How to Grow Your Business with Video

How to Grow Your Business with Video

Paul Martin has been working with communications teams across the nation for over 20 years. He coaches all types of businesses in how to connect and grow their brands to be more cost-effective and successful. This week he taught us how to use video to grow a business.



Video was the fastest growing marketing medium in 2017. In 2018, if you don’t have videos in your marketing strategy, you’re missing business. Paul taught us what to do to get started making videos that convert.

The Power of Video: Why?


Paul emphasized that video marketing creates stronger customer engagement and increases trust. And 64% of consumers purchase after watching branded social content. Just using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts the open rate by 19%!


The Power of Video: What?


What makes a good video to grow your business? Great marketing videos engage two parts of our brain in the right order: ordering our experience and constructing our reality. Good videos also share some kind of new understanding. Great videos show us what that new understanding means for us!



The Power of Video: How?


Great marketing videos tell a story instead of making a sale. Focus on introducing a character and then get right to the conflict. Then you should provide a solution and reject it! Immediately after, provide a better solution to the problem. But leave the solution unfinished.


Everyone will orient themselves within the story that is being told. You can control that orientation with the way you make the video- perspective of the camera, lighting, music, etc.


Great marketing videos use targeting! You have to create an overlap between you and your audience- the more overlap, the bigger your target. Being on target really maximizes your effort. If you don’t know your target audience, start doing research! Ask around.


Start with ONE goal.

What do you want your video to accomplish?


Here’s an example: “Like a Girl”- an Always commercial. The one goal of this commercial is to cut down the phrase “like a girl.” You can see how the music changes midway through the commercial and this changes the audience’s mood. Also the different perspectives and distance to the actors makes a big difference in the overall vibe.


What’s the takeaway?

  • Know the goal of your video
  • Write a script
  • Make every second count
  • Create a hook (within the first 5 seconds!)
  • Let the viewer know what they can do
  • Don’t be stopped by technology!


Here is the video Paul created for Forge!


Thank you Paul Martin for all of your wisdom and insight! Check out Paul’s website. Email Paul at or call him at 402-277-0697 for any inquiries or questions.

4 Legal Essentials For Your Business

4 Legal Essentials For Your Business

“Let’s be honest, if you want to know about the legal issues in your business, it can feel like drinking from a firehose.


And, there is a reason for that.


Everything that happens in your business is impacted by legal. It can be complicated. But, so is running a business. And, all of your legal issues don’t happen all at once. You can build a legal foundation, just like you build everything else in your business. You can’t ignore it, but you can take it slowly. Build a foundation that is sustainable and continue to improve your legal protections over time.”


These are wise words from Josh Andrews who led our first Lunch & Learn focused on the legal world of small businesses.



Josh Andrews of Gray Jenkins works with entrepreneurs and small businesses every day. He is a business lawyer. He helps small business owners and entrepreneurs develop a clear legal plan to protect their business as it grows with an education first approach to legal advice and service. Their firm focuses on giving entrepreneurs a clear path to legal protection. Growing your business can only happen if you have a firm foundation. Every entrepreneur should have access to quality information about the legal that impacts their business every day. Every business needs legal, but not every business is ready for a lawyer.


Josh also has a podcast called Legal to English and he suggested listening to Episode 1, 38 and 49 if you are a small business owner.


Entrepreneur Myths about Legal:

  • Legal can wait
  • Legal doesn’t affect my small business
  • I know a lawyer…
  • I’ll just get a template online



Here are Josh’s 4 Legal Essentials:

  1. Legal Entity– Limited liability protects you in so many different ways. If you’re company doesn’t flourish like you expected, without limited liability you can’t exactly just walk away from it.
  2. Separation of Assets– You have to set up different accounts. You have to have your own personal bank account and treat the business as something separate from yourself. Document how you pay yourself. Pay attention to what you spend on the business vs. what you spend on yourself. You can’t pay for personal things with your business account!
  3. Documenting Relationships– You should have a written contract for every relationship in your business. You need that roadmap to protect your business! Properly document relationships with vendors, customers, employees, even lawyers and graphic designers.
  4. Access to Legal Information– You really need a lawyer who specializes in the small business industry and who knows what hurdles startups face. You need someone who can answer your questions and be available for you.



Make sure you find someone you can truly trust! This person should help you build a foundation for your business, answer all of your questions and help you grow your company.


