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Sep 1, 2014

Celebrating America’s Workforce

You know Labor Day is a national holiday since it offers a welcome day off from work. But did you know that Labor Day was created in the late 19th century to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers? 

Here’s some other trivia about Labor Day you might not have known:

  • Labor Day originated from protests about poor working conditions during the height of the Industrial Revolution.
  • The first Labor Day parade took place on Sept. 5, 1882, when 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City. 
  • President Grover Cleveland signed a bill in 1894 to make Labor Day a federal holiday. 
  • As of May 2013, there were 155.6 million people 16 and older in the nation’s labor force.

From firefighters to manufacturers, teachers to office workers and cashiers to registered nurses, here’s to everyone who contributes to the strength and prosperity of this nation. We wish you a well-deserved Happy Labor Day.

Aug 29, 2014

New Business Spotlight: Auto Repair Franchise

Another one of our clients has joined the roster of small business owners in the U.S. This week, we’d like to say congratulations to Roger Wallin, who pursued his dreams by opening an auto repair shop in Kentucky. 

Wallin has been an avid car lover his entire life, and he’s always wanted to be a business owner. When he began searching for ways to weld his two passions, a national auto repair franchise offered the best of both worlds. To finance his new venture, Wallin took an early retirement from his 24-year career in car manufacturing and used his retirement funds to launch his business without taking on additional debt. Now, he’s a firm believer in taking a planned risk to invest in one’s passion. 


“My [previous] career and retirement provided the financial opportunity to obtain my life-long dream,” he said. “If you ever want to succeed in life, you must take some risk, but it should be calculated and investigated thoroughly before taking that step.” 


Learn more about Wallin’s new business here, and be sure to stop by if you’re in the Georgetown, Kentucky area. His grand opening is scheduled for Sept. 5 and 6.

Aug 28, 2014

3 Reasons Why Small Business Owners Should Take a Vacation

With the long Labor Day weekend approaching, vacation is on the minds of many Americans — 35 million to be exact. According to AAA, that’s how many people are expected to take a road trip this weekend, more than in any year since the 2008 recession.

Business owners are often hesitant to plan vacations because of the high demand their jobs entail, as well as financial constraints. But believe it or not, getting away for a while can be good for your business. Here are the top three reasons why: 
  • Relax and unwind. As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to become overworked and frazzled after just a short period of time in the driver’s seat. This not only affects your attitude and efficiency, but can trickle down to your employees, your customers and the overall health of your business. By taking a break and not thinking about work for a short period of time, you’ll come back refreshed and recharged, being more productive as a result. 
  • Gain new perspective. When you’re racking your brain for the solution to a problem, you probably get the best inspiration after you’ve taken a step away from brainstorming, right? Similarly, vacations allow you to remove yourself from a situation, experience something different and view your day-to-day life through a new lens. This fresh perspective usually causes inspiration to strike at a moment’s notice. 
  • Get outside of your comfort zone. Your small business can only go so far if you stick to your comfort zone. Taking a vacation, especially traveling alone, forces you to talk to new people and take initiative. Apply those experiences to your business, and you can grow exponentially. 
Ready to take a vacation but worried about the ramifications it could have on your business? We’ve put together a few other tips to help you make the most out of your time off.

Aug 27, 2014

Are you ready for disaster? Develop a Business Emergency Preparedness Plan

Small business owners invest plenty of time and money in developing plans to make their venture successful. But too many forget one of the most important plans they can have in place — an emergency preparedness plan. 

The recent earthquake in Napa Valley, California left many wineries and other businesses facing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. According to the Insurance Information Institute, up to 40 percent of businesses affected by natural or human-caused disasters never re-open. But having an emergency plan in place can lessen the financial impact a disaster has on your business and keep you and your employees safe. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Build a disaster supply kit. In the event that disaster strikes while you’re at work, you’ll need to have a basic supply kit at the ready. Such a kit should contain non-perishable food, water, first aid supplies, flashlights, matches, dust masks, copies of important documents (such as bank accounts, insurance policies, etc.) and any other necessities you’ll need to survive in case you’re not able to leave your place of work for a few days. Encourage employees to build their own kits for themselves as well.
  • Determine the minimum requirements of your business. What systems do you currently have in place that are absolutely crucial for you to remain in business? These systems should be at the top of your list to preserve and/or repair in an emergency.
  • Prepare for smaller, more common crises. The likelihood that you’ll experience a power outage, server failure, fire or other smaller crises are much greater, signaling the need for you to prepare for the small emergencies as well as the larger ones.
  • Activate an insurance policy. If your business is damaged in a disaster, an insurance policy could be your saving grace, preventing you from having to pay for repairs out of pocket. Determine what kind of coverage is best for you and implement it now. 
  • Join the Red Cross Ready Rating program, a free, self-guided course that will assess your current preparedness level and educate you on becoming better equipped.
For more information about creating a disaster prep plan for your business, visit preparemybusiness.com or sba.gov/content/disaster-preparedness

Aug 26, 2014

Starbucks Leverages Social Media to Launch Pumpkin Spice Latte

Today is the day — at least for some people — that Starbucks’ beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte returns. Last week, Starbucks launched a social media campaign, Spot the Spice, which allowed its customers to unlock the fall favorite one week before it’s available to the general public. 

