Huffington Post

Offsite Ideas to Bring Your Company Together: Rachel Beider in Huffpo


Team bonding is made of more than water-cooler conversations and birthday cake in the break room. Moving these efforts beyond the office walls can help enrich relationships between teammates and foster a true sense of togetherness.

Whether it’s the more traditional retreat or company lunch or a more innovative idea such as an escape room or golf outing, these 12 entrepreneurs have got the right idea when it comes to successful team-building activities.

A. Volunteer Work Together

When our company volunteers together it creates a positive, intimate space for bonding over our shared values and goals. It feels amazing to interact with the community, and we come home feeling great that at the end of the day, we made an impact. - Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

A. Simple, Fun Activities

I try to pick activities where my employees can participate in a competitive activity or sit out the competition and just have fun together — something like a rock climbing wall/bar (seriously, they’re out there) where some can engage in something challenging and some can just kick back and have fun. That way, no one feels any pressure and everyone has a good time. - Kevin Conner, BroadbandSearch

A. Happy Hour

My startup was purchased by a major software design company last year. Fortunately, this came with many perks. Our parent company throws happy hour parties every month with live entertainment, great food and friends and family. This is a great way for the team to meet new people we coordinate with on different marketing strategies and it ultimately brings us closer together. - Kristopher Jones,

A. Escape Rooms

Escape rooms are a fantastic bonding experience for teams. It’s all about teamwork and problem solving, a fantastic combination for team bonding. They’re usually built for a few people, so it depends on the size of your team. - Ben Lang, Spoke

A. Company Retreats

Since we are a fully remote team, each year we host a company retreat. It’s the only time that everyone from the company is together in one location. This year we went to Orlando. We attended workshops, brainstormed and collaborated on new ideas. - Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

A. Competitive Activities

It could be bowling, kart racing or a 5K race, but if it’s competitive or allows us to compete against each other on a team or individual level, it creates camaraderie and understanding of each other’s strengths. It’s fun and so different than our regular work environment. - Drew Hendricks, Buttercup

A. Company Lunches

At the end of our first summer, when soliciting feedback from interns during exit interviews, a then-intern suggested we take small groups of interns out to lunch to get to know each intern in an informal setting. We have extended the tradition to employees and at these lunches, we only discuss work-related topics within the context of inside jokes. These lunches build cohesion and are fun for all. - Adam Mendler, Custom Tobacco

A. Dream Day

One of the best days my team ever had was when I asked them to make a list of their “dream day” in our community and then we attempted to do as many of the things on the list as possible. We had drive time between activities to be able to talk and we had distributed ownership of the day because ideas came from everyone. - Hugh Weber, Institute of Possibility

A. Camping

Nothing brings teams together like spending 24 hours together having fun. Camping is an inexpensive and highly effective way of bringing teams together. Team members will start building a rapport with each other as a result of spending full days together. Think of how summer camps make long-lasting friendships. Soon, your employees will be writing home to say they don’t want to come back. - Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

A. Activities Fitting Your Culture

Activities that closely fit your company culture are the best. As an outdoor company, we go hiking, skiing, climbing and mountain biking together throughout the year depending on the season. It’s a great way to get out of the office and helps build a fun, enjoyable and authentic team environment. - Brint Markle, Mountain Hub

A. Employee Family Cookouts

We have cookouts with bounce houses and other children’s activities so that our employees can bring their families. We find that when our employees’ families hang out together it grows the bond between them, which leads to a better work environment. Our employees love it as well, because we are providing a fun activity for their kids that they likely wouldn’t be doing without us. - Scott Kacmarski, Reps Direct

A. Golf

A competitive round of 18 holes and a few beverages always unites the team. The best part about golf is that there is also a lot time to talk both business and pleasure. Golf also gives the team something to chatter about during the week, and is an occasion we all look forward to. - Chris Gronkowski, Ice Shaker

Article Seen on HuffPo

13 Options For Baking Philanthropy Into Your Corporate Culture: Rachel Beider in HuffPo


Research is beginning to show that charitable giving can be as good for the giver as it is for the recipient. As an enterprise, participating in philanthropic efforts not only gives you an opportunity to serve the community you work with, but also extends that possibility to the members of your team. Here are 13 ways your company can make philanthropy a part of your culture.

1. Volunteer Together

As a mission-driven company, we volunteer together on a monthly basis at events that we care about. We recently collectively decided to partner with Sanctuary for Families, which provides services for women who have experienced domestic violence or sex trafficking. Keeping my employees in the decision-making process for whom we wanted to work with makes them more invested.

- Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

2. Participate in Community Projects

Getting your company involved with community projects and fundraisers is not only great way to network, but it also gives your team an opportunity to see what some of the more challenging issues are within your community. Participating in 5K runs, bike rides or walks can bring awareness to things that your company might be able to provide a solution to.

- Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.

3. Donate Your Expertise or Time

A great way to make philanthropy part of company culture without a big effect on the bottom line is to donate your expertise or time. You could find a cause you believe in and look into volunteering opportunities. The best part is that it can be done remotely if necessary. You could offer to write a guest article or maybe provide some assistance to the company in an area you’re well-versed in.

- Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

4. Take the Initiative and Volunteer

Having a company volunteer day in alignment with a charity is a great way to give back and spark philanthropic efforts in the company. You can also look for charities that are a good fit to your audience. For example, if you were in the weight-loss industry, aligning with a charity that educates youth on good eating habits would be a great combination.

- Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

5. Let Your Team Lead Your Philanthropic Efforts

Many companies have philanthropic components because it’s good for branding. I recommend treating this like a strategic initiative and bringing everyone in. As the CEO, don’t dictate what organizations to support; let your team’s passion guide you. Schedule regular volunteer days and donations, for example. If it’s genuine, you’ll make a bigger impact and bring more joy to your team.

- Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

6. Task Someone to Be Responsible for Charitable Giving

If your organization is large enough to have a social committee, you could reserve a seat for someone who will be responsible for charitable giving. This person becomes the main point of contact for new inquiries from local and national charities, and they can coordinate events, explain how their financial resources will benefit those in need, and rally your team to get engaged.

- David Ciccarelli,

7. Integrate Your Philanthropic Work Into Your Business Mission

Integrating your philanthropic work into your business’s mission will force it to become a part of your culture. An additional incentive for doing so is that so many consumers now are deciding which company to use based on the good they are doing for the world. It’s a win-win.

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- Abhilash Patel,

8. Set the Example

Philanthropy has become part of our company culture through my example as leader. I regularly get involved in community projects and ask local staff to join me. I also support what my remote workers do, and often contribute financially to their fundraisers.

- John Rampton, Due

9. Give Tangible Gifts

Giving tangible philanthropic gifts allows you and your employees to see exactly where the money is going. It is motivating for everyone to see that the money being spent on a new school or orphanage and seeing all the grateful faces. You could even have employees vote on the projects and submit requests as to where the new project should be built and why.

- Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

10. Set Up a Recurring Donation

Find the area where you or your team is passionate and set up a recurring donation to the cause. This small action makes a difference and can create abundance of care outside of the day-to-day work. You can include this in your marketing efforts, as well, however, being genuine in your giving may provide the bigger payoff.

- Nathalie Lussier, AmbitionAlly

11. Establish Quarterly Volunteer Activities

Create a calendar of quarterly volunteer activities that individuals and teams can get involved with during the week on company time or on weekends as paid extra time. This encourages philanthropy and giving to those in need.

- Drew Hendricks, Buttercup

12. Team Up With Your Customers

Communities are often intertwined with businesses and visa versa. This means that many of the issues you care about are likely issues your customers care about, too. To be a part of something bigger and give back to the community, find out what your customers care about or let them know more about the issues you care about. Then join ranks in some way.

- Derek Broman, Discount Enterprises LLC

13. Organize or Participate in Charity Events

The best way to make philanthropy part of the culture is to start working it into the day-to-day by organizing or participating in charity events. If you do enough good as an entire company, it will start to fit into your culture. We launched a monthly charity board game night as a fun event for the community, but it has shaped how we have grown and influenced our culture along the way.

- Christopher Swenor, East Coast Product

Article in HuffPo

Personal Rules to Follow for Business Success: Rachel Beider in HuffPo


As your business starts to grow, you need to maintain a set of practices that ensure your continued success into the future. Establishing a set of rules for yourself to follow and sticking to them can make all the different when trying to avoid a potentially disastrous business mistake. We asked 15 entrepreneurs what personal rules they follow to help their businesses stay successful.

A. Give Before You Take

A general rule of thumb I abide by is to try to add value to those with whom I connect, rather than search for the ways I can extract value. I trust that it doesn’t need to come back to me from the recipient, but the karmic retribution of giving will circle back in time, from someone, somewhere. As a result, I’ve built a vibrant and diverse network who are happy to help me, too. - Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40

A. Work With People With a Good Moral Conscience

Choose to work with people who possess a good moral conscience. Not to say that immoral people can’t succeed in business, but that they will screw your customers, your culture, your coworkers and eventually you when the next opportunity comes knocking. When you run a company, you’ll be too busy to constantly watch your back. Choose people who will do the right thing when the going gets tough. - Raad Ahmed, LawTrades

A. Surround Yourself With the Best

I firmly believe that we become what we are surrounded by. If you surround yourself with the most inspiring mentors, positive teams and powerful information on a daily basis, you will succeed. Running a business is incredibly challenging, so look at every person in your life, every device you are using, and everything you are seeing and hearing, and decide if it’s helping you or hurting you. - Beth Doane, Main & Rose

A. Remember Life Is Short

Every time I take on a new project, I ask myself if, at the end of the day, I will be proud of my work. As time is our most valuable resource, I try to stay aligned with my core values and keep in mind that we have a short amount of time on this planet. It’s difficult not to get caught up in day-to-day tasks, but regularly thinking about your legacy can help you see the bigger picture. - Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences

A. Build on Your Strengths, Hire for Your Weaknesses

I’m much more successful when I can admit that I don’t know how to do something, or need help with something. Being aware of my limitations allows me to hire and work with people who can do it better than I can. Together we accomplish a lot more in a lot less time. - Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

A. Be Efficient With Your Energy

Everyone focuses on time management, but I like to focus on energy management. When I have high energy (mornings for me), I can accomplish tasks in less time and more effectively. Instead of focusing on how I put in 15 hours yesterday, I focus on what I accomplished. Forget the time. This starts by defining my high-priority tasks for the day and looking back and asking, “Did I get them done?” - Michael Averto, ChannelApe

A. Level Up

Complacency is the enemy of continued success. When I first started with entrepreneurship, it was with an SEO agency. Then came a productized service and now, a software product. By constantly challenging myself and achieving a level of mastery before moving on, I feel my learning is accelerated and it helps put me in the best possible position to be a highly skilled entrepreneur. - Ajay Paghdal, OutreachMama

