The farming industry is going high-tech. And it isn’t necessarily just to increase output. For some farmers, using more technology has become a necessity thanks to changing climate conditions. Founded by two former Google engineers, The Climate Corporation is a provider of tech services and products for farmers. The company utilizes data as a tool to combat the difficulties farmers face thanks to changing weather patterns. CEO David Friedberg told CNN: “The increasing uncertainty in agriculture, with the changing patterns of weather we are seeing, is making it difficult for farmers to grow successful crops consistently. The tools we provide help farmers make smarter decisions based on analytical techniques, rather than intuition.” To accomplish this goal, the company offers a number of tools. The free platform gives farmers a way to monitor their land and crops. It uses satellite imaging, growth modeling and simulations to give hyper-local forecasts for each individual farm. This can help farmers better make decisions about how they utilize their resources. There’s also a Pro version that includes extra features to optimize things like use of nitrogen fertilizer, pest control and harvest planning. To date, the agriculture industry hasn’t done much to take advantage of technology on a wide scale. But The Climate Corporation’s founders think that their tools can not only save farmers money, but also help reduce their carbon footprints. If each farmer can better utilize their own resources, less will be needed overall. And for an industry that occupies almost half of the planet’s total land, those extra resources can make a big difference. The Climate Corporation isn’t the only company that’s working to integrate data into the farming industry. Edyn is a California startup that launched because of one of the state’s worst droughts. The company produces a sensor that allows farmers to micro-manage their plots to give only the optimal amount of moisture to each area. This is another company with the goal of saving farmers money while also slowing the use of natural resources and harmful materials. Founder Jason Aramburu told CNN: “If we do nothing, more farmers will have to leave their land over the next decades…which means creating new farmland, which would have a dramatic environmental impact.” Image: The Climate Corporation The post The Climate Corporation Takes Farming High Tech appeared first on Small Business Trends .

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Stop Innovating

by Paul Joseph on November 23, 2014 · 0 comments

Your corporate culture is where innovation goes to die. It’s easier and more fun to do workshops than to actually innovate, because innovation involves risk, and the culture doesn’t support taking risks. Continue reading →

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Most experts out there give really bad advice when it relates to the topic of career setbacks –- or failures, as many of us would label them. So often, we’re told to take a deep inward breath, then breathe all the pain and frustration out. We’re advised to forget and move on, to meditate, or to blame our follies on something external, since it’s not good to carry the weight of failure around with us for too long. Effective career rebound, as science and medicine is learning, has a lot more to it than jumping in the shower and doing a one-time cleansing to wash the disappointment away. You will need to face defeat in the face, but there are lots of great tricks for rebounding from career setbacks and turning a negative into a positive. 1. Get out of your “Blame Game Funk” ASAP The blame game is one of the most popular exercises people use to get over personal and career failures when rebounding from career setbacks. The truth is that we do need to blame somebody, perhaps even ourselves. However, the blame game is actually your biggest hurdle in moving past any setback. Even more scary, if you spend a lot of time blaming yourself for the things that happen, you’re very likely to develop a case of “fear of failure” that will stick with you for the rest of your life: If it’s your fault, accept the blame. Figure out the internal and external forces that led you there and resolve to do better next time. If you’ve wronged someone, go out of your way to apologize and start taking steps to make things right, so you’re not carrying the weight of that blame around with you wherever you go. If you’re sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that someone else has crippled your progress in some way, figure out what factors led to that point and don’t let them affect you ever again. Did you ignore the obvious warning signs? Do they have a history of doing this to others? Were they stepping over you to get ahead? It’s important to run through everything quickly, so you can learn from the setback and move on. 2. Some Things are Just Beyond Your Control “Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” This is particularly relevant to those victimized by downsizing and/or massive industry shifts. Companies restructure themselves all the time, markets dry up, focus shifts. Despite the fact that people can’t control these factors, the jilted employee or entrepreneur who’s lost his or her business can easily resolve to sit around stewing about the loss of career and income, rather than rebounding from the setback immediately. This rebound hurdle can crisscross paths with the blame game too, but it’s actually a factor all unto itself, since the blame couldn’t possibly be your own. How many people do you know who sit around on their butts, collecting unemployment or burning up their savings because their job was eliminated and “there’s nothing out there right now?” The fact is, you are a valuable commodity, and things dried up in one way or another. It’s the past now. The longer you sit around stewing, the more your short and possibly long-term confidence is affected. Get right back in the game and find ways to ensure you’re more sheltered from forces out of your control in the future: i.e., develop multiple income streams, save more money, start investing some of your money. 3. Take the Setback as a Sign Sometimes, life seemingly slaps people in the face for a reason. Shark Tank villain Kevin O’Leary is a great example of someone who saw the forest for the trees very early on. He was fired from his first and only job at an ice cream shop on only his second day. This was his “aha moment” where he realized that working for someone else just wasn’t for him. There are countless entrepreneurial success stories that mirror Kevin’s story. What if instead he had resolved to get another job, perhaps in another ice cream shop and do everything he could not to get fired again? He would have never become the Canadian equivalent to the likes of Richard Branson or Donald Trump. Read this long story , riddled with his failures and successes. Sometimes a failure is life’s way of saying “You hated this job/owning this company and it’s time to find something more fulfilling.” Looking for another foothold in a career or industry you can’t stand is akin to beating a long-dead, rotting, maggot-filled horse. That horse has moved on, perhaps that’s what you need to do as well! Shifting to a new industry after a setback is invigorating and therapeutic. Crossroads Photo via Shutterstock The post 3 Sound Tips for Rebounding From Career Setbacks appeared first on Small Business Trends .

