Tag Archives: entrepreneur

Denver Startup Week: Life Lessons from Serial Entrepreneurs

Cuban Laughing at Denver Startup Week Session: Chinese Rockets and Disco Dance Lessons: The Art of Reinvention - A Night with Startup Visionaries Charlie Ergen, Mark Cuban and Brad FeldI had the opportunity to attend one of the more than 350 sessions that were part of the 2017 Denver Startup Week. Now in its sixth year, Denver Startup Week is the largest free entrepreneurial event of its kind in North America, and is one of the best resources in the nation for those looking to start or grow a business, or in my case, to learn from the best in business.

One of the sessions I attended, “Chinese Rockets and Disco Dance Lessons: The Art of Reinvention – A Night with Startup Visionaries Charlie Ergen, Mark Cuban and Brad Feld,” was highly entertaining and included a candid discussion with successful entrepreneurs.

While admittedly I’m not an entrepreneur, I’m in awe of gutsy business leaders who just go for it and live their dream. Charlie Ergen is the co-founder of Dish Network; Brad Feld runs the Foundry Group, a Boulder venture capital fund; and Mark Cuban is the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star of “Shark Tank.”

Read more after the jump…

This Week in Social Media: Emotions, Emoji and Bitmoji


It turns out that Instagram might not be the best social media option if you’re looking for a pick-me-up. According to a survey of 1,500 teens and young adults in the U.K., Instagram is associated with the highest levels of anxiety, depression, bullying and FOMO (“fear of missing out”). Though it has its benefits, like self-expression and community building, Instagram users also reported feelings of inadequacy and negative body image. More reason to only follow dog accounts!

Time: Why Instagram Is the Worst Social Media for Mental Health
Though all five of the social networks (name them here) surveyed received negative marks for sleep quality, YouTube was the only one to have a positive net score for health and well-being. Read more after the jump…

Stop and Think Before You Post


Some of the world’s biggest advertisers have created public relations disasters for themselves by entrusting the wrong people with their social media accounts, not thinking critically about what they were posting or tackling issues they shouldn’t. Treat this as a reminder to mitigate backlash on social media by solidifying your voice and keeping content consistent with your brand. Always do research when you are unsure about what you’re addressing, or don’t address it at all. Finally, don’t mix up Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg. C’mon man!

Social Media Fails

Entrepreneur: The 12 Worst Social Media Fails of 2016
Entrepreneur offers a reminder of what big brands did wrong last year, and the fallout that ensued. Although many of the examples seem unbelievable, they could easily happen to any brand that doesn’t take the necessary steps to fortify their messaging.


The Verge: Twitter Might Build a Paid Subscription Service for Power Users
Brands and news organizations will likely be able to pay for an optimized version of Tweetdeck that will allow them to more easily access analytics and alerts. The company is currently conducting a survey with select users to see what new features would be most welcome.

Digital Trends: Twitter Says It Shuttered 377,000 Accounts that Promoted Terrorism
Twitter has been accused in the past of not doing enough to combat extremist activity, but its most recent transparency report states that it closed nearly 377,000 accounts between July and December 2016 due to material promoting terrorism.


Digital Trends: Instagram Is Rolling Out New Safety Features, Will Blur ‘Sensitive Content’
Although it hasn’t specified what “sensitive” means, Instagram is attempting to avoid unwanted content from appearing on users’ feeds by placing filters over images that might be offensive.

On the GFM/CenterTable Blog:

Project Highlight:

cocd-website-featuredCenter for Out-Of-Court Divorce | Website Design & Development
Our team brought COCD’s brand guidelines to life by incorporating photography that exemplifies their mission and advances their message to key audiences. And, as a new organization, our team continues to work with COCD to optimize and update the website to suit their needs as they grow.

Weekly Reads – Small Brands Can Gain Traction by Targeting Their Perfect Customer

Small brands are discovering that they can grow by targeting the customers that big brands leave behind. By discovering niche audiences that industry giants ignore in advertising, small companies have found a way to thrive while also making their customers feel unique. Meanwhile, Reddit is punishing trolls, Uber is infringing on customer privacy and Netflix finally allows content to be downloaded for offline viewing.

Social Advertising

Entrepreneur: What Small Brands Do That Big Brands Can’t

Small brands are cropping up and taking advantage of customers who feel left behind by big brands. Many of them are using social media to target their unique customer, allowing them to grow intelligently with a fraction of the advertising budget of their larger competitors.

