Are You Worried People Will Steal Your Clients or Employees Through LinkedIn?

Written by Jason Terry

Hello friends!  It’s time for another blog post from Blue Gurus about LinkedIn.  For those of you that don’t know, we do LinkedIn training for sales teams all over Kansas City.  And because of that, we get all kinds of questions.  Some of those questions we hear more often than others, and one of them is, “should I connect to my clients or employees on LinkedIn?  I am worried that our competitors might steal them if they knew we were connected.”  We get this question more often than you might think, especially from business owners.

Will They Steal My Clients or Employees?

My answer to this question is that as long as you are taking care of your clients and your employees you have nothing to worry about.  If they do leave, it’s probably something that’s outside of your control anyway.  Let me explain my perspective a bit. Read more

3 Business Trends (I’m Thrilled About) That Are Coming Soon

Post author: Mic Johnson

There are a few things I’ve been thinking about for quite some time that need to (and I believe will) happen in the business world. I’m not exactly sure when the transition will reach “there’s no turning back now” status, but I’m confident that it’s going to. If I had to guess, I would say (optimistically) we’ll start seeing the pendulum swing further in the direction of the items mentioned below in the next 3-5 years.

(Small caveat: When I’m talking about generations below, I’m generalizing. Many of us have a blend of generational characteristics. In fact, I’ve long referred to myself as a GenX’er With Y Tendencies. Ask me why the next time you see me and I’ll explain.)ComingSoon

1. More women (finally) in leadership positions.

Women are moving toward the glass ceiling and have hammers in BOTH hands (and maybe a spare or two in their purses). Just a few recent examples include:

There are 100 women in Congress for the first time ever.

The American Legion has appointed it’s first-ever female Executive Director.

Women are now 33% more likely than men to earn college degrees.

This TED Talk by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on “Why we have too few women leaders” has nearly 5 million views.

Elise Stefanik became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

And one of my favorites….There’s a Girl Scout troop teaching girls to be CEOs.

I’ve talked with my wife Missy and several other women about some of the things they’ve had to put up with in their careers and it blows my mind. Even worse, there was an unspoken, reluctant acceptance that it’s just something that women have had to deal with if they wanted to advance in their careers.

I have a strong sense that more and more women aren’t going to put up with this much longer. And when they get to those positions of leadership after playing the game for so long, they’re going to change the rules of the game…and, in many instances, they’ll be even more effective than the men they’re replacing.

2. The Death of Old School Cultures

Old school cultures, led by old school (predominately white) men, being forced to (finally) change because Millennials (and increasingly more Gen X’ers) won’t work for them or buy from them.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had conversations with people about this topic. Everyone rolls their eyes and shakes their head knowingly. We’ve all been around cultures and people like this.

So why do we stand for it?

If we’re honest with each other, people have put up with this BS for decades because they’re afraid of losing their jobs and are afraid to speak truth to power. And to make matters worse, many in power surround themselves with people who won’t question them and carelessly build cultures where people don’t have a voice.

So one bad decision leads to another, and another, and another. Eventually, the culture begins to implode on itself. We’re going to see a lot more of this in years to come in businesses that have gotten away with old school, ineffective cultures for far too long.

3. Increased Entrepreneurship

It’s already happening, but we’ll see increased entrepreneurship among GenX’ers and Millennials if/when old school cultures don’t change. I have many friends who have been at companies for several years now (or hopped from bad culture to bad culture), putting up with way more than any employee should ever have to, and who are disillusioned or on the path to disillusionment.

Something seems to happen when you hit 40 (or even earlier for some of the lucky ones). You start to question…

“Is this it?”

“Is this why I’ve worked so hard?”

“So that I can do the same stupid/boring job working for the same people who don’t listen and who don’t ask for or value my input?”

Millennials won’t make the same mistake as many of the GenX’ers before them, even it means they have to live at home a little while longer instead of working for a company culture and leadership that suck.

Bottom Line

The rarely mentioned GenX’ers (yes I’m one of them and yes I’m tired of our generation being ignored) weren’t a big enough group with a big enough voice to force this much needed and long overdue collective evolution.

That’s not the case with Millennials. As soon as they hit their stride as a generation (and it will happen), big changes will soon follow. We’re already starting to see ripples in the water. Eventually, they will become waves. For businesses, governments, and for Boomers and Gen X’ers, the choice is clear:

Get on board and ride the waves…or grab a life preserver and hope for the best.

