How the Small-Business Community Is Becoming More Diverse
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The small business community appears to be growing more diverse, according to a new survey by BizBuySell, an online marketplace for buying and selling small businesses. BizBuySell’s president, Bob House, says there are demographic shifts between the current generation of business owners and the next generation of owners (the would-be business buyers).

“Both groups (owners and buyers) skew white and male at pretty consistent levels, although there are more women in the buyer group,” House says. There are also more millennials in the buyer segment.

“There’s also more more ethnic diversity as well, with increases in the number of buyers who are Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, and African American – as well as naturalized citizens and permanent residents,” House says. While diversity seems to be increasing, he says there is still a long way to go.

Combining Necessity and Opportunity

American Express’ 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report says that since 1972, the number of women-owned businesses is up nearly 3,000 percent. And women are staring an average of 1,821 net new U.S. businesses a day, the report says.

“The surge in women-owned businesses in 2018 is being driven by a combination of necessity and opportunity entrepreneurship,” American Express research adviser Geri Stengel says. She notes that during the recession, women who couldn’t find quality jobs, and some who couldn’t find any work, became entrepreneurs because they didn’t have other options. “While employment has improved, the wage gap for women of color has not, and these women are starting businesses to make ends meet,” Stengel says.

In fact, the report reveals that from 2007 to 2018, firms owned by women increased by 58 percent, but that number skyrocketed among minority groups. Firms owned by women who were African-American, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Asian American, and Native American/Alaskan increased by 163 percent, 146 percent, 105 percent, and 76 percent, respectively.

It’s also interesting to note the generational differences between the ethnic groups. “African-American women business owners tend to be millennials, Latina and Asian-American women-business owners tend to be Gen Xers, and non-minority women business owners tend to be baby boomers,” Stengel says.

“At the same time, the study reveals that opportunity entrepreneurship has returned, and these women are starting businesses because they see a need in the market.” Stengel says that businesses started by women tend to grow bigger and to have higher survival rates.

The View from 2 Entrepreneurs

Millennial entrepreneur Luvleen Sidhu is the co-founder, president and chief strategy officer of BankMobile, a digital bank. She views the news of diversity in the small-business community less optimistically than some. “Small-business owners may marginally be becoming more diverse, but the reality is that women, Hispanics and African-Americans are significantly underrepresented in this demographic,” Sidhu says. “This entrepreneur gap exists even when controlling for factors such as income, wealth and education.”

However, she says this is the best time to be an entrepreneur. “We have more capital and knowledge available to us than any time before,” Sidhu says. “The marginal cost for starting a business is also less than it has ever been historically, creating huge opportunities for entrepreneurs who are driven by passion to solve consumer pain points.”

Sidhu says there’s ample capital available to fund innovative ideas. “If you’re a minority, you should specifically look for venture capitalists that want to invest in both great ideas and minority founders.”

Entrepreneur Nichelle McCall also says this is a good time to start a business. “There aren’t as many barriers of entry into entrepreneurship since you don’t need as much capital upfront, and just being able to leverage technology and even create online businesses allows you to be able to break in and do your own marketing versus needing a lot of money up front for things like advertising,” she says. McCall has founded several companies, including Bold Startups, which helps entrepreneurs make and raise money. She was named one of nine black women tech founders to watch by Inc. magazine, and was included in Crain’s Cleveland Business magazine’s 2014 edition of 40 notable professionals under the age of 40.

“Less than 1 percent of African-American founders are receiving funding, but by the same token, only about 1 percent of venture capitalists are African-American,” McCall says. To increase diversity in the small-business community, she says, minorities have to be connected to the knowledge, information and resources needed to create an investment-ready company.

Finally, she has a message for investors: Be open to new ideas. “Organizations supporting various entrepreneurs have to understand that, often, these services or products are going to be geared toward people that they really identify with — but not necessarily a population that you readily identify with,” McCall says. “But understand that it can still be a very successful and sustainable company with the right resources and tools to help them make a solid plan and grow their company and their customer base.”

*This post first appeared on TalentCulture. 

5 Ugly Myths About Changing Career in Your 30s
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Traditionally, being in your 20s is seen as a time to be footloose and fancy free, to conclude your education, to explore your career options and to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life. But by the time you turn 30, it’s generally expected that you’ll be working on ways to advance on your chosen career path.

However, if you find in your 30s that your career isn’t fulfilling, you don’t have to spend the rest of your life dreading the sound of your alarm clock — there’s still time to shift gears and go in a totally different direction. You just have to be prepared for naysayers — even well-meaning friends and family members — who will question your judgment.

Here are five myths you can expect to hear cited by these naysayers, along with helpful advice for successfully changing careers in your 30s.
 

‘That’s Totally Impractical/You Should Know What You Want to Do’

This common myth is based on the fear of change, which can lead you to stick with a decision and its resulting course regardless of whether it’s making you unhappy. Just remember that it’s totally acceptable to change your mind. “When you were 5 years old and someone asked you what you wanted to be, do you still want to do that? Chances are, probably not,” says Becca Shelton, assistant director for career services at the University of Richmond. Shelton works with adult learners, alumni and experienced professionals who are seeking career guidance.

“Our ideas change, our vision for ourselves changes over time, and that’s one of the beautiful things about being a human being,” Shelton says. Most people spend at least 40 hours a week at work, which is more than 2,000 hours a year. “That’s a lot over a lifetime, so you should ask yourself if your job allows you to use your strengths and be the best version of yourself,” Shelton says.

One person who knows something about change is Cortney McDermott, a TEDx speaker, strategist to Fortune 500 executives and entrepreneurial leaders and the author of “Change Starts Within You: Unlock the Confidence to Lead with Intuition.” Before she became an entrepreneur, McDermott was an executive at Vanity Fair Corp. and Sustainability Partners, a professor of graduate studies for a Big Ten university and a global associate for beCause Consortium.

“When we start to listen to our intuition — that inner force that urges us to change and grow — we have to be prepared to meet with other people’s fears, as well as our own ingrained ideas about what’s ‘practical’ or ‘realistic,’ ” McDermott says. “If this myth is plaguing you now, see if you can find one or more sources — such as podcasts or books — or people to reinforce your confidence in what’s possible.”

McDermott says she has used this technique to reinvent herself several times. “Remember: realists don’t change the world. Unrealistic people do,” she says.

‘You’re Too Old/It’s Too Late’

Who gets to determine when it’s too late to change course? “When I was working as a corporate executive, I dreamed of becoming a writer,” McDermott says. The few people who she confided in always expressed doubt about such a major change. The consistent message was that she should stick with what she was doing. “Luckily, I didn’t — but what I did do was to start small, dedicating a morning window for this passion every day before work and often again in the evenings.” McDermott says her story offers proof that it’s never too late.

Here’s something else to consider: Shelton notes that people in their 30s probably aren’t far past the halfway mark to retirement. “With the workplace being more fluid, so are skill sets and how they are applied to different jobs and careers,” she says.

‘No One Is Going to Hire You’

Changing jobs in your 30s is one thing, but changing careers is a different concept. How will employers view a job candidate in this age group applying for their first job in this field? Probably the same way they view everyone else — and the hiring manager might be impressed that you have the guts to follow your dreams.

“When preparing for the interview, identify your transferable skills that would be related to your target industry, and be able to talk about how you used those skills,” says Cynthia Saunders-Cheatham, assistant dean of the career management center at Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business.

Saunders-Cheatham recommends networking to find jobs. “Leverage your alumni network. Schedule informational meetings. Take people out for coffee and ask questions about what they do, trends in the industry, company goals and challenges.”

Another key is to embrace LinkedIn. Saunders-Cheatham says it isn’t enough to just set up the basics on the site. “You need to tailor your profile to the role and industry and highlight keywords that are relevant to the industry so that recruiters can find you.”

Her other LinkedIn tips include the following:

  • Set alerts.

  • Follow relevant companies.

  • Join relevant groups, including your alumni and industry groups.

  • Learn how to use LinkedIn to find contacts in specific fields and reach out to them for information.

  • Use the site’s new mentorship platform.

‘If You Get Hired, You’ll Have to Start at the Bottom’

The naysayers will say you’ll have to take an entry-level position, so you’ll be starting over and spending years trying to get re-established. “While it’s unlikely that you will jump right into a senior level position, don’t ever dismiss the amount of experience, skills and talents you have developed throughout your career so far,” Shelton says. “Think of your skills as a tool box — what’s in your tool box and how can you help employers solve problems?”

‘You’ll Have to Go Back To School, Which Is Expensive and Will Take Too Much Time’

Changing careers can indeed require additional training and education, but it doesn’t have to mean a new four-year degree. “Maybe there is a certificate you can pick up, or other training that will give you an edge, but this is all part of your story,” Shelton says. “It is important to know your story, own your story, and articulate that to others.”

If you know you’ll need to go back to school full time, she recommends that you start making plans. “Know that there are many flexible educational programs available for those working full time who want to expand their knowledge and marketability.” Some programs are offered online, and some are at night or on the weekend, making them more likely to fit your schedule. There also are grants and scholarships available, based on your major, location, age and other factors.

