Monthly Archives: July 2011

Site-Member Profile: Helping Survivors Manage!

Year Established: 2009

Business/Organization Name: Helping Survivors Manage

Owner/Executive Director Name: Kat Reed

Product Inception/Business Creation: Kat Reed created this definitive book on what to do when a loved one dies based on her own experiences after her mother’s death, when she discovered the lack of resources available for families facing the struggles inherent in the death of a loved one. She and her predominantly-deaf father experienced first-hand the same challenges that overwhelm so many. Kat decided to do something about it, and using her volunteer hospice experience and prior career in business and communications, she created this helpful resource which fills a much-needed gap for everyone who is a survivor facing these tasks.

Product/Service: Self-help instructional manual for the survivors of a death; death care industry, book and online tools. Begin Here guides survivors through the seemingly overwhelming practical yet necessary tasks that remain after a death, from residential to financial to personal. Leveraging Reed’s unique insights, invaluable suggestions, and organizational skills will help anyone simplify this process.

Unique Features/Competitive Advantage: Nothing else available similar to it in the market for the general public

Contact Information:

Kat Reed
PO Box 16058
Saint Paul, MN 55116

Notes/Misc other:
Finalist in the 2009 Midwest Independent Publishers Association Book Awards, Social Science category.

Currently focusing on large businesses to use book as a private label product; part of insurance services; as well as EAP (Employee Assistance Program) for large companies. Plans to expand the version to translate and customize into different languages for use all around the world; customize to religion, relationship, location, cause of death, death circumstance; versions that can accommodate those with disabilities. Also in the beginning stages of developing an “app” for the web and mobile devices. Plans to become and remain the “go-to” organization for after-death care concerning business responsibilities.

Best lessons learned:
A mentor in his late 70s told me that if you don’t keep up with technology, you WILL be left behind by your competitors.

High school art teacher and mentor said, and I always remember, “there is always room for improvement.”

Great ideas are a dime a dozen, what makes one succeed? Research the industry, research the competition, research profitability, research demand for the service/product, then hard work in your product/service; and start all over again, researching and studying every single day.

Asking and more importantly, listening.

If you cannot or will not manage an integral part of your business, (for example, branding/public relations/media) find someone who can and will, and hire it out to them.

Do the math.


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Using WordPress – why and for how long?

A new member of my work community just commented on my blog being here at WordPress rather than separately hosted with its own URL and all.

So here’s a blog post about it, and an opportunity for further conversation with anyone considering these questions.

First, I agree. Real blogs should be hosted by your nearest awesome ISP (which I have), and have all the serious trappings that come with that. I’m a firm believer in doing things the substantial way whenever possible, for best results and also because that inherently benefits the whole business community.

Right now, though, I’m here. Temporarily.

A little background: I worked at Minnesota Regional Network from 1997 – 1999, back when they were the backbone of the internet in the state of Minnesota (along with the University of Minnesota). That was a great experience. I remember looking at websites for the first time when I started there, back when there weren’t all that many on line (many times fewer than the number of Google + accounts right now!).

The browser, Netscape, had ‘what’s new’ and ‘what’s cool’ buttons, and those buttons were relatively authoritative regarding the entire internet. Our engineers generally scoffed at the World Wide Web, being much more engaged with UseNet and bulletin boards and so on. We were an early provider of online access to the masses, our employees helped many people log on for the first time.

One year when I was there we had a booth at the State Fair, which was really fun too. We would ask people walking by if they wanted to see the internet. There was a lot of skepticism and plain lack of awareness, but sharing those initial exciting experiences was really great.

I developed a huge respect for the Internet Gurus who keep it all running for the rest of us, great fascination for Unix, and a life-long loyalty to the Mac OS.

I consulted for the first time after leaving there, and set up my own website using Dreamweaver and other tools. HTML coding didn’t appeal to me very much, and there were many who were focusing exclusively on it, so I didn’t spend much time gathering that skill set. What little coding I did was much more fun thanks to BBEdit than it would have been otherwise.

And I remember launching my website! And then waiting for a response! Waiting for an audience! Scanning the hieroglyphics of my web logs, trying to understand trends and future promise. Waiting! Waiting for an audience that never really materialized.