3 Ways That Blogging Will Help You Grow Your Business and Increase Your Reputation

Hi friends!  It’s Jason this week talking about how important blogging is for your business and reputation.

I use the word “blogging” a lot in this post.  It’s a common term to describe the process of telling stories.  I know we’d agree that growing your business and reputation is driven by relationships and keeping those relationships engaged.  Creating relationships and maintaining relationships happens all day long.  Coffees, lunches, chamber events, social outings, sales calls, and interviews are just a few of the ways that we connect with people as we do business.

When we connect, we end up telling each other stories.  We laugh.  We cry.  We joke.  We’re shocked.  We’re amazed.  These emotional responses to stories are what build relationships and keep those relationships alive.

If I had to choose the most important thing that has helped me succeed in business, it would be that I really care about my relationships with people.  About making a positive difference in their lives.  And staying engaged with them through storytelling.

Here are 3 ways that blogging will help your business grow and increase your reputation

1) Blogging Will Get You More Referrals

Blogging - ReferralsMake a list of all the new clients you’ve earned in 2014.  Next to each name write down how you got that client.  For many businesses, new business is found through a referral from a peer or existing client.  Someone told them they should talk to you.  And they did.  And you impressed them somehow.  They believed that you would do what you said you would do for the price that you quoted.

I hope you agree that a big part of that belief comes from the trust they have in their friend that referred them to you.  Their friend wouldn’t have referred you in the first place if they didn’t trust you or have personal experience with you successfully delivering for them previously.

If a major portion of your new business is from referrals, it makes complete sense that you should do all you can to stay top of mind with your referral partners.  Coffees, lunches, golf tournaments and networking events are great ways to stay top of mind, but they do take time.  And the focus in these types of situations is usually on one person or just a few people.

With blogging, social media and email newsletters, you can tell your story on your website and get that story in front of people throughout the week.  It super charges your efforts to stay top of mind with people that will refer you business.  There is no question that it works… we have been helping companies do this successfully for years.

2) Blogging Will Strengthen Relationships With Your Current Clients

How often do you talk to your current clients?  Monthly when invoices go out?  Coffee at policy renewal time?  Lunch during the holidays to say thank you?  Whether you are a small business with dozens of clients or a larger business with hundreds of clients, it is a challenge to stay in touch with them.  You still need to fit in the coffees and lunches, but you could dramatically increase the number of times you “touch” a client throughout the year by blogging.

By telling your stories every week, you will end up letting your customers know all about you and your company.  They get to virtually meet your new team members when you write a profile blog post about them.  They get to see that you completed a great project for someone that they know.  (They might even realize that there is a product or service you have that they want when you tell that story!)  They get to learn something new or relevant when you talk about a topic in your industry.

The result is that you can stay in touch with your clients by blogging and getting the word out through social media and email.  It will reinforce their relationship with you and remind them why they chose to do business with you in the first place.

3) Blogging Can Impress Potential Customers And Help Close The Deal

I’m not sure if you have competition for your products or services, but most companies do.  Let’s say you’re an insurance company, a bank or an IT support company.  You have competition.  And the real truth may be that you and your competition are all selling the same thing.  You broker the same insurance policies.  You have checking and savings accounts with competitive rates.  You provide great IT support and keep networks up and running.

When you are selling basically the same product or service, the buying decision is definitely influenced by relationship.  They want to work with someone they trust.  Someone that is going to be there for them.  Someone that they like.

Blogging - Close The DealIf they have three proposals in front of them offering basically the same services for the same price, who are they going to choose?  If they do their homework, they will check out your LinkedIn profiles.  One person has no picture and 40 connections.  The next person has a great picture but the summary sounds like a resume and doesn’t feel “human”.  Your profile has a great picture, you have a couple hundred connections, and your summary tells a personal story of your professional journey.  The natural reaction is that they will trust you more than the other people.  They will have started to lean towards you because you seem like you have it together, work with a bunch of people and took the time to show that off professionally.

