Monday Mornings with Madison

When Small and Midsized Businesses Update Websites in 2020, Part 2

Word Count: 1,325
Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ min.

Templated Site vs. Custom Site

Twenty years ago, most websites were nothing more than glorified brochures.  They delivered information online.  Today, a company website is used not only to deliver information but it also is able to capture a great deal of data, track user behavior and provide a wide array of tools, functionality and service. Continue reading

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When Small and Midsized Businesses Update Websites in 2020

Word Count: 1,658
Estimated Read Time: 6 ½ min.

Part 1:  Vetting Vendors

For small and mid-sized businesses, it is hard to stay on top of website development thanks to the accelerating pace of change. If your company’s website has not been updated in the last three years, it is archaic. If it doesn’t track traffic and interact with customers in a timely way, it is antiquated. And if it doesn’t capture and merge customer data into a sophisticated CRM system, it is obsolete. It’s as simple — and as painful — as that. If this is true of your company’s website, it is time for a website makeover. Continue reading

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Facing Trials and Blazing Trails in 2020

Word Count: 1,260
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

It’s often been said that balance is the key to a happy life.  That seems to be true even when it comes to trials, tribulations and trouble.   While too much trauma throughout life – especially during early childhood — damages physical and mental health, little or no distress and disturbances can also weaken a person.  Not having negative experiences leaves a person fragile and vulnerable to life’s challenges.  It does not allow a deep resilience and toughness to develop.  Dealing with and overcoming problems develops character.  Grit, it seems, is like a muscle.  The more we exercise it, the stronger it gets.  So, there is a sweet spot in life experiences where individuals become stronger.  A person who suffers a childhood trauma but is able to bounce back becomes a much stronger, more resilient person overall.  An entrepreneur whose business fails is able to learn from those mistakes and become a better business owner the next time around.

Adversity – while deeply unpleasant — strengthens the human soul.   Some of this adversity comes from living in a fallen world full of unethical and immoral behavior.  Some of it arises from knocking up against all kinds of dangers such as natural disasters.  Some of it emanates from the struggles and effort that goes into dealing with the complexities of modern times.  And some adversity just arises from being alive, such as illnesses and diseases.  The truth is that there are very few people who manage to skate through life without any trials.  While some might seem to have it “easy”, in truth, most everyone is fighting some kind of battle.  Some battles are clear and visible, and some are hidden from sight.  But very few (if any) people have a “perfect, trouble-free life.” Continue reading

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Taking Stock: What Kind of Person Do You Want to Be in 2020?

Word Count: 2,105
Estimated Read Time: 8 1/2 min.

With less than 10 days left in 2019, most people have begun to focus on the horizon.  It will be the start of a new quarter – and a secular new year and decade — in a few days.  For those who study the daily portion of the Talmud, January 1, 2020 is also the Celebration of the Completion of the Talmud, the “Siyum Hashas”, which is the culmination of seven and a half years of daily learning.  So this is a time of endings, and also a time of new beginnings for many.  Such moments lead most people to do some self-assessment and a bit of soul-searching and introspection.  They often make a written list of resolutions, create professional plans and set goals.  This is a worthwhile exercise; something every person should do periodically.

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Business in the Coming Age of Collaboration

Word Count: 1,341
Estimated Read Time: 5 1/2 min.

Business leaders have embraced agility, creativity and fierce competitiveness as essential components for success in business. The strategy has been to generate ideas, jealously guard those ideas during incubation, move fast to market, make mistakes, discard duds, correct missteps, crush the competition, and repeat.  That approach yielded big results and returns for businesses like Microsoft, Apple, Alibaba, Amazon, Intel, Cisco, Disney, Walmart, BP, Toyota, Berkshire Hathaway, IBM, Samsung, and many more.   It drove these companies to be among the biggest and most successful in the world today.

However, as society moves from an Information Age and a Knowledge Economy into a much more technologically-complex world, organizations will need to make changes as to how they do business and their approach to innovation.  The old “crash and clash” mentality of making mistakes without regard to consequences, breaking things and fixing them later, and crushing competitors will need to be replaced with an increasingly slower, more deliberate, collaborative and cooperative approach to commerce and advancement.   Sounds fictional.  It’s not.  It’s a necessity.  Why? Continue reading

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It’s a Wrap: What To Do Before The Start of 2020

Word Count: 1,449
Estimated Read Time: 5 1/2 min.

Preparing for 2020

Companies in every industry have their own cycles and rhythms. In the retail sector, businesses ramp up during the fourth quarter to handle the holiday sales rush that pays for inventory ordered months before.  On the other hand, builders and developers cycle down at year-end to take account of the building season that just ended.  Regardless of what industry or sector a business is in, every organization should spend some time planning for not just the end of the quarter but the end of the year and decade, which is right around the corner. Continue reading

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Slugs vs. Caterpillars: How to Spot Good Ideas that can Turn into Great Ideas

Word Count: 1,936
Estimated Read Time: 8 min.

John Steinbeck once said, “Ideas are like rabbits.  You find two and learn how to handle them and soon you have a dozen.”  He meant that ideas have a tendency to reproduce.  That may be so.  And, certainly, these days there is no shortage of ideas.  The Internet and social media have made information sharing and collaboration much easier, which provides the fertile ground for new ideas to sprout.  So perhaps in 2020, the challenge isn’t in producing more ideas but rather in finding a way to spot which good ideas have the potential to become great ideas. Continue reading

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Improving the Quadruple Bottom Line

Word Count: 1,793
Estimated Read Time: 7 min.

In traditional business accounting and common usage, the Bottom Line refers to either a company’s ‘profit’ or ‘loss’.  It is usually recorded on the very Bottom Line of a statement of revenue and expenses.   It is the simplest indicator of a company’s performance and success that year.  And, generally, business leaders not only look at their current Bottom Line, but also forecast what they anticipate the company’s Bottom Line will be in the future, year-over-year. Continue reading

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Are Trademarks and Patents Worth It?

Word Count: 1,714
Estimated Read Time: 7 min.

Ask any intellectual property attorney if a brand name, tag line, motto or slogan should be trademarked or an innovation or invention should be patented and the answer will invariably be yes.  After all, without intellectual property protection, a business is a sitting duck to have its unique identity and ideas poached by competitors.  Bear in mind, though, that those attorneys have a horse in the race.  Intellectual property attorneys earn a living by filing patent and trademark applications and fighting to protect the intellectual property rights that their clients fought to obtain.  And, they are paid to do that work whether they win or lose.  Thus, they have a vested interest in promoting patents and trademarks. Continue reading

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An End to the Great Logo Debate

Lindon Leader — a highly regarded American graphic designer who studied at Stanford’s Art Center College of Design and was the recipient of more than 30 prestigious design awards worldwide – once said “I strive for two things in design:  simplicity and clarity.  Great design is born of those two things.”  When companies create a brand, the goal should be then that it is both simple and clear.  In that effort, company logos will generally fall into one of two categories.  Logos that have both the company’s name and an icon showcasing a product or service offered by the business are called descriptive.  Logos that just have a wordmark alone or a wordmark with a stylistic icon that does not reflect a product or service is referred to as non-descriptive.   The great debate that has raged for over 70 years is whether a company logo should be descriptive or non-descriptive. Continue reading

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