Changing careers in your 30s might not be easy, but it can definitely be accomplished. Now that you know the myths — and the truth — you can make an informed decision.

*This post first appeared on TalentCulture. 

How to Intentionally Create a More Inclusive Culture
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Inclusion is a popular buzzword, but are companies doing more than just paying lip service to the idea? Some organizations truly want to create an inclusive culture, but many leaders don’t fully understand what that entails. If you’re working on making your workplace more inclusive, consider these four steps.

Define an Inclusive Culture

There’s some confusion regarding the definition of an inclusive culture. Just because your company has some racial and gender diversity doesn’t mean you can check the inclusion box. “In an inclusive culture, everyone has the opportunity to do their best work no matter who they are, what they do or where they work,” says Simma Lieberman, an inclusion expert who is the author of “110 Ways to Champion Diversity and Build Inclusion” and who recently launched a podcast, Every Day Conversations on Race for Every Day People.

In a truly inclusive workplace, she says, everyone feels like they’re really a part of the organization, and they know how they contribute to the organization’s success. “Diversity management and inclusion are integrated into every system and process, so people are comfortable taking risks, sharing ideas, and they feel invested in their own success and the success of the organization at every level.”

The key is to make employees feel comfortable and believe they’re a good fit with the organization. “In an inclusive culture, all members of the staff understand and embrace that this is a space that belongs to everyone and that there are values we hold and behaviors we expect to guard that culture,” says Ximena Hartsock, co-founder and president of Phone2Action, a digital advocacy platform. “Inclusion is a lifestyle, a way of living, not just a set of principles written on a wall,” Hartsock says.

Understand the Relationship Between Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are often mentioned together and some people think they’re synonymous terms. They’re not. “Diversity is a fact; inclusion is a choice. You must have a diverse workforce in order to be inclusive,” says Anna Beninger, senior director of research and corporate engagement partner at Catalyst, a global nonprofit that works with CEOs and companies to help build workplaces that work for women.

Beninger says diversity refers to the demographic makeup of an organization’s workforce. “A diverse workforce includes individuals representing more than one gender, racial/ethnic group, sexual orientation, national origin, socioeconomic stratum or other characteristic.”

The benefit of diverse groups is that they bring a variety of viewpoints, experiences, backgrounds and interests to the table. “Diverse teams inherently create more unique ideas because individuals have had different experiences and view problems in different ways,” Beninger says. “They challenge one another and ultimately develop stronger solutions.”

On the other hand, she says, inclusion can be invisible and difficult to grasp. “Catalyst research shows that when individuals feel that they belong to the group and are valued for their unique perspective and skills, they are more cooperative and innovative,” Beninger says.

However, when companies have diversity without inclusion, the results are much different. Lieberman says that without inclusion, you just have employees from different backgrounds. “Diversity alone may look good in the company photo, but without inclusion employees end up in racial, cultural, gender and other types of silos — and they will leave if they are underutilized, underestimated or feel invisible.” She says companies will not benefit from diversity unless they make employees feel welcome and can bring them together to interact and solve problems using the unique talents and experiences from their backgrounds.

Realize That D&I Is a Process, Not a Program

Inclusion isn’t something that you do one time and then check it off your list. “Too many people see it as a one-time event with training or an hour lunch-and-learn, but inclusion has to be embedded in the culture in every business system and process,” Lieberman says, adding that this doesn’t just happen by chance. “It has to be intentional and aligned with recruiting, hiring and retaining people,” she says.

Another issue is the tendency to focus too much on policies and programs. When developing a D&I strategy, Beninger says it’s important to pay attention to the human side of change. “Catalyst researchshows that an organization’s formal efforts to promote inclusion may be effective, but if there is a disconnect with the informal culture, exclusion can persist.”

For example, she says, an employee may be excited about the company’s leadership development program, but at the same time dreading interactions with team members who constantly dismiss his or her ideas at meetings.

“To overcome this challenge, organizations should promote inclusive leadership behaviors among all employees and visibly and explicitly reward these behaviors,” Beninger says. “When exclusionary behavior does happen, interrupt these behaviors — and, importantly, leaders should validate employees’ experiences of exclusion by transparently acknowledging barriers and setbacks, and highlighting efforts to amplify inclusion.”

Adopt Inclusive Leadership Behaviors

To create an inclusive culture in which everyone feels they belong and is comfortable expressing their uniqueness, Beninger recommends adopting four key inclusive leadership behaviors:

  • Empowerment: Enable team members to grow and excel by encouraging them to solve problems, come up with new ideas and develop new skills.
  • Accountability: Show confidence in team members by holding them responsible for aspects of their performance that are within their control.
  • Courage: Stand up for what you believe is right, even when it means taking a risk.
  • Humility: Admit mistakes, learn from criticism and different points of view, and overcome your limitations by seeking contributions from team members.

Companies should also actively recruit, develop and advance people from underrepresented groups. “Catalyst research shows that significant barriers still remain that hold high-potential women, including women of color, back in organizations,” Beninger says. “These barriers must be addressed to level the playing field and create a truly diverse and inclusive organization.”

And while gender and ethnicity tend to dominate the D&I conversation, diversity extends beyond these descriptors. “We had a student in a wheelchair in our fellows program, and that helped us tremendously to understand his limitations, but also value even more his resilience and desire to succeed,” Hartsock says. “We had to make several adjustments that gave us more empathy about his situation and raised our awareness tremendously.”

Also, Hartsock says her company has summer fellows as young as 15, and next summer it will have senior fellows older than 65. “We do this to get a wide range of perspectives, and it’s incredible how much you learn when you are open to other views.”

It’s being open to these other viewpoints that will ultimately determine the success of your program. “For D&I to benefit an organization and sustain itself, people have to know each other, engage in meaningful interactions and learn skills to be more culturally intelligent, which benefits everyone,” Lieberman says.

*This post first appeared on TalentCulture. 

Meet Workbar's Rockstar Community Managers

Community Managers are the unseen heroes behind every successful coworking space. From planning happy hours, yoga classes and even pancake breakfasts to fixing printers and solving technical difficulties, our Workbar Community Managers are devoted to enhancing the member experience at each of our spaces. But more importantly, they are completely awesome humans, always willing to give coworkers a hand. 

Humans of Workbar: Our Community Team 

Here, you'll learn five little-known facts about our ten amazing community managers. 

What Every Leader Needs to Know About Retaining Millennials
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By 2025, millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce. While it’s tough to assign broad characteristics to an entire generation, millennials are generally known to be technically savvy and focused on growth, looking for new opportunities and frequent feedback. So it’s no surprise that traditional management styles fall flat for millennials.

For employers, updating management practices isn’t just a nice thing to do — it’s absolutely necessary in order to develop and retain the next generation of leaders. Here are three important factors that employers should consider in order to retain millennial talent.

Rethink Feedback

Based on a global Korn Ferry survey of over 1,000 executives, 44 percent said millennial employees require a lot more feedback than workers of other generations, with only 10 percent reporting that they need about the same feedback as others.

It’s easy to view “requires more feedback” as a negative trait. However, it’s not that millennials need more time and effort put into their feedback — they just want it delivered differently, in real time. Feedback can be as simple as a manager taking 30 seconds after a meeting to tell a millennial what they did well and what they can work on. Millennials do not see the benefit of an annual performance evaluation where they walk nervously into a supervisor’s office and receive a ton of information all at once. In fact, says Aon Hewitt Senior Consultant Kelly Johnson, the annual review model is often less efficient than ongoing, more informal feedback that employees can implement immediately.

Make Learning and Development a Priority

Millennials place a high value on learning and development because they grew up in a rapidly changing digital landscape. They understand that everyone must accelerate their learning to remain competitive. An important thing for organizations to keep in mind is that horizontal moves can be as attractive to millennials as vertical ones. “There is no reason to look at development as constant promotion,” says Johnson. “Mobility programs — being able to switch roles within the same organization — allow for the growth experiences that millennials want.”

In other words, development is no longer enough. Redevelopment is key. In Mercer’s 2018 Global Talent Trends Study, only 50 percent of employers surveyed say their organization has a redevelopment mindset. But in the tech industry, known for attracting millennials, 64 percent of employers cite a strong focus on continual redevelopment.

Build a Culture of Flexible Work

Previous generations wanted work-life balance. For millennials, it might be more accurate to call it work-life integration. Allison Griffiths, principal and leader of workforce rewards at Mercer Canada, stresses that millennials want to “make work work” by making their work fit into the rest of their lives. Still, half of millennials surveyed by Mercer feel that working part-time or remotely would negatively affect their promotion prospects.

Clearly there remains a disconnect between existing company culture and what millennials want from work. Managers can fill the gap by encouraging individual work habits that lead to the highest productivity, whether that means working inside the office or remotely.

*This post first appeared on TalentCulture. 

