marketing for manufacturing

Marketing for Manufacturing Companies

Digital marketing is by far the most effective form of marketing for businesses. But digital marketing strategies differ from industry to industry. For manufacturers, the online marketing efforts you use will have varying degrees of success. In this guide, you’ll learn what strategies we recommend as well as sample campaigns that you can begin to build yourself.

Who is this for:

  • Contract Manufacturers
  • Electronics
  • Heavy Equipment
  • Global Manufacturers
  • Metals
  • OEM's
  • Plastics
  • Textiles
  • Valves
  • Liquid Contract Manufacturers
  • Building Materials
  • CNC Machining
  • Small Parts

What digital marketing strategies are best for manufacturers?

Let’s start with the basics. Online marketing is a huge umbrella with several different strategies including:

  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  2. Search Engine Marketing and Pay-Per-Click Advertising
  3. Social Media Marketing / Viral Marketing
  4. Pay Per Click Social Media Advertising
  5. Content Marketing
  6. Affiliate Marketing / Influencer Marketing
  7. Email / Outbound Marketing
  8. Mobile Phone Advertising
  9. Channel Marketing
  10. Partner Marketing
  11.     Video Marketing
  12. Website Placements

With all of these different options, how do you choose? Of the 13 forms of marketing listed above, I’m going to eliminate the ones that you probably hear a lot about, but don’t provide the most return for your team in terms of revenue.

Video Marketing

You’ve probably heard and seen the stats of the effectiveness of video marketing. The problem, the data that exists does not take into account industry. For your manufacturing business, it may pay off to have a couple of product/process demos.

But the effort to create high quality, entertaining videos will not be worth the return, when you compare it to other forms of marketing.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is a great tool for certain industries to build awareness and generate revenue. Unfortunately for manufacturers, social and viral marketing is most often a bust than a boom. The problem is that your target market is most likely not actively looking to make purchase decisions or even be remotely interested in seeing your brand across networks like Instagram or Twitter.

There is a form of social media marketing that can be effective, but we lump that in to outbound marketing.

Mobile Phone / SMS Marketing

Do you like receiving text messages asking for you to try products or learn more? Didn’t think so. Avoid SMS marketing because it can do more harm to your brand than good.

In certain situations and industries such as fitness, gym, clothing, that offer flash sales or reminders for services and specials SMS can be incredibly valuable. But on a general basis, Mobile and SMS marketing should not be included in your immediate marketing mix if your a manufacturer.

Effective Marketing Strategies for Manufacturing

Ok. Now that we know which strategies to avoid, let’s look at the one’s that will be worthwhile for manufacturing businesses.

Pay Per Click Advertising (SEM) for Manufacturing

When you search for a service, what’s typically your first step? For 90% of people, it’s typing in that query right into Google.

PPC/SEM is a high performing strategy for manufacturing businesses, especially if location plays a part. However, keep in mind that the space can get very competitive for the most relevant terms. And by competition, I mean your costs will increase per click because your competitors will be bidding on those terms.

Here’s what I recommend for a beginner strategy to test the waters.

  1. Think of all the terms used to describe what you do. These will be your primary keywords that should drive visitors straight to a “contact us” form or conversion point. Note: If you were thinking of starting with your primary term of “Manufacturing”, then try taking it down a level. Be slightly more descriptive by using something like “manufacturing for x,” etc.
  2. Next, think about terms that your ideal customers are searching that may not be exactly your service but leads to your service. Example: “how to pick a X manufacturer,” “how to prepare your X product for manufacturing,” etc.
  3. For the keywords in step 2, you can start building checklists or “how to” downloadable PDFs that you can use to generate leads at a lower cost/lead. Example: Create a landing page with an offer for a “Checklist to Prepare Your Product for Manufacturing”, and set up an ad campaign for related keywords. You’ll start generating leads based on this stage of the buyer’s funnel.
  4. Make sure you set your campaigns up for “broad” keyword match. This will give you a wide umbrella for searches that your ads will show up. Next, use the “Search Terms” tab to see the exact keywords that are showing up, and which are converting. You’ll want to add the ones that are converting, and negative the ones that drive a significant amount of impressions but are irrelevant or do not convert.