Thank you Josh Andrews for teaching our first Lunch & Learn focusing on legal. Josh will be leading monthly lunch events at Forge. Check Forge’s Facebook page to stay up to date on all of our events! We would love for you to join us.

5 Things Every Small Business Owner Needs in 2018

5 Things Every Small Business Owner Needs in 2018

2018 is here!  Let the recommitments to greatness begin!  Before you hail off into 365 days hard work and success, there are a few things you may want to be sure you have to guarantee you’re ready.



A Bomb Team

If you plan to blow up, you’re going to need to surround yourself with the best!  Take a minute and really write out your business process.  Start at idea and creation to purchase and follow-up.  How many different jobs did you discover you’ve been doing on your own?  Try to get as many willing people in those positions as possible.  It’s completely fine if you can only afford one.  Having others as a part of your process will not only give you a greater capacity for work, but it will give you fresh ideas, thoughts, and criticism (embrace it).


A Refreshed Brand Image

Now is the time to determine if you need to spruce anything up.  Even if you don’t execute it now, knowing that there, for example, is a major website overhaul coming in a few months may change how you promote your business.  Ask yourself if you’re happy with your current logo, headshots, etc.  If you’re happy with everything, ask yourself,” what will make me stand out even more in 2018?”  Remember, you are about to see an onslaught of updated brands and new brands!  How can you put a little shine on your brand’s image and presentation to ensure you’re still competing?



A Mentor


Whether this is your first year in business or your thirty-first, get a mentor.  January is actually National Mentor Month.  So, this is the perfect time to find someone in your field or industry, or even that you just identify with, who has the resources and skill set to help guide your career to positive places.  Mentorship is such an important aspect of running a business.  Entrepreneurs are naturally self-starters and often don’t ask for guidance.  Remember, you don’t know everything.  You can’t possibly know everything.  A mentor can tell you where they’ve been, what mistakes they made, what lessons they’ve learned, who can help you, and more.  You don’t have to talk to them everyday for the mentor relationship to work.  Whomever you ask will likely be thrilled that you thought of them and do all they can to help you be successful.


A Trust Information Resource (or 2 or 3…)


Everything about our lives is constantly changing.  As a business owner, it can be extremely difficult to stay up-to-date on the latest changes, not only in your industry, but in other aspects of running your business.  There is no way to know all the changes to the new tax laws, the latest Google ranking details, or the latest Facebook algorithm updates.  It’s always a good idea to identify early where you will pull your information so that you aren’t winging it every time something changes or you need guidance.  For marketing and branding, Fire Starters, an upcoming One Degree membership, is a great resource.  If you’re a solopreneur or entrepreneur who isn’t in a position to outsource your marketing strategy and planning needs, Fire Starters, will give you access to marketing information constantly at a comparably lower cost than hiring a marketing company full time.  Joining Fire Starters, and services like it, can help you stay on track and keep you informed as quickly as you work to maintain and grow your business.
(Want to find out when Fire Starters membership opens?  Click here to be notified.


A Scheduled Break


I bet you didn’t see that coming.  Right now, in January, decide when you’re going to take a break.  You may not be in a position to take a vacation, or may not even want to.  But, you must remember, in order to operate at your best, you have to take time to reset.  A few hours every week are great for keeping your sanity.  However, planning a weekend, a week, or even 2 weeks of unplugging is important.  If you have a family, plan a time that you don’t have to say the words “mommy’s coming, give me one sec, almost done.”  Give yourself the break you deserve and need to sustain the amazing business your are building.

Do not live your life in 2018 as a small business owner without these things.  They may seem simple enough to overlook today.  But, having them in place will save you time and money throughout the year.
Happy New Year!



Jacqueline Jones

One Degree MMM









Top Four Reasons to to Join a Coworking Space

Top Four Reasons to to Join a Coworking Space

Forge is the first coworking space or “shared” office space in downtown Birmingham! According to Forbes, there are currently more than 11,000 coworking spaces in the United States. By 2020 we’re projected to see more than 26,000 spaces hosting 3.8 million people! With the rise of millennial entrepreneurs, shared office space is more and more appealing for many reasons.



If you aren’t familiar with the idea of coworking, let us give you more information. Multiple businesses work from Forge whether they are in a private office or working with a membership in our common space. Every member has access to our conference rooms, phone booths, networking and education events. Almost like a gym membership, Forge members pay a monthly membership fee for access to our space. Our membership costs range from $75-$275 a month- far less than your average office space.