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JOBS Act = New Money

by Paul Joseph on November 23, 2014 · 0 comments

As the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continues to move forward with the implementation of Titles II and III of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, provisions that open advertising and investing to completely new channels, the startup landscape is morphing, just a little, to match resources and opportunities in previously unattainable ways. However, although Titles II and III of the JOBS Act are… Continue reading →

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Andrew Shipp loves to talk about social media content. As social media manager for GoPro, he’s got a lot to share. GoPro’s creative, versatile and robust approach to social media engagement offers a tantalizing view of what can be accomplished when a ferocious social media strategy leverages timely shares, visual content and a cross-platform energy. Take a look at GoPro’s social creativity — and engagement.  GoPro on Facebook and Twitter are just two platform examples. What can you learn from GoPro’s social media mastermind when it comes to getting creative with your social media engagement strategies? Shipp is all too happy to share. Marie Alonso: How important is social engagement in a comprehensive, cross-platform social media strategy?  Andrew Shipp: Engagement is the main lens we look through when evaluating content. We want our content to evoke a response in our community and provide them with a super pleasurable experience when they’re out there in the social space. It is also important to remember some content performs better on different platforms. Twitter, Instagram and Google+ are still very photo centric platforms, whereas Facebook is positioning itself as a destination for video content. So, be sure you consider the platform and content type for the highest engagement on each platform. Marie Alonso: What do businesses not realize when it comes to optimizing GoPro as a creative tool for social media image awesomeness? Andrew Shipp: Every business has a story to tell. Using GoPro cameras provides a way to capture those stories. Our suite of free software tools, the GoPro App and GoPro Studio, help businesses get that content off the camera so it can be easily shared across the social space. Additionally, calling out your content as being shot with GoPro is an easy way to increase the reach of it. People are actively searching for GoPro content across all the social platforms, including us. We love to RT, Share and Engage with content that’s produced with GoPros and called out as such. Marie Alonso: What’s more important, Twitter or Pinterest, to GoPro’s social media persona? Andrew Shipp: Both are incredibly important to us. Check out our Pinterest . Each platform gives us the opportunity to reach different consumers, in different ways, with different content. Social is all about showing the right content, to the right people, on the right platform at the right time. Marie Alonso: On Twitter, GoPro shares Video of the Day. What is the benefit of a consistently engaging social media incentive? Andrew Shipp: The always on campaign structure is a big part of our social strategy. In addition to Twitter, Video of the Day is also shared on Facebook and published to GoPro.  We also have another campaign, Photo of the Day, that is an always on campaign. Having an always on strategy has been huge for us. It gives our friends and fans a consistent program to tune in to and come back to frequently. If we’re a little late with posting either Photo or Video of the Day we’ll see comments pop up, “Hey, where’s photo of the day?!” or “Is video of the day coming still?” These campaigns also give us the opportunity to feature and recognize awesome user generated content. Marie Alonso: Outside of GoPro’s social media ascendancy, can you give us an example of a company doing social right? Andrew Shipp: I love Me Undies . They produce a ton of great content and have their brand voice really nailed. I’m also a big fan of The North Face . They produce a ton of amazing content and use content first in all things social. Marie Alonso: If you could share one bit of social media wisdom with small businesses looking to power their branding social strategies, what would it be? Andrew Shipp: The value of organic posts is essentially gone. Every platform is moving to a pay to play model. Be sure to carve out budget, even if it’s small, to target your social posts to the right people. Marie Alonso: What advice can you give to the small business that is just today creating social media accounts? Andrew Shipp: I would make sure I have these questions answered: What are we trying to accomplish in social — engagement on the platform, website traffic? Who is the audience? What type of content is going to resonate the best with those people? What is our posting cadence going to be? Answers to those questions about your social strategy should be pretty well baked. Marie Alonso: When people think of GoPro’s social media muscle, what do you hope comes to mind? Andrew Shipp: The world’s most amazing content. GoPro is the world’s most versatile camera and we want to bring our social audience the world’s most diverse and amazing content. This is a drive for every business, regardless of size — produce amazing content. I want to see amazing content and your audience does too, so my challenge for all businesses — especially small businesses — is to really know your audience and create content they want to see, share and enjoy. Image: Andrew Shipp, Twitter The post GoPro’s Andrew Shipp: Create Amazing Social Media Content — Now appeared first on Small Business Trends .

