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Roger Seip Co-founder
Worst Shark Tank Products Ever
by Roger On June 7, 2017

It’s 2017 and everyone wants to brand themselves and their business in a way that sets them apart. With so many products on the market, half of what it takes to get your business off the ground is having a marketable, interesting product. Unfortunately, the creators of these five products missed the memo. The best pitch in the world couldn’t save these items from being eaten alive by the sharks.

5. Elephant chat: Do you ever miss the way it felt when your mom made you and your sibling talk through a fight by taking turns whilst she presided? If so, you’ll love Elephant Chat. Except the elephant is your mom and you have to hold it while you air your grievances with your spouse. We wish we were kidding. Turns out the only “elephant in the room” was what a terrible idea this was.

4. 180 Cup: Every college students’ worst nightmare come to life, the 180 Cup is a plastic cup which, when flipped over, has a shot glass on the bottom. The problem lies in the constant flipping over of the cup. Spoiler alert: any party utilizing 180 Cup ends with more booze on shoes than in stomachs and will go down in history as the worst party ever.

3. Wake ’n’ Bacon: This wooden alarm clock cooks your bacon for you when it wakes you up. Now, stop and think about all the horrible parts of that sentence. Firstly, a wooden alarm clock is cooking bacon. We’re surprised that sentence itself didn’t just burst into flames, so it’s only a matter of time before someone’s home does. Secondly, that bacon will have to be loaded into the cooking mechanism before bed. That means breakfast now consists of bacon that sat, raw and waiting to be cooked, for hours in a bedroom. Lastly the proud, if not burned or food poisoned, victim/owner of the Wake ’n’ Bacon will now have a room which constantly smells like greasy bacon. This is the trifecta of breakfast horrors.

2. Ionic Ear: The only item on this list which will turn you into a cyborg, the Ionic Ear is a bluetooth headset which is fitted inside the human ear and charged at night. A quick one-time surgery means no more fussing with your Bluetooth headset or device.*

*Additional surgery required for all upgrades.

1. No Fly Cone: This super sleek cone sits on top of your dog’s poop to keep flies out of your yard! Magic! It’s almost as if properly disposing of dog mess will never be necessary again. Instead, dog owners can leave hundreds of little cones around their backyard and then… well… leave them there we guess. Maybe just stick with throwing it away.

Best Shark Tank Products That Could Have Made You a Millionaire
by Roger On May 31, 2017

Sometimes you get the idea of the century and make a million dollars. Sometimes, well, you don’t. That’s the premise of the TV show Shark Tank. People bring their ideas to a panel of professionals and hope one of them will financially back the idea. In today’s blog, we’re going to look at the top 5 ideas ever pitched on Shark Tank that will make you think “I should’ve thought of that!”

5. Baker’s Edge: This genius invention is here to give us everything we’ve ever wanted: and endless supply of edge piece brownies. Though they did not get the investment they hoped for on Shark Tank, the inventors of the Baker’s Edge continue to sell products to those of us who unabashedly lust for the corner pieces. They have since released a muffin pan and are still selling the killer creation that is the Baker’s Edge.

4. BetterBack: Sitting in front of a computer all day can be bad for posture and health. That’s why the inventor of BetterBack made a type of sling for your back which connects to the knees and corrects posture. The show aired recently but sales seem steady and there is a new Kickstarter campaign for a larger version.

3. Squatty Potty: Something everyone has to do and doesn’t think much about is using the bathroom. The inventor of the Squatty Potty did some digging and discovered that the human body is not actually built to make sitting on a toilet a comfortable or effective way to relieve yourself. The Squatty Potty elevates the feet so that going to the bathroom is done the way it was meant to be. The item has been heavily advertised on social media, most likely due to the frivolous nature of the product, which could be a direct cause of its success.

2. Groovebook: Everyone has a bunch of pictures on their phone just taking up space. No one wants to get rid of them because they help to remember some really great times, but people are making photo albums less and less. This is where Groovebook comes in handy. For just $2.99/month, Groovebook takes your phone’s pictures and turns them into a photo book which gets sent directly to your door. The product has an app for iPhone and Android and sales are on the rise as people figure out how much easier it is to have someone else make photo albums!

1. Drop Stop: Driving in the car is all fine and good until your phone gets stuck between the seats. You’re trying to use Google Maps and now have one hand driving and one searching for the phone but instead an old french fry and a nickel surface. It’s frustrating. That’s where Drop Stop comes in handy. It sits in the crack between your seat and the center console to keep your items out of the abyss. With a hole to fit the piece around the seatbelt, its the perfect “if I thought about that I’d be a millionaire” product.

