What Have I Been Up To At Strategy Lab?

Get a website that turns visitors into customers

Well I’m glad you asked! We’ve been busy working away on project like the Prairie Spruce Commons Cohousing Project (a first of it’s kind in Regina). We’ve been doing some fun work with KSP Technology that involves potlucks and Nerf gun fights.


Also made friends with a Saskatoon local grocer called SaskMade Marketplacejust another ridiculously cool story of a home grown Saskatchewan business. Born and raised in Saskatoon. They’re big supporters of supporting local, helping grow our community and sourcing many other Saskatchewan based companies. They do these amazing corporate gift baskets that include all Saskatchewan wares. Pretty sweeet!!

And we’ve had the pleasure of working on one of the coolest projects we’ve ever been a part of, it’s called “4 to 40“. Yup, 4 to 40, that’s the amount of hours you need to hire someone for to be considered an “inclusive employer”.

4 to 40 – A New Partnership from Strategy Lab on Vimeo.

It’s a project we started working on with Sasktel, the University of Regina Campus For All Program and Creative Options Regina (COR).

I am still on the Alumni Board, and have gone from just being on the Regina Volleyball Club board to President this year. I have a vision to grow Volleyball in this city and province, taking ownership is the only way I know how to create change. (actually I just complained too much and when you complain too much in a no-for-profit you end up doing the work). Brandon just put a website together for the Regina Volleyball Club. See below.

RVC's brand new website

We’ve been busy! Possibly another conference in Regina coming up soon too. We need to follow up what we did last year in #Awesome13 (How to be Awesome Online). We’re thinking How to be Awesome Offline in an Online World”. Counterintuitive I know. Deep right? That’s what we were going for.

Our province is on a growth spurt right now and it’s amazing to see. We also filmed a few new videos for our marketing page (you can thank Brandon for that).

Enough about me. how he hell have you been?!?

 

Find a bunch of Strategy Lab’s Resources here:

Remarkably amazing videos you need to watch | Strategy Lab Video’s page | Jeph’s Speaking page

Post Divider

Why Using an RFP to Hire a Company is Fundamentally Flawed

Regina recycling not recycling glass

RFP=Request For Proposal. When a public institution needs to contract a company to do a job they aren’t capable of themselves, they send out a Request For Proposal (RFP). The RFP outlines what needs to be done, what tools should be used and some contain a whole lot more. A RFP is basically the project outline for any company that wants to bid on the project. Just like the recycling service in Regina, the City put out an RFP and Emterra won it.

When it comes to RFP’s the cheapest company usually wins. In business, simply going with the cheapest solution is rarely a good idea for your business.

Case in point: City of Regina hasn’t been recycling glass food containers

Turns out the “recycling” company (Emterra) the city hired doesn’t recycle glass. Doesn’t recycle glass?!?  What do you mean? Isn’t that a major portion of what we recycle?
When the city put the RFP out about recycling pickup, Emterra responded (conveniently leaving the glass part out) and quoted a cheaper price to do the job.

The city went with the cheaper option, without reading the fine print.

RFP’s suck. It’s a race to the bottom. It’s undercutting everyone else to get a job, that’s not right nor is it sustainable. Even if you do win the RFP, you have no budget room whatsoever, you have a slim chance at making this project successful, you’re forced to cut corners to make it work. Sadly it is the public entities that use RFP’s that pay the price.

That’s exactly what Emterra did, they didn’t exactly come out and say they weren’t going to recycle glass but with how little they’re getting paid per bin pickup there’s a reason they can’t process glass. And from the cities response you KNOW they didn’t catch it, if anything it sounds like it was directly the city’s fault.

Lets stop using RFP’s they aren’t helping anyone.

** I am making an assumption here that Emterra mischievously left the glass recycling out to create the cost savings. I recognize that they may have found it in hindsight and been an honest mistake. But if it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it’s probably not a chicken!!!

Post Divider

Your Privacy vs Being Accessible

Eric Schmidt quote on privacy

The new world is I’m Googling you the second you email me. I’m going to find everything I can about you. Google can find almost anything these days. I should be able to search your name and contact information and find all relevant information about you. I mean it’s 2014, you have to assume everyone is going to Google you at some point, right?

Now the privacy pundits will tell you to stay as anonymous as you can, as Lloyd Christmas once said, “lot of bad drivers out there!”. But REALLY, really?  How many people do you know who have been stalked?  Is that even still a thing?  We’re too concerned about privacy that we’re losing out on business opportunity.

