The Consequences of Inaction by Greg Cangialosi

A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor of speaking at #FailFest as part of Baltimore Innovation Week. Occasionally, when I give a talk, I will write a summary here on my blog as a point of reference. Given the response to my topic, I chose to elaborate on what I discussed in my FailFest talk which was titled “The Consequences of Inaction.”

First off, FailFest is an event where folks come to speak about failure and their experiences with failure. Athough I have spoken at FailFest in the past, this time I decided to start my talk off with my definition / understanding of what failure actually is.

Defining Failure:

The definition of failure to me is not necessarily defined as singular event. Rather failure is an experience that takes place when something happens that is not in line with the originally intended outcome. Think about it, sure there can be specific events that depict a failure, but more often than not any form of failure can be stated as an experience that takes place that is not in line with the originally intended outcome.

A simple example as it relates to software development is as follows: Your company has a plan to develop the next version of your tech platform and launch it at the end of Q1 2014. Unfortunately, you find yourself almost a year and a half later in 2015 just now starting to put clients on your rebuilt platform. A delay that is still not up to speed with where you want it. This is not necessarily a failure defined as an event, but rather an experience, and one with consequences.

Over the years, one action that I have found to be a mindtrap for failure is a flawed belief in the truth, or being disconnected from reality. Simply said, the experience of failure has origins in the belief system that things “will work out”, when they clearly are not working out and have repeated themselves over and over again.

Or said another way, is that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results. If the results are bad, this is not good. Believing things will work out when all of the signs in front of you say they are not is delusional. You are disconnected with your intuition and the reality of the situation. You may want to believe something to be true, but history has already shown that what you believe is simply not the case.

I wanted to take the opportunity to expand failure into two categories. Failing professionally and failing personally. To me, both experiences of failure have unique sets of circumstances.

Failing Professionally:

We have all heard the term “paralysis by analysis.” In the business world, this experience often comes with great consequences when one can’t break out of their “paralysis.”

Professionally speaking, there always seems to be reasons why something may continue in a downward cycle. Often due to a lack of complete information regarding a circumstance, one may think and say things like: “Lets give them one more week,” “Do you really think they are lying to us? “No, it will work out,” “Lets give them the benefit of the doubt” “Lets see what happens tomorrow,” “They said that they just need another week to finish.”

Yet, that week comes and goes, and yet another week comes and goes, and yet another….

A colleague of mine said something to me on this topic that hit home. Its simple, “For every week you wait it will cost you a month.” Or said another way, for every week that you wait to take action, it costs you a month to get to where you want to be. For every week you wait, a month. That puts things into perspective, and I can tell you that I have experienced this first hand when it comes to business and projects.

As simple as it may seem, in order to break this cycle you have to ACT, you have to BREAK the cycle; you have to RIP the band aid off the wound and TAKE ACTION. The only way to CHANGE the situation is to CREATE THE CHANGE that is required. Simple, yes, however sometimes, and often, it’s just not that easy to do.

I’ve seen it first-hand too many times in business. Whether you are a founder, a CEO, a manager, or a team member that has fallen into the rut of “hoping for the best” when things are clearly showing you they are not going well, its ok, it happens. Often though with many dynamics involved. Why do we do this? The question is valid for me as an entrepreneur. I am an eternal optimist. I paint a vision of progress, hope and genuinely believe things will work out (they always do in their own way), but occasionally I have allowed my eternal optimism to cloud my judgement and therefore my actions.

In business, this type of paralysis can come with big consequences. Depending on the exact situation there can be financial implications, missed deadlines and delays, the possibility of missed market opportunities, the loss of business / customers, etc. In the end, a lot of costly events can take place in business for NOT taking action in a timely manner. Don’t fall into this rut and always remember, for every week you wait will cost you a month to get there!

Failing Personally:

On the personal side, much of the same dynamics discussed above are involved, but in a different manner. The consequences of inaction are different on a personal level. Things can be much more subjective in these cases.

If you need to make a change in your life but over analyze it due to fear, the effects can be similar to that in business but in this case more often than not they are psychological.

As an example, maybe you want to eat healthier, or maybe you want to change the role or job you are in, or maybe you are depressed and need to make a change to turn your life around. Maybe you need to work a regular exercise and fitness routine into your life. Whatever the specific case may be, paralysis by analysis in this case leads to personal inaction. This inaction leads to excuses.

I’ve seen many friends and I have also experienced this in my own life. INACTION comes with consequences when you know that you need to do something in your life, when you know you need to make a change, and almost always when you IGNORE your INNER VOICE. When this happens, you are effectively IGNORING what’s best for you. Is that what you think you deserve? To hold yourself back?

Negative consequences come when you close yourself down to your own voice because you are always coming up with mindless distractions like; “What will people think?” “I will get on that tomorrow, what’s another day?” “I’m concerned I’m going to hurt someone’s feelings” “That’s a tough conversation to have so I’ll put it off,” etc..

There are numerous amounts of reasons why we can suggest to ourselves that now is not the right time to do something. Simply put: these are excuses and distractions that ultimately lead us to holding ourselves back from progressing forward in our path.

Personally, the consequences of such inaction could lead to things like missing new opportunities may come if you make a change. You may magnetize new people and new situations if you made a specific change. You may feel or look the best you ever have in your life as a result of your actions. However, these positive effects may never occur because you find yourself in your complacency and won’t create the changes that are necessary for you to evolve.

Consequences can also manifest in other ways as well when it comes to our personal lives. Failure to act in certain situations can manifest health issues, depression, home / family issues, substance and alcohol abuse, and many other personal ways too many to list, but you get the gist. The rabbit hole goes deep when it comes to our own human experience.

Bringing it Home:

To summarize the above, whether it’s a professional or personal situation, there are always consequences when there is a lack of action regarding a scenario that is negative or one that needs to be changed for the better.

When things are not going the way you think they should, or not flowing the way they should be, its best to LOOK THINGS DIRECTLY IN THE EYE. Take a hold of the situation and TAKE ACTION. There is a thing we all have in us called our “inner voice” or “gut feel.” Inevitably, when we ignore our gut feeling things tend to not turn out well. I have tested this time and time and time again and it always rings true. We are much more intuitive than we can imagine.

This all seems very simple, but I see to many people resist the action around the change that is required in both business and personal scenarios to allow for resolution, progess and growth. The sooner you take action and create the change you want the happier you will be and the faster you will reach your goals.

And always remember, for every week you wait, it takes a month to get to where you want to be. On a final note, think about this: There is no time like the present, and there is no present like the time.

Onward.

- Greg Cangialosi

** Special thanks to Laura Black for some editing love.

Startup Roundup | August, 13th 2015

Startup Roundup September 6th, 2015

Baltimore Startup Spotlight: Loople

How many times have you had an idea and thought this would make a great app? It seems so easy, but then you think, how do you even begin to start building an app? Along with most of the population, Ryan Gutleber, Phil DiMuro, and I had no idea.