Any one of these products is a million-dollar idea thought up by an every day person. Every person can develop their brand, even if that brand is helping people use the restroom! But be sure to look out next week when we look at the Shark Tank flops and what went wrong!

Successful Women in Business
by On March 15, 2017

Meg Whitman

In the business world, women are making themselves known. But it’s not easy to make it to the top, especially for a woman. The gender gap still plays a huge role in today’s world whether we like to admit it or not. However, that doesn’t stop these incredible business women. In honor of International women’s day last week, we decided to highlight just a few business women.

Meg Whitman

Meg Whitman has been a huge part of the business realm since the 1980s. She held higher up positions in companies such as Disney, Dreamworks, Proctor & Gamble, and Hasbro. What’s more impressive is that she executed a very high-profile split at Hewlett-Packard, where she was CEO. Now, there are two companies, HP Enterprises which is software and tech services, and HP Inc. whose main focus is on personal computers and printers. Currently, she is the CEO of HP Enterprises and serves on the board for HP Inc. But that’s not all, she is also very political and ran for governor of California in 2010.

Indra Nooyi

With multiple bachelors degrees, an MBA, and a masters degree, Indra Nooyi is a force to be reckoned with. She first joined PepsiCo in 1994 and gradually worked her way up. As a matter of fact, she was named CFO and president by 2001. A mere 6 years later she was named the CEO. In addition, PepsiCo has seen a 72 percent increase in revenue since 2001. Indra Nooyi was the driving force behind acquiring companies such as Tropicana, Quaker Oats, and Gatorade. Plus, she has consistently made lists for the most powerful women.

Ginni Rometty

Ginni Rometty

Ginni Rometty started her career in business at General Motors Institute after she graduated in 1979. Shortly after, in 1981 she became a systems engineer for IBM at the Detroit office. She has climbed the corporate ladder at IBM, and in 2011 Rometty became the first woman CEO there. Also, the next year Samuel Palmisano retired as chairman, and Rometty took that role as well. She’s been ranked on the top of the 50 most powerful women in business for 10 years.

Abigail Johnson

Last but not least, we’ll take a look at Abigail Johnson, the current CEO, chairman, and president of Fidelity. It’s known that her father Edward, the previous CEO, groomed Abigail from a young age. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that she’s an all around powerhouse. When she first became CEO in 2014, she swiftly cut costs and fired incapable managers. Oh, and did I mention she is one of the wealthiest women in the world?

Fun company outing ideas
by On March 1, 2017

Team building exercises or the annual company outing doesn’t have to be a drab affair. Does your staff need a little pick me up? Long gone are the days of dreading quality time with your coworkers. Especially since a lot of companies are seeking different and more creative ways to inspire their staff. Not only does a good company outing help your employees bond, but it can help reduce stress around the office. Plus, they’re just plain fun! For some great ideas, check out the list below.

Volunteering

First of all, offering up your services to a cause that may really need it feels spectacular. But sharing that experience with other people is a really great way to bond. In addition, there are so many different organizations out there that you’ll never run out of ideas. For instance, activities that require people to work together include building a house for habitat for humanity. Or, for those animal lovers consider helping out at a local animal shelter.

Who Dun It?

Secondly, a really fun company outing is a mystery dinner. Depending on the size of your company, you may need to go in groups. The idea is that your employees enjoy a great meal, sometimes up to 4 courses, while trying to solve a murder mystery! This is just all around a great company outing, and sparks interesting conversation.

Escape

Next, escape rooms are gaining so much popularity lately. The idea is that a number of people go into a room. There are clues and puzzles that have to be solved within a certain time frame in order to “escape the room”. An escape room is a great bonding experience because you have to work together to solve everything. To up the ante, give a prize to the fastest time!

Kayak

For the outdoorsy type, a kayaking trip can be a great way to work together. In fact, it takes a lot of effort to paddle the right way, and prevent your team from going in circles. Encourage people to kayak with those they don’t normally interact with at work. If you’re interested in something not as fast paced, a canoe might be your cup of tea.

Become a tourist

Yes that’s right, get out there and doing something ultra touristy. Your city may have some great things to offer and you should embrace it. For instance, duck tours are really fun and slightly embarrassing but you’ll probably learn something new. Inspire your staff to be goofy and laugh at themselves.

Get Cooking

Additionally, nothing brings people together quite like food. Instead of making a company outing to a restaurant or bar, have everyone cook for themselves. I’m talking about taking a cooking class! It entails following directions and working together to create something delicious. And, the best part is that when you’re done you get to eat.

Sweat

Get that blood pumping. Organize a company wide yoga session, day hike, or workout. Exercising helps alleviate stress and you feel great afterwards. Also, you’ll find that your staff will encourage each other to succeed and reach their goals.

