the rain forest but you can’t do it without a strong mission to get there; one that relies on a theory of change to determine direction and metrics to measure progress.

According to Andrew Hewitt, the creator of the GameChanger 500 List, Whole Food, IDEO, Chipolte, Bright Funds, Google and Zappos are great example of purpose-driven companies.

How do purpose-driven companies operate? Here are 20 compelling characteristics of purpose driven organization.

WHY THE BUSINESS EXISTS

  • Maximize benefit rather than profits
  • Create an exceptional work environment that empowers people
  • Deliver a product or service that creates a better world and can easily scale to larger regions
  • Demonstrate beliefs through actions
  • Make employees part of something that is bigger than themselves
  • Compose a clear, comprehensive narrative

HOW THEY RUN THE BUSINESS

  • Figure out passions of their people and how to put them to work
  • Understand what motivates employees
  • Help in achieving continued personal growth
  • Identify what makes them unique
  • Bring out the best in others
  • Place the needs of others above your own
  • Show who and why you hire the people that you do

WHAT MAKES THE BUSINESS GROW

  • Connect with other people to build meaningful relationships
  • Increase trust and transparency
  • Focus not only on getting things done but how and why it gets done
  • Do more than is expected
  • Problem solve
  • Be willing to show you’ll all in
  • Develop effective indicators, Purpose needs measuring. It’s one thing to have an eloquent sounding purpose statement, it’s another to measure if you’re efforts are helping you meet your mission.

Do you work for a purpose-driven company? Are you interested in working for one. Do these characteristics help you in what to look for?

21 surprising facts on companies with Social CEOs 0

Posted on April 12, 2015 by Rob Petersen

 

 

Social CEOs

  • 79% of Inc CEOs have an active social media presence
  • 30% of Fortune CEOs have an active social media presence
  • 50% of these CEOs are most active on Twitter, 47% on LinkedIn and 45% on Facebook (source: CEO.com)

The 10 most active Social CEOs are:

  1. Richard Branson: Founder, Virgin Group
  2. Jeff Weiner, CEO, LinkedIn
  3. Msrissa Meyer, CEO, Yahoo
  4. Adriana Huffington, Group President, AOL
  5. Elon Musk, Chairman/CEO, Tesla Motors
  6. Anand Mahindra, Chairman and MD, Mahindra & Mahindra
  7. Kaifu Lee, Chairman/CEO, Innovation Works
  8. Jeff Immelt, CEO GE
  9. Jack Welch, CEO, Welch Management Institute
  10. Angela Ahrendts, CEO, Burberry Group (source: BBC)

Key attributes of Social CEOs are:

  • Insatiable curiosity
  • DIY mindset
  • Bias for action
  • Relentless givers
  • Connect instead of promote
  • Company’s #1 Brand Ambassador
  • Lead with an open mindset (source: Harvard Business Review)

These stats, examples and character traits indicate Social CEOs are different than CEOs in general. Not only are Social CEOs different, but, as a result of their social media participation, so are public perceptions of their companies.

How do Social CEOs change a company culture, perceptions and workplace? Here are 21 surprising facts on companies with Social CEOs.

  1. 87% of US employees and 79% of UK employees agree that having a social media policy in place allows a company’s leadership team to be proactive rather than reactive in response to company challenges (source: Brandfog)
  2. 85% of US employees and 75% of UK agree social media is a valuable public relations channel for managing brand reputation (source: Brandfog)
  3. 84% of US employees and 76% of UK believe that social media is an effective way to monitor conversations about a brand online and to help brands prevent potential reputation crises (source: Brandfog)
  4. 83% of US employees and 73% of UK believe that CEO participation in social media builds better connections with customers, employees, and investors (source: Brandfog)
  5. 82% of US employees and 71% of UK believe that CEO engagement on social media helps to communicate company values and shapes a company’s brand reputation (source: Brandfog)
  6. 82% of US employees and 71% of UK overwhelmingly believe that executive use of social media raises brand awareness (source: Brandfog)
  7. 82% of customers are more likely to trust a company whose CEO and leadership team are active on social media (source: Adweek)
  8. 81% believe CEOs who engage on social media are better equipped to lead companies in the modern world (source: Brandfog)
  9. 79% of US employees and 68% of UK believe that having a socially active C- Suite leadership team can mitigate risk before a brand reputation crisis occurs (source: Brandfog)
  10. 77% of US employees and 69% of UK agree that executive use of social media fosters brand transparency. (source: Adweek)
  11. 75% of US employees  believe a company’s C-Suite executives and leadership team use social media to communicate about core mission, brand values and purpose is more trustworthy (source: Brandfog)
  12. 67% of UK employees believe a company’s C-Suite executives and leadership team use social media to communicate about core mission, brand values and purpose is more trustworthy (source: Brandfog)
  13. 67% of US and UK employees agree social media has become an essential aspect of PR and communications strategy for C-Suite executives (source: Brandfog)
  14. 61% of US employees and 50% of UK are more likely to purchase from a company whose values and leadership are clearly communicated through executive leadership participation on social media (source: Brandfog)
  15. 55% of employees believe a Social CEO is a good communicator; this compare to 38% in companies with CEOs does not use social media (source: Weber Shandwick)
  16. 52% of employees feel inspired by CEO participation in social media (Weber Shandwick)
  17. 51% of employees with Social CEOs believe their social media participation is not risky (source: Weber Shandwick)
  18. Between 2012 and 2013, the perception that C-Suite and executive participation in social media leads to better leadership increased from 45% to 75% (source: Brandfog)
  19. 48% of employees believe a Social CEO is open and accessible; this compares to 37% in companies with CEOs does not use social media (source: Weber Shandwick)
  20. 42% of CEOs participate in social media today; 63% are estimated to be participating in social media in 5 years; that’s a 50% increase (source: Weber Shandwick)
  21. 37% of employees believe a Social CEO is a good listener; this compares to 29% in companies with CEOs does not use social media (source: Weber Shandwick)