While attending college together, we spent countless late nights brainstorming about “the next big idea.” With no experience in developing an app or building a business, we had to use every resource to our advantage. Whether it was watching countless hours of YouTube tutorials or reading thousands of pages of testimonials, we taught ourselves what it would take to make our dreams of entrepreneurship a reality.

After graduation, we dove into Corporate America working in fields, such as sales, finance, and construction engineering. However, we did not let this stop us from starting Loople. While maintaining full-time jobs, we created the idea, developed a logo, built a business plans, found investors, finalized the LLC, trademarked the idea, created the marketing strategies, and managed development for a year and a half before launching Loople. Finally, we realized we had to devote all of our time and energy in order to make this business a success. We decided to take the ultimate risk. We left great paying jobs, security, and steady career path in hopes to create something bigger then ourselves.

Fast forward two years and we launched Loople in Baltimore in June of 2015.  Loople is a free GPS based mobile application that allows users to search for current bar and restaurant specials around them at any time of the day.  Also, it allows bars and restaurants the opportunity to market their product to the users and highlight the deals they run on a daily basis. Our goal is to simplify your social life and help you explore everything your city has to offer. 

Currently, Loople is only located in Baltimore, MD and 30 miles outside of the city. We plan to grow locally and plan to grow our business from this city.

We plan to strategically expand into new cities when we have perfected our system. In a month and a half, we have 3,500 users, but we are not satisfied. We need to show the Baltimore market the advantages of using Loople.

We plan to form local partnerships and host a series of events and promotions over the next few months to increase our user base. We have received 4.83 out of 5 in both the apple and android app stores. The product is there, we just need to sell it!

Over the past two years, there have been many bumps in the road. However, all of these experiences have helped us learn and grow. Loople has successfully launched and has plans to successfully grow in the future. We are extremely excited to see what the future holds for us. With our team at Loople, we know that our tireless effort, drive, and vision will make Loople a huge success.

For more information visit Loople's website here

This was a guest blog written by Dave Phelan and Phil Dimuro of Loople Mobile LLC


Startup Roundup August 9th, 2015

Startup Roundup August 2nd, 2015

Confessions of an Event Planner: The Power of a Post It.

For those of you that don’t me, I’m an event planner. 

At times, the role of event planner gets a negative connotation. We often get, “Oh, you’re a party planner” or “Oh my, I would NEVER want your job” or the worst, “Geez, your job is so hard, you get to travel, check out awesome venues, seek out the hottest entertainment, make things pretty and have fun all the time”.

Well, my latest blog series lives to show the world, that yes my job is awesome, but it’s also extremely hard, physically, mentally and emotionally demanding, and the ultimate test of strategic thinking, problem solving, and remaining calm under pressure. These stories are true, honest and pretty comical.  Enjoy.

The first of these stories, The Power of a Post It, took place earlier this month.

It was an extremely HOT weekend in Maryland. Intrinsic Events had just come off a Friday night wedding in Washington, D.C. and it was on to Round 2 of the weekend. A beautiful wedding in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore, MD.  We had spent months getting to know this amazing couple, reviewed every detail, secured an amazing line up of vendors, walked through the timeline over and over again, and at one point, my business partner and I looked at each other and said, “This one’s gonna be a piece of cake.”  I spoke too soon.

Rule #1 in Event Planning: Nothing is ever a piece of cake. The moment you let yourself think that, that’s the moment when the unpredictable happens.

Let’s rewind to a few hours earlier that day. The wedding was supposed to begin at 4:30 p.m. and around noon, it was requested that we have the valet company arrive early. Sure, no problem. We pulled out our phones and called the Valet. And called, and called, and left messages, and sent emails, and sent texts, and called, and called again. What the heck? Why was no one answering? Our event was in 4 hours.

Ok, so no big deal, worse comes to worse, they won’t arrive early but they will arrive at their normally scheduled time of 4:00 p.m.

Wrong.

4:00 p.m. came and went with no valet in sight. Guests began to arrive, photographs were being taken, my business partner was on bridal party duty and I was supposed to make sure all other logistics were running like clockwork. That included the valet.

I had the moment of “Oh Sh*t, what do I do? The valet situation was a hot button for our clients, it was NOT going to be Ok if this became an issue.

Think Jessica, Think. So I did what any event planner would do and began to assess my surroundings and my resources. Sorry, I admit, there was no PLAN B back up for the valet not showing up. For a summertime wedding, Rain and heat exhaustion were my biggest concerns.

I immediately looked around and realized OK, well I have a parking lot. Then I thought, “Could I park these cars myself?” – Wait, no way. I’m not exactly the world’s greatest driver and the last thing I need is to be sued by a guest.  

Rule #2 in Event Planning: Never sacrifice yourself or your business liability to please a customer. A lawsuit is never a successful resolution.

Ok, what next? I realized I didn’t need to be a valet, I just needed to stall until the REAL valet decided to show up.  I also needed to make sure the guests were happy, made it to the ceremony on time, and believe that my Plan B was really Plan A.

So, I looked in my purse and found a stack of blue post-its.  LIGHTBULB!

I immediately had a plan.  I’ve seen hundreds of valet companies in action and I certainly was no beginner when it came to creating processes and efficiencies. I would simply create my own valet system with a pen, some post its, a legal pad, and an amazingly good photographic memory.

I told myself, I got this. But first, I had to make friends with the parking attendant for the lot so she didn’t let the guests driving in suspect any shady business. I walked up to her, introduced myself, asked questions about her and her life, then… told her my #WeddingPlannerProblems. She got it, she felt bad, and she immediately became my ally in this mission.  

Rule #3 in Event Planning: Be nice and kind to everyone you meet because you never know when you may need their help.

The first car pulled up, here we go. They were greeted by the attendant, she directed them my way, and I directed them to their parking spot, wrote the #1 on a post it, took notes of year, make and model for car #1, handed them the post it with a smile and a welcome, took their keys and sent them on their way.

And it continued, for 25 cars and 30 minutes, in 100 degree heat, in a black dress and heels, in the middle of a parking lot in Baltimore.  And yes, I did get some strange looks and maybe a little skepticism but no one said a word. They believed me and my process. They were happy because I was friendly and efficient and at the end of the day, all they wanted to do was park their car.

The “real” valet eventually showed up and the parking attendants and I had some fierce conversations. But you know what, it’s not their fault, it’s their boss and I knew that. We talked out how to remedy the situation and everyone left the wedding happy, with their cars in one piece.

And to this day, our Clients never knew there was an issue. I’m sure one day over cocktails, we will tell them the truth and have a great laugh about it all, but for now, it’s our little secret.  All because of the power of a post – it. 

Thank you Romy & Michelle for the invention. I will never go anywhere from now on without post-its in my purse.

Rule # 4 in Event Planning: Nothing is ever as it seems and you can’t stop the earth from rotating.

