Author: JarodLatch

I’m not sure if it’s because I spent the formative years of my career immersed in a technological landscape that was rapidly progressing or not, but I have been for the most part receptive to change. I traveled 3.5 hours to attend college (not too far), moved to North Carolina not knowing anyone in 2007, lost a job in 2009 and started a business in 2011. I know what change feels like. That doesn’t even touch the relationships, family situations and additional life happenings that have been mixed in along the way.

Now a days, change can be both intriguing and exciting.

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There are two types of change. Forced and preemptive. Both are okay and necessary in life and business. It’s part of the game when it comes to staying relevant.

We see a problem, we react by making changes. We see a problem down the line, we start tweaking the plan. What do we adapt to? There are a number of things. A shift in your audience, employee turnover, availability of new technology or a change in your financial situation are just a few. In every case, your goals remain consistent. Adapt in order to be as efficient as possible and to remain in a place of relevance.

As a small business owner, it seems like change is lurking around every corner. One of the worst lines out there is, “That’s the way we do it because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Not a good thing to hang your hat on in most cases. The reason that line usually comes up is because something is not working as well as it should or is on the brink of being broken.

I am not advocating that you change your entire look or plan just for fun, but be aware that change can be a great thing. Firing on all cylinders most of the time takes focus and self-evaluation. Don’t let complacency get in the way of healthy change. Change is the only way to reach your growth potential.

We all put our faith in something. Those things can include God, our ability, a team or the system that we are a part of. Whatever the case, our decisions are often driven by two things, faith or fear.

It can seem like a constant battle when it comes to keeping things aligned and in sync on a day-to-day basis. How can you keep fear in check and instead breed confidence in whatever you are doing? Here are a few things to consider.

Take Calculated Risks

This is more for the business owner. Taking risks is a part of the deal, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be careless risks. Know the possible outcomes before you make the choice. Most should be fairly obvious. This will help weigh whether the risk is worth it. Minimizing the damage should always be a goal.

Prepare

It sounds simple enough and it really is. Take a few minutes to scan available information or at least gather some surface knowledge about a new client, employee, project or product. A small effort can reap a big reward.

Read Up on Others Experiences

Most successful people were in the same boat as you at some point in their career. There is no better way to learn than comparing your experience to the experience of others. Grab a good book and enjoy! You’ll probably be surprised at the similarities.

Mistakes Happen

Mistakes are part of the game. I have learned my greatest lessons from mistakes and screwups. Somebody recently asked me if I would change anything since starting Spiracle Media. My response was absolutely not. You don’t learn anything from being in a flawless environment. I actually think that’s a red flag. A flawless environment can lead to comfort, which leads to complacency. Never a good thing.

Surround Yourself with Good People

We hear this all the time, but it’s the truth. You are who your friends and co-workers are. Check your circle. If you want to be successful, surround yourself with people that are ambitious, genuine and talented. Do your priorities in work and life align? The people around influence your behavior more than you realize.

At the end of the day, believe in what you’re doing. If you expect others to buy in, you must completely buy in first. Keep in mind that just because an outcome doesn’t meet your expectation doesn’t mean it was the wrong thing to do. Acknowledge it and move on. It won’t be the last time you’re challenged or left unfulfilled by a result. Just aim at minimizing that sentiment.

Video is on fire and it should be. Decision makers across the board are saying, “we need to do video!” Obviously, we agree. It’s hard to find a legit reason not to do it and money should be at the bottom of the list. There are plenty of ways to get creative without a pile of money. Aligning yourself with a solid partner is key in that process.

If you’re an organization that cares anything about getting your message out with clarity and having it digested by a target audience that triggers a response, than video is must.

Before you jump into the production phase of the process, there are a few things that need to be in order.

1) Define a Decision-Making Team or Individual
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Too many hands on deck will make for a painful process for everyone involved. Identify a team (2-3 individuals) that will have most of the say when it comes to developing and moving the process forward. I am all for feedback, but there must be some structure and a filter in place.

2) Set Goals

What is the purpose of the video(s)? Can we spin off the main video into smaller pieces of content? Those are critical questions. By evaluating the use, distribution and call to action, you are on the right track to maximizing your investment. You can create a beautiful looking video, but if you don’t define a clear purpose than you might be wasting valuable time and resources.

