Calling Sacramento Start-Ups

The “Start-up Hustle Incubator” is coming to the Sacramento region from Oct. 1 to Nov. 12, 2015.

Apply now if you have a concept for a business and want to hustle for six weeks to turn your dream into a going concern.

Hacker Lab in partnership with Sierra College in Rocklin will help teams join a community of entrepreneurs and get incredible support to accelerate their success.

Winners will receive prizes to support the business launch.

Go to and apply by the Sept. 24, 2015 deadline.

Participants will ‘hack’ their start-up by hustling to test ideas and build a business model in six weeks. Teams can have one to five members, all of whom should plan on committing 15 hours per week to the new venture during the competition. It can be any kind of business but applicants should be ready to demonstrate how their ideas benefit society.

Teams will benefit from start-up resources to guide them, including mentorship, community connections, education and a proven start-up process. The winner will pitch the start-up to investors and win legal, financial, accounting and marketing services.

The group is seeking mentors to provide advice during the six week hustle. The City of Rocklin and Golden Sierra Job Training Agency are also sponsors of the event.

To learn how you can apply, or be a sponsor and mentor, go to or email: Find out more:

Photos Step up Marketing Impact

Now more than ever before it is important to take photos to enhance your promotion efforts. As a consultant, I am frequently asked, “What are some of the low cost ways to improve a company’s marketing efforts?” Both snap shots taken from your phone and professional photographs have a role in increasing the impact of your communication efforts.

Your Twitter and Facebook posts will be more interesting if you include a photo. Approximately 65% of your viewers are visual learners so photos enhance their experience when looking at your materials. Adding an image makes your efforts a lot more eye-catching than text alone. When you are limited to a few words, the picture can also help tell your story.

For social media and blog posts, a photo taken with your phone is a fast and easy way to capture what is happening. After taking a few photos while attending an event, you can send them on-the-spot to your social media accounts. The photo not only captures attention, it may persuade people go a step further and click on a link to read more.

You should invest in hiring a professional photographer to collect visually appealing, high resolution photos that you can use as the main banners on your website and in your brochures. Quality photography is a must when images are enlarged on tradeshow displays and billboards. If you arrange to have photos taken, your images will be unique and reflect your branding.

If you don’t have the budget for a professional photographer, there are many low cost options to access stock images that you can purchase as you need them or pay a monthly fee to download images regularly for your materials. Be sure that you are getting royalty free images. Avoid the temptation to use images that you find online because you do not have permission to use them.

When you use photos in your blog posts and on your website, remember to rename the photos to better explain what the photo features rather than the number automatically supplied by your camera. You can also add alternative text or Alt Txt to your photo that is a more detailed description. This makes it easier for people with disabilities identify the image and can also help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Carry your camera with you or use the camera on your phone to capture interesting images that you may use in the future to boost the effectiveness of your marketing action.

CEO’s Tell All — Transforming with Continuous Improvement

Presidents and top managers will gather on Thursday, Nov. 14 at 6 PM in Lincoln, CA at the Orchard Creek Lodge to share their experiences implementing Continuous Improvement. Go to the Continuous Improvement Network (CIN) web site to learn more about the Executive Forum on Organizational Transformation through Continuous Improvement.

Many of the presenters from the Sacramento region have experience using lean and process improvement methods to transform their companies. Part of their success was due to the support from other executives located in Northern California who are involved in the Continuous Improvement Network. In this interactive format, all participants will be encouraged to tell about their challenges and successes, and gather input from others.

If your business is using or considering embarking on the Continuous Improvement “journey,” membership in the not-for-profit employer group that formed in 2011 may be a a valuable resource for you. The Continuous Improvement Network also offers tours of members’ facilities and share employee training. Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies is a training partner with the CIN.

New Blue Goose Brochure Created

The South Placer Heritage Foundation (SPHF) that owns the Blue Goose Event Center in Loomis recently worked with Marketing Action to create a new brochure.

Lana Greenan, Board Member and Marketing Chair, SPHF said that she appreciated the quality of the new marketing piece and the process of working with Karen Fraser-Middleton at Marketing Action.

“Karen’s ability to understand our needs moved the project along quickly,” said Greenan. “Her communication skills and marketing savvy combined with follow through took us to a new level to broaden our marketing efforts. Karen can keep everyone on target and focused. She motivated me with her professionalism mixed with a great sense of humor.”

Smithtonian Graphic Design and Daryl Stinchfield Photography collaborated with Marketing Action on this project. Learn more about booking an event at

Fun facts found in Outliers by Gladwell

After reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers this weekend, about people who are extraordinarily successful, I was intrigued by the idea that birth year, family culture back several generations and other seemly unimportant factors combined with dedicated practice can provide the foundation to make talented people great.

The lesson for the younger generation who seek instant results is that Gladwell found it takes over 10,000 hours of practice to become really, really good at something. And, it is the time spent practicing that differentiates the ordinary from the extraordinary. Your environment, family, birth month or other seemingly arbitrary factor may provide the opportunity to get in more practice hours.

With my work encouraging students to consider technical education paths at Sierra College leading to technical careers, I was fascinated with Gladwell’s review of how language and culture may predispose some students to excel at math. Again, it is about putting in long hours of practice to become really proficient. Our culture, schools and families may not be emphasizing the need for math practice enough to prepare future engineers. Gladwell also reviewed the importance of struggling, without giving up, to find a solution to a math problem as a way of developing problem solving skills. Employers I’ve interviewed continually mention their desire to find prospective employees with problem solving skills. (224-249)

As a marketer, I found Gladwell’s review of communication styles among pilots interesting. He suggested that your culture and its associated way of dealing with uncertainty and its sense of hierarchy influence your communication style. Depending on the situation, this may advantageous or disastrous. Gladwell showed how an employer, after realizing what communication is style is needed in the cockpit during an emergency for example, can train pilots in methods to enhance understanding and result in better outcomes. (200-212)

All in all, Outliers is an interesting read, especially if you enjoy statistics and stories. I was somewhat disappointed that the reader is left to come up with his or her own conclusions about how to use this information to enhance an organization’s success. Now I’m seeking a way to turn the fun facts into action. a quick way to gather information

Several of my clients are currently using to gather information important to their organizations. One has asked employees to confidentially give input to help with strategic planning for 2009. The other asked advisory committee members in which way they may be able to contribute to the program. Both saved the managers’ time by gathering needed information from participants and posting results in one place.

This is a free program or can be subscribed to for less than $20 per month to take advantage of convenient downloads and other services.

The only downside that I have experienced was using to directly email out a customer survey rather than have the client email it to customers. The one sent out by was blocked by many systems.