Life happens and issues arise. It’s a fact that events are stressful and unpredictable obstacles are going to be thrown our way. Yet, the real professional is one who can act quick, develop a workable solution, have confidence in their plan and who can ALWAYS project a fresh, happy-go-lucky aura to all those around them.

The truth is, whether you believe it or not, someone is always watching you. Looking frantic, nervous, tired, and stressed is not an option in our world if you want to be successful.  Crying, pointing fingers, and placing blame is also not an option because it does no one any good. It can ruin events, ruin your reputation, and usually never leads to repeat business.

A large part of an event planners job is to assess situations, maximize your resources, build relationships, prevent crisis, and maintain a (smiling) poker face at all times. It’s not an easy job, but someone has to do it. And I can honestly say, I’m so happy for myself, my business partner, my team, and my clients, that I am the lucky one who has decided to take on the challenge.

Stay tuned for more of my Confessions.  

FOLLOW my business @EventsIntrinsic 

Startup Sunday Round Up - July 26th

All Fired Up: A Love Letter to the Future Me!

All Fired Up: A Love Letter to the Future Me!

Patrick Rife Startup Soirée

Closing in on personal potential

I'm so stoked! There's little else to say. I'm so fucking stoked! Life hasn't always been this way. It took some getting there to get here. It took some furrowed brows; some glares in the mirror. Sometimes sober, sometimes not. But I got here, and I'm so fucking stoked!

I'm writing this letter to future me so I won't run the risk of forgetting what it felt like when I finally arrived. (or I was past me?) I'm happy to say I hold myself to high expectations. I've always wanted and strived for something just beyond my reach. It's not that I wasn't grateful for everything I had so much as truly knowing what my core potential is. And more importantly when I'm underserving it.

Some of the lowest points in my life have been the moments when I've stared at myself, bleary eyed and wondering how all of the potential I saw in myself shown so dimly to the rest of the world. It was an overwhelming feeling and one that I didn't think would shake free. I didn't know if I'd shake free.

I must confess, it took a few maneuvers and the right cast of characters to help me re-find the path. There's no arguing with the power of the right support coupled with awesome resources but I have to be honest when I say the magic had been there all along; I just gave it too much shit so it stopped fucking with me. I can't say I blamed it.

The thing is, I'd always been confident. Then I lost the path. Lost the nerve. Lost my swerve. I think for whatever reason my understanding that I could own 100% of my shit wasn't on lock. It was at like 60% and dipping. So I second guessed myself. Tail spin ensued. Smoke. S.O.S. and whatnot. 

Why all of this detail you ask? I get it, it's a little verbose but..... I want to splash it out in fuchsia paint so you can feel the depth because understanding that makes the light so much brighter, the air so much warmer. Confidence is a beautiful thing. Everyone should have it, and everyone should share it. If it weren't for the positive that lifted me up I can't say where I'd be. But I'm here, and so are you, so let's pay it out in buckets. 

The community of Baltimore has been through a lot these last few months, years, decades..... I think it's time we start taking things back. Lifting each other up. Setting the confidence in this city in the right direction. Carrying ourselves with intention. Channeling our energies with purpose. 

That's what I'll be doing anyway. If you need a hand or a chat let me know. If you want some positive light, I got you. Let's get coffee. Let's exchange stories. I can't wait for tomorrow.

Get in touch with me on Twitter and Instagram @PatrickRife!

Startup On A Shoestring E-Book

The Startup on a Shoestring E-Book

A young entrepreneur’s firsthand advice on bootstrapping your business

The entirety of Nic China's Startup on a Shoestring Series is now available as a FREE E-Book. 

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE E-BOOK BELOW

The Baltimore Startup 5: Volume III

The Need-To-Know Startups In Charm City

Back for round three of The Baltimore Startup 5.

Every few weeks, I’m giving you a bit of my perspective on who’s doing innovative & groundbreaking stuff in the Baltimore startup world.

The Startup 5 consists of 5 amazing young Baltimore area businesses that you should know about, if you don’t already.

So here goes, the third group of companies that made the cut in The Baltimore Startup 5.

REV CYCLE STUDIO

In just a few short years, Co-Founders Esther Collinetti and Rick Zambrano have turned Baltimore's first cycle studio into so much more than a fitness hub. REV is a community. 

I recently had the opportunity to get to know Esther through a mutual friend who mentioned that she was someone I NEEDED to meet in the Baltimore Fitness Startup Community. Esther blew me away--her drive and passion for her business and the culture she has created around it emanates from her. 

REV's mission reads: "REV Cycle Studio will inspire courage and help others build healthier and happier lives by providing the best indoor cycling experience in the world. We believe fitness is love made visible."

After experiencing the Friday 6AM class with Esther first hand, I can attest that REV Cycle Studio is holding to their mission. I was pushed beyond my physical limits by an incredible leader who was able to create a bond between every cyclist in the room. The core of this business is at the core of its product.

 Think you can handle it? Sign up for your first class!

Check out our podcast with Esther.

 

JAILBREAK BREWING COMPANY

As the wave of craft beer popularity continues to build, Jailbreak has come out of nowhere and in just 2 short years has built a beautiful facility and launched several popular (and a few awesomely creative) craft beers.

Co-Founders Justin Bonner and Kasey Turner were our gracious beer sponsors for the February Startup Soiree event...the night I was introduced to their Double IPA, aptly named "Big Punisher". I can proudly say I have been "Big Punished" (drunk off Big Punisher) several times since that night.

All jokes aside, these guys are on to something. They are growing rapidly and they've found a nice niche with their 150 person capacity in-house Taproom. Even better, all the local food trucks flock to them...so be sure to check them out. They're just a short drive from Baltimore, located in Laurel, MD.

This says it all: "Jailbreak is a freedom expression. Beginning in 2013 and becoming fully operational in 2014, our artfully crafted beer is meant to be an escape from whatever drama is present in your life. We are made up of professionals from various industries all brought together by the common desire to make something different and do something with our lives that has more purpose."

I can get on board with that.


Make Tribe

MAKE TRIBE founder Jessica D'Argenio Waller has found great success in bringing makers and creatives together by hosting a series of workshops where craft and conversation collide.

Jess has given MAKE TRIBE a voice, aligning with some of Baltimore's most refined brands and attracting a very cultured client base -- or should I say fan base! These expert-led skill sessions have ranged from topics such as bitters making to floral arranging to butchery to bookbinding!

This "maker movement" is growing fast, so get on board! The upcoming workshop on 5/28/15 featuring Michelle of Make/Do will teach the basics of pantry beauty: making simple and natural skincare products in your kitchen. Mix up coffee scrubs, oatmeal masks and learn more about making do with what you've got. 

Join the Tribe...check out the next MAKE TRIBE event.

And be sure to give our podcast with Jess a listen!

 

CHRISTOPHER SCHAFER CLOTHIER

Over the past couple years I've had the pleasure of getting to know Chris Schafer, founder of Christopher Schafer Clothier, and Seth Schafer, his son and partner in crime. 