A. Finish What You Start

No matter what I’m working on, I make sure I complete it in some way, shape, or form. This is a way of sticking to my promises to deliver — no matter how challenging something becomes, I’m still going to find a way to achieve it. - Angela Ruth, Calendar

A. Make Time for Everything

I like working around the clock but I stop everything to make sure my wife, daughter, family and friends get the attention they deserve. I bring them with me and incorporate personal time into every trip. There must be time for sailing and escaping, even with all that I’m working on. - Murray Newlands, Sighted

A. Always Be Transparent

Being completely transparent with everyone you are in business with is the key to establishing meaningful, long-term relationships. Having trust is important in any personal relationship and business relationships are’t any different. Being transparent with your partners, employees, and clients establishes the highest level of trust. - Duran Inci, Optimum7

A. Pay It Forward at Every Opportunity

The concept of “pay it forward” says you should help others with absolutely no intention of ever getting paid back. In business and in life, failure happens. Success depends on climbing back up each time. Paying it forward has helped me create a strong network of true lifelong friends. They have supported me in my times of greatest need, and they are the reason for my success today. - Kevin Tao, NeuEve

A. Lead From the Front

Spend time in the trenches with employees every day. Exhibit traits that you want to see in them (productivity, direct communication, client orientation, fun, etc.). They are much more likely to emulate you than simply do those things because they are being told. - Amishi Takalkar, NAILBITER

A. Do It Right or Don’t Do It

Beyond a personal rule, this underpins everything we do as a company. There’s no halfway, and the entire organization knows that everything we touch must be done right. This gives our clients confidence that we’re going to deliver for them, and allows our team to push back if something doesn’t seem like a total effort. It also helps us filter prospects and avoid customers who don’t value quality. - Jeff Jahn, DynamiX

A. Never Stop Learning

There is always more to learn, no matter what industry you are in. Always strive to be on top of the latest industry trends and obtain as much information as possible. I take time out of each day to read, whether it’s newsletters, articles or books — it’s important to be in the know. - Jared Brown, Hubstaff Talent

A. Make Sure You Love It

If I don’t love what I’m working on, my work is not going to be top notch. I have to have passion for what I am working o. If I do not, I get out and move on to the next project. - Ben Landis, Fanbase


Article seen in HuffPo

How To Effectively Foster Customer Confidence In Your Brand. Rachel Beider for HuffPo


Any business leader knows that if someone isn’t buying what you’re selling — figuratively or in the most literal sense — your business isn’t going to last long. But how do you get customers and consumers to have as much trust and confidence in your brand and your company’s capabilities as you do? Here’s how the experts weighed in.

A. Be Attentive and Personalize Customer Support

Customer service goes a long way toward developing trust. If customers have questions or problems, they want to feel they can reach out and get an answer promptly from someone who knows what’s going on and can really help them. If your customer support is outstanding, people will be much more inclined to trust you and rate your business highly, even if you’re not always perfect. - Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

A. Connect and Communicate

Communication is key to retaining trust. Implement procedures to immediately connect with your client to find out what exactly went wrong. Genuinely thank them for bringing it to your attention. Then actually reconnect when the issue has been fixed. Encourage your entire team to thrive from your customers’ positive and negative feedback and you’ll have an army of loyal and supportive customers. - Meghan Larson, Adistry

A. Have a Consistent Marketing Strategy

Be consistent in your content marketing strategy. Post daily on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Be consistent with your email marketing newsletter. All these efforts establish confidence that you’ll always be around and won’t just disappear on them one day. - Jared Atchison, WPForms

A. Establish an SEO Presence

People generally trust organic Google search results. If a brand wants to create trust with consumers, getting into those top three Google search results for your target keywords immediately establishes trust. Create blog posts with customer FAQs, execute backlink building campaigns and implement an SEO strategy to begin the journey of getting your company to rank well on Google. - Brett Farmiloe, Markitors - Digital Marketing Company

A. Show Off Your Expertise

If you want to win your consumers’ trust, you need to prove your value. Put out content that illustrates why your service or product is the best available option out there. A great way to do this is to get published on platforms your consumers already trust. Writing a piece for the industry’s leading publication will beat out a hundred half-hearted blog and social media posts every time. - Ryan Wilson, FiveFifty

A. Put Customers’ Interests First

People trust brands that appear to put their interests first. They don’t like brands that mislead, overpromise or are obviously manipulative. If you want to build trust, focus on building genuinely useful products and cultivating meaningful relationships with customers, not on wringing every last cent you can from them. - Vik Patel, Future Hosting

A. Encourage Feedback

We encourage our users to send us feedback about any issues they’re having or questions about their most recent purchase, our app or our website. We then try to get back to them as soon as possible. Providing consumers with the means of easily getting in touch and being able to quickly respond back to them is essential to building trust. - Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.