Below is an infographic that shows some of the facts about Social CEOs.

Do these facts about companies with Social CEOs surprise you? Do they change your perceptions? Does your C-Suite and CEO need help learning how to participate in social media to realize these Social CEO benefits?

Social CEOs

47 facts about Christmas that will surprise you 0

Posted on December 21, 2014 by Rob Petersen

 

 

BarnRaisers ChristmasHappy Holidays from all of us at BarnRaisers. May the New Year unfold everything you hope it does.

The Christmas Spirit is about expressing extra tolerance, charitableness and giving, especially to those who have had a difficult year or are going through trying times. And to be focused on a bright future.

Perhaps, by learning a little more about Christmas, it will give us an appreciation to express this spirit now and in the New Year.

Here are 47 facts about Christmas that will surprise you.

    1. The Bible doesn’t mention when Jesus was actually born. Most historians believe it was the Spring because of shepherds herding animals.
    2. December 25 was probably chosen because it coincided with the ancient pagan festival Saturnalia, which celebrated the agricultural god Saturn with partying, gambling, and gift-giving.
    3. On Christmas Eve during World War I, Allied troops took a break from fighting to sing Christmas Carols. When German soldier emerged they all shook hands exchanging greetings and cigarettes. It was called the Christmas Truce of 1914.
    4. Every year since 1947, the people of Oslo, Norway have given a Christmas tree to the city of Westminster, England. The gift is an expression of good will and gratitude for Britain’s help to Norway during World War II.
    5. Since 1971, the Province of Nova Scotia has presented the Boston Christmas tree to the people of Boston, in gratitude for the relief supplies received from the citizens of Boston after a ship exploded in 1917 following a collision in the Halifax, Nova Scotia Harbor. Part of the city was leveled, killing and injuring thousands.
    6. Because of its roots in pagan festivals, Christmas was not immediately accepted by the religious. In fact, from 1659 to 1681, it was illegal to celebrate Christmas in Boston. You were fined if you were caught celebrating.
    7. Christmas in early America was inconsequential. After the Revolutionary War, Congress didn’t even bother taking the day off to celebrate the holiday, deciding instead to hold its first session on Christmas Day, 1789.
    8. In 1856 Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States, was the first President to place a Christmas tree in the White House.
    9. Teddy Roosevelt banned the Christmas tree from the White House for environmental reasons.
    10. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer got his start as an advertising gimmick. A copywriter named Robert L. May first created the merry misfit in 1939 to lure shoppers into the Montgomery Ward department store.
    11. Rudolph almost didn’t have a red nose either: At the time, a red nose was a sign of chronic alcoholism and Montgomery Ward thought he would look like a drunkard.
    12. Though Santa Claus has worn blue and white and green in the past, his traditional red suit came from a 1930s ad by Coca Cola.
    13. Frosty the Snowman was made famous by a whiskeymaker in 1890 who used Frosty’s likeness to showcase an entirely different kind of holiday cheer. Once Prohibition ended, Frosty quickly became the go-to guy for alcohol ads, appearing in posters for Miller beer, Jack Daniel’s, Ballantine ale, Rheingold beer, Schlitz beer, Schenley, Oretel’s lager beer, Chivas Regal scotch, Fort Pitt pale ale, Mount Whitney beer and Four Roses.
    14. Mistletoe is magical according to Celtic legend. It can heal wounds, increase fertility, bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.
    15. The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe began the Victorian era, surprising (or maybe not) considering the stuffy and sexually repressive behavior of the time.
    16. The use of evergreen trees to celebrate the winter season occurred before the birth of Christ.
    17. Germans decorated evergreen trees to brighten the dark, gloomy days of the winter solstice. The first “Christmas trees” appeared in Strasbourg in the 17th century and spread to Pennsylvania in the 1820s with the arrival of German immigrants.
    18. The Germans made the first artificial Christmas trees out of dyed goose feathers.
    19. Approximately 30-35 million real (living) Christmas trees are sold each year in the U.S.
    20. 98 percent of all Christmas trees are grown on farms, while only 2% are cut from the wild.
    21. Most Christmas trees are cut weeks before they get to a retail outlet. It is important to keep them watered thoroughly when they reach your home. In the first week, a Christmas tree in your home will consume as much as a quart of water per day.