That feeling of launching the website — to resounding silence is one of the main reasons I was interested to try WordPress this time around. Built in audience (sort of), built in community (kind of). Built in mainstream normalcy (for what it’s worth).

Also I wanted to start this way because I may have clients with WordPress sites, and wanted to share that technology knowledge base with them.

The other whole reason goes back to my not learning HTML. I have another core belief that it is optimal to let experts engage in their expertise, and pay the valid rate they charge. There are a lot of challenges to that practice right now, but to the extent we can return to that practice, again there are multiple community benefits. But right now, I don’t have the resources to allocate to that. WordPress does that for me, allowing me to gain a clearer idea of what I want when I do launch my actual site.

So I do definitely see this as a short-term situation. I’m establishing blogging habits, becoming slowly familiar with how this site can interact with other sites, making initial attempts at a category and tag system, seeing how my content feels in this particular visual setting.

At the optimal future point when it is time, I will give my awesome ISP a call and start the next step. My ISP, ipHouse, is run by some of the most dedicated folks in the internet-serving community, and it’s great knowing that there’s no further decision to make in that area.

At that point, with all the social media tools available, I know I will be able to connect in with my existing audiences seamlessly. It’s all such a different world from back then. It’s not all perfect, there is a lot of noise. But the amount of content and ease of access to that content on today’s internet continually thrills me.

So thanks for that comment, Glenn. And would love to hear further comments from you and anyone else on comparative benefits/costs of WordPress vs. independently hosted & managed website.


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Site-Member Profile: Creative HealthCare Management, Marie Manthey!

Year Established: 1978

Business/Organization Name: Creative Nursing Management (originally), Creative Health Care Management (since 1988)

Ownership/Management: Organization is employee-owned and team-managed. Current Management team: Jayne Felgen, President; Brano Stankovsky and Mary Koloroutis, Vice Presidents. Founder: Marie Manthey, labeled in a newspaper article years ago the ‘fiesty former Chicagoan’, and life-long Nurse Visionary.

Product/Service: Support and Facilitation of Nursing Delivery Systems that promote healing and caring of patients and their families.

Unique Features/Competitive Advantage: CHCM is unique in that it is clinical practice-based, while also incorporating cutting-edge management theories and techniques from across the board. Grounded in real-world implementation, CHCM has been on the forefront of transformational change in hospital practice both nationally and internationally.

Organizational history summarized: Marie Manthey formed CNM after leaving an executive role at Yale-New Haven hospital in 1978, in order to support the practice of Primary Nursing. In this delivery system, nurses have a primary relationship with their patients, and are empowered to coordinate their care.

In the first full year of the business, starting in September 1978, Marie contacted hospitals who had been interested in hearing her, and told them she was available, booked those trips, made all her own arrangements, went out to those hospitals and spoke and consulted, traveled nearly every week; and also wrote a book containing that same content she was speaking about, and got it published.

Marie continued to travel constantly,speaking and consulting, throughout those early years. In 1982 she moved back to Minneapolis where her daughter was, continued the business out of her home still, and added one full-time employee. In 1986 a neighbor complained about her business to the city. It had grown substantially, and there were 3-5 cars parked on the street in relation to it every day. So she and her staff started looking for an alternate space. Eventually, after a few earlier sites that were stymied by neighbor resistance, she found a building on Grant and 10th near downtown (next to Eden House). CHCM had a home of its own for the first time!

That building had been built by a photographer, and then its second owner had been a company that makes tv commercials. It had that sloping wall so necessary to commercial photography, and a dock in that area, and so on. So for several years CHCM rented out that studio portion to the prior owner and others in that industry. Employees would (early on especially) sneak on to the balcony looking over the studio to watch. It was fascinating. But completely unrelated to CHCM’s work, and eventually that ceased. CHCM used that space for their classes instead, drawing folks in from around the country as its educational service offering really took off.

In the early 80’s, she created the first coordinated curriculum for nurse managers, in which they could learn all the necessary management & team techniques to be successful.

