Member Since 2020
Smash Balloon LLC
Minneapolis-St. Paul Area
John is the founder and lead developer at Smash Balloon. He's been working with WordPress since 2009, initially developing custom solutions for clients before venturing into plugin development and starting Smash Balloon in early 2013. Originally from England, John now lives in Minnesota with his wife and two young children.
We often start out thinking that we can grow our brand without partnering with other companies. For many people, this is how they run their business for the first several years. It’s not easy to find a brand partner when you barely have 100 sales under your belt.
Not every method is going to work the same for every person.
When a business posts a job online, it aims to garner the interest of the most qualified professionals in the field. Just like advertising, getting the job in front of the right eyes is crucial to its success. But with thousands upon thousands of job postings out there, what can a business do to ensure that their online job listing doesn't get buried under the clutter? To share their insights, nine experts from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) answered the following question:
From ramping up online offerings to implementing new health and safety protocols, the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the way people do business—especially for physical retail stores navigating the future of post-pandemic shopping. While it can be challenging for companies to pivot their operations based on customers’ changing needs and expectations, it can also serve as a unique opportunity for growth.
The face of social media has changed significantly in a short time, and today short video content is dominating user news feeds. While some social media platforms use video as a feature, like Instagram Stories, others, such as TikTok, use short videos as their main form of communication. Businesses can then leverage this content on their own social media pages to help improve their customer engagement and boost sales. To share insights on how to do just that, 12 experts from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) answer the following question:
As it has with many other parts of running a business, technology has granted business leaders the tools that can make recruiting a much simpler process. Today’s tech can help gather and sort applications, offer communication tools to ensure recruiters have a safe and secure location to speak with their potential hires and many of them even provide contract services that can help speed up onboarding.
As entrepreneurs start getting more involved with their businesses, it’s not uncommon that they find there's less time to spend on themselves. Unfortunately, being a successful business owner can often mean spending many hours engrossed in work without taking personal breaks. The result is almost always burnout, which can have negative effects on your health and well-being.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their predictions for upcoming advances in encryption tech.
Members of the Young Entrepreneur Council weigh in on whether a long-term or campaign-by-campaign content strategy works best for brands.
Getting quality guest posts on your website is one of the most effective ways to ensure that your brand gains added visibility. The more high-quality sites post to yours, the better search engines will rank you and the more positive relationships you’ll build.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council explain the first steps a business should take upon discovering a negative review.
Search engine optimization is a prominent concern for marketers across all industries and for any business with an online presence. Having good SEO habits is likely to get your website ranked on search engines above your competitors. However, poor SEO habits likely won’t produce the results you’re looking for and can potentially lead to your site getting heavily penalized.
In addition to the position itself, company benefits are one of the most important elements that candidates carefully consider when gauging whether they want to join a company. Once an employee is on board, these perks can also play a role in whether or not an employee chooses to stay and whether they get the sense that the company values their contributions. To help leaders determine which benefits to offer, 10 members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) explore the following question:
Building positive relationships with your customers is essential to running a successful and sustainable business. That’s why many business owners rely on customer relationship management (CRM) tools to connect with clients and nurture ongoing interactions.
Whether you’re a business leader or just someone trying to improve their life, surrounding yourself with positive people can be an important part of personal development. Aside from offering support when you most need it, positive people can also challenge you to grow and evolve as an individual, all while giving you the confidence you need to take action.
There are plenty of factors you have to keep in mind when you’re writing and distributing this type of content.
For many companies, it’s not always clear whether or not they should be responsible for educating their customers about the dangers of cyber attacks and malware. But as cybersecurity becomes a greater threat, even non-tech companies are considering the best ways to communicate these dangers to their customers.
If you want to lead, you may want to nurture these traits first.
When you run a business and hire employees, it’s essential your new staff members feel like they are valued members of the team. Your efforts should begin on day one with an onboarding process that will help new employees feel welcome, and that will set them up for success as they start their work.
Bookkeeping is a tedious but necessary process for all businesses. But for small businesses with limited resources, streamlining the process becomes of even greater importance. One way to do this is to invest in a reputable accounting software or tool that keeps you organized and on track.