As you get more comfortable with paid campaigns, you can keep building out your campaigns using different match types like exact, phrase, etc.

Affiliate / Influencer Marketing

Affiliate marketing and influencer marketing is a popular form of reaching customers through like-minded people. Meaning, using industry people to help promote your brand in return for a percentage of the sale, or cost/opportunity. This can definitely vary by manufacturing speciality, and if there are any thought leaders or people that are regularly followed in your industry, then these are great people to begin an influencer program with.

I recommend finding a few people with a high number of followers. Make sure to look at actual engagement! If your influencer has 10,000 followers and only averages 10-100 likes or no real comments, then they’re not worth it. Send them some messages saying you regularly follow them, and that you’d love to collaborate with them.

Partner / Channel Marketing

This is one of the most effective forms of marketing. If you know of complimentary services that work with your ideal customer, then you have an opportunity to build a partner / channel marketing program.

The goal here, is similar to affiliate networks, but you leverage other professional service providers to cross-promote and cross-sell your manufacturing services to their customer base.

For example, if you have an IT firm that has customers who would be great for your services, you could have them refer business to you as a preferred partner. Additionally, if you manufacturer a specific part for cars, then you could partner with an automotive association, or another company that manufactures a different part for vehicles.

Click here for a complete list of the materials you’ll need for a partner marketing program.

Website Placements

This is similar to PPC and SEM, in that most of these websites that you’ll want to be featured or post ads in will be “pay to play.”  

Website placements are an effective way to drive high-quality traffic to your website. Look for websites that your ideal customers frequent. Trade websites, association websites, and knowledge hubs where your ideal customers look for information. Those are all great locations to focus on website placements that will increase your brand awareness and new customer acquisition.

Email / Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing is one of my favorite forms of marketing. With outbound marketing, you start by making a list of your ideal customers. What are the companies that you want to win? Here’s a step-by-step process of how to successfully run an outbound marketing program:

  1. Make your list of ideal customers
  2. Determine who the key decision maker is. Who’s the person who will ultimately decide whether to use your services?
  3. Identify the decision makers email address. There is a usual format that professional email addresses normally take: (letter of firstname)(lastname)(@)(companywebsite), (firstname)(@)(companywebsite), (firstname)(.)(lastname)(@)(companywebsite). I also recommend google searching the person’s name and (@)(companywebsite). Sometimes it will show up in search. Note: There are also google chrome extensions that you can use that will pull email addresses and contact data from social media sources such as LinkedIn.
  4. After you’ve generated a list of email addresses for your ideal contacts, you’ll want to craft the messaging you’re going to use to push them to become a customer. I like to start with an introductory sentence, and then talking about the benefits of partnering with us (cost, speed, quality, etc.), and then wrapping up with a call to action (schedule a time to talk, get a free quote, etc.).

With outbound marketing, you can even take this process in to social media platforms and directly message your sales prospects. LinkedIn is a common place to do this but don’t be afraid to experiment with other sources.

SEO Search Engine Optimization / Content Marketing

SEO is a popular term that gets thrown around when it comes to marketing. The problem is that most people who claim to be SEO experts, have no idea what they’re actually doing. SEO is also discussed like it’s a “magic bullet” solution that drives instant business. It’s not. SEO is a foundational marketing element that requires you to get started sooner rather than later. Your business may not experience return within the first 90 days, as it takes time for your modifications to update within search engines, and for you to gain authority.

However, once your website is viewed as an authority in topic areas, you start to rank in the top of search engines. This means when people Google something related to your industry, you turn up first.

SEO is a powerful marketing channel for manufacturing businesses as it’s a gift that keeps on giving. Your website will continue to see traffic and opportunities come in via SEO growth, and as you continue to add content to your site, you’ll see an exponential effect occur across all content.