A. Connect Personally

Focus on building a relationship, getting to know your customers and sharing more about you as a company and team. Share and communicate, listen and help, and deliver on what you say. Consider it a two-way street and be open to feedback. - Cynthia Johnson, Ipseity Media

A. Be Responsive

A brand is a living story. You can’t just declare what it means and expect it to stick. You have to respond to attempts by the market to assign new parts to your brand identity. One of the worst ways your brand image can change is through bad experiences with your products. For example, a lot of airlines have recently had their brand defined by notable bad experiences. You have to be ready to respond. - Adam Steele, The Magistrate

A. Listen and React

Your customers are what keeps you in the game. Listening to them and responding will show them that they matter and also that they are heard. This line of communication is a direct builder of trust. - Colbey Pfund, LFNT Distribution

A. Deliver on Your Promises

The top way to create trust between your brand and consumers is to deliver what you promised and hold up your end of the bargain. Create a service or product that you can stand by with pride and integrity. If something goes wrong, handle it quickly and effectively to maintain trust. - Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

A. Create a Manifesto and Origin Story

People connect with other people. Spend time writing your manifesto. Talk about the values, the team and the current state of the company, including the warts. Get specific. Also, talk about why the company exists and how things came together. By pulling back the curtains, you give people the opportunity to resonate with you because they understand the “why.” - Ajay Paghdal, OutreachMama

A. Be Authentic

The key to creating trust between your brand and your consumers is consistent authenticity. The more genuinely your products and your process reflect your core values, the more naturally all stakeholders — including your customers — will cherish your offerings. - Adam Mendler, Custom Tobacco

A. Be Transparent and Consistent

People are looking for someone they can rely on and trust. No matter what you’re selling, your customers want to know that they can count on you and that you’ll be there for them in their time of need. They want to know that there are real people behind your brand who have the same values, goals and priorities as they do, so stand up for what you believe in and let them know about it. - David Tomas, Cyberclick

A. Enable a Steady Stream of Relevant Reviews

People read and rely on online reviews more and more every year. Ask your customers to leave reviews, good or bad, and keep a close eye on them. We’ve had great success attracting new customers by climbing the rankings through Yelp, local Google targeting, industry reviews, etc. We can tell clients how great we are, but until they read it from others, we have a hard time gaining their full trust. - Matt Murphy, Kids in the Game

Article from Huffington Post

Rachel Beider in HuffPo: Essential Ways to Keep Your Remote Team on Track


With more tools and programs than you could count now available to connect people from around the globe, remote teams are more in touch and telework is easier than ever. We talked to 14 entrepreneurs to find out what tools keep their remote teams productive and on the ball, from communicating across a country to ticking off tasks with ease.

A. Asana

I love using Asana to manage tasks for my team. We work very closely with each other on projects, so when employees are remote, Asana helps divvy up tasks, create timelines and keep us on track. - Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

A. Basecamp

Basecamp has brought transparency, structure and accountability for our teams across time zones. For various types of projects, we have defined sample to-do lists in Basecamp; every time a new project is kicked off, teams can replicate those steps. I love the automatic check-ins that one can set up to remind team members. Also, via the Schedule feature, you can quickly spot whether your team has missed any milestones. - Shilpi Sharma, Kvantum Inc.

A. Bookend Meetings

We start and end every week with two critical meetings. Monday is focused on planning out the week, delegating tasks and ensuring everyone has a game plan. Friday is focused on reflecting on the week, noting any lessons learned and areas of improvement. This regular check-in cycle is critical to keeping everyone on track. - Ross Beyeler, Growth Spark

A. Cloud Tools

We’ve been managing remote employees since 2002, and cloud-based services (public and private) have kept this productive. Using online customer relationship management tools like or Pipedrive, communication tools such as Skype and Slack and infrastructure services like AWS and Ring has made it possible to keep our team of over 30 members cohesive even though we’ve never shared an office. - Tim Maliyil, AlertBoot

A. Confluence Wiki

We use an active Confluence wiki to keep everyone connected and focused on the tasks at hand. It provides us with one written record of the decisions from our meetings and one version of product specs. If anything changes, everyone gets automatically notified because Confluence sends out an email for wiki edits to the relevant parties. - Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.

A. G Suite

We set up remote teams for a number of companies and we then integrate into the platform that they use. G Suite is definitely the most used platform among the companies that use our services. When we ask our employees which platform they most enjoy using, G Suite is the winner there as well. Google has done a great job of integrating everything our employees need to work with the companies. - Scott Kacmarski, Reps Direct


JIRA has been the most effective tool for managing team members by departments, improving our development workflow and allowing us to keep communication centralized to increase accountability. It’s the single best platform for managing a team with multiple skill sets and with integrations for numerous other business applications that we utilize daily. - Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

A. Podio

I love the Podio management software for engaging with our remote team members over multiple locations of my business. It enables us to come together on projects, assign tasks and troubleshoot issues as a group with all of the knowledge in one place. I also love using it for company culture; we have a book club through Podio! - Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg


A. Slack

Slack is one of the best tools for keeping team members connected, but it can be distracting without the right organization. If you want to use Slack for your team, I really recommend making full use of channels to separate different clients/topics/projects, because that will make everything more efficient. I recommend getting the subscription, because it allows you to keep old messages. - Adam Steele, The Magistrate

A. Teamweek

Teamweek is a great tool that lets you know what your team members are working on and vice versa. It’s especially great for osmotic teams whose work may overlap more often than not. When your team has a tight deadline, you want to make sure that you’re gelling all on the same page and being efficient, and Teamweek makes it easy to synchronize with one another. - Reuben Yonatan, GetVoIP

A. Telegram

We have found that the simplest and fastest ways to communicate are the best. Telegram is a great and secure way to communicate in small teams if you’re running time-constrained day-to-day operations, because you can organize into groups, easily find past conversations and quickly share files and information. It’s also very easy to onboard new people. We complement that with Asana for ongoing projects. - Patrick Linton, Bolton Remote