As with other marketing efforts, social media can sometimes be a challenge because it has to balance customer appeal with staying true to its brand promise. But with so many social media platforms, trends and opportunities for innovation, it can be easy to let the brand message get lost along the way. So how does a company keep all of its different social media profiles and content on brand with each and every post? Below, 11 experts from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) examine the following question:
When an entrepreneur starts a business, the immediate concern is how much it will cost to set up. Cost can sometimes seem like a barrier to entry for those hopeful business owners looking to get started on a budget. Luckily, evolving tech has provided many free alternatives to the paid tools other professionals use.
When you’re trying to get a business off the ground, you don’t always have a lot of resources at your disposal. In order to gain some momentum, it may then be necessary to “cut a few corners.” However, this doesn’t mean you have to betray your ethics, as there are a few elements of business you can reasonably (and legally) cut or save money on to help give your business the kick-start it needs to get going.
In business, time is money, and it can be easy for entrepreneurs to overload themselves with work. But with so many demands on their schedules, every task can begin to seem important and too much information can get out of hand. In these cases, it’s vital that entrepreneurs pause and take a moment to figure out how to best manage their time.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their best tips for combating the discouraging thoughts that plague many entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship is an exciting and fulfilling career path, but there might be times when you’ll feel discouraged and riddled with self-doubt. Combating these emotions isn’t always easy and takes patience and continued practice.
Many businesses rely on software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies to help them run their everyday operations. However, with so many specialized vendors, it's easy to lose track of the number — and price tag — of the SaaS providers you're working with. To help, members of Young Entrepreneur Council weighed in on the following question:
In today’s digital landscape, your reputation is everything. Consumers often look for trusted brands with a track record of providing excellent customer service and delivering stellar products.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council offer their firsthand insights on leveraging social media effectively this year.
At a time when in-person meetups are typically off the table, virtual networking platforms like LinkedIn can be valuable resources for business owners. The opportunity to connect regardless of location can open doors that just aren’t possible without these online tools. But while LinkedIn has some of the same features as traditional social media sites, its purpose, and therefore its use, should differ.
As an entrepreneur, it’s important to keep an eye on your competition and find ways to set yourself apart from others in your industry. Especially in a saturated market, it's vital to stand out with a strong personal brand.
If you’re trying to attract highly qualified professionals to your company, it’s likely that they’re mulling over multiple offer letters in addition to yours. To incentivize a top job candidate to accept your offer, you have to find a way to make it stand out. To help, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) members answered the following question:
Whether through branded content on social media or print ads for specific products, consumers often first encounter a company through its marketing efforts, and reaching target customers both online and offline is integral to a brand’s success today.
When a client signs on with your business, they have certain expectations about what your performance will be. The best way to end up with a happy client, however, is to manage these expectations early on. If you don't, and a client feels as though they should have gotten more from your business but didn't, their testimony could severely damage your future business and your reputation. To ensure you don’t end up in this situation, 12 experts from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) share their insights on the following question:
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share some basic how-to tips for small businesses that want to use cloud computing.
Without the support of employees, a company’s branding efforts can only be so successful. It’s when the whole team comes together to promote the business, and your employees have all become effective brand ambassadors, that your business’s brand is able to truly shine. But forcing employees to take part in branding efforts can seem demanding and may not have the same result as when they contribute voluntarily.
The goal of any recruitment effort is to find a candidate who would be a good fit for the company. This would mean that the hire would not only be proficient in their role, but would also do well within the specific company culture. But beyond an interview, how can leaders ensure new hires will be the right choice?
There are a few reasons a marketing strategy can fail. In most cases, it boils down to audience engagement.
Everyone feels down from time to time, even entrepreneurs. Constantly surrounded by others who are seemingly experiencing success, business leaders can sometimes have a hard time reminding themselves of their own potential.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share how to prepare your company for greater integration of artificial intelligence and automation.
The modern world has made it really easy for anyone to get started on a side hustle. In fact, most entrepreneurs get started with some sort of side gig. Transitioning those side hustles into standalone businesses that can financially support them usually begins with understanding how to make a significant amount of profit, but not all side hustle ideas are lucrative enough to evolve into something financially stable.