Next, they will check out your website.  The first person’s website looks like it was created in 1997 and the copyright at the bottom of the site proves it.  The next person has a beautiful website, but it is basically their sales brochure on the web.  Your website is beautiful as well, but you have the most recent blog posts on your home page.  They tell real stories about your clients, your people and what you care about.  They get a feel for you and your company because of these stories.  This reinforces their feelings that you are a good company that can deliver, and that can definitely help close the deal.

Conclusion

There are so many other ways blogging can help your business grow.  It can improve internal communication and ultimately make your team even more proud to work at your company.  It can  help you hire better people that check out your website during the hiring process.  It can prove that you and your team are subject matter experts in your field.  It can show people that you are a company made up of good people that will be able to help them.

There is no question that blogging is here to stay.  If you aren’t doing it, I hope this gets you thinking about why you should be doing it.  If you need help, give us a call.  That’s what we do for companies all over Kansas City.

#BeRoyalKC: Oh Yes…It’s A Great Time To Be In Kansas City!

Post author: Mic Johnson

Can you feel it? Can you feel the energy and buzz throughout the entire city? Unless you don’t have a pulse, of course you can!

I’ve been in Kansas City since 1994 and have never seen, or felt, anything like it. Yes, it’s a great time to be in Kansas City. And all of the things we locals have known for years are now on display for the entire world to see.

With that in mind, I wanted to share some of my thoughts on just how PUMPED I am about all of the cool things going on throughout the city, starting with the…

Kansas City Royals

MicandMissyRoyalThere’s absolutely no debating this one. The Kansas City Royals, in the playoffs for the first time in 29 years, is the best story in town. Scratch that, it’s the best sports-related story in the COUNTRY right now!

Outside of the three other fan bases left in the Major League playoffs, everyone is loving on our Kansas City Royals. My wife Missy and I were fortunate enough to go to the Wild Card game and Game 3 of the ALDS.

Brandon Cale Royal FountainThose were two of the most amazing experiences of our lives. I can’t even describe the energy and pride that flowed throughout Kauffman Stadium. It was a magical experience.

Yes, buildings are going blue and the fountains are too (my friend Brandon Cale, owner of The Popperazzi, took this picture of the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain). And of course Royals merchandise is flying off the shelves.

There’s no doubt about it. The Royals have brought an energy and excitement to Kansas City that I’ve never seen before.

And it’s absolutely awesome.

Kansas City Chiefs

Chiefs Kansas City loves it’s football and there are few things more enjoyable than a Kansas City Chiefs game at Arrowhead Stadium. The tailgating, the smells, the sounds, the roar of the loudest fans in the NFL….you can’t beat it.

They got off to a rough start in their home opener, but then dominated the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football…just one night after the Royals beat the Oakland A’s in the Wild Card Game.

Make no mistake: Those were two of the best back-to-back nights in Kansas City sports history.

Sporting Kansas City

SportingKCKansas City’s other “futbol” team, Sporting Kansas City, coming off of an incredibly exciting MLS Championship last season, recently clinched a spot in the playoffs.

I openly admit to not being the biggest soccer fan in the world, but I’ve gone to a few SportingKC games and they’ve been a blast every single time. If you haven’t been to a game, head out to their incredible stadium during the playoffs. You won’t regret it.

Travel & Leisure Taps Kansas City As The #3 Favorite City For 2014

Travel & Leisure Travel & Leisure had their 8th annual survey this year and picked Kansas City as the #3 Favorite City for 2014.

They gave Kansas City props for our Christmas lights, art scene, free attractions, affordability, and more.

BBQ, BBQ, And More BBQ

Joe's Kansas City logoThere are so many great BBQ places in Kansas City and the list just keeps on growing. Here are just a few, but the reality is you can rarely go wrong if you go into any BBQ joint in the city.

Joe’s Kansas City (my personal favorite)
Jack Stack
Arthur Bryant’s
Q39

Best Of Kansas City 2014

The PitchThe PITCH recently came out with their “Best of Kansas City 2014” awards.

Looking for the best doughnuts in Kansas City? What about the best hidden gem? Best florist? Best restaurant? Best bar?

They’ve got it all covered.

Nice People

It seems like everytime I talk to someone who is visiting Kansas City for the first time, they always say “The people are so nice.” And my response is always “That’s the way it’s supposed to be!”

