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20/20 Revision

20/20 Revision

There is a fine line between being stuck in the past and learning from it. In both instances, the sword cuts both ways for both positive and negative experiences. I have spent the past decade building a small business that works primarily with small business owners. I won’t make the bold claim of having seen it all, however, I have seen quite a bit when it comes to entrepreneurship. There is a saying that goes, “It takes 10 years to become an overnight success.” I am not ready to attest to that statement, but I can say that 10 years gives you quite a bit of perspective. As we enter 2020, I wanted to lean on the previous decade as we move into the new one. We are calling this series “20/20 Revision” not because we are looking to redo anything that happened in the past, but to apply insight from previous experiences as we navigate our entrepreneurial future.

Ready or not here come the opportunities!

One of the biggest attributes I have noticed in successful entrepreneurs is their ability to know when they are or aren’t ready for an opportunity. If you talk to any small business owner, they will tell you about numerous times an unexpected opportunity crossed their path and how they figured it out. While this resourcefulness is common among founders, the capability to differentiate between something that will take them to the next level and something that will cause a setback is a unique character trait that requires clarity in vision, confidence, planning and patience. 

Do as I say, not as I do.

Ask any entrepreneur for advice and trust me, they will give it to you. Over the years, I have leaned heavily on lessons from other business owners as I have built my company. What I have learned is some entrepreneurs may give you advice that they are not actually following themselves. I have also learned that some people are better at articulating lessons learned than others. In order to successfully learn from other founders, you have to be able to read between the lines of what they are saying and hone in on what they are doing. More times than not, you will be surprised by what you learn and even more surprised by who you learn it from. 

We in here!

Know that you belong in the room. There is a perfect mix of humility and confidence that exists within every successful entrepreneur I have met. While most business owners are aware of the trap of overconfidence, the negative impact of too much humility can be equally detrimental. There is nothing wrong with taking a minute to look around and ask yourself “how the heck did I get here?” However, don’t let that manifest into imposter syndrome. You are in that room or situation because of the investment you have made in your business. Go ahead and take it in for a second, you deserve it. Now take a deep breath, act like you have been there before and do your thing!

We’re claiming 2020 as a year of reflection, growth and improvement. That’s why as we embark on this journey of entrepreneurship and contemplate the lessons learned along the way, we plan on taking a deeper dive into each of these topics. Stay tuned for the next blog in this series, and have a prosperous new year! 

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A 10 Year Lesson In Humility

10 years ago today we started Fetch and I embarked on my entrepreneurial journey. There is so much I want to say about the last decade. However, the one constant, through all of the ups and downs, has been me being humbled on a regular occurrence. 

Humility is not complicated, it is multifaceted. There are so many intricacies between being humble, being humbled and having humility, that the result of each is often confused as a positive or negative thing. Over the past 10 years I have experienced all of the above. The reality is, if you are lucky, humility is a gift that keeps on giving. The key is to have the right perspective. Here are a few humbling lessons I have identified as I reflect on my journey over the past 10 years. 

I Have an Awesome Responsibility

I am blown away by the amount of people who have entrusted me with their livelihood. From my co-founder to employees to clients, each one of them trusted me to live up to my end of the bargain. In the times when the answer was not always clear, the collective power of your confidence provided fuel to find the correct path. I am truly humbled by the responsibility you have given me to contribute to your vision, lead your careers and grow your businesses. 

My Network is My Net Worth

I have accumulated some dope people over the past 10 years. While I definitely have not lacked confidence during this journey, there is nothing more powerful than the people that you admire and look up to holding you in the same regard. For me, it always starts with my family. While I can write a whole blog series on how amazing they are, I will just say they represent the standard of which all other things are measured and leave it at that. Lucky for me, in addition to having said family, I have met equally impressive professionals who have rounded out my circle. While knowing these phenomenal people is great, they have also dedicated countless hours of listening, advising and contributing to my journey. My growth as an individual and professional is a direct result of time spent with them. I am humbled that you have found me worthy of your time. 

It is Bigger Than Me

Let’s be real, I was 25 when I started this company. I am sure it comes as no surprise that the perceived earning potential, bravado and autonomy played a small role in me pursuing entrepreneurship. However, as the years progressed and as I matured, my mission became more clear. I am a husband and father now. While all of the points made throughout this blog definitely apply to my wife and daughter, there is more to be said to them. My wife has been with me through almost the entirety of this journey. Through all of the ups and downs, never once has she faltered or doubted the vision. As we proceed together in this, our daughter will also be looking to us as examples of how to manage success, persevere through failure and handle it all with humility. I don’t even know how to begin to quantify that. While I don’t expect it to be perfect, I do expect it to be humbling along the way. Quite frankly, I’m cool with that. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Stay humble. -EC

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How to Build Your Defacto Board

Whether it’s for a non-profit or a major corporation, boards are essential for different perspectives, ideas and professional development. While having an actual board for your business is a milestone to strive for, you can also curate a defacto board out of your personal network. Building a network that serves as your small business’ board can provide you with the same great benefits that larger organizations enjoy and can elevate your company to new levels. When putting together your go-to team, be selective, and look for the types of people we’ve outlined below with whom to begin establishing mutually-beneficial relationships.