Keep reading! We’ll tell you why coworking is a great investment for your business.


  1. Networking.

Get ready to brainstorm and connect with other entrepreneurs who are working on projects and similar challenges. Also join in on the social events a coworking space offers- happy hours, food tastings and much more.



2. Flexibility.

Coworking spaces are designed to accommodate growth! You can easily start with a smaller membership and move up to a full-time membership or private office if your company needs it. If you need to cancel your membership, you can! Generally it’s just less commitment for you.



3. Affordability.

Coworking spaces cost a fraction of a traditional office space lease! If you need to add additional items like a mailbox, you can. If you’ve been working from coffee shops, I bet you’ll save money with the free Revelator coffee offered at Forge! Also things like cleaning and maintenance are handled by the company, giving you less responsbility.



4. Service.

Coworking spaces are familiar with the needs of a startup and provide resources to help your business grow. Forge’s Lunch & Learn event topics have ranged from Accounting to Online Marketing to Instagram for your Business. Forge staff is available to serve your business’ specific needs!


This infographic sums up a lot of the advantages to coworking. Avoid the distractions and isolation of your home office. Steer clear of the unreliable wifi and inconveniences of a coffee shop. Increase your productivity in a shared work space!


Hear from some of our visitors and members…

“What a fantastic place to meet like-minded entrepreneurs and grow your business network! Forge also has a variety of offices available for rent, including a penthouse workspace that was perfect for my team of 10 coming from out of town.”





“I have really enjoyed working at Forge. Forge allows me to focus better than I’m able to at home. I feel more connected to what’s going on in the city.”




“Since joining Forge, our business activity has sky rocketed, I’ve created relationships (professionally and cordially), and my productivity has never been better. Needless to say, being around a community of other hustlers can certainly rub off on your work ethic.”







Solving Your Accounting Problems in 2018

Solving Your Accounting Problems in 2018

LUCA Financial Operations is an accounting and finance team that offers tech-enabled bookkeeping and accounting for growing businesses. Trey Fulmer is the CEO and Founder of LUCA and he graciously taught our first Lunch & Learn event of 2018. Trey’s main idea: be proactive in your accounting.


Financial awareness means getting timely, accurate data from your business so you are prepared with actionable information that you can use to make decisions. It creates peace of mind so you could be ready for anything that may pop up- like an audit.


A survey from Xero shows that only 24% of small businesses have an accounting advisor. And if you work with an accounting advisor, you are 23% more profitable. Trey emphasized that an accounting advisor is much different than a tax accountant. You may talk to your tax accountant just once a year when you send them all your banking info and simply hope for the best. But an accounting advisor communicates with you regularly and helps you make decisions with the growth of your business.



Hire an accounting advisor who has experience in your specific industry! You may think you can’t afford it but it usually pays for itself over the course of a year or two.


How do you find an accounting advisor? QuickBooks has an online directory of accounting advisors in your area and you can see reviews for them. Xero has an advisor network you can check as well. Make sure you ask someone for their scope of services and how much they will be communicating with you!



Focus on reconciling your accounts daily or weekly- instead of monthly or quarterly. The technology that exists now allows you to do this much more efficiently and accurately when it’s done on a regular basis – make it a habit.


It’s also important to know your ‘break even point.’ A lot of people don’t spend enough time figuring this out. You need to understand your fixed and variable costs because they can drastically change your break-even point as your business grows.


If you’re proactive with your accounting, you’ll avoid a lot of pitfalls because you can respond more quickly when things come up. Trey suggests watching out for: all the compliance headaches and potential for penalties and fees – particularly business licenses, sales taxes, and personal property taxes.


Embrace technology. Establish structured processes. Understand the numbers relevant to your business.


Trey also encouraged implementing a “financial operating system” for your business. It starts with an accounting system, structured workflows, good habits, a flexible operating budget, and a financial reporting framework. Even if you are a sole proprietor you should spend time working on these things or hire someone who can get you setup the right way.



When looking for accounting software, Trey suggests using Xero as an alternative to QuickBooks. It’s much easier for your accounting advisor to work with you in Xero and the support team is great! Regardless of the system or the accounting advisor you work with, make sure you take advantage of the partner discounts offered by your accounting advisor.


Here’s our takeaway points:

  • be proactive in your accounting

  • embrace technology

  • build an operating budget

  • hire an accounting advisor that has experience in your industry

  • look into using Xero instead of QuickBooks