Read more after the jump…

A Seven-Step Social Media Strategy for Startups

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 3.44.39 PMThis week marks the return of one of GFM’s favorite events: The Wright from Something Independent. The Wright Award Night is a celebration of Colorado-based companies that are finding success at the intersection of lifestyle and commerce. Each company presents a 90-second video, and then finalists answer questions from a panel of business experts – Shark Tank-style – to narrow the field to one winner. Past winners include FlyLow, MHM Backpacks, Voormi, and Eldorado Climbing Walls.

This is the third year GFM has been a sponsor, PR partner and social media content curator for the event, and each year we find ourselves energized at the entrepreneurship of Colorado companies, and the outdoor industry in the state as a whole. Part of our excitement revolves around the potential all of the contenders have to bring their brands to life via social media and digital marketing.

As many entrepreneurs know, there is only so much time left in the day for managing social media. Here is a seven-step process for any startup to follow to develop (and organize!) a social media and digital marketing strategy:

Read more after the jump…

Entrepreneur Picks Up GFM Post On Media Pitching Tips

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 2.40.37 PMEntrepreneur magazine’s digital news site picked up a GroundFloor Media post by Gil Rudawsky on “5 Reasons Why That Reporter Isn’t Calling You Back.”

Read the entire article HERE. Here’s a recap:

Why would a reporter not call you back?
1. Your pitch is not engaging.
Yes, this is the primary reason reporters ignore your pitch. Newsworthiness rules, and “so what?” pitches will be deleted immediately.
2. You’re pitching the wrong person.
There has been shuffling of assignments under the guise of doing more with less, so pitches that go to the wrong reporter will be deleted rather than forwarded to the right reporter.
3. You are from out of town.
This one is hard to swallow, but reporters assume that calls from an out of town PR agency will not be newsworthy for local readers. This is especially true for smaller media outlets.
4. Your pitch does not have a local angle.
Publications rely on wire services to cover national stories, and they will rarely pick up on a regional or national story unless there is a strong local angle.
5. You have a track record of providing lame story pitches.
This is about relationship-building and being a good source for reporters, not just a mouthpiece for a client. If you regularly fill up voicemail with nominal pitches, even the most newsworthy pitch will get deleted. Be a good source, understand when to avoid pitching junk, and remember that no one owes you a favor.

The Power of Your Network: Get Connected Women Entrepreneurs Event

Recently, GroundFloor Media hosted a Get Connected event for about 30 local women entrepreneurs. I was joined on a panel by Mindy Gantner from eXplore Communications, Laura Levaas of Yelp, Remy Spreeuw of 5280 and Taylor Woodard of Motive. We spent a few hours in small breakout sessions talking about career experiences, lessons learned and tips for building brands and communicating with media and other key stakeholders. The participants represented owners of multiple businesses including Eat (delicious catering, BTW), MaxLife Therapies, United Martial Arts and Fitness Center, Sticky Fingers Cooking, Studio R Designs and many, many more.

I was inspired by the stories I heard and the willingness of the women to share all of their ‘growth pain’ stories with the larger group– the good, the bad and the ugly. Since I started GroundFloor Media in April 2001, I have relied on my network of women to help guide me and serve as my informal ‘kitchen cabinet’ on issues that face many entrepreneurs – woman or man. How do you juggle work and family life? How do you know when to take on an employee that isn’t billable to a client? How do you purchase real estate and structure contracts with sub tenants? How do you manage the complexities and struggles of a divorce while building a business and raising a young child? While I am grateful to the male advisors I have surrounded myself with primarily through my involvement with EO Colorado, it is generally the women in my life that offer the necessary story telling and the fact giving that provide those coveted words of wisdom. In my experience, women have never been afraid to mix business and personal lives because they tend to know that – for an entrepreneur – the two can’t exist without one another. And women aren’t afraid to tell you just how hard – and rewarding – this life we have chosen can be.

This ability to view situations from both a personal and professional lens is a critical component to owning a business. The grey areas are vast and the inability to recognize that aspect can take down a company. I wonder if this is one of the many reasons that the growth of women-owned firms outpaces those for men – according to a new Department of Commerce survey . In fact, the number of women-owned businesses increased 44% from 1977 to 2007 and added 500,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the number of man-owned businesses increased 22% and lost 2 million jobs. Why? Well, there are probably many reasons. However, if the Get Connected event was any indication, I believe it is because women inspire one other to take chances. Thanks to all of the women in my kitchen cabinet who have inspired me to take a chance or two. It has all been worth it.