Successful Family Owned Businesses
by On February 15, 2017
There are a lot more family-owned businesses than you might think. Some of today’s largest companies are owned and operated by families. In fact, over 30% of businesses with sales over $1 billion are family run. However, working with family members isn’t always easy. Companies that are successful got to that point because of hard work and determination. Some say that it shows great maturity if you’re able to work with family. Interestingly, more and more women are taking over family owned businesses. Traditionally, the first born son would take over the business. In this week’s blog, we’ll take an in-depth look at some of the most successful family owned businesses.

Walmart

First, Walmart may be the most well-known family business there is. It was founded by Sam Walton in 1962 and is still run by the Walton family today. The growth was incredible, and within the first five years, Walmart went from one store in Bentonville, Arkansas to 24 stores all across Arkansas. In addition, Walmart has become one of the top retailers with sales well into the billions.

Nike

Nike was founded by Phil Knight in 1964 and was originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports. The company grew into one of the most successful athletic apparel and accessory businesses in the world. In the beginning, employees sold shoes out of their cars. However, in 1966 Nike opened it’s first brick and mortar store and that was no longer a job requirement. Additionally, the very famous Nike swoosh was first used in 1971. Throughout the companies ups and downs, Phil Knight was the chairman until 2015 when he announced he would be stepping down. To keep the family legacy alive, his son Travis Knight will be taking a seat on the board.

Volkswagen

Secondly, we’ll take a look at the German automaker, Volkswagen. The company has been around since the 1930’s, a time when most vehicles being produced were luxury cars. Therefore, the majority of germans were unable to afford vehicles. On the other hand, Volkswagen (with the help of Adolf Hitler) encouraged people to save money every week until they could afford a car. Currently, Volkswagen is the largest automaker in the world and ranked seventh on the Fortune Global 500 list.

Ford

Next, the Ford Motor Company has been around since 1903 and was founded by Henry Ford. The company was the first to introduce large-scale manufacturing for vehicles using assembly lines. Also, Ford has been family run for over 100 years. Unfortunately, the 2008 financial crisis lead to hard times for the business. But, the company has and continues to make a strong comeback.

Comcast

The Comcast Corporation is widely known for being one of the largest telecommunications company in the world. The Roberts family have had the controlling stake since 1963 when it was known as American Cable Systems. Despite having a reputation for not so stellar customer service, Comcast has continued to grow. In fact, the CEO is one of the highest paid executives in the U.S.

Translating cultural differences
by On December 21, 2016

Businesses are eager to expand across borders and technology is making this process easier. Many companies are taking advantage of opportunities in the global market and conducting business on a multinational level. These businesses have learned that there are important cultural differences that affect their communication and business strategies both at home and abroad. Even businesses that don’t operate abroad will encounter cultural differences and diversity. Language is an obvious barrier, but simply translating your messages will not be enough to bridge the cultural gap. It’s important to understand how culture impacts the way society approaches nonverbal communication, time management and speech patterns.

Nonverbal communication

First impressions are often solidified before the customer, business partner or employer opens his or her mouth. Nonverbal communication and body language say a lot about someone as an individual and about the culture from which they come. Think about the difference between someone who uses big hand gestures in conversation versus someone who is more reserved and timid. Some cultures value eye contact, while others view it as disrespectful and aggressive. South American cultures generally stand close to people. This proximity can make people from the U.S. or Northern Europe uncomfortable. 

Cross cultural greetings

Greeting people from another culture is the first test when it comes to cross cultural interactions. Do you introduce yourself with a kiss, a bow or a handshake? The answer depends on the person with whom you’re meeting. In Latin American cultures, expect some kind of physical contact. Kissing on one or both cheeks is a normal greeting in Spain, Belgium and France, but the number of kisses will vary. People from Japan often include a slight bow as part of their customary greeting. Some countries exchange gifts, while others place a high value on business cards. 

Time management

Time management is another area that reflects cultural differences. Some people tend to view time as a rigid structure where deadlines and appointments are highly valued. Tardiness comes across as offensive and rude. Other cultures have a more fluid appreciation for schedules. People from this cultural background see meeting times as a guideline. They are less likely to be prompt and more likely to understand if you’re running late to an appointment.

Linear vs. circular time conceptualization

There are two basic concepts of time. People generally either view time in a linear fashion or a circular concept. The linear frame is characterized by future-orientation and compartmentalized schedules. Time is something you can save, waste or borrow.  People who view time from a circular perspective tend to be more flexible and focus on the present. Instead of thinking about a timeline, cultures that conceptualize time as circular think about seasons and the circle of life.