How to Stay Productive, Even During the Summer
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Research shows that kids experience a “summer slump.” When they’re out of school, they’re not actively focused on learning, and their brains check out. But they’re not the only ones susceptible to summer slumps. Adults seem to channel their inner child during the summer, making it hard for them to be productive at work.

A 2012 study by Captivate Network reveals that workplace productivity drops 20%, workers are 45% more distracted, and it takes 13% longer to complete projects in the summer. Also, 53% of workers who leave early on Friday report a decline in productivity. People often work longer Monday through Thursday to make up for leaving early on Friday, and 23% of them believe that schedule causes an increase in stress.

So how can you stay productive during the summer and throughout the year? We asked Dana Brownlee, the creator of the New Time Management Model. She’s the president of Professionalism Matters and a corporate trainer and speaker.

According to Brownlee, the New Time Management Model involves four questions:

  1. Should I do this?
  2. How should I do this?
  3. What’s the right level of effort?
  4. How can I increase my efficiency?

Should I Do This?

Brownlee recommends starting every week by assessing the most important activities for the week. Then, every day, do a reassessment. “Resist the temptation to just add a task to your to- do list because someone asked you to do it,” she says. “There must be a mental ‘vetting process’ to determine if any activity should be on your list.” Her own to-do-list only includes five items for each day.

“Another technique that I sometimes use in my classes is to ask each person to write down each of their tasks for the next day on a small slip of paper.” Then she tells them that one of those items can’t be completed – and they have to decide which one it will be. The participants have to throw away that sheet of paper and start over with a shortened list. They continue the process, until the list is down to five items. “These types of activities are just meant to reinforce the mental process that you’d go through weekly and daily to identify your truly important activities,” Brownlee says.

She also recommends using the 80/20 rule. “Figure out which 20% of your efforts will yield 80% of the results.” For example, you may need to determine which clients or client types are providing most of your revenue, and then adjust your business model or activities accordingly.

How Should I Do This?

This is a strategic step that encourages you to work smarter, not harder. Should you do it alone or with a group? Should you do it yourself or delegate or outsource it? Could the task be automated or streamlined in some way?

“As a small business owner, I often resisted outsourcing because I didn’t think I could afford to pay someone else to do things for me,” Brownlee says. “However, when I started using assistants, freelancers, and other specialists, I quickly realized that I couldn’t afford not to outsource (particularly those time-consuming tasks where I had little expertise — like website updating and newsletter formatting).”

She says that pausing to answer the “how” question can save a lot of time later. “For example, if you’re developing a client list, consider putting the information into a simple database so that it’s easily retrievable, sortable, and exportable later (and you’re inputting the information only once).” Next to each task, Brownlee recommends making a note of how you can work smart to complete the task.

What’s the Right Level of Effort?

When deciding how much energy to expend, consider assigning a percentage (from 0% to 100%). Another option is to set a time limit for each task. Brownlee uses this method with her assistant. “Instead of using vague terms like ‘don’t spend too much time on it,’ I’ll often say, ‘don’t exceed 90 minutes.’ Those limits can be helpful for us as well.”

It’s also helpful to add the times together to see if your daily plans are realistic. “If you add up your to-do-list tasks and it adds up to 4 hours of tasks (to be completed outside working hours) and you have a 1.5 hour round-trip commute, that list probably isn’t realistic.”

How Can I Increase My Efficiency?

Brownlee has several personal productivity tips to help increase your level of efficiency:

  • Only schedule about 75% of your day, to leave room for the unexpected items that pop up daily.
  • Schedule work time (for example, schedule a time block in the morning and one in the afternoon to do your work, instead of running from back-to-back meetings all day and starting your work at 5 p.m.).
  • Turn off the chime on your email announcing incoming messages — usually, the email isn’t that important anyway.
  • Instead of being distracted by constantly checking emails throughout the day, schedule specific times during the day to read and respond to them.
  • Have a running list of items that can be completed when you’re waiting to see the dentist or waiting for a webinar to start.
  • Complete small tasks when you think of them. If you need to do something that only takes 3-5 minutes, instead of scribbling a note, just stop and do it.
  • Develop checklists or templates for repetitive tasks like preparing for a meeting, coordinating an event, or conducting employee appraisals.
  • Set time limits for escape activities. Daily escape time is important, but don’t let a quick check of Facebook turn into spending two hours on social media.

*This post first appeared on TalentCulture. 

Workbar Continues Its Massachusetts Expansion Plans With New Location in Burlington

Workspace Leader to Offer Both Traditional Coworking Space and Enterprise Office Suites in New Location Conveniently Located Off Route 95

BOSTON, MA (August 1, 2018) – Workbar, Boston’s coworking space trailblazer, has announced plans to open a 20,500 square foot workspace located immediately off Route 95 on Summit Drive in Burlington, MA. Slated to open early December 2018, the new workspace will serve as Workbar’s 9th location in Massachusetts, and extend on its commitment to the “hub and spokes” model of offering its members access to workspaces located in both urban and suburban regions.

"We are excited to introduce coworking to Burlington and to bring a fun and productive place for companies of all sizes to grow. This location is going to be a flagship for Workbar as it incorporates both a coworking nerve center as well as a floor dedicated to enterprise office suites. Companies of all sizes -individuals, startups, small businesses and now large corporations- can all join our community and call Workbar home." said Workbar CEO, Sarah Travers.

The new location in Burlington will offer over 10,000 square feet of coworking space and has been designed with Workbar’s trademark “neighborhood” layout, making it one of the largest and most diverse coworking spaces in the region.

In addition to Workbar Burlington’s first-floor coworking space, the new location will also offer an entire floor dedicated to enterprise office suites for large teams. This marks the first time Workbar has included large-format office suites in their locations, and introduces a new direction for the company through offering enterprise-level space and services to complement its industry-leading coworking nerve-center concept. Workbar members in the new Burlington location will also get access to a number of amenities including a brand new fitness center, in-space managed cafe, walkable shops and dining, and dedicated parking spaces.

Over the course of my career, I've seen firsthand how dramatically coworking, as a segment of the real estate industry, has changed. Our new enterprise office solutions will allow for larger companies and organizations to have the office setups and branding that they need to grow within our space. Workbar’s unique offering is long overdue in such a vibrant and technology-focused city as Burlington.” said Bobby Murphy, Workbar’s Head of Business Development.

Workbar has now officially begun membership and office suite pre-sales in preparation for its December 2018 opening. To schedule a tour or learn more about Workbar Burlington, please visit workbar.com/burlington.

For sales or business inquiries, please contact Bobby Murphy at bobby@workbar.com.

About Workbar:

Workbar is Boston's original coworking space, with nine locations throughout Greater Boston, including Back Bay, South Station, Cambridge, Somerville, Danvers, Norwood, Brighton, and Arlington and partnerships with 12 more coworking sites across the state. The network of shared workspaces offers a “hub-and-spoke” system for people whose work takes them all over the region. Workbar caters to small businesses, freelancers, entrepreneurs, startups, and corporate clients with remote teams looking for an affordable, flexible place to work and to meet with clients and other like-minded professionals. With professionally-managed space and top-tier office amenities, Workbar coworking spaces are built with the connections needed to inspire, provoke, and ignite productivity and passion.

 

Boston’s Top Marketing Pros Share Organic Demand Generation Best Practices During Drift and Workbar Speaker Panel

Four of Boston’s top marketers shared their take on growing the organic presence of their company and generating leads on a budget during Workbar and Drift's marketing panel on July 26. 


Marketing, more so than many other fields in business, has evolved significantly in the recent years. With a growing set of new digital tools accessible to virtually anyone, it’s becoming easier and easier for people to use paid channels to promote products and services. But, should that be the core muscle of a business’s marketing plan?  

This very topic was at the center of the discussion during Drift and Workbar’s panel “Cost-Effective Demand Generation”, held at the Cambridge coworking space. During the event, four of Boston’s top B2B and B2C marketers shared their take on growing the organic presence of their company, generating leads on a budget and combining paid and organic channels to develop brand awareness.

75+ Marketers in the House

More than 75 marketing pros and business leaders gathered at Workbar for the panel moderated by Drift’s Daniel Murphy and featuring Ellie Mirman, CMO at Crayon, Darren Henry, VP of Marketing at OpsGenie, Justin Miller, Head of Marketing at Workbar and John Short, Founder of Compound Growth Agency.

Coming from different backgrounds and having worked for large and small companies with diverse marketing needs, the panelists shared what has and hasn’t worked for them when it comes to demand generation and nurturing relations with prospective clients.

In order to build an efficient and sustainable strategy, these marketing pros maintain companies cannot only restore to using paid channels – it’s been proven that to generate high-quality leads that convert quickly, it is key to develop organic marketing practices.

 Justin Miller, John Short, Darren Henry and Ellie Mirman shared what has and hasn't worked for them when it comes to demand generation and organic marketing. 

Justin Miller, John Short, Darren Henry and Ellie Mirman shared what has and hasn't worked for them when it comes to demand generation and organic marketing. 