Someone who has spent their career at large corporations

This type of person is especially important for any business owner and that’s because this person can help provide insight into various ways companies are structured – from department breakdowns to the hierarchy of positions. This person’s perspective will help fill in the gaps on how you build your business and can be a great reference for what your business is doing right and also what can be improved. 

A successful career sales professional

Behind every business, there’s the aspect of sales. While sales may come easy to some, it’s a skill that must be cultivated. Having a successful sales professional in your network is golden for the small business owner who is great at what they do but didn’t come into business ownership with a sales background. This person can provide fundamentals and advice on how to properly navigate the sales process. From establishing funnels to creating packages and services to closing a deal, the insight gained from these conversations is priceless. 

A career professional in your field

This person does not have to be a business owner themselves, but they do need to have done what you do for a longer period of time and at a higher level. While most industries have changed over time, it helps to have someone who has been there and done that. While the potential to have innovative conversations is definitely there, the larger takeaway is having someone who understands the fundamentals of what you do.

A good listener

This person may or may not have experience in your industry or in business at all. However, this person is great at listening and is ready and willing to give you their ear. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to talk it out and by having the opportunity to have conversations without the expectation of a response, you can do just that. In fact, by having an unbiased listener, you can often talk through things and arrive at your own conclusion or solution. 

Building a personal network takes time and patience, but it’s an important aspect of business development that can elevate your company to new heights. Always remember, you are who you surround yourself with and the same can be said for your business. By placing yourself among people who are smart, talented and experienced, you and your business will benefit.

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A Business Owner’s Guide to Instagramming Events

Instagram is the place to be for business owners, but it can be hard to find your niche among the pics of avocado toast and expertly-posed babies. The easiest thing way to get started is to be your own paparazzi at community and networking events. Don’t worry, you don’t have to invest in a selfie stick. Just snap a few photos, and follow these steps for optimizing your post.

Tag the Event Host
If you’re at an event to connect with others in your community or field, chances are the event host is trying to do the same. Find out if they’re on Instagram, and be sure to tag them in your post. Extra points if you pay them a compliment in your caption. This will not only show them you’re active on Instagram, it will put the ball in their court to either comment on your post or repost to their followers. Either way, you’ve already drawn eyes to your Insta presence.

Know Your Hashtags
Ever wonder how someone with 100 followers can get 200 likes on Instagram? It’s all because of hashtags. They act as the ultimate search function, connecting users to what they want to see on the platform. For example, if you are located in Humboldt Park, using #HumboldtPark lets others who are connected to the area find your content. When you’re at an event, find out if the host has created a specific hashtag for the occasion, (e.g. #gala2018), and use it in your posts from the event. Not only will your photos appear when other attendees search the hashtag, you’ll also be able to find and connect with your fellow event goers.

Geotag Yourself
When you create an Instagram post, you have the option to add your location. The main reason to use this feature is to connect with others who are at the event. Instagram offers a search feature to see who else has checked in at the venue. Simply click on the location, and you’ll have a list of attendees who have also used the function. You can also look at their event photos to see if there are other hashtags you should use.

Businesses continue to find great success in locating and connecting with their audiences on Instagram. As you’re optimizing your IG presence, be sure to utilize Instagram for Business to track your results.

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What Small Businesses Should Know About the Facebook Algorithm Changes

Facebook announced last week a plan to overhaul users’ newsfeeds to weed out business and celebrity posts in favor of more meaningful engagements from friends and family. This has caused some serious waves in the social media world, as Facebook has been making it increasingly difficult for businesses to reach their audiences organically. Since the big brands have large budgets for highly-targeted, paid social media ad campaigns, this means it’s the small businesses that will suffer.

We’re still waiting on more details, but here’s what small businesses need to know right now:

Get Reacquainted with Your Followers

Think quality over quantity, because this new change means fans who don’t regularly engage with your content will probably never see it. Facebook’s news feed algorithm is designed to show you what it thinks you want to see. If someone is visiting your page (by actively navigating to the page), as well as sharing and liking posts, that will earn you a space in their newsfeed. If a fan liked your page awhile ago, and doesn’t appear to be that interested, the algorithm will note this and show little to none of your content.

Focus on Engagement

One of the first things a business can do is encourage fans and followers to add their pages to Facebook’s see first feature. After that, it’s time to really focus on engagement. Videos and Facebook Live continues to yield great results, as does colorful imagery that inspires comments and shares. Think of Facebook as more of a way to have a conversation with your target audience instead of just talking at them.

Commit to an Ad Spend

After this change, reaching your target audience organically is going to become virtually impossible. Decide what your goals are for Facebook – website clicks, lead form completions, etc. – and put together an advertising plan. Start by creating a schedule of boosted posts and keeping a close watch on the results. Is one type of content seeing more shares than another? Create more of those types of posts and go from there.

If you’re interested in more information about Facebook advertisements, check out our blog on how to get started.

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Simple Ways to Keep Your Clients for the Long Haul

Every business owner knows how important it is to bring in new clients, but don’t forget your bread and butter lies with retaining the clients you already have. Keep your current roster happy and thriving, and you’ll have a solid business in place so you can go out and win more. Here are a few of our recommendations to improving your client retention.