Don’t Forget…

Also, don’t forget about the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, the Boulevard Brewing Company, the Historic City Market, the Power and Light District, and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Yes, it’s a great time to be in Kansas City. I’m so very proud to call this place home. #BeRoyalKC

What other great things are going on in Kansas City that you want people to know about? Leave a comment below to share with the rest of our readers!

Don’t Get Hacked… Three Things You Should Know About WordPress Maintenance

Hi friends!  It’s Jason with the blog post for this week.

If you are like me, you enjoy creating new things, but maybe aren’t a big fan of maintenance.  The problem is, you’ve got to do maintenance on things or they fall apart.  There are tons of analogies like maintaining your car or home.  I’m sure you know people that don’t take care of their stuff, and when it breaks, it is expensive to fix.  Even worse, it never breaks at a good time.  Life is stressful enough without having to worry about your car breaking down on the way to an important client meeting.

The same care and attention is needed to maintain a WordPress powered website.

WordPress, Themes and Plugins…

Did you know that WordPress is made up of three major parts?  The WordPress software itself, the Theme you choose that controls the look and feel of your site, and finally any Plugins that you install to give additional functionality to your site.  These three elements go hand in hand to make your website look great and work well.  It is important to keep all of these elements up to date.

1) The core WordPress software needs to be updated regularly

WordPress LogoThe core WordPress software has maintenance releases, security releases, and major releases that have new features.  These releases happen regularly throughout the year.  If you’re interested, you can see every release that has been done since WordPress began back in 2003 right here.  What this means is that you need to be applying these updates on a monthly or quarterly schedule to keep up to date.

I know it sounds tedious to stay on top of these maintenance updates, but WordPress powers more than 20% of all the websites out there and because of that it’s a popular target for hackers.  If they figure out a way to hack WordPress, they can hack a bunch of websites quickly, so they definitely focus on exploiting WordPress.  That is why keeping the WordPress software up to date is really important.

We’ve said it before, and still love Flywheel for WordPress hosting.  If you host your website with Flywheel, they do the core WordPress updates for you automatically, included in their monthly hosting fee!  Just about all of our existing clients are hosted at Flywheel because they do the core updates, guarantee against getting hacked and more.

2) Themes need to be updated regularly

Themes have come a long way.  Themes used to be fairly simple and cookie cutter looking.  Today, themes are more of a framework that give you a ton of features, look amazing, save you time and hide a lot of the complexity of coding a website layout.  Most themes are “responsive” out of the box… this means that your website will automagically change when viewed on a mobile device and be easy to navigate.

Themes are complex and have to be updated regularly to stay compatible with the core WordPress updates.  For example, the most recent release of WordPress was a major release, version 4.0.  In this version, the editor window for content has been updated to a newer version of TinyMCE.  This update broke a lot of themes and made it so you couldn’t change content in pages or posts.  Themes that are well supported by their designers will be updated to fix these kinds of problems, but the update has to be installed.

To see some of the themes we use regularly, visit the “Popular” section of WordPress themes at ThemeForest.net.

3) Plugins need to be updated regularly

Plugins are pieces of software that extend the functionality of WordPress.  Say you wanted your website to have a calendar of events.  WordPress doesn’t have something like that out of the box… but there are lots of plugins that can add that functionality to your website.  One of the plugins we like is the Google Calendar Events plugin.  This plugin lets you pull in upcoming events from a public Google Calendar.  We like this because it lets our clients update a Google calendar with all their events and then they automatically show up on their website.

Plugins have to be updated regularly so that they are in sync with the core WordPress code.  At times, major updates to the core WordPress code can break a plugin.  Also, most plugin developers add new features fairly often, and you want to be able to take advantage of those features.

The bottom line

The bottom line is that WordPress is an amazing content management system for powering websites.  WordPress is a combination of core software, themes and plugins that hide the complexity of website development from the end user.  But with all good things, you have to keep WordPress, themes and plugins up to date and in sync so that they work properly and are secure from hacking.

Meet Selective Site Consultants…Our Latest LinkedIn And Website Success Story

Post author: Mic Johnson

“Jason and Mic really rolled up their sleeves and dove into updating our website. They literally sat in our office until the job was done. Our website is now simple, clean and interactive. Nice work Blue Gurus!”

Terry Super, Principal

“At first I was skeptical…a new website built and launched in 2 days? After holding us accountable for content, that is exactly how much time it took to get up and going. Blue Gurus cut through all of the runaround, delays and change orders. They got it done.”