I had a meeting booked with an organization, the night before the meeting I search the person I was meeting with on Google (I do this with a lot of people surprisingly) the only site other than LinkedIn said she was in Swift Current not Regina. I sent an email asking about her whereabouts, I receive nothing in return. I Googled the organization to find a phone number but there’ only a Regina contact. The “Contact Us” page had a form to fill out, no numbers. Finally I search for her email because for sure her phone number would be in the salutation at the bottom of the email right?  Wrong.

It was 30 minutes till a meeting with someone in another city that I had no number for, what would you do?

I didn’t make the meeting.

The lady called, she was upset. I didn’t mention the difficult time trying to find her contact info let alone a phone number. She didn’t want to hear what I had to say, her mind was made up.

I hate offending people. I don’t like upsetting people. I really try hard never to miss a meeting. By that time I think it was for the best. To help someone with social media when they won’t as much as publish a phone number is relatively impossible.

Answer the new phone. Be accessible, especially your workplace. Nothing says we hate our customers like not being able to find a phone number to call.

Google yourself. Google your company. Google your company name and “contact info”. See what comes up. If it isn’t exactly what your customers want then change it.

Oh yeah, how your customers find information about you will change, it will always change, it’s in your best interest to ask them periodically if you’re still providing information where it is most easily accessible.

Post Divider

No One’s Listening, Get Over It

No one's listening, get over it

If you’re not selling as much as you think you should be, or your business isn’t doing as good as it should be, stop trying to tell more people about yourself. Stop trying to yell louder than everyone else, stop trying to make more commercials about yourself. No one cares about your business.

Your business isn’t growing, not because people don’t know about your company, your business isn’t growing because you’re not willing to sacrifice what really matters to make your organization what it could be.

If you think all you need to do is tell more people about what you’re doing you’re missing the point. If you have to tell people about what you’re selling it’s not going to scale and you aren’t going to experience the growth you want. If you can change your product or service to make it SO incredibly valuable that other people want to share it without you there, you’ve done it.

The new marketing is changing your service offering based on the feedback received from customers and employees to cater to them more effectively over time.

No one’s listening, get over it. Start creating a better message.

Stop trying to shout louder than your competition and start creating something worth shouting about.

Post Divider

How To Get People To Not Share Their Ideas With You

(dont)Poke the bear

Tell them they’re wrong. Tell them you have a better idea. Back up your idea with some made up evidence based on opinion. Make sure they know you’re smarter about whatever topic you’re talking about. That’ll work! That person will never want to share an idea with you again.

Every time you shut down someone’s idea it’s like poking a bear. Sure you can get away with it the first time and maybe the second, but sooner or later if you keep poking, the bear is going to eat you.

Don’t strive to be “right” in conversations, that’s your ego coming through. Be confident in yourself, so confident in fact that you let others be right. Then more and more you’ll find others wanting to share their ideas with you.

Post Divider

Get Used To Feeling Stupid. It’s a Sign of Growth.

Get Used to Feeling Stupid. It's a Sign of Growth - Julien Smith

I love that quote from Julien Smith.  As kids we don’t care about feeling stupid, we don’t care how others will react, we just approach problems with a clean slate. To a child there are no repercussions, that’s why they use their imagination so much. Somewhere between having a child like sense of wonder, and being a grumpy adult, we lose our imagination. Or as Hugh McLeod would say,

“Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please.”

 

The real world eats away at us, older people are quick to call out ludicrous ideas, and unless they’ve heard about it before they don’t trust it.

School teaches us that being wrong is bad, you should listen to what you’re told, shut up, and sit still. That problem with that is, I’m 28, I STILL can’t sit still, I never do what I’m told and it’s still relatively impossible to shut me up.

So what happened to our world?

In her brilliant Ted talk on why it’s OK to be wrong, Kathryn Schultz tells a hilarious story on how she was wrong about a simple sign on the side of the highway.  But she reminds us that being wrong is fine, it’s a sign of growth. And we can never shy away from sharing how we truly feel. It’s those who are willing to risk being wrong that are going to make a difference in our world.

I coach volleyball, I’m also on the Regina Volleyball Club board as the coaches rep. I had a ball bag of another coaches and she emailed me to leave it in my backyard for her to pick up and exchange for the ball bag she had.
I put the bag in yard and a couple days go by. It hasn’t moved. A week goes by, it’s still there. And this was February in Regina so her bag was pretty much entirely covered in snow before I messaged her asking about why she’d neglected to pick up her bag nearly two weeks ago.

Her response: Jeph, I picked up my bag two weeks ago, I exchanged it with your bag. That’s your bag in the back yard covered in snow.

Me: Well don’t I feel like a horses patoot.

Go on, risk being wrong. And the next time you feel stupid, look at it as a good thing, you’re growing.

Post Divider