Combining Organic and Paid Channels for the Win

At Crayon, OpsGenie, Workbar and Compound Growth agency, the panelists have grown their team’s leads in a short time, and while their budget and goals vary, all four of them have developed strategies that put a combination of paid and organic marketing at the center of the stage.

Devoting time and resources to keyword research and building a solid foundation of SEO-friendly content that drives traffic and brand awareness has been the main marketing pillar for companies where Short and Henry have worked. However, combining those efforts with some paid channels has proven to be the most efficient move.

If you make a good investment in creating quality content, that content can drive traffic to your site for years to come.
— John Short
We are content strong [at OpsGenie]. I believe that is the most important part of our marketing plan. We have great people working to develop content, but we also focus on other paid marketing
— Darren Henry
Click-through rates, conversation rates are impacted by your brand awareness and recognition. And the quality of your content is what determines that. You cannot build a successful strategy with only Adwords. Other channels are really valuable for demand generation
— John Short

It is not an unknown fact that focusing on creating high quality content on topics relevant to the business has helped companies become an authority in their industry and subsequently drive sales and grow revenue. Yet the power of content is sometimes diminished by the need to compete with larger, more established and wealthier companies.

Adwords is really important for us, since we are fishing in a pond with bigger fish. What people are searching is really important for Workbar because we know these days people can really make a transactional decision based on what they find on an online search.
— Justin Miller
You cannot be dependent on organic [marketing practices]. There are so many different marketing aspects and you can learn so much from paid channels. You can’t solve everything with content.You can do a lot with content, but you can’t lose sight of the overall goal of creating that content, which is leading traffic into the sales funnel
— Ellie Mirman
 A full house! Local marketers gathered at Workbar Cambridge for the panel on Cost-Effective Demand Generation. 

A full house! Local marketers gathered at Workbar Cambridge for the panel on Cost-Effective Demand Generation. 

New Marketing Technologies To Facilitate The Process

If using a combination of organic and paid marketing strategies to drive leads is the recommended way to go, then using a variety of tools to implement those strategy is also a smart move, right? Well, according to our panelists and pros, it absolutely depends on the industry and campaign that will be executed.

For Mirman, who was part of Hubspot’s original marketing team (when the company had under 10 employees), marketers shouldn’t get caught in the process and focus more on the idea; the tools they use should only facilitate implementation.

The conversation shouldn’t be about so much about the marketing technology, it should be about making it easy for you to run the campaigns you want to run, do the tests you need to do. In that aspect, I’ve usually returned to the tools I know, like Hubspot.
— Ellie Mirman

For Miller, who heads a small marketing team at Workbar, using multiple simple tools has helped him fulfill many marketing needs while also obtaining information from potential customers – a particular tool has been useful for this: Drift.

Using Drift from a marketing standpoint has been really eye-opening. Other than getting people in for tours [of Workbar], we get questions about our website, we get to learn what keywords people are using. Knowing those things have helped us improve. That one-on-one connection with your target demographic is super helpful.
— Justin Miller

Because many of the most popular marketing tools also come with a big price tag, marketers should analyse the return on investment before committing to a new technology that might not be an immediate necessity or might not be suitable for their industry.

From a leadership perspective, you need to do an inventory of the tools you are using and the money you spending on those and rethink what is useful and what is bringing you results
— Darren Henry

Figuring out What Works and WHY it Works

Regardless of their marketing technology of choice, for Mirman, marketers must focus on analyzing the results of every campaign they do frequently and early on to determine which strategies are bringing in results.

She warns that while it might be easier to create a mold-process and replicate everything that has proven successful, a more analytical approach is critical. No because a tool or a campaign worked once, it will over again for years to come.

If you find something that works, figure out WHAT works about it. That’s the key. Don’t throw it away by overusing it when it stops performing.
— Ellie Mirman
I’m a big believer in having every single person on the team have access to data analytics. You must be able to connect the dots between the metrics and the goals of the team and the company.
— Ellie Mirman

The Relationship Between Sales and Marketing

For many marketers, fostering a healthy and collaborative relationship with sales departments has proven challenging.

Competition, disconnection, confusion regarding best practices, egos, and more can get in the way and create a hostile environment. Yet, working closely and symbiotically with sales is crucial to building a marketing plan that delivers.

As a marketer, there’s a lot of creativity that can come from talking to your sales team constantly. They are the ones talking to leads, you can get great campaign ideas that work for your target demographic from them.
— Justin Miller

Just like talking to your peers in sales can lead to the next creative break, ignoring their advice or keeping the communication to a minimum can have really negative effects for a business.

I don’t think you should allow any tension between sales and marketing. My advice for maintaining a healthy relationship: meet often, align in goals and have meaningful connections and conversations.
— Darren Henry
I’ve turned down jobs because I’ve gotten a bad vibe from the VP of Sales. A bad relationship between leadership in sales and leadership in marketing then trickles down to every level of the company
— Ellie Mirman

With an array of tools available in the marketing world and with the constant changes in technology and strategy, focusing on cost-effective generation demand has become crucial for businesses with budgets of all sizes.

While no one has all the answers when it comes to driving qualified leads and traffic, having access to data, evaluating the strategy early and often and figuring what campaigns are working and why they’re working can help marketers grow demand without breaking the bank, and most importantly – learn and improve along the way.

 

Workbar Speaker Series is a monthly event that connects local innovators and leaders in the Boston community and offers an interactive space for discussion, conversation and networking. With different topics and speakers each session, the event looks inspire attendees with insightful contributions and to create a positive footprint in the innovation scene.

TravelPirates CEO and Co-Founder Invite Bostonians to New US HQ at Workbar on August 1, 2018

Learn Insider Secrets on How and Where to Travel for Less

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Ahoy mateys! Workbar Back Bay members TravelPirates is excited to host you for an evening of travel deal hunting secrets featuring wanderlust-inspired adult drinks, food, giveaways and more.

Those who prove themselves to be worthy pirates will have the opportunity to:

  • Mingle with TravelPirates CEO David Armstrong and co-founder Sebastian Kaatz
  • Learn from TravelPirates' team of expert deal hunters about the hottest travel deals and destinations
  • Win a complimentary $500 travel voucher

Ever wonder how someone can fly around the globe for under $2,000, or how to get airline tickets for less than $40? TravelPirates' team of expert deal hunters will share their insider secrets exclusively with event attendees. Additional topics will include: What is an “error fare” and should you book one if you see it? What are the best budget destinations for 2018? What makes TravelPirates different from other travel deal websites?

The event is free and open to the public – so feel free to bring a friend. Food will be provided by Dig Inn and Ghost Tequila will be on hand to serve some spicy cocktails. Must be 21+ to attend.

The Bottom Line

WHO: TravelPirates

WHAT: Chat with TravelPirates senior leadership about how TravelPirates is shaping the travel industry, as well as TravelPirates team of experienced deal hunters who can speak about Boston travel trends, amazing travel deals out of Boston, and some of the most unbelievable deals they have found over the past year.

WHEN: Wednesday, August 1, 2018 | 5-8 PM

WHERE: Workbar Back Bay, 399 Boylston Street (6th Floor), Boston, MA 02116

RSVP here.
 

About TravelPirates
TravelPirates is a free-to-use travel search platform and app powered by a team of expert deal hunters who provide users with the best value-for-money deals on flights, hotels, vacation packages and more. The company is based in Boston, Massachusetts and was founded in 2016 as the U.S. division of HolidayPirates Group, one of Europe’s fastest-growing travel companies and the biggest online travel community in the world.

About Workbar
Workbar is a regional network of coworking spaces. Not only do our Members have access to high-quality, innovative workspaces, but also a diverse community of professionals that enrich both their professional and personal lives. We've changed the traditional office concept into a network of membership-based workplaces for people serious about their professions and hungry for the energetic hum of collaborative productivity. One of Workbar's primary objectives is to engage and weave ourselves into the local innovation community, and supporting women in business is just one way in which we tend to meet that objective.

How to Make Your Business Appear More Human to Your Audience on Social Media
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By Sheza Gary

When it comes to social media, many businesses shoot themselves in the foot because of their poor efforts when interacting with their audiences. It seems that today, businesses would rather take advantage of plugins and tools to try and automate their brand on social media rather than show their audience who they truly are. What happens when this happens? They end up regretting it when their audience stops interacting with them.

Social media plays a vital role in the successful running of businesses these days, so it’s crucial you make your business appear as human as possible. To achieve that, consider the following points and you’ll find your audience will make a bigger effort to interact with your business.

Tell Your Story

We don’t all have fascinating stories to tell like the co-founders of Google. Larry Page and Sergey Brin started their billionaire enterprise from a small garage, and the rest is history.

But, your audience will want to know what you’re all about, which means they want to get to know the person that started the business as well as about the business itself. By telling your businesses story, whether it is exciting or not, makes a business look more human.

Show Your Face

Appearing human to your audience is an effective way to keep them engaged. You don’t have to look like Brad Pitt or Megan Fox, you just need to show your face so your audience can who is behind the business.

Usually, it’s the CEO of a business that is the face of a business, but showing your employees is another way to show your audience you’re all human.