Currently a multi-million dollar company with dozens of employees and full-time top-level consultants with various specialties, CHCM presents a range of programs and consultative services, as well as books and manuals and other media.

Contact Information:

Notes from the Field: when asked for her current thinking on lessons learned and what she would share with others in business for themselves, here are her thoughts:

One of the most important things is to put yourself in the shoes of the client. When you listen to the content of your client’s situation and their challenges and goals, and you have experience that is relevant, you are able to imagine how you can best help them. You can imagine what you would need if you were them. That empathy-based viewpoint is crucial to creating long-range client relationships.

Regarding rates, it is all very tricky. We have found that it almost always is in our best interest to set the rate based on market conditions and our costs, and to not go below that. Of course, when market conditions change, it is crucial to be sensitive to those changes, and adjust accordingly. If the only way to work is to lower your rates, and you need to work, then you need to lower your rates.

Common sense is also important. That goes beyond simply understanding the language of accounting and business principles and ratios and so on. It all has to make sense, as well. Like your checkbook makes sense. That is the bottom line as far as finances.

And, seek help when you need it. Early on, the organization SCORE was a huge help, they were actually instrumental in our survival and growth in our first few organizational years.

Additional References:

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Google Analytic Averages (via Byte of the Week)

Great to get more familiar with this data, thanks!

I recently received an email from Google that compiles average traffic stats for web sites that opted to share their stats in the aggregate. It’s interesting to look at them – because it’s nice to know where most sites get their traffic or how much time most people spend on the average web site. So I wanted to share some of the info with you – except that I wanted to add a caution about thinking of this info as average. It’s the average from web … Read More

via Byte of the Week

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Site-Member Profile: Nauen Mobile Accounting

Year Established: 1993

Business Name: Nauen Mobile Accounting

Owner: Lindsay Nauen, M.B.A. (Carlson School of Management), accounting concentration.

Product/Service: A full range of accounting and bookkeeping services for small businesses and nonprofits.

Services include:

Weekly or Biweekly activities including data entry of bank deposits and other entries, running payables checks, payroll and invoicing customers.

Month-End activities including bank and loan reconciliations, financial report preparation, budget and cash flow updating, supplemental reports and journal entries as needed.

Year-End activities including 1099 and 1096 production/distribution as well as the same for W-2’s and and W-3 form. Assistance/preparation of reports required by your CPA. Year-end journal entries and closing procedures as necessary.

Management advisory and Consulting services including projections, budgeting, cash flow reports.

Additional services: Quickbooks, Peachtree & MYOB support (plus others), assistance for your CPA in producing your tax returns and other government reporting, and other business services as needed.

Unique Features/Competitive Advantage: Nauen Mobile is so named because services are provided at *your* location, so you retain control and access to your records, and can easily discuss with the Nauen staff your business questions and financials at your convenience. Also Nauen has a range of staff to exactly meet the needs of your business, at the most optimal rate for you given your business requirements.

Organizational Mission: To provide customized accounting and business services to small businesses and nonprofits who wish to outsource those services.

Organizational Vision: To be accountable to our community, clients, our firm and to each other. To form long-term relationships with our clients. To provide customized services, including on-site work when needed.

Organizational Values: Integrity, Confidentiality, Long-Term relationships, Flexibility, Provide customized solutions, Reasonable prices.

Contact Information:
Phone: 651/696-8913.
Address: 241 S. Cleveland Ave., A3; St. Paul, MN 55105.

Organizational Development: Visit our recently launched website, created by long-time client: NADA advertising!

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Further update of initial + article

Note: added a few more bits to this initial article about Google Plus.

Mainly from this article:

And this post on Circles also slightly updated, with the Google page on Circles, at the very end.

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Google + Notes: on Circles

So one of my buddies on Google + mentioned this TechCrunch article about the challenges facing Google + in terms of early adopters being all interested in the workings of Google + itself, and that conversation not being interesting to normal people, basically.
And that just heightened my focus on circles, which I’d been thinking about anyway.
If those conversations were kept in circles for those interested, and not put in the public stream, there wouldn’t be that issue. (Of course the article mentioned more aspects than just what people see in the streams, but that’s the part that’s relevant to this post. Great article though!)

