Nominated for the 2013 Small Business Influencer Awards

Shoeboxed has been nominated for the 2013 Small Business Influencer Awards. If you’re a Shoeboxed fan then please take a second to vote for us in the contest! Voting will remain open until midnight on September 9th.

Thanks to the nomination from our friends at Fujitsu, Shoeboxed is proud to announce our nomination for the 2013 Small Business Influencer Awards hosted by Small Biz Trends.

The awards program recognizes influential companies and individuals who work to help small businesses grow. The winners are chosen based off of popular vote and a panel of 13 hand-selected judges.

This is Shoeboxed’s first time being nominated for the award and we would love all the support we can get!

Voting just takes a second.

1. Visit our voting page at Small Business Influencer Awards

2. Find the yellow button with the word “VOTE”

3. Click on it and the status will change to “VOTED”

4. Leave a comment at the bottom and share with your friends on Facebook and Twitter

Voting ends on September 9th so please be sure to vote and nominate any other companies or individuals before then. Additionally, you are able to vote once per day so don’t forget to visit the site daily and vote before the contest ends.

Thank you all for your continued support of Shoeboxed!

Rock on!



The #1 Secret to a Successful Small Business

When starting a small business, many entrepreneurs focus on creating a great product or an eye-catching business plan. They work to build something their target market can’t possibly resist, and that investors can’t wait to throw money at. While building your product can certainly seem paramount, the real number one secret to small business success lies in who you hire to be a part of your team.

When starting a small business, many entrepreneurs focus on creating a great product or an eye-catching business plan. They work to build something their target market can’t possibly resist, and that investors can’t wait to throw money at.

While solving a specific problem in a specific niche is a key element to establishing a small business, the number one secret to small business success lies in who you hire to be a part of your team.

That’s right – it’s really all about people. Whether you run a service-based business or sell products online, the people you hire to join your small business team are the same people who can make or break your business long-term.

Gigantic companies like Google, Facebook and Apple all say the same thing: hire amazing people and get the heck out of their way. That means investing in top talent who are ready to hit the ground running to make your business a success. This has been a key principle in growing Shoeboxed from an idea to a thriving business, and we’re immensely proud of the awesome team we have.

When hiring a startup team to support your small business, it’s important to keep your current and future needs in mind. Right now, you may need someone to do your books and manage your social media accounts. But what about five years from now?

When you hire based on the projected growth of your company, you’re far more likely to make that growth a reality. Building a team based on where you want to go, as opposed to where you are now, will allow the people you hire to directly participate in your company’s success. Retention rates will remain high because each and every team member will feel personally invested in the company, and personally rewarded as it grows.

Choosing complementary personality types is also key to building a successful small business team. Just as a winning football team can’t be comprised of all quarterbacks, your startup team can’t be made up of all gregarious leaders, or all stoic followers. Look for a mix of different talents and abilities that will be able to solve a variety of problems and think creatively in group settings.

In order to ascertain how a potential candidate functions in a group, be sure to hold a round of group interviews late in the hiring process. Once you’ve determined those candidates that you’re highly interested in, bring them together in a dynamic group setting and observe their interactions as a team. You can even bring in multiple candidates for the same position and swap them out accordingly to see how each interacts with the group.

While having a stellar product or service to sell is certainly important, it’s nowhere near as important as hiring a great startup team. According to Devin Mathews, Managing Partner at Chicago Growth Partners, small business owners are “better off working with a great team and a mediocre product, than a great product and mediocre people.”

What is the most important quality you look for when hiring top talent?

3 Ways to Run a Business That Makes an Impact

Most small business owners will agree that running a business is about much more than making money. Here are a few inspiring ideas to help your business make the world a better place.

This post is brought to you by Deborah Sweeney, CEO of

Most small business owners will agree that running a business is about much more than making money. Yes, the bottom line does matter, but being able to help grow your community and actually contribute something to the world is much more rewarding than seeing your profits exceed your expenses. The movement to startup businesses that create more than just a financial impact has really come into its own with the legal recognition of B-Corporations – for-profit corporations that have the dual mission of making their shareholders money as well as a positive impact on society. But all businesses, regardless of structure, can help make the world a better place. If you’d like your business to be one of them, consider taking the following actions.

Get Your Employees Involved

Shoeboxed Team at Creative Food Drive 2012
The Shoeboxed team participates in an annual local food drive each year.

It’s great when an entrepreneur decides to use their startup to make a difference, but it’s even better when everyone on the business’s team is actually involved in that effort. If you truly want your brand to make an impact, you need to incorporate your social mission into every facet of your business. Working for your company should also mean working to help further its philanthropic or environmental efforts. One great way to start that process is to use what has now become a dreaded part of company culture – the team-building exercise. Team-building exercises do work, but they are often unimaginative and boring, and your employees wind up bonding over how much they hate them rather than through the activities themselves. But if you use team-building and bonding to better the community, like by volunteering the company to sponsor a food drive or clean up a park, your employees will be able to get out, stretch, and feel they are doing something meaningful and will bond through the work. After your employees are introduced to this type of service, it will also be easier to make volunteer work a regular part of working for your company.

Partner with Other Sustainable Businesses

You probably aren’t the only startup in town looking to make a difference, and teaming up with other sustainable businesses will create a network that supports the efforts of its members and allows them to tackle problems en masse. Many hands make light work, and the same can be said for businesses with the same outlook as yours – it’s easier to make a positive impact on society when there are more people trying to achieve the same goals you are. Concerted efforts always have a bigger impact and can even inspire others who don’t work within your business to try and change things for the better, too. There is absolutely no reason to go it alone! You may be surprised at how many other businesses share the same ideas you do, all you have to do is reach out to them.

Create Proactive Internal Policies

Paper usage is one of the biggest environmental problems caused by businesses. The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper every year, and most estimates state that one ream of 500 sheets uses up 6% of a tree. If my math is right, that means the average office worker using unrecycled paper will go over a tree’s worth of paper each year. That’s crazy! Even if your office or business uses nowhere near that amount of paper, it is still contributing to a serious environmental problem. Paperless businesses save money, time, and use up fewer resources, so if you haven’t switched over yet, you should strongly consider doing so. You can also implement green internal policies at the workplace – installing dimmer lighting, turning off the A/C and turning on fans instead, using energy efficient light bulbs – but going paperless is one of the best changes you can make to become more environmentally friendly.

Knowing that you run a business that is actually helping its community is a great feeling. While it does require some effort to make a full impact, a social or environmental mission doesn’t have to detract from the day-to-day operations of the workplace. By including your employees in your mission when you can, networking with other like-minded businesses, and adopting proactive internal policies, you’ll quickly find your company positively influencing the wider community and making a material difference in the world. It may not be huge, but every, small, positive change we make is a step in right direction.

How does your business make an impact? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author:

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.