David Saab, Vice President

“I didn’t expect to have a new site it 2 days and I really didn’t expect to know how to change anything when it was completed. I’m so glad Jason and Mic changed my expectations. Now my job is simplified because I can update, create, and change content on our website to make sure we are current, and I can do it from the convenience of my own desk! If you want above and beyond, call Blue Gurus.”

Abi Schwaller, Marketing and Communications Coordinator

“LinkedIn was one of those tools we all looked at like it was an afterthought. Since the training from Blue Gurus, we have expanded our contacts, client base and geographical reach. It’s not Facebook…it’s not a toy. Blue Gurus changed our LinkedIn perspective and now it’s part of our marketing and communications best practices.”

David Saab, Vice President

ssc Comments like these are what Jason and I live for. It’s what’s kept us waking up enthusiastically for almost 6 years to do great work…for great people….throughout Kansas City. We love helping people and we love exceeding expectations.

I want to tell you a little bit more about how the work we did with Selective Site Consultants (SSC) came to be. As is often the case, it’s all about relationships.

SSC offers site acquisition, entitlements, engineering, project management, construction management, and architectural services. They’re also developing leading edge solutions in renewable energy and infrastructure security.

I met David Saab years ago through our mutual friend Chuck Schimmel. At some point along the way, David and I connected on LinkedIn. We hadn’t seen or talked to each other in years, but he saw the blog posts I routinely publish through LinkedIn and decided to reach out. He wanted to know more about what it was Blue Gurus did and how we might be able to help SSC.

So we met one day for lunch at Bo Lings (yum!) in Overland Park and I proceeded to explain that Blue Gurus builds WordPress websites and how we’re typically done in 2-3 full business days. I went on to explain that we also do LinkedIn training for sales teams. And finally I told him how we were helping several companies execute their weekly blog strategy.

David liked what he heard and told me that the next step would be for me to meet with their Executive Team to educate them on what we do and to answer their questions about process, pricing, and the like. I went to that meeting and we had a great conversation.

It was clear to me that the team was unhappy with their existing website and they wanted to learn more about how LinkedIn and consistent blogging could help their business. It was also clear to me that very quickly we established a mutual trust and respect for one other. A few days later, David asked me to send a proposal for all 3 services we discussed.

One thing led to another and a few weeks later Jason and I did LinkedIn training for 10 people on their team. We had a couple of great sessions and the team did a nice job of updating their LinkedIn profiles and committing to the process of using LinkedIn more effectively ongoing.

A few weeks after that, we were back in the SSC offices working on the new website. We scheduled 2 full day sessions, got their web hosting account set up at Flywheel (who we LOVE, btw!), and worked closely with David and Abi to get the content and layout just the way they wanted it. It was a total collaborative team effort…and it was awesome!

The project, as is usually the case, was efficient and ran smoothly. We routinely tell people that if you come ready with your content (text, images, PDF’s, etc.) we will get the website built and launched in a way that no one else in Kansas City does.

And that’s exactly what we did….and we’re thrilled to call SSC a client and have another success story to share!

Thanks David, Abi, Terry and everyone else at SSC!

Massive Recycling and Shredding Event, October 18th, 2014 hosted by Black and Veatch!

Hi friends.  It’s Jason with “news you can use” this week!

If you’re like me, you have a couple of filing boxes full of stuff that needs to be shredded and a few old computers sitting around collecting dust.  The time for that’s over, and I’ve got a great event to tell you about!  There’s a big shredding and recycling event happening on October 18th, 2014 from 8am to 2pm that’s hosted by Black and Veatch (thanks to Kandy at Home Rental Services for letting me know!)  It’s probably the biggest event like this that’s ever happened in Kansas City, and a ton of not-for-profits will be there to take all kinds of things off your hands.  The list of what you can bring is below, as well as the organizations that will be there.

You may be wondering why I’m blogging about this today.  I can’t tell you how often I get asked how to get rid of used computers.  Nobody wants to dump a bunch of potentially hazardous material in the landfill, and many places won’t take computer donations.  They just aren’t set up for it.