But for me, I’m more likely to put those in my public stream, and put personal items in my personal stream – which a public viewer wouldn’t see. But then, a new user to FB today wouldn’t see private content very likely either, only as they get added to friends list would it get interesting.

Then that brings up another thing I’ve thought about Circles. I wish there could be circles of circles. Google + suggests that I have one circle for ‘Friends,’ one for ‘Family;’ yet as far as posting goes, they would both receive personal posts.

Circles defined by relationship don’t match circles defined by content of post — would need 2 sets of circles to accomplish that.

So I could make my circles about post-content (not caring if folks in personal group are friends or family), or could get all database-y about circles, with a content ‘header’ term and then a descriptive term, could at least the ones with similar content will be next to each other.
Like this:
Personal-Work friends

The other thing would be if Google + lets you create post ‘groups’ of circles.. so I could have a posting group called ‘Personal’ which contained Friends and Family. And a posting group called Professional which included Social Media and Site Members, etc..

But I don’t see that. It looks like there are ‘extended circles’ which is like FB Friends of friends, but not a way to group a subset of your circles (friends and family) together.

The other thing about posting in this circle-specific way is that that choice itself becomes an aspect of the conversation. If I’m understanding how circles work, people are not aware of their circle-assignment. And they’re not aware of who else is in the circle they’re in. Those audience-identification aspects of the conversation are important for context though. They color the meaning of the communication, whether it’s personal communication or social media communication.

Without that context, is the message intact still? And the responses of folks in the circle – seems they might respond one way if they know they’re in a ‘friends’ group or a different way if they know their circle assignment is ‘acquaintances’.

I wonder if practices will evolve that will include id of the group w/n the message in some cases, or will include the specific response that would be appropriate/desired.

I’m modifying this as I go this morning, which is not optimal perhaps, but I want the content to end up as valid and true as possible! One thing I just realized – each post does have a header on it that has the time, and then also whether that post is ‘Public’ or ‘Limited’. So that adds a lot to this discussion.. Limited posts being indicated as such is a good starting point.

I’m toying with the idea of including something in my About message about special interest groups I have, for people to let me know of their interests. Especially since I’m including work content – social media, links to these blog posts here. Like, maybe I’ll have some really generic, Highly Interesting & Fun content of interest to all circles in my public stream, then not only personal content will be circle-specific, but also most social media content (I’ve obviously posted too many notes on Google + recently!), other work content etc.. would be circle-specific.

And then, being the way I am (verging dangerously close to TMI), I have folks in multiple circles. Thinking about it more (after original posting): it’s not so much like an email that they’d get multiple copies of, it’s an ability to perceive the content. So folks in multiple circles included in one message – I’m sure they just see it once. They’ve just received the ability to see it multiple times.

Hmmm, lots of interesting aspects to learn more about! I know there were groups and lists in FB, but I never used those. My impression is that most people used Groups, and everyone knew they were in that Group, cause they joined it in particular. Everyone is aware of group messages being for the group. So these being issues new to Google + Circles, that information not being available.

One Tip I just heard from comments on a post of Chris Brogan: two special circles you may want to establish are ‘bookmarks’ and ‘drafts’, and then have yourself only in those groups! For works-in-progress, items of interest, etc.. Another is, if you want to see what circles other people have used, type a few letters in the circle-naming box and other frequent choices will appear!

And from a post by Imad Naffa, one could hope that Google will make possible shared portions of two circles (venn diagram-like) and so forth, since those capacities exist in their regular search processes.

Also, circles can also be used as a viewing glass for your wall – you can look at posts only from people in this or that circle! Those posts you can see would be only the public ones of theirs, if they haven’t added you to any groups, or additional posts of theirs in the groups they added you to. As Mark Krynsky mentions at the end of this more-broad and excellent post, that won’t guarantee those posts are specific to that content, since most people post a variety of content. But it’s something.

PS I just have to say, love how the alert box (on the right top bar, shows red when there’s a comment) opens up to show the post itself being commented on, and lets you comment back right there, without having to scroll down to where the original comment was!

One more thing: Content from Google themselves on Circles!


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