Here is a list of a few tips for doing SEO properly:

  1. Do keyword research. Figure out what keywords are being searched by your target customers to find services like yours.
  2. Include the most relevant keywords in your SEO title, meta description, H1, H2, and content in your website.
  3. For the keywords that are popularly searched phrases, you’ll want to write articles to support those.
  4. Post new content frequently. It’s important to post blogs/articles on a weekly schedule to keep your rankings at the top, and to expand your reach of keywords.

By following the above tips, you’ll be doing better than 90% of businesses online. However, there is always more detailed strategy and optimizations that can be made to further boost your online rankings.

Final Thoughts: Marketing for manufacturing businesses

Winning new customers is the goal for every business. While your personal network and word-of-mouth will help keep your business running, it’s essential to leverage different digital channels to further increase business growth. Using the above strategies, you should be able to make some headway. However, if you need any additional help or have questions, then don’t hesitate to reach out by using our contact form on our homepage or emailing me directly at ronny@digital-astronauts.com.


what is emerging talent

What is Emerging Talent?

With the cost for mid-level and senior talent continuing to increase, emerging talent has become highly sought after. Emerging talent are interns, entry-level, or junior employees that show the motivation, intelligence, and skills to accelerate to management level positions.

Why emerging talent?

Hiring emerging talent can save your business up to 60% in hiring costs. Immediately, they’ll start off with a lower salary, and may stay with your company for a longer period of time as they develop. Emerging talent are also known self-starters who are highly motivated to learn and perform tasks beyond their role.

The challenge with emerging talent?

While some businesses may be able to identify emerging talent depending on their experience, that’s only half of the puzzle. The struggle with emerging talent comes from the time needed to mentor and mold them with the right skills. Emerging talent are also more likely to leave companies if they feel like they are not being properly nurtured down their desired career path.

If you’re trying to recruit or hire emerging talent, then keep in mind the time you’ll need to dedicate to mentor. Despite being self-starters, emerging talent want to care about their work and feel valued. Continuous development will be critical in shaping them to become your unicorn for years to come.

How to recruit emerging talent

There's a lot of hearsay with regards to how you’ll find emerging talent. Several people will say they’re finding them on social media, but the truth is emerging talent is everywhere. I recommend using tried and true methods such as Indeed, Glassdoor or Craigslist. Even student recruiting is a solid play here.

Next, you’ll want to listen to them when you interview them. When recruiting emerging talent, it’s also important to have someone experienced in the role they’ll playing interviewing them. This allows the interviewer to quickly suss out whether they have the necessary skills, thought process, and drive to be successful in future roles.

For example, a digital marketing manager should be interviewing someone who they’re looking to fill a role in content marketing/SEO, but who projects to grow into a DMM or Director role.

Why? Because general recruiters do not have the experience in the role to understand what it truly requires, and what separates emerging talent from someone who just sounds good on the phone.

When interviewing emerging talent, make sure to drill in to questions. Get to the “why” for things they accomplished or did, and uncover their motivations in life and where they aspire to to take their careers.

Getting started with emerging talent

If you want to start finding and developing emerging talent, then follow these steps:

  1. Build out your requirements for the roles and responsibilities.
  2. Create an overall goal or milestones for your future talent.
  3. Create a job ad using best practices in recruitment marketing to attract the right talent.
  4. Interview them and use questions to dig into their decision-making and fluency in sales/marketing.
  5. Build an onboarding and development program to help them succeed and learn.

If this is something you'd prefer to look for outside expertise, then learn more about emerging talent here.


music label marketing for record labels

Marketing Strategy for the Music Industry and Record Labels That's Driving 200% Return

Every now and then we work in industries that market a little differently. The music industry is one of those industries.

When the vast majority of your audience is using social platforms like Facebook and Instagram, it’s not too difficult to measure campaign success. You look at your social posts, use UTM parameters, or measure lead acquisition to conversion journeys. Simple right?

But when you throw in additional platforms like Spotify and Pandora… what the hell do you do?

Yes, there are some social listening tools that can provide data and insights. But being able to use data to find the next big artist or sound, isn’t enough today.