~ Laura Love-Aden

Planning for the Inevitable

Four Things Business Owners Should Consider for Succession Planning

Entrepreneurs spend a lot of time talking about the trials and tribulations of trying to build a successful business, but rarely do you hear us espouse on the importance of planning for when we might exit our business. I am not talking about the infamous “exit strategy” and selling for multiples of EBITDA. I am gently referring to the inevitable “exit.” I don’t care if you are 40 years old or 80 years young, if you are a business owner you should make sure you have planned for the worst. On average, 45% of a business owner’s net worth is tied up in the business (LIMRA International, Small Business Owners 2005 Report). While it may sound like a grim topic, the death of a small business owner could lead to internal turmoil, customer erosion and disruption in revenue flow. Quite simply — planning just seems like the smart thing to do, but only 26% of small business owners have some type of succession plan in place. (LIMRA International, Small Business Owners 2005 Report)

So, where do you start? There are several important elements to help you plan for the unexpected and how you go about it depends upon the ownership structure of your business and your intentions. I am a far cry from a lawyer, but my partner and I have spent time talking about the options and putting plans into place. Some options you might consider include:

1. Have you granted a key manager a limited power of attorney so that he or she has the authority to make decisions and continue operating the business?

2. If you have a business partner(s), do you have a buy-sell agreement in place? You can look at a cross-purchase plan, in which each of you owns a life insurance policy on the other so that the partner can use the death benefit to purchase your share of the business. You can also consider an entity purchase or stock redemption plan.

3. Perhaps you should establish an advisory committee to act in the immediate days and months afterward? If your company has several executive level employees, this committee could be given the authority to make key decisions by consensus until a stronger team is in place.

4. Several entrepreneurs I know have established an employee stock ownership plan to insure that a buyer is available when the inevitable happens.

No one likes thinking about their mortality, and entrepreneurs are no exception. But these simple planning tools will ensure the continuation of the company you worked hard to build, while offering your staff, bankers, clients and partners an important sense of security.

Here’s to hoping we never have to put these plans into action.

~ Laura Love

Is There Such Thing as Work/Life Balance for Entrepreneurs?

They intoxicate themselves with work so they won’t see how they really are. —Aldous Huxley

When I first started GroundFloor Media in my basement in April 2001, I am fairly confident that I had absolutely no idea what it meant to have balance in my life. I was newly married, expecting our first child and had just received news that the company I had moved to Colorado to work for was closing its doors. I opened the agency (I use this term very loosely, as I was pretty much the janitor, the CPA and the PR account manager) the next day knowing that in the midst of the dot-com bust, I needed to create a professional opportunity and not wait for something to come my way. The funny thing was that although my bout as an entrepreneur began out of quiet desperation, I loved every minute of it. I had caught the proverbial entrepreneurial bug and I was sick.

To some of my friends and nearly all of my family, I quickly became a work-a-holic. To others, I was simply living the life of an entrepreneur. It has been said “that those who are passionate about what they do, do it to extremes.”

If you haven’t read The E-Myth, it is a must-read for any entrepreneur. The author, Michael Gerber, describes the tipping point as this, “It could have been anything; it doesn’t matter what. But one day, for apparently no reason, you were suddenly stricken with an Entrepreneurial Seizure. And from that day on your life was never to be the same.”

I couldn’t agree more. I also have to say that there is a point that is crossed in which the thing you are most passionate about becomes an addiction. Workaholism has become embedded in our culture. There are some that learn to balance and create space for the things they are most passionate about – be it their family, friends, charity work or travel. It took me a long, long time to realize that I was not solely responsible for the success and failure of the agency – that the amount of hours worked was not a direct correlation to the growth of the agency. To be brutally honest, I only recently allowed myself to work toward this ‘work/life blend’ because of the team I was surrounded by at GroundFloor Media. As a senior-level bunch, we all have to juggle family and work life. We termed our struggle as the ‘work/life blend’ because balance was simply out of the question. The bottom line is that I trusted the team was suffering from a similar type of ‘seizure’ and that we would all hold each other up as a group. It didn’t hurt that we gravitate toward working with some pretty amazing client partners that hold similar values.

Honestly, I think this point of achieving a ‘work/life blend’ is different for each business and ultimately that the life of an entrepreneur will always be challenging. For me, I always appear to be one step away from having a life where work isn’t always in the back of my mind. I know this isn’t ideal, but it’s difficult not to be working on something that you want to see grow and succeed. I compare it – in the most simple terms – to parenthood.

What do you do to handle work/life balance? Is there balance in your life? Is there a blend in your life? What techniques do you find useful for adding more balance or blending all of the important components of your life?