Tailors by day, musicians and skaters by night, these two dudes have carved out a serious niche. With just a small team of two and a super-loyal client base, Christopher Schafer Clothier specializes in capitalizing on relationships. Their old school mentality coupled with their new school approach will continue to drive their success.

When I first met the Schafers, their team was larger, but less focused and without a common goal. Since trimming their team down to just family, their company has really taken off and they don't show any signs of slowing down. 

I rarely wear a suit, but I can proudly say that I sport a custom CSC suit whenever I need to step my game up.

These are the best custom suits in Baltimore. 


HERSH'S PIZZA & DRINKS

Hersh's co-founders, Josh and Stephanie Hershkovitz describe themselves as "a couple of pizza-loving piglet siblings who love to feed people and liquor ‘em up as much as we love to eat and drink ourselves."

After getting to meet Stephanie, I can say that her I'm-not-afraid-to-fail attitude along with Josh's culinary wizardry is what drives this hip South Baltimore spot to always stay ahead of the curve. They stick to their guns. They're authentic. The look and feel of the restaurant is cozy and inviting. A great place to get drunk and laugh.

Like the others on this list, Hersh's has built a powerful brand in a short amount of time. It's been great to see it become a household name in SoBo. The local food scene could use more place like this, places that aren't just about the image or the location or the money, but focus on the most important things, like people, pizza and drinks!

 

I love you Charm City.

Follow Nicolas China on Twitter @Nico_C7.

Nic is co-founder and owner of Pixilated (@PixilatedPhoto) &Startup Soiree (@StartupSoiree).

 

5 Questions with Mary Gardella of 'Elle Photography

5 Questions with Mary Gardella of 'Elle Photography

Mary Gardella is May's Photography Sponsor and will be capturing Startup Soirée on Thursday, May 28th.

1. How did you get your start in photography?

It actually found me in college.  I took a photography class on a whim, the next thing I know I was Photo Editor of The Towerlight, Towson University’s paper.  What I was drawn to was the camera’s ability to help me tell stories of real life, real people, real events - to the get to the soul of community.  I knew then that photojournalism would be the first path I took with my camera.

I found myself in freelance & staff positions on daily newspapers all over the country. Like any path, there are twists and turns.  I found myself in 2004 taking a path towards entrepreneurship. And in 2005 I opened a photography studio, becoming co-creator/co-owner of the very successful Love Life Images, Inc. We used the heart & soul of photojournalism to tell wedding & family life stories.

It was an amazing experience to learn how to grow a business, be a boss, have employees, and work with a partner. It was my baby for 7 years.  I became a Solo-preneur recently with new a vision & most importantly, a new purpose - empowering women through portraiture.  This is something very close to my heart where the stars aligned at the right time and place for me and my business.

2. Do you have any advice for photographers who want to start their own business?

I could write a novel on this subject!  The best advice I could give you is to educate yourself on the steps it takes to start a business. Being the creatives we are, we don’t necessarily like to use right side of our brain. :) Surround yourself with people who are knowledgable on each step. Be willing to invest.

The worst mistake I made was to wake up one day and say “hey, I’m going to just start a business!” and then try to open up shop 24 hours later.  I had no business plan and no idea what I was getting myself into. I spent a ton of time back peddling, wasting time, money & energy.  

And don’t try to be an everyman photographer.  Find your niche within the genre, spend time perfecting it and become an expert.  It’s important to note that photography is an over-saturated market, we are competing with cell phones & the instantaneous world of social media. There’s been a huge shift in the market these past couple of years.  When I’ve sensed the shift is when I made changes.  Gotta go with the flow!

3. How would you describe your aesthetic?

My aesthetic has always been, will always be about capturing the beauty of truth - inside & out.

4. What's your spirit animal and why?

My spirit animal are cats, in particular my cat I had from college until just a few years ago - Catfish Jones - who lived until he was 22 years old (105 human years).  Why? He was kind, gentle, intuitive, sensible & beautiful from the inside.  

He understood love & commitment. Everyone and anyone who ever came in contact with him - even non cat lovers - was genuinely drawn to him.  He made you smile and feel grounded.  Good traits any human should live by.

5. Are you working on any photo projects or exhibitions right now? 

Yes I am!  I’m really excited about this project - it’s just getting under way and will be an ongoing project featured on my blog.  My goal for “In The Bedroom”, is to empower women and encourage them to be the best versions of themselves through a series of short and sweet interviews with empowered women. These are women who have been able to break down barriers to create their own personal successes. 

Why In The Bedroom? I want to photograph them in the place we let our guard down, kick off our shoes and dream big. I want the readers to connect with my empowered women on a more personal level, in a relatable way - woman to woman.   I’ll ask a series of questions pertaining to their empowered life and then ask them to nominate a women they feel lives an empowered life.  

Action vs Inaction: Restructuring

There comes a time in every business when you look around and say to yourself "This just isn't what I had in mind." Be it the culture turned out differently than you wanted, the revenues aren't what they should be or you just don't like where things are headed. There comes a time when you realize your business has outgrown it's structure; that your products have pivoted but your organization hasn't. 

This is a tough spot to be in for any business owner of any age. Why? Because as business creators and entrepreneurs we thrive on the innovation; on the Kaizen of the experience. Without that bait you risk losing the luster. I think this is what we call harnessing Intrinsic Motivation. Sometimes it gets out of whack. That's ok! What's important is having a process of alignment ready for deployment.

Dead-End Road In West Gee-Hossa Flat

The first step in getting yourself (Your Company) unstuck is determining what stuck actually is. Stuck is different for different companies. Stuck is different depending on the situation. Sometimes you can have a few different versions of stuck happening at the same time in different parts of your organization. So the important part is defining those pain points.

Is it deliverables that are suffering? Is personnel the route of the problem that is ultimately manifesting itself in poor office moral? Is there a lack of company culture because it isn't being influenced from the top down? These are all different problems that can be restructured; you just have to put the work in to really define the issue.

How Do I Get Out Of Here?

Often times we make the assumption that in recognizing a problem we begin the process of correcting it. Other points of view suggest that we just stop doing the "bad behavior" and by proxy correct the issue. I'm not so willing to place my confidence in such arbitrary tactics. For me the path to proper restructuring involves not only recognizing and ceasing damaging behaviors or actions but also in creating the perfect version of those behaviors or actions that will fill the void.

If we route out something that's negatively impacting our business but fail to create something positive and functional to put in it's place we'll ultimately find ourselves back in a similar dilemma. Something that has intention and embodies your businesses goals and ethics will create a windfall but you need to know what that "something" is!

Defining What You Want!

So.....now that you've extracted the problem it's your turn to imagine what the ideal version of that situation would look like. Now is the time to spitball ideas, pow-wow with your teams and ask yourself the hard questions.