Record Label and Music Industry marketers need tools that allow them to automate the marketing process, and drive artist awareness.

Marketing Campaign Examples for Record Labels

Whenever we look at marketing campaigns, we focus on the buyer's journey. In the case of record labels, we look at the fan's journey.

The main question we ask is… “How can we take a fan's behavior and turn it into revenue."

We recently started using a tool called AppreciationEngine. It allows us to analyze and measure fan interactions with different artists and start building campaigns. It is the first true marketing automation platform that we were able to find for the music industry.

Now, back to fan behavior. Each time one of your artist's fans interacts on one of your artists facebook page or plays one of their songs on Spotify, you can segment and automatically message them.

For example, as your artist's fan is listening to their latest hit on Spotify, you can automatically message them letting them know about show schedules, new album drops, or similar songs.

A sample campaign would look like this:

Fan likes your artist's page. The fan then listens to a song on Spotify.

Your marketing automation tool, adds them to a segment based on the artist. The list segment would be called something along the lines of “Fan of X.”

Once the fan is added to this segment, they then automatically enter an email campaign.

Email 1: This would be the initial email in the marketing campaign. We’d recommend using something that reiterates the song they just listened to and provides something of immediate value to them. Something like…

You just listened to “Song by X” here are some more songs by that artist that you might like.

You could then followup Email 1 with something that generates more buy-in and investment in your artists brand.

Such as a playlist compiled by your artist's inspirations or other songs that include your other artists.

Then with email 3, you can tell them about different merchandise, shows, or something to push this artist.

After you’ve tried to generate revenue from your artist, you can then temper it down a bit. Maybe introduce them to more artists from your label that they might find interesting?

You can keep building out the sequence and iterating based on performance. But bottom line, marketing automation is an absolute must.

Marketing automation is awesome but you really need the power of segmentation to get the most from it.

Segmentation is the backbone of all marketing and especially marketing automation. This is universal across all industries, especially for record labels and the music industry. Finding ways to turn your fans into revenue or helping them find the next big sound should be at the crux of your digital marketing. And segmentation is how you get there.

Here are some cool stats from MailChimp:

Segmented email campaigns have an open rate that is 14.32% higher than non-segmented campaigns.

Click-throughs are 100.95% higher in segmented email campaigns than non-segmented campaigns.

Building Marketing Campaigns Through Fan Segmentation

As we mentioned, segmentation is the key to all of this. So what are the best ways to build out fan segmentation?

I think there are a few key ways of looking at it.

You can drill it down to two levels at the simplest.

A Segment based on Artist

and

A Segment based on Genre.

Why are these two segments important?

I was tempted to throw in location as a segment as well, but the above seemed a little better and you can adjust automated campaigns based on dynamic criteria for fan location as well.

But these are important because “Artist” segments allow you to automate messaging to fans based on that specific artist they were originally interested in, push products, music, tours, that are directly related to the artist of interest.

You’ll see your highest conversion rates through that segment.

As a secondary segment, you’ll want to choose Genre.

This gives you the ability to push other similar artists/songs in that genre. This will allow you to start cross-selling your fans to other artists from your record label, giving your other artists more awareness and a greater audience.

If you’re not currently segmenting your audience you’re seriously missing out.

Segmenting can provide you with better revenue channels as well as greater insight into your audience.

If you’d like to learn more about segmentation or the tools we’ve used to help record labels generate higher revenue and fan engagement, then let me know. My email is ronny@digital-astronauts.com.


startup marketing framework

Startup Marketing Framework

In the startup world.

You either market or die.

Having a killer product just isn’t enough anymore. How you position and market can be the ultimate factor in deciding your success.

Which begs the question? Is there a framework that startups can follow to make sure that they start off on the right foot?

Below you’ll find our ideal startup marketing framework. Keep in mind this template will need to be customized based on your product and industry.
Read more


hockey stick growth

Hockey Stick Growth for Startups

We work with several startups and one of the most common terms used when founders want to describe their growth is hockey stick growth.

What is hockey stick growth?