Surplus Exchange LogoThat said, Surplus Exchange is all about taking care of that for you.  We have been recommending Surplus Exchange to businesses for years now and they do a great job.  If you have enough old equipment (at least ten items), they are willing to come to your office and pick it all up.  Of course, there is a small recycling fee for each item, but it is the right thing to do instead of putting one or two items out for big item pickup day each year!   And that is just one of the ten organizations that will be at the event.

I hope this is something you’ll be able to take advantage of and get your world a little more organized.  We will be dropping off a couple of boxes of paper to be shredded and some computer gear to be recycled!

Location for the Event

October 18th, 2014 from 8am – 2pm
Black & Veatch

11401 Lamar Ave.
Overland Park, KS  66211
Map and Directions

What You Can Bring

  • Confidential documents, which will be destroyed on site by ProShred Security, and you can watch. The suggested donation for this service is $5 for a standard file box and $10 for larger quantities.
  • Cell phones will be collected by Sprint. Your old cell phone has moved from your hip, pocket or purse into a drawer or cabinet and is ready for recycling. Sprint will be on hand to make certain your phone is properly recycled while benefiting great charities such as the Boys and Girls Club of America.
  • Usable building material will be collected by Heartland Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Donate your new and usable building materials, hardware, fixtures and appliances to ReStore. Your donations may be tax deductible, and will benefit Heartland Habitat for Humanity’s building projects.
  • Clothing will be collected by Goodwill Industries. Clothing, housewares, small appliances, toys and many other items will be accepted.
  • Electronics such as computers, monitors, printers, TVs, VCRs and stereos will be responsibly recycled by Surplus Exchange. While most items will be accepted at no charge, there will be a fee of $10 for monitors, and $10-$25 for TVs.
  • Bicycles will be collected by Revolve. Give your unwanted bike new life and bring a smile to another by donating it. Revolve will repair and reuse whatever is feasible on your old bike and recycle the rest.
  • Up to 10 fluorescent bulbs per vehicle will be collected by Overland Park’s building maintenance division.
  • Fabric and notions will be collected by Fabric Recycles.
  • Garden tools are being collected by Kansas City Community Gardens. Other acceptable items include shovels, spades, garden forks, cultivators, rakes (not leaf rakes), garden hand tools, wheel barrows, watering wands and water heads.
  • Gently used shoes are being collected including running shoes, work boots, dress shoes, sandals and cowboy boots. Shoe Kansas City ask for all sizes of shoes for both children and adults.
  • Durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, shower and bath chairs, crutches, hospital beds and more will be accepted by the Coalition for Independence to allow individuals to live as independently as possible.

Please Contact Jim Twigg with any Questions

Jim Twigg
(913) 895-6273
jim.twigg@opkansas.org

My Work Email Was Hacked. Here’s How We Handled It.

Post author: Mic Johnson

Thursday, September 11, 2014.

It’s a day I’ll remember for a very long time…for a couple of reasons. It’s always a day when people all across the world pause and remember those who lost their lives, and the families that were left behind, on September 11, 2001.

This year it was also a special day for my fellow Blue Guru Jason Terry. If you haven’t seen his blog post about it, it was truly an amazing story. I wish I would have seen it in person. (Remembering 9/11…Something Special Happened Today.)

My day started with sorrow in my heart because of the tragic events of 9/11 and then the morning picked up as I was excited to be playing in a golf tournament that day. The tournament was put on by the Urban Financial Services Coalition in Kansas City, whose mission is “To enhance the representation of minorities in professional positions in the financial services industry and promote better access to financial services for low-to-moderate income populations and communities.”

I was invited by my friend (and Financial Advisor) Archie Kangethe and also played with my good friends Jacob Wayman and Jamie Jones. The weather that day was supposed to be around 65 degrees and sunny. I was so excited to enjoy the gorgeous weather, a round of golf with friends, all the while supporting a great cause. We had a great time, but unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate. It stayed cloudy all day, misted on us at times, and the wind was cold and biting in spots throughout the day.

Little did I know that the cold and gray weather was foreshadowing for what would happen when I got back to my home office.

Hack emailAs I was catching up on emails and doing a few things for work, my phone rang. It was Jason, and he said:

“Hey, I just got a really weird email from you, asking me to click on a link. Your email account might have been hacked.”

I had no idea what he was talking about and hadn’t heard from anyone else.

And that’s when all hell broke loose.