3) Pinpoint Your Audience

Everyone has an audience. Reaching them exactly where they are is the challenge. Once you’re able to do that, actionable results will follow. Take the time to figure out what your audience is interested in or what they enjoy. How and when can they be reached? Do you want to leave them informed, encouraged to donate or place an order? Those are all things to consider.

4) Establish a Timeline

Let’s face it. Things get done much more efficiently when there is a timeline in place.
Establish one and stick to it! There should be allotted time for meetings, capturing video, editing, review and delivery. Once the expectations are set, you should be off and running in the right direction.

Video is a necessary asset for every company, organization, etc. However, it can be misused quite easily and not taken advantage of to the fullest. Everything you do should be about maximizing your investment. That starts with having a plan and a purpose. Video is no different.

We have been blessed throughout this year when it comes to working with some incredible clients. In the past month, Spiracle Media had the opportunity to work collaboratively on this video with EverFi, the NHL and NHLPA as the trio launched the Future Goals program. We are thrilled to be a part of it!

The Future Goals program is a North American education initiative that helps students build their STEM skills using the fast-paced, exciting game of hockey as a learning vehicle.

Decisions are pivotal to all aspects of life and business. We make multiple decisions each day whether we realize it or not. There are obvious choices and those that we mull over, discuss and second guess. Is now the time to add a new piece of video equipment or online tools to enhance our social media efforts? New employees? Then there are those that get made on autopilot with not much thought at all such as setting a deadline for a project. Each is impactful and often times those that seem small have the greatest impact.

2012_05_VisionDecisions can certainly provide a level of anxiety especially when multiple people are involved and financial well-being or investment are part of the equation. That’s where it becomes imperative that the end goal and vision of the business remain the central focus. Far too often, personal preference tends to creep in and disrupt the decision making process. Not that personal preference should be eliminated from the discussion, but if it’s contrary to the overall vision then it need not be applied.

I observed a situation recently where a team was put in place to evaluate a member of an organization. The team members were responsible for providing feedback. However, all feedback was made available to the individual. This lack of a filter created a destructive environment that resulted because one team member provided feedback that was weighted more toward personal preference. The ensuing discussion and end result was not healthy for the company at all.

Listening to multiple viewpoints and ideas is critical when it comes to employee buy-in and decision making. This buy-in is as important as anything for a number of reasons. It should be a major priority and goes hand-in-hand with clearly laying out the vision. This ensures that each employee and partner is on the same page. If that’s been accomplished, the process of generating productive and constructive feedback has begun. Feedback that will help propel the business in the right direction.

Opinions and personal preference are important, but not when they compromise the integrity of the overall vision. Keep those out of the decision making process as much as possible.

You probably heard your college advisor(s) say network, network, network. There is no doubt that who you know has a direct impact on success and advancement. At least that’s the case for most of us. Hard work and talent will only get you so far. You need help along the way whether you believe it or not. No one makes it totally on their own. The same is true for a small business.

Networking

When we started Spiracle Media in 2011, it was our network of contacts that were essential in getting us off the ground. We knew quite a few people from our time as Charlotte media members. However, it wasn’t a hard sell that got us the business. It was about building on the foundation that had been cultivated over time.

I think there is a misconception out there that networking needs to reap instant results. That approach is totally off base. A business transaction is still a human transaction between two people or teams. As humans, we want to feel a deeper connection and that’s no different in business. You might continually network with someone that will never yield a direct business transaction and that’s just fine.

Networking is about much more than making money and locking down contracts. It’s about sharing advice, stories and making a genuine connection. That’s the mark you need to aim to make with every client or associate you encounter. If you treat people the right way, they’ll notice. They’ll become recurring customers, providers of referrals, drivers of your extended network and contributors to your knowledge base.

Some will share nothing more than advice, wisdom or friendship. Those components will prove to be most valuable in the long run. Everything is better when you surround yourself with friends. Business is no different.

Video testimonials remain one of the most effective ways for a company to show off the impact of an initiative or product. We spent two days in Boston in June capturing sessions from EverFi’s Annual Research Summit as well as interviews that could be used in individual pieces like this.