This moment of brainstorming is one of the most critical in the Restructuring process. Why? Because it is in this place that we realize what the problem situation should have looked like all along. With that insight, we start to extrapolate how things will change in our organization if the idea is implemented.

The Hunt for Gold

Now that you know what you want the process/idea/overhaul to look like it's critical to find the right practitioner for the job. This is literally a hunt for gold. Since you've defined where the problem stemmed from, and what the ideal solution would be you have a pretty good idea of the types of personality and business traits that would excel.

We're only as good as the people we surround ourselves with so when it comes to driving change, to really restructuring, having strong leadership in place that understands the intention, has the confidence to inspire progress and the drive to see the job through will be critical. Hunt for that gold long and hard, be highly thorough in your vetting and then give them the reigns and smack the horse.

Create a Coat of Armor

Now that your team is in place and the initiative has been realized don't just send everyone to the front line naked. Make sure to take the time to build the proper processes around the work you've done. Put systems in place to help your team thrive and grow! Include their feedback as you go along; their POV is a valuable asset.

Take the time to implement and acknowledge the idealogical changes you're creating in your company. How  you communicate your vision for the future and how it impacts your team will be your defining moment. Leadership and politics are a heady brew; the visionary understands their role in everything but also that each need their own balance. 

Back to the Battle

So here we are! Are you done? No way. Remember, this is a process of constant improvement; raking the sand. A healthy methodology that supports the active restructuring of processes and intention in your company will prove to be one of the highest forms of ROI your business will ever receive. And it's Free; all it takes is your time.

Do you have any ideas about Creative Restructuring? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below. I'll comment back!

“So, What do you do for FUN?”

How many of you entrepreneurs out there hear the following on a daily basis?

“You work too much.”

“Do you have to work today?”

“Are you working this weekend?”

“So…what do you do for FUN?”

In the beginning, my responses were always a nod, half paying attention, half not caring and simply yes, yes, yup, uh-huh, ok.

But when it came to the FUN question, I tried explaining that my Work IS FUN. Building a business is so much FUN each and every day. Learning something new by meeting someone new is FUN.

But the reality is, non-entrepreneurs just don’t understand that concept. In fact, non-intrinsically motivated and un-passionate entrepreneurs don’t even understand that concept.

For those out there reading this who don’t understand where I’m coming from, let me just tell you the things about being an entrepreneur that are SO FUN every single day.

-       It’s like a board game, the fun isn’t in the end when you win or lose, it’s the anticipation of setting up, getting started, and going through the course that’s the fun part. Entrepreneurship is like one never ending family board game night…. Complete with tears and impromptu victory dances.  

-       Succeeding through others brings extreme happiness.

-       A “To Do” list is the most exciting read of the day for me. It’s never a “To Do” chore, it’s an “I can’t wait to get this done” activity.

-       Meeting other entrepreneurs for the first time is like discovering a long lost friend or sister from another mister. There is an instant connection, bond, ongoing conversation and sense of comfort unlike any other.

-       The glass is ALWAYS half full with an endless water cooler supply sitting right next to it. It’s incredible to look at the day and the world in front of you and know that opportunities are endless.

-       There’s places you go where “Everyone knows your name.” If you create relationships, brand yourself, and consistently network yourself and your business, there is always somewhere you can go where everyone knows who you are, what you do and your name. That’s just fun.

-       Freedom is fun. Freedom to create your own choices and then make your own choices. Freedom to create a life you’ve always imagined. Freedom to change directions. Freedom to change schedules. Freedom to work with whomever you choose. Freedom to do whatever you want.

Don’t get me wrong. This ‘ship is hard. There are times I feel like I’m in college going through sorority “Hell Week” all over again.

Entrepreneurship takes time, money, emotions, physical endurance, strength, love, passion, and discipline.

But at the end of the day, it’s fun and we wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t.

I’d rather go through the entrepreneur “Hell Week” every week because it’s more fun and exciting than going back to the corporate desk job life I lived before.

You know what wasn’t fun? Having anxiety if I hit traffic going into the office. Having a weekend “off” but not enjoying it because my work bestie in accounting just got laid off. Being told I do an amazing job, but there’s no room for growth.

That’s NOT fun.

Whenever anyone asks me and my Intrinsic Events business partner, “So how has it been starting your own business?” Our first answer is always, FUN.

We know it’s hard for people to believe us, but I hope this blog gives some insight as to why entrepreneurship is fun. At least for me.

I’d love for you all to share what you think is FUN about being entrepreneurs.

Stay tuned on my next blog for some steps to take in order to ensure you are able to have FUN as an entrepreneur. 

FOLLOW @Intrinsicevents for more advice and of course, FUN!

A Test of Leadership: Crisis Management

CHARM CITY CRISIS

There’s no doubt that this week has brought out a lot of emotions in many people who live, work, and play in our beautiful Charm City. The series of violent events that occurred over the past week in Baltimore, MD are disappointing, scary and have wreaked havoc on the city and its people; sending many into crisis mode.

As I watched things unfold throughout the day on Monday via Social Media and on TV, I found it very interesting to see how different people manage a crisis situation. 

As an Event Planner, I’m not stranger to crisis management. That is what we do. We deal with issues as they come and are constantly putting out fires to ensure the event is a success and our clients are happy. As a small business owner, mastering this craft has been incredibly helpful. Things go wrong in business everyday. Crisis situations in business and in life are inevitable and unavoidable. 

BE AMONG THE GREAT

However it’s in these moments of crisis that define ourselves as people and most of all, as leaders.  I’ve seen many “leaders” be put in moments of crisis and forced to step up to the challenge of handling and managing the situation in front of them.

Through these situations, I’ve come to the realization that leaders are ultimately defined in their actions, not their titles. Crisis situations are those moments that separate bad, good and great leaders. Here are some ways to make sure you fall amongst the great.

STAY CALM AND DON’T LET THEM SEE YOU SWEAT

When you are in a leadership role, all eyes are on you. Every move you make will be critiqued. So don’t give them a reason to give you a bad critique. Always stay calm in crisis situations. The crisis is problem at hand; the last thing anyone needs is for the leader/manager to freak out.

DON’T MAKE EXCUSES

When a crisis occurs in your business, you need to deal with it head on. Don’t sit there and make excuses and try to convince yourself and everyone around you that “it’s not that bad.” The longer you avoid the situation, the worse it’s going to be.

PROACTIVELY PLAN FOR THE WORST

You should always have an idea of potential threats that your business could face. It’s important to be aware of these threats so you can create action plans ahead of time if a crisis does occur. Being ahead of the game is a good thing.

TAKE ACTION…NOW

As a business owner and leader, there is really no place to hide in a crisis situation. You’re going to be faced with difficult and sometimes uncomfortable conversations, but that’s ok. You’re solving a problem; it’s not supposed to be easy. It’s your job to make sure things get handled quickly and efficiently. Instead of running away from the problem, attack it!

Gaining a Competitive Advantage: Part 3

Show Your Face.