A. Timedoctor

We use Timedoctor to define project tasks and track the time and activity of remote teams. Timedoctor is a very strong tool: It can capture screenshots, track keyboard activity and pauses taken by remote workers. It will automatically detect a break and also analyze the type of websites and applications used. This helps us manage the team as if we were all in the same office, and it is also a very affordable tool. - Piyush Jain, SIMpalm

A. Trello

Hands down, Trello wins for us. Their free plan is more than enough for our team, but we organize every project using it. Nothing is better than content teams knowing where development teams are without having to ping them for an update. It’s fantastic for a meeting-less culture, but it takes discipline to truly make it powerful. Our team of 20 remote workers has fully embraced it, and we aren’t looking back. - Nick Reese, BroadbandNow

A. Zoom

Zoom is the best and most stable conferencing tool that I’ve found. It’s very good for video conference calls that won’t take forever to set up because someone’s sound is not working. You can also set Zoom up in the background and everyone can “co-work” from different locations, but be virtually together in a room. - Adelyn Zhou, TOPBOTS

These answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Article Seen on: HuffPo

Rachel Beider in HuffPo: 14 Design Elements to Make Your Office Stand Out


Your office or retail space may be in need of an overhaul. Redesigning these areas can provide more flow and efficiency in their design and function. Through the use of lighting, space and new amenities, you can greatly improve the work area for your employees or make it more inviting for customers to engage with you. But, where do you start to make a difference in the functionality or design of your office or storefront?

A. Open Spaces and Private Spaces

It’s helped us to offer something for everyone. Not everyone works well in the open environment because they are more sensitive to the noise element. We’ve also added private spaces that deliver quiet areas for brainstorming and even a nap when necessary. - Andrew O’Connor, American Addiction Centers

A. Large Windows and an Outdoor Area

Being able to see the natural light is known to improve people’s mood. Since we’re a remote company, our employees can work from anywhere. One change that has made all the difference in my office space has been dedicating a shaded table outside for working. I already love what I do, but being able to work outdoors on a breezy, warm day takes it one step further. - Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

A. An ‘Open’ Sign

How many times have you walked by a store and been unsure if it’s open or not? This sounds obvious, but it’s a common mistake. Display an “Open” sign. If possible, have your door propped open. Turn your lights on inside and outside when dark. Make sure it’s clean and inviting. Stand outside your storefront and ask yourself whether you look open and welcoming. Adjust accordingly. - Nicolas Gremion,

A. Wireless Internet Connection

A few years ago we transitioned all of our employees to compact laptops. It’s made such a difference in terms of mobility in the office, opportunity to work remotely, traveling, etc. We’re a very collaborative team, so it’s made meetings and collaborations seamless. - Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

A. Conference Rooms

The least cushy room in our office is our conference room. It has poor lighting, a dilapidated conference table, few power outlets and chairs that require perfect posture or you risk falling over if tilting back too far. It also doubles as a storage room. As a result, our formal meetings move very quickly. - Stephen Hetzel, BidPrime

A. Ambient Lighting

Using IoT light bulbs to create more ambient lighting for a natural effect has reduced energy consumption and added an environment that helps with eye strain and bolsters creativity and productivity. Everyone can control their own lighting area to have what works for them. - Drew Hendricks, Buttercup

A. Scented Air

Clients can smell the amazing essential oils of our massage studios long before they enter it. The signature scent that we use combines lavender, vanilla, rosemary and black pepper, and is easily recognizable by clients. Relaxation starts before they even enter the space, and it draws clients in. - Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

A. Desks on Wheels

We’re a collaborative company, and need different teams to meet regularly. Everyone needs their own space, but they also need flexibility to sit together. At first we reserved a lot of meeting spaces (couches, white-boards, etc.). But that space would go unused for 60% of the day. Last year we put wheels on all of our desks and whiteboards. Now we can have impromptu meetings anywhere. - Aaron Schwartz, Passport

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A. Artwork Relevant for Your Brand

A game-changer for us was canvas prints in our retail stores and office spaces that clearly showed what our company stands for and what we, as people, live for. In our case, that was amazing pictures of ourselves riding mountain bikes in epic places around the globe and locally. Having your culture expressed in artwork on your walls shows everyone who sees it what your company’s “why” really is. - Jeff Cayley, Worldwide Cyclery

A. Dual Monitors

Adding dual monitors to our office space has significantly increased productivity. The more data available on screen, the more employees can accomplish. Before investing in dual monitors you need to consider each position and if it will require them. I found that anyone in development, web design, photo/video editing, accounting and customer support benefit the most from a dual monitor setup. - Bryan Kesler, CPA Exam Guide

A. Electronic Massage Pillows

Having an electronic massage pillow has been a huge win for my office. There’s nothing better than taking a 10-minute massage break to charge you up for the afternoon. The massage pillow is much more affordable than a massage chair so you can purchase one, see if your employees use it, and if they do, purchase a couple more. - Jared Atchison, WPForms

A. Ergonomic Chairs

Despite all of the things we have done over the years to make our office unique, there is no question that the biggest differentiator both visually and functionally has been having an office flush with top-of-the-line ergonomic office chairs. Every employee, intern and visitor comments on how comfortable the chairs are and how much more enjoyable the experience is as a result. - Adam Mendler, Beverly Hills Chairs

A. Sit-to-Stand Desks

The functionality element that has made a tremendous difference in our office space is our sit-to-stand desks. From a design perspective, they are set at different heights, which produces a more creative, modern look in the office. Most importantly, employees have the chance to stand up or sit down based on how they feel, which increases productivity and wellness. - Vladimir Gendelman, Company Folders, Inc