Definition: Hockey stick growth is used to define a growth pattern that a company experiences which starts on a linear trajectory, and then once a certain point is hit, growth takes off astronomically. When charted on a graph, the image looks like a hockey stick.

How long does it take to hit hockey stick growth?

The linear growth phase can last from days to years before the right product/market fit is found and truly takes off. We once worked with a startup that experienced constant linear growth, and after enough branding and marketing efforts, the company’s revenue growth took off exponentially — creating the hockey stick effect on the growth chart.

Do all company’s experience hockey stick growth?

The short answer is “No.” Not all companies will experience hockey stick growth, some will just continue on a constant upwards trajectory, or even see ups and downs depending on various factors.

How long does hockey stick growth last?

If you’re wondering if it lasts forever, the answer is also “no.” Eventually, growth will start to taper off and flatten, especially s you face the challenges of market penetration, competition, and saturation.

How to achieve hockey stick growth

There is no set strategy to create a hockey growth trend for your business. However, certain businesses do have models that are ideal for growth hacking or viral growth. These businesses (like Dropbox) are able to offer free versions or incentives for referring a friend. My favorite example is Dropbox. They had a refer a friend program to provide users with additional storage space for each friend that became a user. This resulted in tremendous growth for the company. Over the years we've built several programs to play on the incentivized referral model to help startups grow.

 

 


saas magic number

What's Your Number? Your SaaS Magic Number

The term “magic number” in the SaaS world has come up frequently. The term SaaS magic number became popular on Will Price's Blog.

Generally, the SaaS magic number reflects how efficiently a SaaS company is growing their recurring revenue relative to their expenses.  Pretty simple right?

How to Calculate Your SaaS Magic Number

To calculate your SaaS magic number, simply take the difference in quarterly recurring revenue between your last quarter and the one before, multiply that by four, and then divide everything by ALL the sales and marketing costs of the quarter before last. And voila!

Magic Number = (((Last Quarter Recurring Revenue) – (Quarter-Before-Last Recurring Revenue)) * 4) / (Quarter-Before-Last Sales and Marketing Expense)

Interpreting the data is pretty easy. If the magic number is greater than one, you should be investing more into sales and marketing. If the SaaS magic number is less than .7, then you should spend your time making customer acquisition more effective.

Another way to think about the SaaS magic number is that you're penalized if you waste sales/marketing spend (bad marketing programs, bad sales execution, wasted advertising), if your churn is high or if the market has issues (market saturation, competitive forces, failure to address needs). It also has a very high correlation with Q/Q growth rates so in general, the higher the magic number the better.


example one page strategy doc

One Page Strategic Plan Example

Recently, I've been talking to several startup founders who all had the same problem: no clear plan or strategy for sales and marketing. While putting together an overall strategy and the marketing automation to support sales can be pretty complicated, getting the base-level structure is simple.

Here’s an example Simplified One Page Strategic Plan for a made up Taco Startup in San Francisco.

Example One Page Strategic Plan

Purpose

  • To support and fill the stomachs of  Bay Area residents through delicious tacos made from organic, free-range meats.

Core Values

  •  Edgy, in your face, transparency, honesty, fun

Market

  • Bay Area residents, specifically young urban professionals, and foodies.

Brand Promise

  • Our tacos will be the most delicious and Instagrammable

Elevator Pitch

  • We provide the most delicious tacos in the entire Bay Area, featuring 14 hour smoked brisket and carnitas, Texas style sausage, and a world famous breakfast taco. All of our tortillas are made in house with the finest ingredients -- everything is organic and free-range.

3 Year Target

  • Sell 1,000,000 breakfast tacos and feed several thousand Bay Area residents.

Annual Goals

  • Revenue
  • Net Operating Income
  • Yelp / Facebook / Google / Trip Advisor Ratings
  • Social Media Followers

Quarterly Goals

  • Total Revenue
  • Instagram Followers/Revenue
  • Yelp rating

Quarterly Priority Projects

  • Creation of weekly Taco specials menu
  • New outdoor patio
  • Weekly live music events

For the annual and quarterly goals, there would be a table with four columns: goal name, start value (e.g. $0), current value (e.g. $150,000), and target value (e.g. $1,000,000) as every goal should be SMART. Everything else should be pretty straightforward.