Rule #1 in Gaining a Competitive Advantage is business is to create an edge over your competitors and to have something that no one else in the industry has.

Well guess what? Unless you’re a twin, no one else has YOUR face, so show it and use yourself to your competitive advantage.

My business partner and I are pretty much connected at the hip. We go to every networking event together, make decisions together, biz dev together, partake in happy hours together… anything, we do it together.

A LOT of people tell us we aren’t being efficient with our time, we say we are being strategic. People know us and our brand because of US. Whenever we walk into a room together, people know it’s @EventsIntrinsic

It’s not a bad thing when you walk in a room for networking and people start saying, “Those @EventsIntrinsic girls”, “Those girls, are they sisters?” “Those girls, what do they do?” “Oh those are the girls that are partnered with those @Pixilated guys”.

We are two (fairly) young blonde girls who like to spiral curl our hair on occasion. We like to have fun. We like to talk and laugh with each other as business owners. We like to tag team a conversation not only because it’s fun but because we don’t want to repeat conversations. We value ourselves as the greatest marketing tool in our box. We celebrate who we are as our brand, Intrinsic Events.

It has been so critical for our business development and growth to get our faces out there, especially as a service based business. Even in those moments when you feel ugly or sick or tired, just get out there and show your face. People remember YOU more than they remember your website or tag line, trust me.

It is hard for me to network, I’m introverted, I am around people all day long planning events and at the end of the day, I just want to go home. But guess what? That’s not how you gain a competitive advantage. You gain a competitive advantage by putting on some mascara, black eyeliner, and power heels, and getting your face out there.

And believe me, it’s not just about showing your face. That’s just the first step. It’s about being consistent in showing your face and building relationships with your face, consistently.

As a service based business, our greatest leads and customers have come from referrals through networking or from direct networking contacts. 

We keep the referral funnel plentiful because we are in front of people all the time, not over email, not over phone, but over good old fashioned handshakes, eye contact, and a smile. Not just once, but CONSISTENTLY.

There’s something to be said for the old tag line, “Put Your Best Face Forward”.  I encourage you to use your face as the greatest marketing tool you have in the coming months. It will do wonders, I guarantee it.

The Baltimore Startup 5: Volume II

Nic China Baltimore Startup 5

The Need-To-Know Startups In Charm City

Back for round two of The Baltimore Startup 5.

Every other week over a 10 week period, I’m giving you a bit of my perspective on who’s doing innovative & groundbreaking stuff in the Baltimore startup world.

The bi-weekly Startup 5 consists of 5 amazing young Baltimore area businesses that you should know about, if you don’t already.

So here goes, the second group of companies that made the cut in The Baltimore Startup 5.

NewsUp Baltimore Startup

NEWSUP

NewsUp was founded by Andrew Schuster and Coleman Anderson in 2012. Their founding premise was to make keeping up with the news just as fun as playing games. 

So what happens when you cross-breed the two ideas of keeping up with the news and playing games? You get NewsUp, a trivia game for informed people in the form of an online platform to "play the news".

NewsUp is designed to make it fun to keep up with your favorite topics and challenge your knowledge of current events. All of the questions are fact-checked to maintain the highest quality of content, while their goal is to provide you with a ridiculously fun, yet thought provoking experience. 

NewsUp has done a great job of making current events fun, but in my opinion the underlying value is the in the format. Their trivia style multiple choice questions are fact based, removing bias and provoking retention to memory, more so than any news article or TV story.

So pop on over to www.newsup.me and try your hand!

InceptionPad Tan Lu Startup Baltimore

INCEPTIONPAD

Founded in 2011, InceptionPad provides cost effective and scalable design and development services for mobile applications and custom websites. 

The InceptionPad website states, "We are proud to deliver beautiful web and mobile apps that iterate your vision to perfection and surpass your expectations at a fraction of the cost and delivery time. Let us brainstorm with you on requirements and design, and build you a technical team carefully selected from hundreds of developers who live to code." 

Yes, you read the second part of that right, but I'll reiterate: "build you a technical team carefully selected from hundreds of developers".

This is what sets InceptionPad apart from the others, their business structure and their highly targeted technical approach.

Founder and  CEO Tan Lu has built his executive team and project management team in Baltimore, but has teamed up with Beijing University of Post and Telecomunication (considered to be the "MIT of China") to put together a robust team of up to 300 graduate student developers. 

This large pool of young talented developers makes InceptionPad extremely agile. They can cherry pick for specific skills, put together small teams and large teams, and work within any timeline. Whether you need a team of 5 for 3 months or a team of 10 for a year, InceptionPad has your project covered. 

So when you come up with the next great app idea, InceptionPad will help you bring it to life! 

Intrinsic Events Baltimore Startup

INTRINSIC EVENT

For those of you who may already read the Startup Soiree blog, you're well aware of Intrinsic Events. Co-founders of Intrinsic, Jessica Gignac and Rachel Robinson are also partners of mine in the Startup Soiree movement and fellow Baltimore entrepreneurs. Knowing that these movers and shakers are focused on helping develop the Baltimore Startup landscape, I would be remiss to leave them off this list.

Intrinsic Events is a full service event management company, whose multi-faceted team covers everything from weddings to destination management to corporate events and conventions. 

After honing their skills as event planners working for a large corporation, Jessica and Rachel took the plunge and went out on their own to create an Events Empire. With a solid base of know-how and --you guessed it -- intrinsic motivation, this company is growing fast and picking up steam. 

Whether you are looking for quantifiable ROI for the trade show you are putting on, or just looking to throw a blowout party, Intrinsic Events is your best ally.

Baltimore Rex News Startup

BALTIMORE REX

Baltimore Rex was founded in 2014 by Daric Snyder and is rapidly catching fire. Its focus is creating local news and content apps, tools, and services that put the needs of a mobile/digital audience first.

The first product that Daric has rolled out is Daily Draft – a weekday email delivering the most important, interesting news in Baltimore. As a subscriber for the last several months, I can honestly say that Baltimore Rex has kept me more in-the-know with local news than ever before. 

For the entrepreneur, or really anyone with a busy, "on-the-go" schedule, Baltimore Rex is the perfect way to consume daily news in under two minutes. It is easy to scan, easy to share, and best of all? It's ad free!

Baltimore Rex aims to "declare war on lousy online advertising on local media sites" There are a lot of unmet needs, unheard voices, and unsolved problems in local media worth chasing after, especially in Baltimore.

Daric plans to roll out more products in support of his Daily Draft in the near future, so stay tuned! For now, go subscribe to the Baltimore Rex weekday email. You won't regret it.

Flyboost Chris Riddle Baltimore Startup

FLYBOOST

Flyboost was founded by Chris Riddle and Nick Cuttonaro in 2014. It is a tool for DJs, venues, and entertainment professionals to integrate the power of social media at parties, promotions, and events in real-time.

The Flyboost platform formats social media content for display on any TV or screen.  By using a designated #hashtag, people can see themselves on TV -- and everyone loves to be in the spotlight and have their moment of fame!