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In Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight manifesto , he argues that the plural of anecdote is data.  It is through compiling and analyzing observations that we transform ordinary experiences into scientific conclusions. Yet the concept of data is still relatively new.  According to Google’s Ngram, the use of the word only began to be heat up in the 1960’s.  So, although… Continue reading →

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The “Saturday Night Live” Cowbell Sketch and its later incarnations are simple, but extremely funny. If you can’t remember it or haven’t seen it yet, I encourage you to watch it . It’s that funny! Now, try to create a series of principles for how to get more out of your life and business using that skit. If you can’t, you might need The Cowbell Principle .   In The Cowbell Principle: Career Advice as How to Get Your Dream Job and Make More Money , Brian Carter and Garrison Wynn dissect the hilarious “Cowbell” sketch and use it as analogy for success in life and business. Using the same quick wit as a stand-up comedy routine with personal insights and stories, they cover a variety of personal insights and strategies shared through stories, humor, and reflection questions. The result is a book that combines humor and story as a call to greatness.   What is Your Cowbell? Cowbells are just one of the ordinary concepts given a new perspective in this book. (There are also bagpipes, cake and icing, etc.) A cowbell, as used in this book, is a talent or skill. It isn’t just any talent like singing, however. It’s the difference between a developing pop singer and Katy Perry or between a R & B singer and Mariah Carey. Your cowbell is a specific talent or skill that sets you apart as an individual. It’s something that only you as an individual can provide. It’s the “gift” that people are willing to pay for (clients or customers) because it is a valuable product or service.   In order to help readers identify their cowbell, the authors point out several characteristics that are present in every cowbell: Demand: People want the product or service. Mentorship: There is a path or teacher along the way. Testing: There is refining. Teamwork: There is support for the journey.   A lot of these concepts aren’t new, as the authors can attest. The principle behind Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow” and “Linchpin” is about being indispensable and valuable. What is different in this book is how the concept of talent or gift is treated. In The Cowbell Principle , talent is both an individual and group process. It’s also something that involves that can carry over to other fields, not just one. For example, a waiter who has excellent humor could use his “cowbell” for higher tips or a stand-up comedy routine. The setting isn’t always the star. Your cowbell will manifest itself in whatever setting you are.   Finding Your Cowbell Identifying your cowbell (or “gift”) is not an easy thing to given, especially when you have bills to pay and no road map to follow. That is why the authors advocate finding a mentor  (“Bruce Dickinson Principle” in the book) and the support you need, for your individual talents and your business as a whole. Taking the time to assess your goals, connecting with people who promote your success, and offer something of value in your journey will help on multiple levels.   Once you have some idea of what you want to pursue and how you want to pursue it, it’s time to try it out. Like other books out there, there is a strong emphasis in this book for striking a balance between what makes you happy and what people have a passion for. There isn’t an either/or with your cowbell. For a talent to be a cowbell, it must bring you happiness as well as some level of profitability, whether you want to be rock band earning $100 a night or public speaker earning $100,000. Carter and Wynn advocate taking small, but deliberately powerful steps toward your goals. Step out of your comfort zone as your resources allow, they argue. Be aware, though, that your perceptions about what is realistic may need to be challenged.   The Verdict: Is The Cowbell Principle Worth Your Time? The Cowbell Principle is a book I recommend for individual entrepreneurs or business owners seeking to make a more values-oriented change in their life or business. This will suit Millennials quite nicely because of the style of the humor used and “search for meaning” theme that can be found throughout the book. That being said, everyone will appreciate the stories and deep questions this book challenges readers to answer. In that respect, the book is like “What Color is Your Parachute?” with a focus on surviving in the new business landscape.  The Cowbell Principle challenges readers to reflect on their notions of what a “gift” or “talent” is and how it can be used in one’s life. For that purpose alone, it is a great book.   About the Authors Brian Carter is a keynote speaker, author, comedian, and consultant. He can be found at @briancarter .  Garrison Wynn is a keynote speaker, author, consultant who can be found at  @garrisonwynn . Both use humor to show individuals, groups, and small businesses how to communicate with their clients and customers more effectively. Their book can be found on Amazon and the accompanying website at The Cowbell Principle . This review is based on a purchased copy of the book. The post Cowbells Come With Amazing Business Insights In “The Cowbell Principle” appeared first on Small Business Trends .