 

Understand where they want to go and how you can get them there

To ensure a satisfied client and deliver great results, you need to know what keeps them up at night. In PR, media placements are great, but they mean nothing if they don’t help your client hit their goals. Get to know their industry and competitors. Learn how to move the needle so you can help grow their business. Connecting your activity and results to your client’s bottom line goes a long way in extending your relationship.

 

Celebrate the wins and embrace the suck

Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. When something great happens for your client, let it be known and enjoy it! Of course, while it’s fun to dazzle with your amazing work, every business campaign will experience pitfalls and it’s important to inform your client when that happens. When bad things happen, get in front of them, Identify the problem and how it’s going to be fixed.

 

Be their business therapist

Business ownership is a lonely island. Having another professional to bounce ideas off of is as valuable as the service or product you are providing your client. Remember you’re essentially handling your clients’ livelihoods. By becoming a valuable partner in their business, it can go a long way toward retention.

If you are looking for a simple solution for managing, organizing and tracking your clients, consider investing in a customer relationship management system.

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Must-Have Apps to Improve Your Workflow

With the abundance of productivity apps available, smartphones have essentially become our personal assistants. However, the surplus of apps has made it difficult for us to determine which ones are worth our phone’s storage. To help you narrow it down, here are a few of our favorite apps to improve daily workflow.

 

Evernote

For those who struggle with organizing their daily tasks, meetings and reminders, try Evernote. This app makes taking notes, making to-do lists and collecting your thoughts quick and easy. A unique feature of Evernote is the ability to scan and save documents with your camera as picture or document files. Evernote will even help organize everything so you don’t have to.

 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great tool for making connections, applying for jobs and professionally branding your company or yourself. The mobile LinkedIn app makes it easier to perform the same web features on the go. Networking, engaging and messaging is now as simple as clicking a button. Stay up to date with the latest business and industry news, while networking with like-minded professionals.

 

Elevate

If you are looking to improve your analytical and communication skills at work, try downloading Elevate. Getting started is simple with a two to four minute quiz to create your personalized training program. With over 40 games developed by educational experts, you can track and analyze your performance. Each game is intended to test and improve your listening, reading, writing and speaking skills.

 

VSCO

VSCO is a photo-sharing app that has a more artistic-feel than Instagram. The app gives you features where you can edit or use filters, save them and choose which pictures to post. Unlike Instagram, the VSCO app does not have the ability to like,comment or see who is following you, giving you more freedom to post without judgement.

 

Trello

If you are struggling with collaborating efficiently and effectivity with coworkers, friends or classmates, download the Trello app. Trello makes it simple to organize projects, delegate tasks, and create deadlines. Create productive discussions with your team through attachments and constructive comments. Trello is a great tool not only in the office, but at home!

Whether you plan on installing the apps listed above or other apps, we recommend looking at ratings and reviews to ensure it’s worth downloading. Looking to take your business productivity to the next level? Consider adding a CRM system.

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All About Our Summer Interns


Gianna Scheuneman is a senior at North Central College majoring in Broadcast Communication. After she graduates with her Bachelor’s degree, Gianna aspires to branch out in the Chicago Marketing/PR Industry as an Account Executive and hopes to eventually work her way up to a managerial role.

One thing Gianna Didn’t Know Before Starting This Internship
One major lesson that I learned throughout my time interning at Fetch is that it is critical to expand your mindset in this industry. Brainstorm, create and execute as many goals and ideas as you can to ensure that you, your brand and business are constantly evolving.

My favorite thing about interning at Fetch is working around diverse content for clients. I was never doing the same work for just one client each day; there was always something to take on within 3-5 clients and you are able to learn about so many different industries within a role in the Marketing and PR industry.

Gianna’s Favorite Thing About Interning at a Small Business
I especially value working at a small business because this challenges you and your team to work towards as many goals as possible for each client with a limited amount of time each day. You are essentially building a brand from scratch and this ensures that new ideas, digital trial and error experiments and further strategies to consider are constantly flowing in the workplace, and also puts your time management skills to the ultimate test.

All About Gianna
Even though I was born and raised in Chicago, I am always looking for the best places to eat, see or limited events to experience throughout the city. If I was not pursuing a passion for Marketing/PR, my dream job would be a Chicago food and lifestyle blogger. I would love to write, take photos and share my experiences with the world every day, on top of traveling.

David Flores is a born and raised Chicagoan who currently will be enrolled in his junior year at Northwestern University. He is studying Communication Studies with a minor in Entrepreneurship and a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications. David is passionate about his community, music and elevating the people he is around.

One thing David Didn’t Know Before Starting This Internship: I personally did not know how much collaboration there is between small businesses throughout the city of Chicago.

David’s Favorite Thing About Interning at a Small Business: I enjoy the community and close collaboration that a small team provides. It allows for work to share a multitude of different perspectives rather than pertaining to a certain department of a business.

All About David
I enjoy spending my free time learning more about hip hop culture, ultimately hoping to hone my skills in hip hop production and dj’ing.