Show Off Your Employees on Social Media

Your audience wants to see the human side of your business, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t post the odd snap on social media of you and your employees having a laugh in the office, or even develop a campaign featuring bios of your staff

Tai Lopez is a famous investor and advisor to multi-million dollar businesses. He advises to try to be professional but with a personal image.

Engage with Your Audience

Social Media is great to tell the world about all that your business is doing, but are you engaging with your audience? If they interact with you, try and spend a few minutes out of your day to reply to the messages, or get one of your employees to regularly engage with the audience.

You’re not going to be able to interact with everyone every day, but if you just spend a few minutes each day interacting with your customers, it will mean the difference between customer retention and acquisition and customers going someplace else. Tag your followers and reply to messages. Show your followers you want to spend time out of your day to listen to what they’ve got to say.

Appearing more human has given businesses around the world much more success when it comes to social media. See if you can grow your business by interacting with your audience on social media. Let us know in the comments how it works for your bottom line!

*This post first appeared on TalentCulture.

Into the Cryptosphere: Panelists Give an Expert’s Insight in the Applications of Blockchain

By John Wellers - DCU FinTech Innovation Center

The world of blockchain has spread throughout the financial world in the past few years and seemingly epitomized every startup's goal, disrupting an industry. With the flurry of news articles headlining “Bitcoin,” there is no shame in feeling overwhelmed by the gale that Blockchain has blown through the complex world of transactions, and by the way it’s changing how we do business.

During Workbar’s monthly Speaker Series event last night, four panelists came together to break down the barriers to understanding Blockchain, the scope of its applications and the problems that it still faces. The event was produced in partnership with the DCU FinTech Innovation Center, a resource center that offers mentorship, workspace, a professional network, and community to FinTech startups.

DCU alumni Chris Swenor, Co-Founder and CEO of LegiCash, Sharon Goldberg, Co-Founder and CEO of Commonwealth Crypto and computer science professor at Boston University, Dan Temkin, Co-Founder of Firstblood.io and Oliver Hudson, Software Engineer at Circle who Co-runs the Boston Blockchain Meetup participated in the discussion that brought in a crowd more than 50 entrepreneurs and academics hoping to better understand Blockchain. DCU's Managing Director Vasilios Roussos moderated the panel. 

What is Blockchain?

People wanted a way to make payments and they wanted a way to do it anonymously.
— Sharon Goldberg

The night opened with a quick crash-course for the uninitiated. Sharon Goldberg explained that Blockchain is a transaction protocol on the forefront that fulfilled a few needs the financial industry had, anonymity, security, authentication to name a few. It did so by creating a public and immutable ledger that records and verifies all transactions without the need of third party involvement.

The panelists addressed a frequently asked question when it comes to this topic, the difference between Blockchain and Bitcoin. Blockchain is a method, like math, it’s not a manifest like Bitcoin, in fact Bitcoin is an iteration of Blockchain like calculus is in iteration of mathematics.

What Can We Do With Blockchain?

This new protocol is far from fleshed-out, in all the excitement people have found lots of new and exciting ways to put it to use. Like the Smart Contract which, like most aspects of Blockchain, is a relatively simple concept but the execution has some very complicated variables and repercussions.

A Smart Contract is a legal contract on a Blockchain in which all financial items (typically cryptocurrency) are locked in upon signing the contract. They cannot be touched until an agreed upon event triggers the completion of the contract. Its value lies in its elimination of risk; all the assets involved are confirmed and locked in place until the contract is fulfilled, meaning you don’t have to track down debts.

One panelist, in particular, was excited about Smart Contracts, Dan Temkin’s company Firstblood.io uses them to place wagers on Esport competitions. Temkin is a lawyer for Firstblood who has been working out the legality of Blockchain transactions.

All four panelists agreed this was an exciting venture and one of the functions showing the most promise for the future of Blockchain.

Panelist Oliver Hudson, works with Circle, shared his experience working on another exciting iteration of Blockchain, stable coin. Stable coins are coins designed to be pegged to an already established value (i.e. USD). Circle is making stable coins on a 1:1 to the USD, so for every coin that is distributed $1 is deposited to a bank to back its value. This seems like “the easiest thing in the world” to quote an audience member, but there are a few difficulties that have prevented most programmers from creating their own stable coin.

Having a relationship with a large bank being the most obvious hurdle, that kind of relationship requires some clout that most startups just don’t have yet.

What are the issues with Blockchain?

Blockchain is far from the perfect financial transaction system, there are a number of factors that have been preventing its mainstream takeover despite all the excitement around it in the finance industry.

Bitcoin can do 7 transactions a second, Ethereum can do 14-20 depending on who you ask, Visa and Mastercard can do 24,000.
— Chris Swenor

Chris Swenor spoke to two of its shortcomings: scalability and interaction with the real world. Swenor posed the issue of scalability, “Bitcoin can do 7 transactions a second, Ethereum can do 14-20 depending on who you ask, Visa and Mastercard can do 24,000.”

Until Blockchain can handle the same kind of large-scale participation that our current system can, it will always remain in the realm of future-tech.

Interactions With the Real World

Blockchain is theoretical until we solve scalability.
— Chris Swenor
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Interaction with the real world is an issue that comes up when the Blockchain protocol is expended past the coin-based, money-centered world. Since Blockchain is simply a protocol there shouldn’t be anything stopping it from running all sorts of transactions.

In fact, Walmart and IBM are working together on a Blockchain to track their supply chain, a public and immutable ledger would allow them to verify all their transactions and track any errors back to their origin point. However once an object isn’t money (coin), in other words, once it becomes something external to the algorithms of Blockchain, verification rears its ugly head.

There is nothing stopping anyone from lying to the Blockchain about their goods. Coins don’t have this issue because you can only spend coins if you have them, but if the product being transacted is, say, a painting, then who is to say you actually have that Rembrandt?

 

A very hands-on discussion with plenty of audience interaction, the panel was a successful, informative and entertaining, featuring a collection of some of the leading minds in the Blockchain local environment.  

Workbar Speaker Series is a monthly event that connects local innovators and leaders in the Boston community and offers an interactive space for discussion, conversation and networking. With different topics and speakers each session, the event looks inspire attendees with insightful contributions and to create a positive footprint in the innovation scene.

Kick-off Summer With Workbar at Boston TechJam
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Join us at Boston City on June 14

Ready to kick-off summer with a fun party featuring some of the coolest companies in Boston? Then you cannot miss TechJam! This Thursday, June 14 Workbar will be participating at the at the sixth annual Boston TechJam at City Hall Plaza between 4 and 9 pm ET! Join us and more than 7,000 other techies to have some fun – and network while you’re at it! 

Boston TechJam is a yearly celebration of the technology ecosystem and culture of New England and Boston-area entrepreneurs, startups, established tech companies, venture capitalists, non-profit organizations and students. Alongside Workbar, some of the participants include Spotify, Amazon, Wayfair, Chewy, Cengage, Hopper, LevelUp, Zipcar,  Aetna and more!

The event is part block party, part tech showcase. There will be live bands, food trucks, games, as well as appearances from past and present tech leaders. Oh, and Jack’s Abby and Downeast Cider are on site for those over the age of 21!

So, come by our booth in the Be Innovative Village where you can learn more about the Workbar life, what our company is like and the open positions we are looking to fill. We’ll also have a prize wheel, special swag and other surprises, so make sure to swing by!

Boston is THE place to grow a tech business. Let's show the world how fun it can be! 

Make sure you follow us on Twitter and Instagram for exclusive Workbar TechJam content. Learn more and register @ www.bostontechjam.com and spread the word using #BTJ2018!

Workbar Hosts Marketing Panel With Experts from Drift, Yelp, Netflix and Alignable.com

Photos by Workbar Member Sooz

Owning a business, no matter what size, is no easy task. With plenty of responsibilities and not always a lot of resources, entrepreneurs looking to build a thriving business often face tremendous obstacles and can feel overwhelmed.

Fortunately, with new trends in local marketing and free digital tools and platform to network, build community and reach their audience, small business owners now have a shot at competing with larger companies and developing a marketing plan that works for their goals.

This very topic inspired Workbar’s latest Speaker Series Event “The New Age of Localized Marketing”, held at the Cambridge coworking space. During the event, business owners and marketers gathered to hear valuable marketing hacks and tips to leverage, courtesy of a panel of experts coming from diverse industries and backgrounds.

 Business owners and marketers gathered at Workbar Cambridge for a Speaker Series panel on localized marketing on May 24, 2018. Photo by Sooz.

Business owners and marketers gathered at Workbar Cambridge for a Speaker Series panel on localized marketing on May 24, 2018. Photo by Sooz.

Full House, Diverse Panel

Congregating around 100 attendees, the panel moderated by VentureFizz editor Colin Barry featured Drift’s Daniel Murphy, Yelp’s Director of Marketing and the company’s only Boston-based staff member Damien Smith, Armandina Cueva, a Global Marketing Operations Producer at Netflix, and Eric Grove, cofounder of social media platform for local businesses Alignable.