This One Page Strategic Plan is one of my favorite worksheets as it ties everything together. The simplified one page worksheet brings vision, accountability, and alignment for every member of the company. If you needed a single document to start from, then this is it.


Building a reseller channel partner program

How to Create a Reseller Program

Building a Reseller Program

I've had the pleasure of building some amazing channel programs (also called partner or reseller programs), as well as having been trained by one of the very best in Reseller and Channel Programs.

Building a reseller program isn't as simple as flipping a switch. There are several projects that will require collaboration from multiple members from different departments.

But before we get into that, we'll start with the three stages for creating a reseller program (partner or channel program).

3 Stages of Reseller Programs

Reseller Program Creation.

This is the initial stage of creation - duh. It's where you define the scope of your reseller/partner/channel program including the different levels, features, policies, partner margins/payouts, training/certification requirements, and the level of support offerings.

This area alone can get really complicated. For each different area you could have multiple feature docs for different product tiers, subscription levels, partner applications, MDFs, lead policies, sample email promotions, acceptable advertising content, powerpoints, demo scripts, etc.

Recruiting Resellers and Channel Partners.

Time to find and sign-up the resellers. Tactics for this will remain very similar to other marketing and recruiting related communications. You'll want to keep your core messaging and value proposition, but want to position your platform for reseller partners and the value it would help them bring to their customers.

We'll touch more on email scripts and reseller marketing strategies in another post since we'll cover a lot of material.
Reseller / Channel Partner Enablement.

Reseller or partner enablement is probably the lever for success. If you provide resellers with all of the material they need to make a sale, then your channel program will have a higher probability of success. However, a lack of attention here will most likely lead to poor results.

Some key areas to focus on here are training in your market, analysis of your competition, product training, product sales training, and channel resource training. You'll want to make it dead easy for them to promote your product over everything else out there.

Building a Reseller Partner Program

Building a reseller or channel partner program requires lots of marketing materials.

Below you'll find a list of the basic materials needed to build a reseller channel program:

Reseller Powerpoint
This powerpoint describes the reseller and partner program, the various levels, requirements, and the benefits to your channel partner.

Introductory Letter
This is an introduction letter to the partner program, as well as an overview of what's included and their benefits. Typically, you'll send this over as an email upon their agreement to join the program.

Partner Program Checklist
This is a checklist to help your reseller/channel partners understand the order and steps to become authorized product resellers.

Reseller Application
Back in the day, you would send this over as a printable doc to get all the information you need. These days, you can use Typeform or Wufoo to quickly create forms that help qualify potential resellers.

Reseller Agreement
Big ups to LegalZoom. For any reseller or channel program, you'll need an agreement that outlines the relationship between your company and the reseller partner. We recommend using LegalZoom or your attorney to create an agreement that outlines this relationship.

Reseller Partner Levels
Create some documentation around the different reseller levels. For example, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Authorized, etc. Make sure to include the benefits of each level as well as requirements.

Reseller Policies
Build a set of policies and procedures that explains how your channel partners are to deal with everything from leads to demos. Include information on what to do with leads that aren't in their wheelhouse, rewards, how to refer, etc. Also, include information on how you will pass them leads, how to use the portal, training and anything else.

Contact Information
A no brainer. Make sure your reseller partners know who and how to contact the people they need.

Reseller Not-For-Resale (NFR) Prices
Depending on your channel program, you'll want to include discounted copies of your product that your partners can use. The goal is to get them to use your software so they can better sell it. For SaaS, this is normally a free account with discounted or flat rate versions for their customers. But again, this will vary depending on your program.
Sample Sales/Marketing Materials
Provide your channel partners with a sales/marketing kit that has all the resources they'll need. This kit should include everything from product matrices, datasheets, demo decks, and more.