This is just the latest way Starbucks has utilized social media to build awareness around its products. According to an infographic from Blog World, Starbucks is the most beloved brand in social media with the most likes on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest. Here are a few other ways Starbucks excels on social media (small business owners, take note). 

  • It uses a human approach to doing business. Starbucks posts content that relates to the masses. Check out the posts from the Pumpkin Spice latte’s official Twitter handle for some examples. The content is fun, written in casual conversation tone, and what’s more, the people behind the account take time to respond to replies. After less than a month, the account already boasts over 77,000 followers.
  • It keeps content current. Starbucks pays attention to what’s trending and finds a way incorporate its products into current conversations. Take the winter storms that ravaged the East Coast earlier this year. Starbucks got involved by tweeting a picture of a person wearing a cozy sweater with hands wrapped around a steaming coffee mug. If those affected by the snowstorms didn’t have a hankering for warm coffee beforehand, they sure did after seeing the photo.  
  • Its customer service rocks. Starbucks uses its social media channels to create a unique experience for customers by replying to concerns quickly. Just yesterday on their Facebook page, a disgruntled customer said she wouldn’t buy from Starbucks because the company “doesn’t support our troops.” Starbucks apologized for the misinformation within seven minutes, offering a link to a page that outlines its efforts to give to troops.
Are you just getting started with social media for your business? Check out our previous blog post on how to choose the channels that are best for your small business.

Aug 25, 2014

2014 Guidant Olympics Overview

There wasn’t a shortage of hilarity at the 2014 Guidant Olympics, which took place Friday afternoon at a park near our Bellevue, Washington headquarters. From our co-founders firing Nerf guns at the teams to side-splitting skits, including a rendition of the Napoleon Dynamite dance and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” from Top Gun, these games will live on in Guidant history.

At the end of the day, the medal-winning teams were:

  • Gold: Team Avengers
  • Silver: Team Anchorman
  • Bronze:  Team Office Space
Here’s a look at some of the highlights from the day:

The first game of the day was “Co-founder Assault,” in which Guidant co-founders David Nilssen and Jeremy Ames fired Nerf Guns at teams as they ran around an aisle of picnic tables.

Team Avengers winds their way through the “Co-founder Assault” finish line.

Next, the Balloon Toss tested the pitching abilities of even our most athletic employees.

In what may have been the best skit of the afternoon, team Napoleon Dynamite re-enacts the infamous dance scene from the movie.

Team Space Jam (aka the Tune Squad) jams to “I Believe I Can Fly” during their skit.
 
Team Anchorman performs their skit in true Channel 4 fashion.


Last but not least, the gang from Office Space got to take out their aggressions on a printer, all in the name of competition.

Aug 22, 2014

9th Annual Guidant Olympics Bring Antics to the Office

In 2006, our co-founders David Nilssen and Jeremy Ames formed a new method of team building. Now in its 9th year, the Guidant Olympic games are a beloved part of our team’s culture, and today, we continue that tradition. 

This year, 12 teams will take on the identity of a classic movie and vie for gold. While the official games of the 2014 Olympics will not be revealed until the opening ceremonies, the Olympics Committee has assured us this year’s festivities will “blow our feeble minds.”


Here’s a full list of the teams:

  • Harry Potter
  • Top Gun
  • Space Jam
  • Napoleon Dynamite
  • Mean Girls
  • RAD
  • Anchorman
  • The Avengers
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Star Wars
  • Office Space
  • Austin Powers

Each team has certainly embraced their characters thus far, promising for lively games. Here’s a taste of what’s been going on in our office leading up to today’s games: 

Team Mean Girls followed suit with their name and launched a trash-talking campaign.

Thankfully, our Olympics Committee and the Free People’s Movement of Guidant were quick to respond, reigning in the Mean Girls before they got too out of hand. 

Ron Burgundy from Anchorman paraded around the office in true character.

Bribes have been encouraged as a way to earn extra points. Here’s what team Harry Potter concocted.

Stay tuned to Guidant’s Facebook and Twitter feeds for updates on the action.
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