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Coming up on Nov. 29 is Small Business Saturday, an event founded by American Express to promote small businesses. Customers can register to get up to $30 back when you Shop Small by spending $10 or more at participating businesses. Your business can also participate with this event by becoming a part of the American Express Shop Small movement. A little further out on the calendar is the Affiliate Management Days Conference on March 30 to April 1, 2015. This event will be held in San Francisco and offers insight into how other online retailers are successfully implementing and managing their affiliate programs. Keynote speakers are Ben Edelman, Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and Kerri Pollard, President of CJ Affiliate by Conversant. If you are interested you’ve got time to book your flight and hotel. The call for nominations for the OPEN Forum: Government Contracting Awards is still open. This event from American Express is in honor of small businesses with great government contracting success stories. The goal is to help small business owners capitalize on the growth opportunity of doing business with the government. Nominations end Nov. 28, 2014. To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar . Featured Events, Contests and Awards Small Business Government Contracting Awards Nov. 28, 2014, Online The small business Government Contracting Awards from American Express OPEN are now open for applications. The awards, now in their fifth year, recognize stand-out small business contractors in the following categories: Contractor of the Year; Woman Government Contractor of the Year; Teaming Government Contractor of the Year; and On-the-Rise Government Contractor of the Year. Small Business Saturday Nov. 29, 2014, Nationally American Express founded Small Business Saturday in 2010 to help small businesses get more customers. Small Business Saturday is Nov. 29, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and it has grown from a day to a powerful movement. Both shoppers and sellers can participate. AM DAYS Affiliate Management Days Conference March 30, 2015, San Francisco, CA The Affiliate Management Days San Francisco 2015 conference is an event for marketing managers and those responsible for their company’s affiliate marketing strategy, management and operations. Whether you have an existing affiliate program or you’re creating a new initiative, AM Days provides insight into how others are successfully implementing and managing their affiliate programs. More Events World Open Innovation Forum 2014 Nov. 26, 2014, Amsterdam, Netherlands Construction SuperConference Dec. 1, 2014, Las Vegas, Nev. Communicating Employee Benefits Dec. 2, 2014, New York, NY ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN 2014 – Conference on Technology Supported Learning Dec. 3, 2014, Berlin, Germany HIPAA Audits in 2015 – What to Expect and How to Prepare Dec. 3, 2014, Online Holiday Networking & Celebration (White Plains, NY) Dec. 3, 2014, White Plains, N.Y. Talent Acquisition and Onboarding Conference Dec. 4, 2014, New York, N.Y. Connecting to Cash: A Candid Conversation about Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs Dec. 4, 2014, Chicago, Ill. Workplace Violence: Plans, Policies and Procedures for Healthcare Dec. 4, 2014, Los Angeles, Calif. Your HIPAA Compliance Plan and Cloud Storage Security: Is Your BAA Enough? Dec. 4, 2014, Online Stance Matters: Releasing Your Latent Potential as a Practitioner of Change Dec. 5, 2014, Online Writing High – Impact Executive Summaries Dec. 5, 2014, Online Changes under the HIPAA Omnibus Rule – What’s New Dec. 9, 2014, Online I Didn’t See Anything, Don’t / Won’t Talk to You – Getting To the Truth In Internal Investigations Dec. 9, 2014, Online FT Frontier Markets Summit Dec. 10, 2014, New York, N.Y. HR Change Management: The Strategy of Change Dec. 10, 2014, Online SOX : Internal Controls for Accounts Receivable Dec. 10, 2014, Online Forecasting with Excel’s Powerful Sensitivity Tools Dec. 10, 2014, Online Preventing Product Liability – Key Areas Manufactures Need to Control Dec. 10, 2014, Online How to Analyze Financial Statements Dec. 10, 2014, Online More Contests Win $100 AdvoWire Influencer Marketing Campaign Budgets Nov. 26, 2014, Online Web Form Design Awards by JotForm Dec. 14, 2014, Online This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology . Small Business Saturday photo via Shutterstock The post Small Business Saturday Is Coming appeared first on Small Business Trends .