Customer Demo Deck
Along with the above materials, you must include a sample demo deck. This should be able to be customized so customers can use their branding as well (especially if they're whitelabeling or including in their services). I recommend hosting these in a Dropbox folder or somewhere on your site.

Training/ Support Documents
If you're old school you can create PDF documentation regarding certifications and requirements. Otherwise, build a page in your channel program section that talks about support and training sessions, as well as links to relevant documents.

FAQ
Contains answers to common questions you expect from resellers and their customers.


how to survive an office zombie attack

How to Survive a Zombie Attack At Your Office

I’m not sure what it is, but I’ve always had a fascination with Zombies. Maybe it was because I remember watching "Night of the Living Dead" when I was around 6 years old, or maybe I’m just always preparing myself for an inevitable zombie attack. One thing I've learned from countless of hours of research, is to always be aware of your surroundings. Where would I hide? what could I use as a weapon to defend myself from said Zombies? How can I best optimize the flow of zombies so that I’m not overrun?? These are the types of things that go through my head on a daily basis. Which brings me to the point. If you were stuck in your office what could you to survive and fend off a  zombie attack?

How Can you Survive the Zombie Apocalypse in Your Office

Security

First things first. Security. Assess whether your office is in a secure location. Can you control all entrances and exits? can you blockade doorways effectively? are there escape routes? For me, my office is on the 7th floor of a building. That means we’re not close enough to the ground for multiple escape routes, but not high up enough where we can still be zombie bait. For the sake of this argument, let’s say I choose to stay my ground on this floor (I would totally try and make a break for it in real life).

There are certain issues that need to be first addressed. Stairways. All of them need to be blocked in case “Walkers” make their way up or down. Next, elevators. What if zombies hit enough buttons to make it up to my floor? how do we address this? Answer. Get those elevators to your floor immediately. Dispose of any walking dead, and hit the emergency stop on each elevator and prop something in between the doors to keep them from moving. Now you have a more or less secure stronghold.

Food and Water

My office has several gallons of water, but that will quickly run out once you divide it amongst the survivors. If water goes out then we’re not in an enviable position. For water, the strategy here would be to take any trashcan and empty jug bottles, any type of container or bags, and fill them with as much water as possible. Use bathroom faucets, water fountains, etc. Stockpile as much as you can.

For food, it’s safe to say GrubHub and delivery will be out of the questions. Sorry, but Amazon and Whole Foods won’t be able to bail you out of this situation. Take inventory from your office, and then go to the offices around yours, get all of the food and snacks and figure out how much you’ll need to survive. If the number looks low, then you may need to find a way to make provisions runs.

Survival Gear

Look for miscellaneous objects that you can leverage for protection. That old printer you have in the office - rip off the plastic casing and use that for armor to prevent against bites. Look for first aid kits as well. Every office should have one. Additional items to look out for: matches, lighters, tools, batteries, flashlights, etc.

Zombie Defense Objects

As great as a crossbow would be in this situation, let’s be real. You’re not going to find one of those in your office. This is where random tools come in handy, or even brooms or mops. I also recommend taking the slidey rails from your file cabinets and repurposing anything you can. Like I said, I’ve spent way too much time thinking about this.

Communication

This is where it pays off to have good tight knit team. If you’re all stuck together during a zombie infestation, then you have to be able to trust everyone and make sure none is going to run off with all of the supplies. Have you watched the “Walking Dead”? You must have noticed how Rick and the crew have some unspoken, telepathic communication. That type of closeness amongst a team is what separates the survivors from the zombie snacks.

What do you think? Do you agree with my tips to survive an office zombie attack? What would you do different?


stress management techniques

Stress Management Techniques Small Business Owners Need to Know

Ok. First thing’s first. Find nearest heavy object and throw it at an employee. Feeling better?

I’m just kidding. Definitely, do not do what I mentioned above.

As a small business owner, you have a lot of hard work and pressure constantly weighing on your shoulders. Sometimes yelling or throwing objects may seem like a great idea.