A. Raised and Sunken Floorspaces

Vertical spaces are generally underutilized in retail and office space. A common notion is that every space should be on the same level. However, by raising or lowering a space you create a dynamism that requires very little investment and achieves unique results. There is a furniture store in Zurich, Neumarkt 17, that displays its products in a maze of different levels; the effect is stunning. - Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

Originally seen on Huffpo

Rachel Beider in Huffington Post: 11 Ways to Involve Employees in Creating Company Culture

11 Ways To Involve Employees In Creating Company Culture 

via Huffington Post

There are a lot of different ways to create a company culture. One of them is getting employees involved in the process. This not only builds buy-in, it also improves engagement. The people influencing decisions are naturally going to choose activities or goals that interest them. So how can you creatively encourage employees to build their own company culture?

1. Lead by example.

Start your next meeting by announcing a new team event or activity. Explain that you’d like to do events or activities on a monthly basis and that you’d appreciate everyone’s involvement. Get each individual to contribute ideas for fun activities to do as a company. This is an easy way to get the entire team to build a company culture and be involved in these types of decisions. - Russell KommereSoftware Associates Inc

2. Put them in charge of events or activities.

Have employees create an activity or event schedule around certain types of cultural norms they want to integrate into the main culture. This empowers them and helps them feel more involved in the process. Plus, it helps you know exactly what they want to do. - Drew HendricksButtercup

3. Ask team members to share stories.

Each week during our team meeting, I ask a question that lets people share something about their life. One of my favorites is, “If you could save one non-essential good from your home and had to leave everything else behind, what would you save?” I feel it’s a practice that fosters a culture in which everyone on the team feels very connected. - Mark KrassnerExpectful

4. Create a Facebook group.

My company is spread out over two locations, and as we grow, one of my favorite ways to keep in regular contact with all of the employees is via our Facebook group (for employees only). They share videos, pictures of their families and post events that they are hosting, like performances. This creates a fun company culture that is created and run by the employees. - Rachel BeiderMassage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

5. Get out of the office.

Deep personal connections among team members require time away from the computer and out in the real world. Whether it’s food or drinks after work, a monthly outing or a quarterly retreat, having a chance to leave work at work and have real conversations with each other is key. Add a unique activity or environment, and you’re likely to see a big boost in relationships. - Ross BeyelerGrowth Spark

6. Hire the right people from the get-go.

Culture is built by the team organically over time and can’t be forced. As a leader, you set the loose guidelines, but your team is what brings it to life. The key to encouraging your ideal culture is hiring the right people for your company from the start. Employees that fit and agree with your vision are crucial. One bad egg can ruin culture, so keep it in mind whenever interviewing candidates. - Kyle GoguenPawstruck

7. Treat everyone to lunch.

Every Friday, we bring a catered lunch into the office. Because it’s only once a week, it’s something that most people are able to join. It’s an informal break where employees can chat, talk shop and in general forge stronger relationships with each other. Plus, everyone loves a free lunch! - Stan GarberScout RFP

8. Designate time for non-work-related conversation.

As a remote company, we have to be creative when it comes to facilitating company culture. We have special Slack channels designated for topics that aren’t work-related and encourage our team to take part in the conversation. This gives our team the chance to get to know one another on a personal level and take initiative with creating and building their own culture within the organization. - Jared BrownHubstaff Talent

9. Let them brainstorm alone.

I recently had my team meet without me to discuss their goals and ideas for the company. They’re compiling what they came up with on a vision board to review with me. I’ve found this gives them a forum to be creative, share ideas and feel invested in the direction of the company. - Leila LewisBe Inspired PR

10. Trust them with an assignment.

The only way your employees will truly buy into your company culture is if they take pride and ownership in what they do. They might be intimidated, but they’ll rise to the challenge knowing that you are trusting them with your business. Employees seldom want to disappoint their boss, so you can expect to see good results! - Duran InciOptimum7

11. Encourage individual freedom.

I like to give my individual teams the power to create their own schedules, internal dynamics and personal workflow. For example, our production team organically initiated daily walks around the block, which has now become a key opportunity for them to clear their minds while bonding on a personal level outside of the office. I’ve found this has even boosted overall productivity. - Justin LefkovitchMirrored Media

These answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Rachel Beider in Huffington Post: 17 Small Businesses Confess Their Tiny But Mighty💪 Social Media Strategy

"You can brag about follower counts but likes alone —don’t translate into purchases.

These 17 small businesses have figured out a Social Media strategy. Minus the marketing Oz behind the emerald curtain. (Wizard of Oz reference, FYI). Social Media is one of those “the best things in life are free“ for small businesses. It doesn’t cost much but time & creativity to start seeing results. And captivating your ideal clients like Dorothy’s ruby red shoes. 

You can create an online presence, locally, globally or even worldwide in a few clicks. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We first, must draw in the people who need your service. And that takes more than hopping on an app and posting, “I’m open for business”


How do you sell an intangible product online?


These service-based businesses have uncovered a strategy that works for their brand and sanity. In return, they’ve closed more deals and exploded their online/offline influence. Pay attention to what’s said here, they’ve given up their best-kept Social Media secret to help more businesses (like you) score the same results. 


They’ve discovered how to promote, grow the brand and engage with their audience because another FYI profits happen more often when you’re NOT selling at all. 