Boston’s Unique Small Business Environment

Known for centuries as a hub for top-of-the-line higher education, the Boston small business and startup community has developed a similar reputation in the recent years. With highly-trained talent and plenty of resources in the form of incubators, mentors, digital tools, panels and workshops, Boston proves to be a special location to start a business.

What makes Boston unique is the experiential marketing opportunities you are given. You’re not only selling a product or service, you are selling an experience. Boston is full of these cool little pockets like JP [Jamaica Plain], Somerville, Cambridge; it’s full of great experiences small business can leverage.
— Damien Smith, Yelp
Our demographic in Boston are early adopters. Here, people are always ready to align with the latest technologies, more than in order places. That makes the business environment in this city unique.
— Daniel Murphy, Drift

Building Connections with Other Small Businesses

During the event, the panelists focused on providing general advice that can prove valuable to local businesses in a variety of industries, and one of the most import tips was devoting time to build connections with other small business owners. Those connections, from a simple introduction and business card exchange to a joint digital marketing campaign, can turn things around in a local ecosystem.

Eric Groves’s platform Alignable does just that – giving small business owners the opportunity to create profiles, send referrals and establish connections with other owners in the area. For him, community and collaboration, instead of fierce competition, have proven to be help local businesses succeed.

It’s very simple to break the ice if you’re genuine. You can connect with other small business owners by literally crossing the street to say hi. That interaction might turn into partnerships, and you are becoming part of a connected community
— Eric Groves
I’ve worked in a lot of places where the marketing budget was very small. In these cases, building partnerships is key. Start doing joint campaigns with other local businesses, promote your products and share your customers.
— Armandina Cueva, Netflix
 Networking, note-taking and rich conversation among the panel attendees.  Photo by Sooz.

Networking, note-taking and rich conversation among the panel attendees. 
Photo by Sooz.

Should Small Businesses Have an Online Presence?  

When talking about the importance of a business’s digital footprint, the panelists offered insightful contributions to help owners determine how much time and effort to devote to creating a website, building social media profiles and interacting with customers online.

Yelp’s Damien Smith shared that if a business has customers who are predominantly active online, then the business must have a solid presence.

Having a business is like being on an island. If the island gives you everything you need, you don’t need a boat, but it’s a good idea to have one. It’s the same with a website. Always a good idea to have one.
— Damien Smith, Yelp

Touching upon the close relationship consumers have with technology, Armandina Cueva explained it is likely for a business to lose credibility in front of certain audiences it if does not have some kind of online presence.


Hiring for Diversity in the Tech Industry

Elaborating on the connection between race and professional success, panelist Stephanie Castaños, a Relations Manager at Resilient Coders, shared that while organizations like hers, that help folks gain professional skills to enter the workforce, the power to change how society operates around race and income ultimately lays in the hiring businesses.

These days we are always googling things, we always want to know more about the businesses trying to connect with us. If you don’t have a website, some users will start questioning the authenticity of the business.
— Armandina Cueva, Netflix

The Value of Reviews and Word of Mouth

Additionally to having a website and social media profiles, another key pillar to digital presence for small businesses is managing online customer reviews. For Yelp’s Damien Smith, reviews, even negative ones, give businesses the opportunity to connect with their clients directly and show that they care about the feedback they are getting.

Moreover, he reported that Yelp users often edit negative reviews to add more stars after a business has responded to them.

If you engage in the conversation, you get closer to your customers. Even the ones who did not have the best experience will appreciate that you take time to acknowledge their concerns. Always interact, never ignore.
— Damien Smith, Yelp
Starting a conversation with your followers is much more valuable than seeking a specific open or click rate. If you are not learning from the people who are interested in your business, how are you going to become a better marketer?
— Daniel Murphy, Drift

And on the other hand, small business benefit every day from referrals and word of mouth. The four panelists agreed that for businesses to get loyal customers, who become ambassadors of their brand, good customer service and authenticity are crucial.

Mistakes Small Businesses Should Avoid

To close the discussion, the panelist shared advice on how small business owners can avoid common, easy-to-fix mistakes.

 Workbar's monthly Speaker Series event brought in top marketers from Drift, Yelp, Netflix and Alignable. VentureFizz's editor Colin Barry moderated the discussion. 

Workbar's monthly Speaker Series event brought in top marketers from Drift, Yelp, Netflix and Alignable. VentureFizz's editor Colin Barry moderated the discussion. 

Business owners often make the mistake of thinking marketing is sales. Marketing your business and having people love your brand is a long-term process. It doesn’t always translates into immediate sales, yet it’s very valuable.
— Armandina Cueva, Netflix
Incentivizing reviews online is always bad. Trying to force or speed up the process of people talking about your business will fire back. It’s a process that should happen naturally.
— Damien Smith, Yelp
A big mistake businesses make is thinking digital is all what matters. Just because I spend 8-10 hours/day in front of a screen it doesn’t mean that content is what resonates most. I keep talking about this ad I saw in a magazine.
— Daniel Murphy, Drift

As intimidating as starting your own business can be, entrepreneurs who decide to pursue this venture always learn valuable lessons along the way – the most important one, perhaps, that no one has all the answers, and that seeking advice, building a supportive community and adapting a trial-and-error approach can lead to greatness.


Workbar Speaker Series is a monthly event that connects local innovators and leaders in the Boston community and offers an interactive space for discussion, conversation and networking. With different topics and speakers each session, the event looks inspire attendees with insightful contributions and to create a positive footprint in the innovation scene.

Join us this June 28th for our next Speaker Series Panel: Exploring Blockchain.

Workbar Partners with Accelerate, Wentworth Innovation + Entrepreneurship Center
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BOSTON - Accelerate, Wentworth Innovation + Entrepreneurship Center today announced a partnership with Workbar that allows Accelerate students the chance to immerse themselves into one of Boston's premier coworking communities and to propel their startup ideas forward. During this one-year pilot program, Accelerate students will have access to Workbar Back Bay's facilities, its member community and will be able to explore co-op opportunities with Workbar member organizations, among other benefits.

"This pilot installs a deliberate bridge from the educational community to the innovation/startup ecosystem in Boston and places Accelerate students into an environment where they see entrepreneurs in action," said Monique Fuchs, associate vice president of innovation + entrepreneurship at Wentworth Institute of Technology. "We are thrilled to have Workbar as Accelerate's first coworking partner and can't wait for our students to expand their networks, find potential mentors and advisors, get involved with member companies, and continue to build their entrepreneurial mindset and skills."

Additionally, Workbar will provide Accelerate with state-of-the-art meeting/event space to host programs such as HotSeat and PitchRound events, where student teams pitch their startup ideas to mentors and judges to receive advice, feedback and possible funding. Workbar will also host Accelerate ThinkTanks, such as the recent "Future of Our Cities | Converging Generations" ThinkTank. The event convened industry thought leaders, Wentworth students and faculty across disciplines to explore future societal challenges that cities will be facing.

"We're excited to welcome Wentworth Accelerate's young innovators to the Workbar community," said Devin Cole, Head of Community at Workbar. "As entrepreneurs ourselves, we know a strong ecosystem is all-important, creating opportunities for support, mentorship, beta testing, funding and new customers. By integrating Accelerate students into the Workbar community, Accelerate has put them in the best possible position to succeed, while also enriching our community with new ideas and energy."

The pilot program also includes mentorship and Workbar programming for Accelerate students, classes taught by Wentworth faculty that are open to members and a 10% membership discount for alumni.

"As businesses increasingly place a priority on experiential education, this pilot program between Accelerate and Workbar will catalyze the development of 'work ready' graduates that employers have come to expect from Wentworth students," said David Mareira, Wentworth Institute of Technology's Executive in Residence of Business Management.

 

ABOUT ACCELERATE, WENTWORTH INNOVATION + ENTREPRENEURSHIP CENTER

Accelerate, Wentworth Innovation + Entrepreneurship Center, was formed in May 2012 to build innovative thinking and entrepreneurial confidence among students impacting their career choices and success. The mission of the center is to prepare students with critical competencies for today's competitive work environment. The center's focus on experiential learning allows students to gain experience in idea iteration, prototyping, building confidence by taking risks with small projects and big ideas, see the bigger picture and solve real-world problems. The center promotes interdisciplinary collaboration and intentional networking among students, alumni, industry, and the Boston community. To learn more, visit http://www.wit.edu/accelerate/

ABOUT WORKBAR

Workbar is Boston's original coworking space, with eight locations throughout Greater Boston, including South StationCambridgeSomervilleDanversNorwoodBrighton, and Arlington and partnerships with 12 more coworking sites across the state. The network of shared workspaces offers a "hub-and-spoke" system for people whose work takes them all over the region. Workbar caters to small businesses, freelancers, entrepreneurs, startups, and corporate clients with remote teams looking for an affordable, flexible place to work and to meet with clients and other like-minded professionals. With professionally-managed space and top-tier office amenities, Workbar coworking spaces are built with the connections needed to inspire, provoke, and ignite productivity and passion.