Speech patterns

Cultural differences are vocalized in the way people speak. Language barriers aside, some cultures are more likely to raise their voice and passionately discuss their ideas as opposed to having quiet conversations. Business owners who are not aware of these differences between speech patterns can come across as rude and loud or timid and weak. While some cultures value direct verbal communication, others prefer a softer approach.

Mitigated speech

Mitigated speech is an indirect approach to communicate using soft words. This kind of speech tries to lessen the impact of your words so they seem less harsh. “Maybe we should turn left” sounds a lot different than “Turn left.” People who mainly communicate with mitigated speech can easily be overpowered in business negotiations. People who do not use mitigated speech can easily come across as intimidating and unpleasant, potentially damaging business relationships.   

Businesses are connecting with consumers and markets around the world. Whether they’re expanding their strategies to a multinational level or reaching out to an increasingly diverse population, business owners need to understand the role of cultural differences in professional and personal relationships. There’s no direct translation for communicating cross culturally. Immersing yourself in the nonverbal communication, time management and speech patterns of another culture will help you bridge cultural gaps to form meaningful business connections.

Healthy Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs
by On November 23, 2016

In our modern business arena, there are fewer massive companies and businesses. In fact, it is the era of startups and new businesses. Across the world, the amount of entrepreneurs is increasing with each passing year. The last decade we’ve witnessed the rise of several young businessmen and entrepreneurs. While many have ventured into this arena, there are only a few who have managed to stay successful. It’s not just being smart or hard working that make successful entrepreneurs. It takes many other things including some regular healthy habits to seal the prosperity of one’s own business. Today, let’s look into five healthy habits of successful entrepreneurs that set them apart from the rest.

Staying Healthy and Fit

You cannot run a company if you yourself are not fit and healthy. Being fit doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to join a gym or go on a diet. You need to maintain a routine that keeps you refreshed for the entire day. Start your day by exercising or doing yoga. Stick to it all week. The fresh morning air and workout will keep your body healthy and keep your mind active and alert. This is important for a successful businessman. Sometimes work takes up most your time. Ensure that in spite of having a busy schedule you manage to find some time to exercise. Eat a healthy diet with less sugar and fat. Keep a balanced metabolism and stay energetic. A strong, healthy leader is always entrusted by its people to make the right decisions and choices. Don’t stay up late at night unless necessary, and try to get enough sleep.

Regular Goals and Objectives

A business success is often led by well-defined goals and objectives. It is important to figure out what you want, or how you want your business to progress over time. There is a lot of competition out there, and customers fluctuate every single day. In such circumstances, make sure to set regular goals and objectives. This will help map your business development and growth. Every day, lay out the goals and objectives that you and your team should achieve. Write them down in a diary or on a board in your office. Don’t set unrealistic goals that might confuse your employees or yourself. Make sure whatever your objective is it should be achievable and completely clear. Next, the important part is to follow through. Setting goals is just the beginning, now you have to achieve them.

Stay Current

Knowing the ins and outs of your business is a must. But that’s not it! You are a businessman in an age when things change in the blink of an eye. The world today has turned into a global marketplace. Everyone can be connected within the blink of an eye. Things are no longer on a small scale. Make it a habit to stay updated with the latest news and current affairs. While business news should be a top priority, you should also be up to date on other topics. Some examples being, finance, media, advertisement, arts, entertainment, etc. Read as much as you can on different topics. In the past newspaper and radio were the only source for news. Now you have access to all sort of news with the touch of a finger. Stay completely updated. You never know what information might benefit you in ways you’d never imagine. A successful entrepreneur is always aware of what is happening all over the world and how it may profit or harm his business.

Ditch the Comfort Zone

What makes a business successful? What made Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerburg famous? Most of us will say that it was their idea of something different. But that’s not entirely true. They took risks and left their comfort zone. They struggled, that’s why they are famous and successful today. Think out of the box but have the courage to work on it. Not everybody will support you or agree with you. But if you believe in your idea, try it. Taking risks will not always get you what you want. Be prepared for it and learn from it. An efficient entrepreneur is never afraid of taking a risk, nor is he scared of failures. Until you try things and take risks you will never know what works best for your business.

Treat Your Team Like Family

Your employees form a very integral part of your business. Even the brightest business ideas can fail if the people working with you are not satisfied. A lot of people leave their jobs because they aren’t appreciated or paid enough. An organization develops and grows only if its employees also develop and grow with it. Regularly motivate and lift the morale of your people. Create a healthy working environment for them. Take care of their needs and requirements, and make all the necessary amenities available to them. Appreciate them for their work and success. If possible, get to know them and have good communication. Organize events where your employees can interact with each other. Never become a leader people are scared of. Become a leader people will trust, respect and follow voluntarily.