Being an entrepreneur and owning your own business is an end goal for most people. It's a thrilling end result -- the fact that you're your own boss, you set your own hours, and remain accountable only to yourself can be a heady mix. Yet, the benefits of the position usually overshadow the more pertinent considerations that would-be entrepreneurs overlook. Although there are significant benefits to being a business owner, there's also a considerable amount of background work that rarely gets highlighted but needs to be done.
Young Entrepreneur Council members look ahead at consumer IoT device trends they expect we’ll see more of this year.
17 members of YEC share effective tactics for gathering together leaders in a way that will lead to actual productivity and strategizing.
The dark and dreary months of winter often take a toll on people’s mental health. Thankfully, there are ways to keep your spirits bright through this season so you can stay motivated and inspired in your business and life.
Finding funding is typically one of the most challenging parts of starting a new business. The risks versus rewards of investing in new companies can usually have investors worried about jumping in. The responsibility is then on the entrepreneur to make their business idea exciting and attractive enough to warrant investors' attention.
Are you thinking about starting a blog for your business? If so, you’re making an excellent choice for the future of your brand. Consumers are more likely to connect with brands that produce high-quality blog content.
18 entrepreneurs from YEC look at the main reasons why an organization should get insurance.
Programming is highly in demand in today's digital-first world. Try these tools, courses and platforms recommended by business leaders.
It’s a myth that successful leaders never make mistakes – even the best leaders have slip-ups from time to time. It’s crucial to learn from those mistakes so they aren’t repeated and equally important to be transparent with your employees when remedying the situation.
Are you looking for a way to connect with customers, improve brand engagement and get more sales? If so, it may be time to think about creating actionable customer personas. Customer personas are essentially profiles that define the segments within your target audience.
16 entrepreneurs from YEC share their favorite sales automation tools and strategies and explain why they work.
New entrepreneurs sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that they can make their hobbies profitable through their business. When you're putting together a company, the first thing you may want to consider is whether you're doing this as a passion or for profit.
Entrepreneurs can be easily distracted. Whether it's new ideas popping into their heads or the demands of their businesses, distractions abound and can easily steal away your focus.
The holiday season is usually a goldmine of opportunities for product-based businesses that deploy specific marketing strategies to make their offering stand out and be relevant for that time of the year. While service-based businesses typically find it more difficult to capitalize on this season’s business opportunities, there are still several creative strategies they can deploy to make holiday marketing work in their favor. To help, we asked 12 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:
Every business is a little different, so customer experiences can vary across industries. Making small tweaks and changes to your website and marketing design can drastically improve customer experience (CX) for visitors.
It's often said you only get one chance to make a first impression, and that holds true for your company website. The visual appearance and written copy on your sign-up and landing pages must be compelling enough to grab a visitor's attention and convince them to take the next step in their relationship with your brand.
Influencers are the newest way of reaching out to social media audiences. Unlike traditional advertising, these influencers have their own goals and ambitions. Influencers thrive on building relationships between themselves and their audiences. Microinfluencers tend to have fewer followers but an even more close-knit community. In many cases, this closer relationship makes it easier for them to convince users of their perspective. When dealing with micro-influencers, businesses should understand what makes this particular relationship work so well. To help, we asked 13 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:
As entrepreneurs, we understand how powerful the classification of personality types can be in recruitment. From Myers-Briggs to Enneagram, the number of ways to gauge a person's innate traits can be measured in a hundred different ways. Several companies use one or more of those personality tests to develop their employees' potentials.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share the upcoming technology trends they're most excited about and how they plan to jump on board.
You may measure your effectiveness with several metrics. However, not everyone has the time to dedicate to figuring out their level of daily effectiveness and productivity. As professionals, most of us have to learn how to spot the red flags indicating that we are being ineffective.
When a business hires an executive, it expects to get someone who can perform in managerial positions. Because leaders are such a vital part of a company's operations, choosing the right candidate for an executive-level position is even more crucial than in other departments.