Social Innovators Come to Cambridge for Workbar Speaker Series Panel Moderated by Tito Jackson

Photos by Workbar Member Sooz

Anyone who has explored the business scene in Boston knows the city enjoys many features that make success more achievable for entrepreneurs, such as great talent coming from some of the world’s best universities, plenty of capital and willing investors and a progressive local government that supports innovation initiatives.

However, even in a city where the innovation scene is growing and evolving every day, a number of social issues are threatening progress and jeopardizing the positive impact the startup and tech world have had on the local communities.

 Tito Jackson moderates a panel featuring Justin Kang, Cullen Schwartz, Stephanie Castaños and Trish Fontanilla at Workbar Cambridge on Wednesday, April 25th. Photo by Sooz.

Tito Jackson moderates a panel featuring Justin Kang, Cullen Schwartz, Stephanie Castaños and Trish Fontanilla at Workbar Cambridge on Wednesday, April 25th. Photo by Sooz.

Rich Conversation on Social Innovation

During an interactive discussion at Workbar Cambridge moderated by former Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson, panelists Justin Kang (Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and City Awake), Cullen Schwartz (co-founder of DoneGood), Stephanie Castaños (Resilient Coders) and Trish Fontanilla (community organizer) tackled topics related to race, gender, diversity and inclusion in Boston.

Coming from diverse backgrounds and industries, the panelists shared their experience navigating Boston’s startup community and provided insight on how entrepreneurs can use business and non-profit work to build stronger, more inclusive communities.

One of my mentors once told me ‘You need to learn how to use business for social good’ and I believe it, it’s really important for organizations to find the intersection between being successful and being socially engaged.
— Stephanie Castaños

Changing Boston’s Reputation Around Race

While an attractive city for students and professionals because of its thriving business environment and famous academic institutions, Boston is also a destination that presents challenges to people of color. Speaking about Boston’s talent retention among millenials, Justin Kang explained that one of the top reasons why young people leave the city is because of its reputation of being racist.

The biggest challenge to social and civic innovation in this city is the negative reputation of Boston around race. It’s something that is affecting the brand of the city, it’s affecting business and it’s keeping us from moving forward.
— Justin Kang

Pay Disparity Hurting Minorities  

Speaking about the challenges facing minorities in the workforce in Boston, moderator Tito Jackson noted that the pay disparity between residents of the Back Bay neighborhood, historically one of the wealthiest in the city, and Roxubury, a predominantly African American and Latino neighborhood, is directly impacting people’s health.

Roxbury and Back Bay are about two miles apart. Life expectancy in Back Bay is almost 92. In Roxbury, it’s 59. That is lower than life expectancy in Congo and some other countries in Africa.
— Tito Jackson
 Former Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson speaks with a member of the audience before the panel. Photo by Sooz.

Former Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson speaks with a member of the audience before the panel.
Photo by Sooz.

The statistic supports the idea that underserved communities in Boston are yet to benefit from the city’s thriving tech and startup environment. However, there are local organizations working diligently to close the gap and help minorities gain professional development and grow their income. A great example: Resilient Coders, a non-profit that teaches people of color how to code and helps them find internships and apprenticeships in tech companies.


Hiring for Diversity in the Tech Industry

Elaborating on the connection between race and professional success, panelist Stephanie Castaños, a Relations Manager at Resilient Coders, shared that while organizations like hers, that help folks gain professional skills to enter the workforce, the power to change how society operates around race and income ultimately lays in the hiring businesses.

If you have a company, it doesn’t end with hiring a diverse team, if you hire a person of color, a woman, you now have to offer opportunities to help them become leaders, to advance their career and potentially earn more money.
— Stephanie Castaños

Advice to Aspiring Social Innovators and Entrepreneurs

When asked what makes a good social innovator, the panelists agreed that caring about the issue you are a trying to solve with your business should be priority number one, and that in order to fix a social problem, one needs to be ready to fully commit.  

Starting something is really hard. Entrepreneurs struggle all the time. What keeps us going is the idea that what we are doing is the single most important thing in the world. So you need to make sure you find that thing.
— Cullen Schwartz
Social media is great for sharing ideas, but for me, the really important thing to reach progress is to show up for the cause. You can’t think that you clicked ‘retweet’ and your work is done. Today we are seeing marches and protests and people actually committing and showing up to fight for change.
— Trish Fontanilla
The most important traits in entrepreneurship and social innovation are humility and empathy.
— Justin Kang

Workbar Speaker Series is a monthly event that connects local innovators and leaders in the Boston community and offers an interactive space for discussion, conversation and networking. With different topics and speakers each session, the event looks inspire attendees with insightful contributions and to create a positive footprint in the innovation scene.

Join us this May 24th for a Speaker Series Panel on The New Age of Localized Marketing.

Workbar Awarded Prestigious WELL Certification
 

Workbar’s newest location in Boston officially awarded WELL Certification by IWBI ; first coworking space to receive this designation

 BOSTON, MA (April 23, 2018) – Workbar, a Massachusetts-based coworking and office space company announced today that its newest workspace in Boston’s Back Bay, designed by Analogue Studio, has been awarded WELL Certification by the International WELL Building Institute.

The distinction was awarded through IWBI’s WELL Building Standard (WELL), which is the premier building standard to focus on enhancing people’s health and wellness through the buildings where people live, work and play. The 11,000-square foot space can accommodate up to 300 coworking members and features Workbar’s signature neighborhoods designed to meet the needs of different work styles.

 

Photos by Anton Grassl

 

“Workbar’s vision of the ideal coworking space goes far beyond providing cool furniture, advanced tech, and free snacks. We create environments in which individuals and businesses forge healthy, productive, and innovative communities where people connect and great things happen. Earning this WELL certification is the culmination of our efforts to provide an unparalleled coworking experience.” - Bill Jacobson, CEO of Workbar.

"Analogue Studio’s workspace design is driven by the belief that thoughtful, holistic design can advance human well-being and productivity. This approach to designing the complete experience is what attracted Workbar to us in 2012 when our partnership began," said Vince Pan, Founder and Principal of Analogue Studio. "Since then, Workbar and Analogue Studio have collaborated to create a member experience that is focused on taking care of people and enriching their lives rather than securing investment or chasing design trends. This core value drives every design decision and aligns closely with WELL standards - making the adoption of WELL a natural fit."

Created through seven years of rigorous research and development working with leading physicians, scientists, and industry professionals, the WELL Building Standard is a performance-based certification system that marries best practices in design and construction with evidence-based scientific research. Workbar Back Bay earned the distinction based on seven categories of building performance— Air, Water, Light, Nourishment, Fitness, Comfort and Mind —and achieved a Silver level rating.

Project features that helped Workbar Back Bay achieve its WELL Certified Silver Rating include:                                                                   

  • Cutting-Edge Smart-Lighting Systems
  • WELL-managed energy efficiency and water conservation
  • Smart heating and cooling sensors that adjust room temperatures based upon the number of occupants in the room
  • Healthy materials, finishes and furniture with little to no Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Ultra-modern construction pollution management systems
  • Water filtration system
  • Environmentally-safe cleaning products

“As a coworking space, Workbar is dedicated to creating motivational and productive work environments," says IWBI Chairman and CEO Rick Fedrizzi. "Its achievement of WELL Certification in Boston's Back Bay office has deepened Workbar's commitment to productivity and growth, promoting the health and well-being of all of its clients."

Steps from Boston’s Public Garden and Newbury Street, Workbar Back Bay offers offers a functional neighborhood-style open plan design, ten private offices, ten phone rooms, nine conference rooms, a Café, multiple breakout meeting spaces, a podcast recording room, and free access to the location’s gym.In partnership with Analogue Studio, Osram, and Equity Office, Workbar Back Bay incorporates wellness features into seven concepts: air, mind, water, nourishment, light, fitness, and comfort.

WELL is grounded in a body of evidence-based research that explores the connection between the buildings where we spend approximately 90 percent of our time, and the health and wellness impacts on us as occupants of these buildings. To be awarded WELL Certification by IWBI, Workbar Back Bay underwent rigorous testing and a final evaluation carried out by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), which is the third-party certification body for WELL, to ensure it met all WELL Certified Silver performance requirements.

 

Tour Workbar Back Bay

 

 
 

About Workbar:
Workbar is Boston's original coworking space, with eight existing locations throughout Greater Boston, including Back Bay, South Station, Cambridge, Somerville, Danvers, Norwood, Brighton and Arlington, and partnerships with 12 more coworking sites across the state. The network of shared workspaces offers a “hub-and-spoke” system for people whose work takes them all over the region. Workbar caters to small businesses, freelancers, entrepreneurs, startups, and corporate clients with remote teams looking for an affordable, flexible place to work and to meet with clients and other like-minded professionals. With professionally managed space and top-tier office amenities, Workbar coworking spaces are built with the connections needed to inspire, provoke, and ignite productivity and passion.