1. As I was talking to Jason, my phone began vibrating like crazy with text message after text message and incoming calls.

2. At the same time, I started to get email after email, some from people I hadn’t communicated with in years, with messages saying:
“Did you mean to send this to me?”, “I think you got hacked”, “Is this real?”, “What is this? I wanted to make sure it was from you before I clicked on it”, and on and on.

3. In a panic as my phone and email kept blowing up, I called Joe Tierney at Umzuzu (they are the best Google Apps guys around and helped us get set it up for Blue Gurus). He helped me get my password reset on my Google Apps account and shared a post from their blog on what steps I should take: I Think My Gmail Was Hacked? At the same time, his fellow Umzuzu-ite Tony Sheets helped recover all of my contacts and handled some other technical items behind the scenes.

Mic FB Email Hack Update4. While I was doing all of that, Jason put together an email using MailChimp and sent it out to the 3,000 contacts/email addresses I exported from my Gmail account. We ended up getting several “THANK YOU” messages from people who appreciated the email explaining what happened and our response to it. Others told us how well written the email was. Jason gets all of the credit for that because I was too busy running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off!

5. Jason and I then both set up 2-factor authentication on our Gmail accounts so something like this would never happen again.

6. For the next couple of days, I replied back to around 150-200 people via email, text, etc. saying “Sorry for the inconvenience. My email was hacked. Don’t click the link and delete the email. Again, my apologies.” I also posted an update on my FaceBook page letting people know what happened.

Whew! What a day! It started out with sorrow in my heart, picked up as I played golf with friends, then went crazy when my email was hacked, and ended up with us handling the situation (THROUGH EXCELLENT TEAMWORK) about as well as we possibly could.

If you haven’t already, please take the necessary steps with your email program so something like this never happens to you. It was a lesson I had to learn…the hard way.

Blue Guru Email Hack Announcement

Remembering 9/11… Something Special Happened Today

Hi friends!  It’s Jason with the Blue Gurus blog post for this week.

Enterprise-UniversityI really enjoy meeting new people and training them on using LinkedIn and blogging to grow their businesses.  I got a good dose of that feeling today when I did a 3 hour, in-depth training session on LinkedIn for Enterprise University.  EU is a training program that Enterprise Bank offers to customers and prospects.  There were about 35 people in the class today and we met at the Hallbrook Country Club, a beautiful venue for sure.

As I was driving to the club at 7:30 am, I was thinking about the fact that today is 9/11.  It’s hard to believe that today is the 13th anniversary of the terrible events and thousands of lives lost on September 11th, 2001.  I remember exactly where I was at when it was happening.  I was with my family in Colorado.  We had rented a cabin in Colorado Springs as our staging point for Garden of the Gods, the Pike’s Peak cog railway, hiking up Seven Falls, and more.

On the morning of 9/11/01, we were going to take the cog railway up Pike’s Peak.  I went out to the car to wait for the rest of my family and turned on the radio.  The station it was on had some person talking, so I changed the channel.  The next station I found had another person talking, so I changed the channel again.  When I got to the third station and it was still someone talking, I started to listen and realized everyone was reporting that planes were crashing into the World Trade Center.  I couldn’t believe it.  I went back into the cabin, and we turned on the TV and watched the news unfold for the next two hours.  I was shocked, heart broken, and angry.  The emotions were raw and stayed with me for weeks.

And then a year went by.  I remembered the events like they were yesterday on the first anniversary.  And then a couple more years went by.  Lots of things happened in life and in business.  I got married.  Moved a couple of times.  Started my own business.  And thirteen years later  I found myself in the Enterprise University class at Hallbrook Country Club getting ready to teach people a lot of cool stuff about LinkedIn.  I wanted to recognize the day as a group, but I didn’t really know what to do.  A moment of silence?  A quick discussion?  I just didn’t know what to do.

9-11-EULuckily, I was saved by Britt.  Britt came to the class to learn about networking on LinkedIn.  She is a singer.  She sings at weddings, sports events, funerals and corporate events.  During one of the breaks, she came over to me and said, “You know, it’s 9/11.  Do you think it would be appropriate if I sang the national anthem?”  I was floored.  I mean it.  You know that I am rarely at a loss for words, but it took me a minute to respond to Britt.  I loved the idea and pulled up a picture of the American flag on the big screen I was using for my training.