You won’t be hearing from me until the end, I’ll let these 17 service-based businesses tell you for themselves. 

“You can use social media to turn strangers into friends, friends into customers and customers into salespeople.”— Seth Godin





“Social media can be tricky, if you’re just going to post random pictures and the same ole-same ole do not waste your time there’s too much noise out there.” - Bryan Clayton




“Social media can be tricky, if you’re just going to post random pictures and the same ole-same ole do not waste your time there’s too much noise out there. However, if you’re going to invest time to make something new, funny, or informative people will pay attention to it. We created a meme account specifically focused for the lawn care industry on our Instagram. It’s one of the only accounts dedicated to poking fun at the lawn care industry and the nuances that go along with it. We have grown our following base to over 10,000 and people love the funny memes we make related to the lawn care industry. It’s a good way to build awareness about GreenPal and our community of lawn care services that are ready to hire at the touch of a button.” Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal the Uber for Lawn Care




“Instagram has been such a useful marketing tool for us. We’ve been using high-end photographers with thousands of followers and tagging them in our posts and have seen results with more followers and likes on certain photos. Instagram is one powerful, free tool. All you need is the manpower behind it to make it succeed!” Carly Moore, PR Manager, Bond Collective

“A huge part of my brand revolves around promoting my versatile personality, energy, and style.” - Jam Gamble




Be Y.O.U. All Of The Time:

“A huge part of my brand revolves around promoting my versatile personality, energy, and style. Being a self proclaimed #S layerofTheMic it’s imperative that I use Twitter and Instagram to post videos of me in action: public speaking, performing at events, and connecting with my audience/potential clients.  I’m getting BOOKED! The amount of booking requests I’ve received when my potential client says, “Honestly, your energy is off the charts! I’ve heard you’re the woman for the job —just from what I’ve seen via social media.” They’ve even started to use my hashtag! #SlayerofTheMic. Now that’s success. “ - Jam Gamble #SlayerofTheMic and Connector of People, Ideas, and Energy




“Currently, Twitter is the number one platform I’m using. Not only is it great for reaching new audiences, but it has also proven useful for building relationships with media and influencers, which has helped get my site’s name out there more. As for growing my audience, I’ve recently found offering relevant giveaways to be a great means of reaching new followers. Last month, we did a gift card giveaway that ran a month long. One of the ways to enter was to follow us on Twitter (@CutCableToday), which netted us 200 new followers. I plan on continuing our giveaway strategy and eventually expanding to Facebook.” - Chris Brantner, founder of




Find Your Place In The Social World:

“I find podcasting on BlogTalkRadio, and putting out an e-newsletter through Constant Contact are the most powerful social media tools for my business. LinkedIn gives me the chance to connect with my target audience and position myself as a thought leader. Podcasting allows me a greater reach and connects me to leaders around the world. It also helps me build relationships with other gurus around the world. These relationships have led to my inclusion in online webinars, summits, and programs.” - Diane Helbig, Growth Accelerator





“Many friends and colleagues told me I shouldn’t bother using paid advertising and I should just ‘hustle’ in online forums, groups and communities to find paying clients. But I made the decision early on that I didn’t have time for that.” - Amanda Davies




“Facebook is without doubt the most powerful marketing tool around. I have grown my business as a solopreneur to multiple 6-figures in just over 12 months by using Facebook advertising alone. Many friends and colleagues told me I shouldn’t bother using paid advertising and I should just ‘hustle’ in online forums, groups and communities to find paying clients. But I made the decision early on that I didn’t have time for that (I was still working in my 9-5 job at that stage) and it’s unsustainable if you want to grow and scale your business to mighty levels. Using highly targeted ads that are put in front of the right people at the right time, has grown my list by thousands of customers and sold out my programs. The financial results speak for themselves. You also have the ability to re-target potential customers who have already shown an interest in your business, which puts you ahead of the game to an even greater scale. The power is in the targeting.” - Amanda Davies, Psychologist + Coach at

“There are 40 million active small business pages but only 2 million of those businesses pay for advertising.” 




Give The People What They Want:

“Facebook is successful for us because of the visual nature of photos and videos. It allows us to engage with a target audience of Disney and travel lovers across the country. Our main Facebook page has 120,000 organic likes and well over 1,000,000 post likes. The interaction that occurs helps us build a relationship with our “fans” thus creating a virtual bond. One of the things we do that is showing results is being relevant. We’re one of the first on the web to announce any BIG Disney theme park news. It gives us credibility and our Facebook page becomes the place to be to find out the latest and greatest news. Additionally, we ask our fans what they want more of. Catering to them is important as opposed to merely guessing what they want.” Greg Antonelle, Mickey Travels LLC

“A high click-through rate is often more valuable than “likes” or comments. Tips, FAQs, and informational articles that are of incredible value to families everywhere are posted on our Facebook fan page.” - Simplify Experts




“Over the past year, over 15% of their web traffic has come from Facebook, where we post regularly. Although engagement and followership on Facebook isn’t huge, a lot of Facebook users that see the content click through to the website. A high click-through rate is often more valuable than “likes” or comments. Tips, FAQs, and informational articles that are of incredible value to families everywhere are posted on the fan page. So our general strategy is: write relevant, quality blog content, share that content through social media channels where your customers already live, and get them to want to visit your website to read on.” Simplify Experts, Professional Organizers

“We regularly ask our clients to post reviews and this practice has produced measurably results.” - Matthew Weiss