About Analogue Studio:
Analogue Studio creates experiences that foster innovation, learning, and culture. We are an interdisciplinary studio that believes all forms of design have the power to solve problems and unleash possibility. Our projects are more than the solutions we develop; they are the relationships we build. We are fortunate to work with leading innovators, educators, and tastemakers to bring their ideas to life – and we are just as proud of the award-winning workplaces, campus centers, and restaurants that we have designed as we are of the brands, products, and graphics that we have created.

Workbar Press Inquiries:

Please Email: Press@Workbar.com

 
4 Proven Strategies to Recruit Your Future Millennial Staff Via Social Media
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From growing your business to hiring new staff, social media is a tool you can utilize if you know the right strategies.

Employing social media is key to finding today's best talent, because studies show that 86 percent of working people now use it to look for their next job. If you are looking for talented Millennials, social media platforms are where they are every day. But how do you effectively reach and recruit them?

Here's what you need to know about this new and constantly changing market in order to manage your hiring strategies better.

1. Be "Legit"

Don't try to have a cool persona online -- Millennials are good at spotting fakes. In this day and age, authenticity is what will attract them. Just ensure that your company culture is something worth sharing. You don't necessarily need to have a "fun" workplace, but you can highlight other things that they place priority on. For example, flexible hours will appeal to millennials who want to have an ideal work-life balance.

2. Use the Platforms They Are Already On

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You are more likely to find Millennials on Snapchat or Instagram rather than LinkedIn. Instagram stories are forecast to become huge in 2018, so create your hiring strategy around a plan that will catch their attention there. It's important that your hiring ad is clear. Always include important info, the HR contacts and an easy way to connect with your company.

3. Make Use of Facebook's Targeted Ads

Facebook was once just a social playground for the digitally connected. Now, more professionals are using it to grow their businesses. That's why more than 54 percent of recruiters look there when hiring. You can utilize the Targeted Ads feature, and the fees are a drop in the bucket compared to commercial advertising rates. Besides being cost-effective, you can fine-tune your audience to be exactly the kind of Millennials you need to target. For example, you can find those within a specified distance range or ones with relevant skills and interests.

4. Use Appealing Visuals

Many Millennials love video, memes and animated infographics. You can use a simple yet attractively designed poster as a clear advertisement for potential candidates. If you have current employees who can share your hiring ad within their social circles as well, this will be appealing.

With their new economic leverage and digital competence, the younger generation is proving they can be great assets to the companies they work with. And with technology at our fingertips, it's never been easier to hire the right people.

 

Lower Your Costs Using a Coworking Space for Your Next Hire
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In the past, having a business usually meant having an office. A lease on commercial real estate was a huge expense and a barrier to entry. The cost of having a private office at a suitable location affected every business decision from hiring to product development. But traditional offices are the the only option when considering a workspace anymore.

Disrupting the system

Business models have changed and with them, the workplace has changed. Operating with a distributed workforce, across town or across time zones, is the new normal. That's why so many businesses from all sizes and entrepreneurs have turned to low-cost, low-commitment coworking spaces to significantly reduce their costs and allow more revenue to pass through into profits.

Professionalism On-Demand

Coworking spaces open up cash flow by costing much less than a traditional lease for a private office and free business owners from the costs of dealing with a real estate company.

Placing new employees in a coworking space also allows you to be more flexible. You can grow at your own pace when you have the freedom to scale up or down operations as needed. Additional cost savings come from not having to pay for utilities, wifi, printer maintenance, coffee, as these are all included in the fee you pay to place your employees in a coworking space.


Interested in Coworking in the Boston Area?


A collaborative space to grow

As a part of the larger trend of sharing economies, coworking spaces allow everyone to split the costs of higher quality materials. Business owners get to allocate rent expense over to profits or reinvestment in the business. Meanwhile, workers get to work more productively while interacting with professionals from other companies, attending free events at the space and building meaningful relations.

So, in the end, it's not just about the cost savings. Coworking spaces attract a community of like-minded workers where collaborations thrive and new connections are made daily. Think of it as a permanent innovation incubator, where the enterprises of tomorrow are born and serendipity is a way of life.

Options for All Work Styles and Budgets

The coworking trend has grown and evolved significantly in the recent years. Coworking no longer no longer means solo-entrepreneurs sharing desks and good wifi at an communal office. Today, coworking spaces offer business solutions designed to assess a variety of needs – from private offices for small teams within a shared location to dedicated desks that can only be used by the owning member. And because of this flexibly of services organizations of all sizes – from startups to Fortune 500 companies – are moving towards coworking as an option to lower cost of operations and provide additional perks to its employees. 

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Prime Locations around Boston

Coworking spaces also offer workers the possibility of having a desk at a prime location in a city. Your next hire could have a prime address at the center of everything in downtown Boston with a desk at Workbar Back Bay at an affordable rate. They will even enjoy awesome views and all the business necessities from free office supplies to bottomless mugs of coffee. Or they could be based closer to the intellectual center between Harvard and MIT in Workbar Cambridge.

Level Up

If you are looking to explore how coworking can contribute to the success of your business while reducing your operating costs, contact Workbar to find out more about coworking locations, membership options and perks.

Workbar’s New Broker Partnership Program Offers Completely Customizable Workspace Solutions for Companies of All Sizes
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Workbar, Boston’s coworking space trailblazer, has introduced a Broker Partnership Program for advisors working with clients seeking flexible, nontraditional office space in the Greater Boston area. With this program, brokers can now be compensated for placing those customers at Workbar.

Open to all brokers, this program offers fully-customizable office solutions for companies of all sizes, including access to locations throughout the region in both urban and suburban markets, as well as the opportunity to participate in Boston’s innovation economy through hosting corporate meetings and events in their spaces.

Over the last decade, Workbar has been the go-to solution for an expansive network of companies ranging from early-stage startups to enterprise corporations seeking innovative workspace options for their employees.

Workbar’s “multi-access” membership model, the cornerstone of its Hub and Spoke approach, is considered an attractive selling point for companies looking to offer their employees a more flexible work routine. With a Workbar membership, companies can offer their employees the ability to access and work out of any one of their 8 locations, including meeting room time, free WiFi, exclusive member perks, and discounts.

“Flexible office space is emerging as a really popular employee amenity for companies of all sizes,” said Sarah Travers, head of business development for Workbar. “We recognize there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution, so we’re setting the standard with completely customizable workspace solutions that can be designed to meet the very specific needs of every company we work with, from national corporations to growing startups.”


Need Office Space for Enterprise Teams?


About Workbar

Workbar is Boston's original coworking space, with eight locations throughout Greater Boston, including South Station, Cambridge, Somerville, Danvers, Norwood, Brighton, and Arlington and partnerships with 12 more coworking sites across the state. The network of shared workspaces offers a “hub-and-spoke” system for people whose work takes them all over the region. Workbar caters to small businesses, freelancers, entrepreneurs, startups, and corporate clients with remote teams looking for an affordable, flexible place to work and to meet with clients and other like-minded professionals. With professionally-managed space and top-tier office amenities, Workbar coworking spaces are built with the connections needed to inspire, provoke, and ignite productivity and passion.


Looking for Office Space for Startups?


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6 Tips on Choosing the Best Long-Tail Keywords for Your SEO Strategy
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Long-tail keywords are the wave of the future. Not only does Google favor sites that utilize them, but you can use them to break into untapped markets. Everyone from freelancers to small business owners will need to understand these keywords in 2018. Find out the best ways to find the right long-tail keywords for your website.

1. Google Keyword Planner

The Google Keyword Planner is an oldie but a goodie. It should be the first stop for your long-tail keyword strategy. Simply go to the planner, plug in your desired keyword and press long-tail keywords.

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2. Natural-Language Keywords

Google has announced that keywords optimized for voice assistants will rank higher. This means that you'll need to optimize your SEO for the way people naturally speak. Long-tail keywords are the best way to do this, as people naturally ask questions in long sentences--rather than short, choppy buzzwords.

3. Competitor Analysis

The best part about SEO is that you don't need to reinvent the wheel to find keywords; you can simply take ideas from your competitors'. Use a tool like SEMrush to find out what long-tail keywords your competitors are targeting. Choose ones that your competitors don't rank very high and create quality content around them. You’ll be ranking better than them in no time.


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4. Low-Volume Keywords

Take advantage of low-competition keywords. These are the keywords that aren't utilized on many blogs. They often don't have a high traffic rate. Yet, you'll have the market on these words if you can incorporate them into your web pages efficiently.

5. Answer the Public

Answer the Public is a great way to find Q&A long-tail keywords. All you need to do is plug in your keyword and press the button, and you'll get dozens of long-tail words that related to your desired keyword. The main difference with this site is that all the keywords are in question form--which makes for great FAQ or Q&A pages.

6. Google Suggest

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Google Suggest is one of the easiest ways to find keywords. You don't need any special apps or subscriptions to find them either. All you need to do is start typing your desired keyword into the Google search bar to see what long-tail suggestions pop up. Google will already have them formatted in natural speech for you.

Using these tips and tools, you will find it easy to upgrade your SEO strategy using the long-tail keywords that make sense for your business.


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