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You’ll find 15 tools for video editing and some ideas about how to deal with holiday surprises among the resources in this week’s Small Business Trends community news and information roundup. Want to learn more about our community? Read the roundup and then check out the instructions for participation below. Use These Tools to Edit Business Videos (BizSugar) Video is becoming an increasingly important format for telling business stories. But in order to get the most out of this format, you need to be able to edit your videos properly. This post from the BizSugar blog includes 15 different tools you can use for editing your business videos . Prepare for Costly Surprises (Bankless Times) During the holiday season, many businesses have to spend a little more than they would during the rest of the year. In fact, more businesses tend to take out last-minute loans during the holiday season than at any other time, according to this post by Tony Zerucha. So be sure to prepare for holiday surprises ahead of time so last-minute funding won’t be necessary. Turn Your Blog Into a Business (Basic Blog Tips) Lots of businesses and individuals have blogs. But turning that blog from a simple marketing or brand building tool to a revenue generating business is another matter. So in this post, Jenna Dalton shares some tips for running a profitable blog . And listen in as BizSugar members talk a bit more about blog monetization . Simplify Your Marketing (CorpNet) Marketing can take up a lot of your time. But there are things that you can do to make the process a lot easier and less time consuming. This post by Susan Payton includes five practices you can use to simplify your marketing efforts. Succeed With Personal Branding (Aha! Now) As a business owner, you represent your business in a lot of different ways. This means that you should work to develop a personal brand of some kind. This can help you grow as an individual and also as a business. This post from Kathi Miller offers some tips on how to succeed with personal branding . The BizSugar community also talks about personal branding in greater detail. Schedule Your Social Media Posts Responsibly (iag.me) Scheduling social media posts allows you to save time and take advantage of the high traffic time periods throughout each day. But there are some things to consider before getting started with social media scheduling . This post from Ian Anderson Gray includes some tips and things to consider when scheduling your posts. Go Beyond Link Building (SEO Chat) When you’re working to improve SEO, one of your main goals is to get other sites to link to your content. But once you achieve that goal, you should keep going. You can work on building the quality of links and web coverage your business receives. This post from Yoav Ezer includes some tips for improving your SEO efforts. Don’t Be Your Own Biggest Obstacle (The Payroll Blog) Of all the obstacles small business owners must face, one you might not expect to have to deal with is — yourself. This post by Lori Bolas features an interview that reveals some thoughts about obstacles and preventing yourself from making big missteps. Embrace the Capitalist Spirit of Your Team Members (Biz Epic) Do you employ any millennials in your business? If so, you might notice that they sometimes work differently than other employees. Millennials tend to take more ownership over their work and do more for themselves. As an employer, you can make this spirit benefit your business . Chad Stewart explains. And the BizSugar community has more to say about the power of millennials . Keep Track of Productivity in the Workplace (Inspired Magz) If you want your business to thrive, both you and your team need to be productive during work hours. But maintaining high levels of productivity can be challenging. Here, Azrizam Mansor shares some tips for improving productivity in the workplace. Help us make these community roundup posts even better. If you’d like to see your content in an upcoming post, send suggestions to sbtips@gmail.com . Or post your content to the BizSugar community. Video edit photo via Shutterstock The post Tools for Video Editing, Costly Surprises and More appeared first on Small Business Trends .

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I just hung up from a call with a colleague in which we were planning how to bring up a difficult topic at tomorrow’s client meeting regarding innovation. It is surprising how often this situation occurs in consulting work. This time the root of the situation may be traced to an observation Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble made in their book The Other Side of Innovation , regarding the characteristics of successful innovation executives. Continue reading →

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