Co-founder Chris Riddle says: "Since Flyboost can add real value to any business, our goal is to have our technology running in as many places as possible, including bars, restaurants, nightclubs, hotels, weddings, and trade shows."  

Flyboost also plans to offer a fully managed event service for clients who would prefer to take a more "hands-off" approach but still want to use this cutting-edge social technology.

This is a product that you really have to see to get a feel for, so check this out: Video of Flyboost in action! 


I love you Charm City.

Follow Nicolas China on Twitter @Nico_C7.

Nic is co-founder and owner of Pixilated (@PixilatedPhoto) &Startup Soiree (@StartupSoiree).


Action Vs Inaction: Engineering Movement

Ideation: Entrepreneurial Gold

I thought I'd start this blog off by talking about how you engineer yourself into a place that's different from where you currently are. Or maybe I should say how I go about it. How do we actively choose to create a watershed moment, a dramatic change, a moving towards our ideal self?

The ideal is to start with intention. A more thorough thinking through of what the goal actually is. There's absolutely a series of steps that I take myself through to ensure that I successfully end up where I've set out to go. More importantly, that I accomplish my goals along the way.

Fundamentals

I can't stress enough how important it is to actually do the hard work. It doesn't matter who it is that you want to be, or what it is that you want to do. It's important to have the right insight and the right tools and skills at your disposal to make you successful in your pursuits. 

Whether we'd like to admit it or not success comes at the hands of being a good practitioner. Whether your desire is to communicate with people as an Influencer, tell a story that promotes truth as a journalist, or become a web marketer, the basic access for those roles is by becoming an expert practitioner of your craft. Whatever that may be.

Entrepreneurship is sexy; don't get me wrong this dude looks so good and smoldering in the mirror some days. Put on the flippity flip, this shit is also a whole lotta hard work and there are tons of times where things are not sexy, not one bit. I mean who the fuck thinks a Facebook Ad Group is sexy? I don’t, but I rock that shit.

I find that day in and day out I try to spend more time focusing on the fundamentals of my craft. Whether that's via blogging or advanced advertising techniques, trying to figure out new ways to grow my list or drive traffic to my offers it's always, always in the forefront of my mind. The more skills I master in the pursuit of success for my businesses, the more of a businessman I become. 

A Plan

Once you get your fundamentals in place the next most important thing is to put together a plan. When I say a plan I don't mean something loosely sketched out on the back of a napkin. I mean a serious hard-hitting plan that tells you step-by-step what you intend to accomplish and how you're going to do so.

The thing that makes having a plan so valuable is that as entrepreneurs we’re often willing to jump in line for the bucket brigade and start throwing buckets of water on the fire without necessarily realizing the most valuable place to apply our efforts.  We take Action ya know, so sue us :)

Violent thrashing is great in the early days; it's important to get the ideas out; push the ones that aren't going to survive down to the bottom, let the other one soar! But... there comes a point in time when that will no longer be the best fit for your business. That my friend is the point in time when you turn to your plan. 

A System To Put In Place

Once you've developed a plan it's time to test your hypothesis. There's no easy way around putting a system in to place to produce the best results for your project. Unfortunately, it's a long and tedious process of applying ideas, seeing how they perform and then adjusting. Don't get me wrong there's prosperity on the other side of it, you just have to get in the trenches first.

You'll most likely go through a few iterations of your system before you find something worth trying on a larger scale. Often times we assume that our first hunch is the best hunch but that’s not the case. Don't be afraid to try something and fuck it up and try something else again. The route of perseverance is really the key here.

Applying A Focused Pressure Test

Once you have a system in place it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to stay your system forever; or that It's going to be your system for the time being. The thing about systems that are designed to perform a specific objective is that if they don't perform that objective well enough we fire them. No sympathy.

One of the best ways to find out if your system will actually stand the test is to perform a test at high-pressure. That's right, once you get an idea of how things are going to work, and you know that from the beginning to end it actually transitions through, the next step in your journey is to apply pressure and see how it holds up. #Cringe.

If you can scale the volume of the system that you're trying to test and it performs well in small and large capacity then you've got a winning recipe; now it's time to hit the afterburners.

Scaling Your System

Scaling the system that you've built is where all the real fun comes in because you've already proven your idea is good and you've developed a way to bring it to fruition on a larger scale in a manageable system. The fun comes when we get to apply a greater effort and it compounds, giving greater results. This is where all the hard work pays off.

Now you can take your system and begin to scale it by changing out minor variables to have that system apply to more than one persona or demographic that you've identified as a vertical for your business. Quite simply this is the application of multiplicity across a proven idea that more importantly has proven return as you invest more of your energy.

When the energy you invest in a project starts to return to you in multiples the value of proofing your idea and taking the time to understand your product in the beginning will be obvious. Then, you do it again. And again. And again.....

So, how do you proof your ideas? Leave me a note in the comments below! I'm looking for a few great practitioners profile in the coming weeks.

Until next time.....

For more Marketing Awesome Follow a dude on Twitter and Instagram @PatrickRife!

 

Gaining a Competitive Advantage: Part 2

Be a Category of One.

One of my favorite business books of all time is Becoming a Category of One by Joe Calloway. In this book, Calloway challenges businesses to not become the leader in a category but to create a new category within your industry altogether, thus becoming a “Category of One”.

Easier said than done right? Wrong. It’s really not as hard as you think but there are action steps you must take in order to identify who you are and what new category you want to create for your company.  Calloway provides this advice to all business leaders in order to become a “Category of One”.

1.     Have a story. Think about it. In order to differentiate yourself from anyone else in your industry, you must have something that no one else has. The easiest place to start in defining these unique attributes is your story. It’s yours, no one has it so learn how to tell it, share it, and use it to your advantage.  

2.     Adapt to change. The world is constantly changing and you need to be able to transform your company to the constant evolution and not become comfortable with where you are today. If you do, you will disappear and become a category of extinct like the good old T-Rex or Blockbuster.

3.     Defy comparison. Find a way to take the basic, do it better than the rest and then make your competition a non-issue. Stop worrying about how to “beat” your competition. Instead, worry about how to “beat” your customer’s expectations….every single time.

4.     Your brand is most important and your customers define it. Whether you want to admit it or not, whether you spent thousands of dollars for a marketing agency to brand the crap out of you, none of it will define you the way your customers will. Especially in today’s world of social media and instant content sharing, your customers’ definition of your brand is ultimately what defines your brand. In the most basic of explanations, perception is reality and you must deliver on what you want your customers to perceive every single time. If not, then you change your reality to your customer’s perception and market the crap out of it. Take for example. They started out  

5.     Be better, not different. If you go through your competitive advantage exercises and conduct your SWOT analysis and at the end your result is that you are completely equal in terms of product, price, place, service, and quality to your competition then what do you do? It’s simple. Be better, not different… to your customer. Know your customer better. Get closer to your customer. Emotionally connect with your customer better than anyone else out there.