“Many prospective clients will use Google/Yelp/Facebook to find and vet our services. Having many positive reviews stationed there gives us a competitive advantage. The most powerful word in the English language is “ask? We regularly ask our clients to post reviews and this practice has produced measurably results. We “push” our reviews URL to prospective clients that are considering retaining us.” Matthew Weiss, President of Weiss & Associates, PC




Twitter is the only completely open platform where anyone can see my posts. To grow my reach, credibility, and mailing list, I use key hashtags on tweets of my blog articles and I run the weekly #PeopleSkills global Twitter chat which trends every Sunday. Hosting a Twitter chat has helped to show my expertise. I leverage the chat and all my Twitter activity for workshop announcements and for my upcoming book and associated workshops on leadership and morale. The open design of Twitter is the greatest no cost neon sign ever invented.“ - Kate Nasser, President, CAS, Inc., The People Skills Coach™

“Posting consistently has been key to engagement growth.” - Kunle Bristow




Instagram is by far my favorite platform. I create memes that relay news that will happen 5 years into the future or forecasts what will happen within 20 years. Instead of what’s in the news today. In addition to providing commentary on our human future —I also re-purpose these memes on Twitter and that has increased my engagement on both platforms. Posting consistently has been key to engagement growth and I have seen an increase in my (website) opt-ins as we continue to tape episodes of our web television series Futurism Weekly.” - Kunle Bristow, Managing Director / Anchor Futurism Weekly







Networking Social After-Party:

“We have a ruthless social media connection policy. As a busy networking professional attending daily real-life events, we insist on connecting with a new contact on ALL their social media platforms WITHIN TWELVE HOURS. Why? We’ve identified this as the ideal window for facial recognition leading to smooth professional connections. Using this approach, we’ve been able to massively boost our outreach, particularly on LinkedIn, with demonstrable and quantifiable successes coming out of this approach. Continuing the conversation on Social Media within this time span, we’ve struck while the iron is hot. So far, I can think of four deals that have come out of this. Sometimes, it’s difficult to come home from a networking event and have to spend time connecting - but I’ve seen the results. They’re real. This policy is bearing fruit.” Sarah Sajedi, Director of Research & Development at ERA Environmental Solutions

“Breaking the post length rules.” - Janis Isaman 




“On my Facebook page, I can post articles and lengthier opinions that accentuate a point of view and my voice. Breaking the post length rules as most of my posts are “too long”. But the longer they are, the more engagement improves.” - Janis Isaman, My Body Couture movement specialist & coach

“Rather than using the machine gun approach, spamming hundreds of people and hoping a small percentage reply, the one thing we do is contact directly, with a thoughtful and very personalized message.” - Steve Acho




“LinkedIn has by far been the best social platform for our B2B technology staffing company. Like all good social platforms, it allows one to get deep context for other professionals, including showing mutual connections. Rather than using the machine gun approach, spamming hundreds of people and hoping a small percentage reply, the one thing we do that has shown the best results is take the time to target specific people, and contact directly, with a thoughtful and very personalized message. It’s extremely time-consuming to do well, but last month I went from cold email to contract with a $4B company in 24 hours.” Steve Acho, Founder & CEO of a technology staffing tool company


Another LinkedIn Maneuver... 





“LinkedIn is the best means ever created to help OTHER people look good in the context of business. Instead of lauding my own accomplishments, I use LinkedIn to highlight those who book me to speak at their conferences or events, as well as friends and colleagues in business who are accomplishing great things. Start highlighting other people (be sure you tag them to let them know) via LinkedIn, and watch your likes, shares, and comments grow.” - Spencer X Smith, Speaker




“I primarily use Instagram to promote my massage therapy studios in Brooklyn. Instagram is awesome because you can geolocate new potential clients by searching for nearby images recently (publicly) posted. It has become a great place for us to look for clients including: local gyms, yoga studios, Pilates studios, etc. We know these are our ideal clients because they care about their health, active, local, and likely sore from working out so hard. We reach out by writing words of encouragement and support on their gym selfies or progress pics. Which feel personal and at the same time let them know that we are here for them if they need us! This has resulted in tons of new clients for my studios (we only opened a few months ago).” Rachel Beider, Massage Expert CEO of Massage Williamsburg

“I get new followers all the time that are actually organically interested in my brand.” - Luna Matatas




Organic Reach Is Not Dead:

“My brand is colourful and friendly - Instagram allows me to project these flavours through my photos on the platform. It keeps the visual attraction of my brand and content in tact. The followers on Instagram seem to be more responsive then other platforms, so I get new followers all the time that are actually organically interested in my brand. While my follower count is low, each of those followers are meaningful. I use the platform with customer service principles in mind. If someone sees a workshop they want to take and comments “omg I want to go to this”, I respond directly to their comment on the page and invite them to DM me to order. Instead of sending them to the registration form on my website. This interaction feels personal. The fact that I’m offering a service that is sensitive and shame-prone, building a personal connection encourages people to feel safer. The PR part of my marketing is more important to me at this stage than solely basing my marketing decisions on reach.” - Luna Matatas, Sexpert


Follow The Yellow Brick Road... 


After hearing from over 100 business owners (in the making of this article) confess their favorite platform of tried & true strategies, I am exhausted but most importantly —thankful for those who shared their online marketing secrets. THE RESULTS ARE IN Social Media is your best chance at reaching the people who need YOU, my precious." From Tennile Cooper for Huffington Post