Being able to close a deal is a crucial part of an entrepreneur’s skill set, but sometimes, vendor agreements and partnerships can fall through due to unavoidable circumstances. Knowing that a deal is about to fall through before that actually happens can be quite beneficial for a company, as it gives the opportunity to choose its next steps in advance: pursue the agreement more aggressively, back off and let it fail, or do nothing and see if it corrects itself. However, before the business can take any action, it must be able to identify the telltale signs of a deal collapsing. To help, we asked 11 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:
These 20 entrepreneurs from YEC discuss their favorite market research tools and why you should be using them.
An effective internal communications strategy is essential when trying to build a cohesive team working together toward the same goal. Especially when it comes to announcing important news to your team, using the right internal communications approach is of utmost importance. The right communications strategy ensures the communicated message is clear and easily understood, leaving no room for error. That’s why we asked 15 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:
Your brand identity is determined by how you digitally represent your business, engage with your audience and market your products.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council discuss some of the past year's most pressing technology concerns and how we should address them.
With the sheer amount of productivity hacks and life hacks on the market today, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Even with all of these, it can be hard to figure out which ones work and which ones are just myths.
For online businesses, a high-performing website that encourages engagement and conversions is the key to successful growth. It often takes time to build up a steady stream of website visitors and consistent buyers. However, there are some things you can do to help accelerate the process.
If your company has a blog and social media presence, you know how challenging it can be to keep up with the constant demand for new content. Recycling and updating existing content is a great way to put a fresh spin on what you’ve previously published without the hassle of coming up with a brand-new idea.
Having the right clients can make all the difference in your business’s success. Of course, finding those ideal clients isn’t always easy. You don’t want to be too selective and turn down a good business opportunity, but you also don’t want to overextend yourself for a client who won’t stick around in the long run.
Today's world is more stressful than ever. The fast-paced, always-on environment many of us operate in is enough to cause anxiety among even the most organized leaders. Throw in the current global pandemic and an economic recession, and it's no surprise that many people are experiencing doubts and fears in their personal and professional lives.
The entire marketing world knows how powerful a well-funded social media campaign can be when growing a brand image. It can be challenging for smaller entrepreneurs to determine how much money should go into this part of your marketing, as there are several dozen social media channels that you can invest in. How do you determine how much money to dedicate to one or more of those social media accounts?
When you start a business, one of the first questions you ask yourself if you should be doing this alone, or if you need help. This decision determines whether your company is a solopreneurship or a partnership. Some entrepreneurs work better by themselves, but others realize the benefit of having a partner.
When you look at how people feel when they visit your business, you can identify your strengths and weaknesses. Use your strengths to keep customer satisfaction soaring, and find ways to build on your weaknesses to aid in retention.
Motivation works cyclically. There are moments when you feel as though you can take on the world, punctuated by moments when you feel like it makes no sense to do anything. If you've been feeling unmotivated at work recently, you're not alone. Workers worldwide go through the same moments of "boom and bust" when it comes to their motivation.
“Thought leadership” is a big buzzword in the business world right now, and it’s easy to see why it’s become such an important focus for leaders. When others look to you for your expertise and insight, you can become a leading, recognized voice in your industry.
Each company gauges the contribution of its employees differently. Some focus on deliverables, while others rely on employee loyalty and worked hours to determine a worker's contribution to the business.
Disagreements and conflicts are inevitable in the workplace. As a leader, it’s your job to mediate any issues between workers so your company culture remains positive and productive. However, this is often easier said than done: It takes a truly empathetic and effective leader to listen to each side and help both parties come to a mutually-beneficial solution.
Plans are crucial to success in any endeavor. It doesn't matter if that project is building a business or writing a book. Without planning, even the most well-intentioned projects can hit a roadblock and stop. Developing a success plan takes time and effort. It also requires a certain level of experience, and newcomers are unfortunately hit with this realization after they start their projects.
The result of a structured meeting where you're gathering feedback, promoting positivity and touching base with your employees is a business with a recipe for success.
Switching a “bad” habit for a good one is not always the best option.
Implement these tips as a regular part of your company culture to keep employees happy and confident, even during trying times.
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