But having a lawsuit on your hands, along with regular responsibilities such as unpredictability of revenue, or team performance won't help your stress levels.

It’s bad enough you can’t have a good work/life balance, but the effects of stress can be ridiculous -- everything from waning health to death. To ensure you have a long and happy life, you need to evaluate these stressors and learn how to exorcise them like the terrible demons they are.

Instant Stress Management Techniques

Treat Yourself

I’m a firm believer that treating yourself to something nice helps to reduce stress. Whether it’s shopping, massage, or a little weekend getaway, every month you should do something for yourself.

By simply scheduling a massage, you can lower your cortisol (stress hormone) levels by a third!

Eat the Right Food

You know the saying “You are what you eat”? Well eating green leafy vegetables, blueberries and other superfoods can actually reduce your risk for depression. So the next time you’re starting to get stressed, grab some blueberries instead of that cup of coffee. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in the berries will give that stress the kick in the butt it needs.

Make a Kickass Playlist

Remember how I mentioned that treating yourself to a massage can lower cortisol levels by a third? Well having a great playlist can cut cortisol elevation by up to 66%! The trick here is to listen to something calming and avoid the urge to throw on some heavy metal and dubstep. Me personally, I opt for a Reggae Ohana playlist, Motown Hits, or classical. But hey, to each their own.

Get Help

I don’t mean hire a psychiatrist. I mean ask someone at your office for help. 1 in 10 business owners work more than 70 hours per week, and the vast majority work way more hours than they should. The best way to decrease your workload? Learn to delegate. Make sure you hire the best people and you let them take over some of the tasks that you’re overloading yourself with. I'm convinced that delegation is the key for success.

Power Nap

I’m one of those people who’s regularly guilty of never getting enough sleep. If you’re unable to get 8 hours of sleep, then find some time during the day to power nap. It may some contradictory to what you’d expect, but a power nap can boost productivity and cognitive function. NASA space pilots tested this nap theory and found that pilots who took naps were able to increase performance by 34% and alertness by 54%.

Puppies = Happiness

Not all office spaces are dog-friendly, but if yours is, then I suggest bringing your puppy to work. A study by Virgina Commonwealth University showed that workers who had dogs near them as they worked saw stress decline by 11%, while those without a furry friend saw stress levels rise by a whopping 70%!

Work Out

44% of business owners and managers say that the stress of their business damages their health. 22% say they’ve gained weight and 14% of people surveyed said they had a shorter temper. My advice, save your anger for the weights, not your work. Even something as simple as going for a 20-30 minute jog will give you that endorphin rush you need to fight stress. We have a great list of company fitness challenges that will help get your team moving, or if you want to switch companies entirely, we have a list of companies with onsite gyms.

There’s an App for That

Whether it’s using an App tons schedule your day or one to help you through guided meditation, there’s something here for everyone. Breathe2Relax is a great app to give you a moment to just clear your mind and breathe. Taking a breath can elicit the relaxation response which helps to decrease your metabolism, slow your heartbeat, relax muscles, and decrease blood pressure. Scheduling apps like Any.Do also help you reduce stress because they give you a simple todo list to let you know what you need to knock out for the day.

Get Creative

When things get stressful at work, out goes the fun. One of the ways that I personally use to de-stress at work is to get creative. Whether it’s writing about zombies or my favorite TV shows, getting creative helps you relax and have fun. If you’re not one for writing, then try knitting or a brief doodling session. Students at the University of Cincinnati created a Stress Less Zone where they provided knitting and painting tools to help students de-stress during finals week.

Take a Walk

When you’re busy working, you can lose track of time. So not only are you stressed but now you’re also sitting for long periods of time. And are you aware of the health hazards of sitting for long periods? Heart disease, foggy brain, overprotective pancreas, colon cancer, strained neck, spinal problems, mushy abs, poor circulation, yeesh. Every couple of hours, take 15 minutes to go for a walk outside. The walk will relieve your organs and body of the stress from sitting, and the sun will boost your serotonin ( a natural mood booster).

Are you currently stressed at work? What has you stressed?