6.     Be Consistent. Delivering on the basics consistently will win with customers every single time.  People like reliability, comfort, and the ability for others to meet (not exceed) expectations.

So now that you know the basic principles on what becoming a “Category of One” means, how do you create it?

Since I learn way better through real life examples vs. theory, here are some amazing examples of Baltimore-based companies who became a “Category of One”… whether they intended to or not. And since their new category creation, other companies have followed in their footsteps trying to compete in the same category vs. creating their own.

And I guarantee you, these “Category of One” companies below are not going to sleep at night worried about how they are going to “beat” their competition now. They are going to bed innovating how they can “beat” and exceed their customer’s wildest expectations in creating new categories.  I encourage you to learn more about each of these companies and find out their strategies to becoming a “Category of One”.  

Example #1 – Pixilated Photobooth (www.PixilatedPhotobooth.com )

Gone are the days of ugly, velvet curtain, crowded photo booths that cut off half the people in the picture like this.   

And thanks to Pixilated Photobooth, welcome to the FUN photo experiences that never, ever get old or ugly or crowded.

Example #2 – Up Dos For I Dos (www.updosforidos.com )

After years of working in a well-known beauty salon, Founder Ashley Riddle, was tired of seeing brides come in stressed out, pressed for time, and downright uncomfortable for their wedding day hair and makeup.

Why not start a business where the salon comes to you in the comfort of your hotel suite, with mimosas and your entire entourage at your side? So that’s what she did and 11 years later, she hasn’t looked back!

When competitors started coming into her market space, she innovated yet again and started Up Dos For Us Too (www.updosforustoo.com ) which delights and entertains children with the fantasy of dressing up, princesses and tea parties.

Example # 3 – Gundalow Juice (www.gundalowjuice.com )

Founder, Dana Sicko, was tired of hearing her Clients from her personal chef business, Nutreatious (www.nutreatious.com ) complaining about disgusting flavors of cold-pressed juices and accessibility to cold-pressed juices on the east coast. So what did she do? She started her own, delicious, first ever cold-pressed juice manufacturing company right here in Baltimore.

Example #4 – Order Up (www.orderup.com )

Tired of the same old pizza, Chinese, and subs take out night after night? Confused as to how that same pizza from the same place could take 20 minutes one night and an hour and a half the next? Well Order Up solved every single complaint anyone could ever have about the take out industry. They expanded the offerings to real food from real restaurants and created an app to be able to track your driver from literally Point A to Point B.

Example #5 – Under Armour (www.UnderArmour.com)

And last but certainly not the least to Baltimore natives, Under Armour, who has completely changed the industry of athletic performance apparel.

“While playing football for the University of Maryland, founder Kevin Plank hated having to change his sweat-soaked cotton T-shirts over and over again during two-a-days. Knowing that there simply had to be something better, he set out to create a solution.

Plank named his new company Under Armour, and after extensive research on the athletic benefits of synthetic fabrics, he designed the first Under Armour HeatGear® T-shirt. Engineered with moisture-wicking performance fibers, the shirt helps keep athletes cool, dry, and light in the most brutally hot conditions.” (http://www.uabiz.com/company/history.cfm)

What a concept? Keeping athletes and exercise enthusiasts cool while sweating to death?

On behalf of myself, my friends, my Merritt Athletic Club-goers and the city of Baltimore, thank you Mr. Plank for always striving to be a “Category of One” company.

      So let’s recap.  

The best way to gain a competitive advantage is to eliminate the competition and become your own  category of one. 

 

The Baltimore Startup 5: Volume I

Baltimore Startup Nicolas China

The Need-To-Know Startups In Charm City

I’d like to introduce my new series on the Startup Soiree blog: The Baltimore Startup 5.

Every other week for the next 10 weeks, I’m going to give you a bit of my perspective on who’s doing innovative & groundbreaking stuff in the Baltimore startup world.

The bi-weekly Startup 5 will consist of 5 amazing young Baltimore area businesses that you should know about, if you don’t already.

So without further adieu, I’d like to announce the first group of companies that made the cut in The Baltimore Startup 5.

 

Chris Sachse Horsetail Technologies

Horsetail Technologies

Horsetail Technologies provides IT services and support for credit unions. This Federal Hill based company has chosen Baltimore as its home, but manages clients all across the nation.

Co-founder and CEO Chris Sachse is a leader in the credit union tech niche and speaks to the credit union community on a number of topics; from innovation to operational efficiency to security and digital marketing strategies.

In addition to his passion for the credit union movement, Chris has a vision to help evolve the Baltimore entrepreneurial community through innovation and technology.

 

Mozell Films Baltimore Startup Lee Morton

Mozell Films

Mozell Films is a Baltimore based film-making company driven by adventure and designed to enthrall. 

With a knack for storytelling, Creative Director & Lead Explorer Lee Morton founded the company paralleling his successful wedding film business, Clickspark.

Lee named his company “Mozell” after his grandmother, who embodied the values of his vision. Lee’s grandmother represented hospitality, authenticity and work ethic. She instilled in him, and thus his company, the values of resourcefulness, perfectionism, love and leadership.


Gundalow Juice

Gundalow Juice is the first cold-pressed juice wholesaler in Maryland.

Although only in the “juice game” at the moment, founder & CEO Dana Sicko has a vision for Gundalow to provide convenient, healthy and great tasting foods and drinks that fuel ambition. 

Dana sees Baltimore as a permanent home for Gundalow and views it as a place rich with opportunity. The product has been received incredibly well in its short existence and Baltimore is lucky to have Gundalow as a part of its startup ecosystem.

 

Treason Toting Co.

Treason Toting Co. creates quality toting goods, accessories, and lifestyle products right here in Maryland. They “create things we need and hope you love.”

Co-founders Jason Bass & Aaron Jones have found a way to seamlessly blend style, craftsmanship, and utility. Their true vision lies in the power of their brand, and what it stands for. Their mantra is “Bury Your Worries, Carry Your Stories”.

Keep an eye on Treason Toting Co., as they take their brand to the next level.

 

Yet Analytics Margaret Roth

Yet Analytics

Yet Analytics is a Baltimore based tech startup that is focused on “improving human capital through big data analytics.”

Founded in 2014 by Shelly Blake-Plock, Margaret Roth & Rose Burt, these Bmore enthusiasts have created a data analysis platform that aggregates, connects, visualizes and analyzes data from any source in real-time. Yet’s B2B solution creates the opportunity for companies to effectively measure employee training, efficiency and effectiveness.

Yet Analytics is making big data easy to understand. The opportunities are endless!


Be sure to keep the pulse of these 5 Baltimore startups. Big things are on the horizon!

I love you Charm City.

Follow Nicolas China on Twitter @Nico_C7.

Nic is co-founder and owner of Pixilated (@PixilatedPhoto) &Startup Soiree (@StartupSoiree).