Throughout the course of a day, we make several decisions. Most of them snap judgements that need no further thought. Other times we sit and ponder what things would be like based on the selection of a particular course of action.

What will make our business click at a higher level? How can we improve the value proposition that we offer our partners? What’s the next big thing in video or social media and how do we stay ahead of it?

I have witnessed and read about the decisions of individuals that have reaped amazing results as well as those that haven’t worked out too well. One thing that I have always respected about the decision makers even in failure is that they were courageous and strong in their conviction. They owned it.

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Decisions
Own your decisions. Snap decisions are sometimes best, in fact most of the time your gut is correct. We tend to spend too much time evaluating what seem like big decisions rather than acting swiftly. Being too cautious about everything can hurt your productivity and drive you crazy.

 
Mistakes
Own your mistakes. There is nothing more frustrating than someone who doesn’t take responsibility for their own actions. As a business owner or decision maker, that’s part of the deal. With increased responsibility comes the need to make choices. Be careful with throwing others under the bus. Always protect your employees as they are the lifeblood of the operation.

Improvement
Own getting better. There should always be a sense of urgency to the way you go about things. Urgency in self-evaluation and awareness of your surroundings is imperative. The idea that things are going well does not alleviate the need for improvement. If anything, it should mean quite the opposite. Improvement means staying in a position of productivity.

Being a Fair Friend
Own being a fair friend. Friendship or mutual respect should provide the baseline for every relationship. Take time to know those around you, especially your clients. Genuine companionship will always reinforce business and come full circle. People will always remember how you treat them. Don’t give them a choice when it comes to your character.

One thing that I didn’t mention was success. I don’t want you to own it, but I want you to certainly enjoy it. There is a certain peace of mind that comes with success, but it can also present its own peril. You can easily get caught up in it and miss critical factors in the present moment. Success on the current path doesn’t lead to long-term sustainability for the majority of us. No matter how good our services or products are, tweaks and changes will be needed at some point.

When that time comes, own it.

Quality and price have always gone hand-in-hand. You can cut corners in some areas and sometimes you have to because the money just isn’t there. That’s reality.

When it comes to producing video content, there are plenty of talented freelancers and yes, even Uncle Tony has a new camera that he has been playing with. They might be a great fit for capturing an event or working on a one off project, but not for telling the story of your brand.

As a business, you need more than that. You need a team that’s going to have sufficient time to evaluate and capture the essence of what and who you are. As video continues to influence customer actions, the quality of storytelling and presentation matters. Better video has a longer shelf life and creates a stronger impact. Bringing the consistency of your messaging to video is critical.


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This isn’t our hobby, it’s what we do. I think that stigma still exists out there for many of those making the decisions. They look at video as a complete add-on rather than a necessary part of marketing. On the other hand, there are plenty of businesses that get it and we work with a number of them. YMCA of Greater Charlotte and EverFi to name a few.

We lean on a team of two for our location shoots. This isn’t done so we can add to the price, but to enhance the end product. It’s that much better with a second camera and second shooter/producer. There are plenty of things that need to be done at the office, but this is how we choose to deploy our resources.

Quality vs. SavePrice points have always been a painful topic internally, but we are confident that we fall in the sweet spot where quality of content and cost marry together. I get it. Cost matters. It matters to us when we hire a new employee or purchase new equipment. But as my pap used to say, “it only costs a nickel more to go first class.” Well, it costs a little more than that now, but the point is still the same. Saving a few hundred dollars in this case could come back to haunt you.

Spiracle Media provides experience, partnership and maximum effort on every project. That’s naturally part of the deal. It’s contained in the fabric of who we are and who we choose to be. At the end of the day, whether it’s with us or someone else, you get what you pay for and that one’s on you.

Last month, Spiracle Media spent the day in Virginia Beach taking part in what turned out to be a really cool event spearheaded by client EverFi and enjoyed by over 800 attendees. The job included capturing Pharrell Williams and the announcement of a partnership between the singer/producer’s charity, From One Hand to AnOTHER and EverFi.

Our background in television played an important role in documenting the event as we felt right at home in the fast paced environment. After spending the morning and early afternoon shooting scene setters around the school, the next few hours were a blur following the arrival of Pharrell at his alma mater, Princess Anne High School.

And yes…we did ask for a pic.

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