When everyone got back from the break, I asked them to stand for the National Anthem in memory of 9/11.  It got really, really quiet.  Britt sang the anthem beautifully.  It was an amazing moment.  Here was a room full of business people that didn’t really know each other.  And we all took a minute to remember the events of 9/11 together.  Some people sang along quietly.  Others had their hands over their heart.  And it was one of those moving moments that doesn’t happen very often.  It was unexpected.  And powerful.  I was so thankful that Britt was brave enough to sing in front of the group.

For me, there really is no distinction between “business” and “personal”.  It’s just life.  I am the same person whether we are training your executive team on LinkedIn or having a beer together at a Royals baseball game.  Today was a reminder to me that we are in this together and there is always common ground.

So as you read this, I hope you will join me in remembering 9/11.  If you knew or were related to anyone at ground zero that lost their life, I am so sorry.  And my respect and thanks to the bravery of the police, firefighters and other services that responded so quickly trying to help.

You Don’t Lose Weight By Thinking About Going To The Gym

Post Author: Mic Johnson

I’ve been talking to Jason, people in my peer advisory group, and others about something that’s been bothering me for the better part of 2014.

I’m hoping anyone that reads this post will take a minute to try to help me out. Perhaps your experiences can give me some perspective I don’t currently have.

First, let me quickly provide a little background. Blue Gurus does three things for companies in Kansas City:

1. Content Marketing for companies that need an accountability partner to help them successfully execute a monthly blogging strategy.

2. On-site web development where most of our projects are done in 2-4 full day sessions at our clients’ offices. (Yes, we actually come TO your office and build it there!)

3. LinkedIn Training for companies that want to better utilize LinkedIn for sales and sharing content.

ThinkingAboutWorkingOutMost people would agree that all of those things are essential (dare I say…critical?) for companies in today’s business world.

You want to share the stories about your business, your products and services, your people, and more.

You want a professional, easy-to-navigate web site.

And you want a professional LinkedIn profile that accurately represents who you are, what you do, and what you’ve accomplished in your career.

Can we all agree on that?

Ok, Now On To What’s Been Bothering Me

Throughout the better part of 2014 both Jason and I have had countless conversations with decision makers in Kansas City who know they need a new web site, who know they need help with LinkedIn, and who know that their company should be blogging.

We tell them what we do, how we do it, and how quickly we can get it all done. In fact, we’ve partnered with several businesses who had poor web sites, poor LinkedIn profiles, and no blogging strategy and had them cranking on all three in just a couple of months.

We explain this to every single prospect we talk to. It all makes complete sense to them. They get excited about it. They know it’s absolutely the right thing to do.

And then they go back to their office, get busy, and end up doing…..you guessed it…..

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

You Don’t Lose Weight By Thinking About Going To The Gym

I’ve used this analogy a lot lately to describe this phenomenon we’ve seen in 2014. Even though we all know it would be totally awesome, you don’t lose weight by thinking about going to the gym.

You only lose weight when you make the effort consistently to get up each day, get some cardio and weights in, and stay committed to it (and eating healthier of course) over the long haul. And some people do this by hiring a personal trainer. That’s very similar to how we work.

So here’s the deal….

1. Very few people are going to learn about all of the cool things that you, your team, and your company do unless you start REGULARLY sharing your stories.

2. Your web site won’t ever look better and be easier to navigate if you keep ignoring it, wait for it to go down, or wait for a client or prospect to tell you how bad it is.

3. Your LinkedIn profile won’t get better until you spend some time getting trained on what makes a good profile and learn how to more effectively use LinkedIn.

We’ve had people that have gone through painful web site projects in the past that describe the experience with Blue Gurus as “FUN”, and “EASY”, and “SIMPLE”.

We’ve had people go through LinkedIn training say “OH, I DIDN’T KNOW YOU COULD DO THAT. IT ALL MAKES SENSE. I’M DEFINITELY GOING TO USE LINKEDIN MORE!”

We’ve had blogging clients say “THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST BUSINESS DECISIONS WE’VE EVER MADE.”

It’s not nearly as hard and painful as you think it is. And we’re here to help.

Email (mic@bluegurus.com) or call me (913-645-6650) today. Let’s work together to lose the dead business weight you’ve been carrying around for far too long.