    22. The earliest known Christmas tree decorations were apples. At Christmastime, medieval actors would use apples to decorate paradise trees (usually fir trees) during “Paradise Plays,” which were plays depicting Adam and Eve’s creation and fall.
    23. Thomas Edison’s assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea of electric lights for Christmas trees in 1882. Christmas tree lights were first mass-produced in 1890.
    24. In Finland, Finns visit saunas on Christmas Eve.
    25. In Portugal, Portuguese revelers hold a feast on Christmas Day for the living and the dead (extra places are set for the souls of the deceased).
    26. In Greece, some believe that goblins called kallikantzeri run wild during the 12 days of Christmas, and most Greeks don’t exchange presents until Jan. 1, St. Basil’s Day.
    27. In Australia and New Zealand, most Australians and New Zealanders enjoy Christmas on the beach or at barbecues.
    28. In Spain, the Spanish hold the World’s Largest Lottery on Christmas Day. It is called “El Gordo” or “The Fat One.”
    29. Each year more than 3 billion Christmas cards are sent in the U.S. alone.
    30. In Poland, spiders or spider webs are common Christmas trees decorations because according to legend, a spider wove a blanket for Baby Jesus. In fact, Polish people consider spiders to be symbols of goodness and prosperity at Christmas.
    31. Alabama was the first state in the United States to officially recognize Christmas in 1836.
    32. Christmas wasn’t declared an official holiday in the United States until June 26, 1870.
    33. Oklahoma was the last U.S. state to declare Christmas a legal holiday, in 1907.
    34. The poinsettia is native to Mexico and was cultivated by the Aztecs, who called the plant Cuetlaxochitl (“flower which wilts”). For the Aztecs, the plant’s brilliant red color symbolized purity, and they often used it medicinally to reduce fever.
    35. Contrary to popular belief, the poinsettia is not poisonous, but holly berries are.
    36. Santa Claus is based on a real person, St. Nikolas of Myra (also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker, Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna, and Nikolaos of Bari), who lived during the fourth century. Born in Patara (in modern-day Turkey), he is the world’s most popular non-Biblical saint, and artists have portrayed him more often than any other saint except Mary.
    37. Santa Claus is based on a real person, St. Nikolas of Myra (also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker, Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna, and Nikolaos of Bari), who lived during the fourth century. Born in Patara (in modern-day Turkey), he is the world’s most popular non-Biblical saint, and artists have portrayed him more often than any other saint except Mary.
    38. There are two competing claims as to which president was the first to place a Christmas tree in the White House. Some scholars say President Franklin Pierce did in 1856; others say President Benjamin Harrison brought in the first tree in 1889.
    39. President Coolidge started the White House lighting ceremony in 1923.
    40. President Teddy Roosevelt, an environmentalist, banned Christmas trees from the White House in 1912.
    41. There are approximately 21,000 Christmas tree farms in the United States. In 2008, nearly 45 million Christmas trees were planted, adding to the existing 400 million trees.
    42. Christmas is a contraction of “Christ’s Mass,” which is derived from the Old English Cristes mæsse (first recorded in 1038).
    43. The letter “X” in Greek is the first letter of Christ, and “Xmas” has been used as an abbreviation for Christmas since the mid 1500s.
    44. The first person to decorate a Christmas tree was reportedly the Protestant reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546). According to legend, he was so moved by the beauty of the stars shining between the branches of a fir tree, he brought home an evergreen tree and decorated it with candles to share the image with his children.
    45. Christmas purchases account for 1/6 of all retail sales in the U.S.
    46. he first batch of eggnog in America was crafted at Captain John Smith’s Jameston settlement in 1607, and the name eggnog comes from the word “grog,” which refers to any drink made with rum.
    47. “Jingle Bells” was originally supposed to be a Thanksgiving song.

These facts were curated from articles by Time,  Random History, Entertainment Tonight and University of Illinois Extension, with gratitude and appreciation for helping me gain a deeper understanding of Christmas and the Christmas Spirit.

Did they do the same for you?

  • About

    BarnRaisers builds brands with proven relationship principles and ROI. We are a full service digital marketing agency. Our expertise is strategy, search and data-driven results.



↑ Top