The Competitive Advantage of Showing Up

Successful business leaders consistently choose the right ways to invest their time and energy. They leverage their strengths and align their teams to work fluidly within their line of business. In addition to having the best designer or product, or performing the best services, there are still supplemental habits that will set a team ahead of their competition. One such practice cited frequently by satisfied clients and effective businesses is that of showing up.


Showing up means arriving at the job site consistently to perform the work. It means being available to the client to answer questions and communicate through the process. It also means being humble and genuine, owning when you have missed your deadline, and making amends when necessary.

One might attribute their successes to advanced training or their team’s proficiency. New arrivals to the market (whether individuals or teams) sometimes suffer from hubris or entitlement by failing to parse critical business practices from non-essentials. The stories we hear regularly convey the same truth; that, rather than needing to be the most skilled craftsperson, or having a terrific training pedigree, business experience, or client portfolio, a more critical element to yielding successful business results is the manner in which you perform your work. Ie, showing up.

This certainly isn’t to say that job performance, pricing, communication, and problem solving aren’t essential skills on their own. Nor is it to say that a business will secure every client they engage. But, where a business might place the majority of their success and corresponding energy onto their product or service, placing value on showing up time and again will set a team ahead of the majority of their competition.

Maybe 25—40% of one’s expertise in their service, trade, or product will secure clients regardless of their auxiliary business practices. However, the feedback from our clients, and the response from colleagues and friends in their respective industries is that whatever the cultural and market inputs affecting work performed today, there remains an inconsistency between quality of work, and the manner in which work is done.

In Making Ideas Happen, Scott Bellsky shares a story about an incredibly talented furniture maker from Croatia who is gifted with phenomenal vision and craftsmanship. Various clients reported, however, that though they love his work and eagerly covet his products, his lack of timely delivery and “followthrough is the real problem.” It wasn’t his failure of skill, but his failure in serving the client well, that did him in.

 Courtesy flickr user cwwycoff1

Courtesy flickr user cwwycoff1

There are as many stories as there are businesses in the market. Several times clients have detailed the scope of their work and secured a contractor or company to complete it, only to begin the project and have no workers present. In other cases the majority of a job had been performed, but the contractor didn’t return to complete the work, nor to receive payment for work already begun! Others reported having hired out work but receiving nothing from the contractor after months had passed by. Lamentably, these stories aren’t merely from the creative-services sector where Bold Hive operates. They are derived from the Financial Sector to Construction fields, from Medicine to Faith-based work, and from small businesses to large national operations.

If this comes across as over-simplified, it is understandable. If this comes across as “One Easy Step to Out-Sell Your Competition,” don’t receive it so. The principle that we hope you’ll consider (and expect many of you have already) is that within the plethora of business success stories, seminars, and strategies, the axioms we most need to remember too often get pushed out of focus. While our team has a passion for fresh appeal and increasing productivity using streamlined tools and systems, we are also a team that understands that simple ideas don’t mean outdated thinking, nor do sexy trends guarantee success. In an increasingly hyperactive culture reinforced by increasingly hyperactive markets and media, the quality of your work and the clarity of your communication will be best reinforced and delivered to your customer as you show up and get the job done.

Have you found this to be true in your business? Let us know what practices or values have won and retained your clients! 

Delicious Columbus Instagram Feeds

As all of us at Bold Hive know, Columbus isn’t exactly lacking in the food department. From incredible hot dogs (that’s right—incredible hot dogs) to fine dining, from farmers’ markets to farms, from impressive restaurant empires to hole-in-the-wall treasures, we have almost everything that a foodie—or even just a regular old hungry person—could look for in a city.

In addition to amazing food, a few Central Ohio restaurants are also serving up some pretty amazing photos of their culinary creations on Instagram. Listed below are a few of our favorites.

(And caution: you are about to get very, very hungry.) 

@breakfastwithnick from Breakfast with Nick

As one of the most renowned Central Ohio food bloggers, it makes sense that Nick Dekker of “Breakfast with Nick” would have a pretty delicious Instagram feed. One of the best and worst things about his photos is just how wide a variety of food and restaurants they represent. I say “the best” because Nick showcases a veritable smorgasbord of Columbus-and-beyond breakfast dishes and delicacies in his feed. And I say “the worst” because we can’t quite figure out how to fit that entire smorgasbord into our bellies right now.

What has Nick been sharing with his followers lately? This Davy Crockett donut from Westerville’s Schneider’s BakeryThese surlitos (aka Surly Girl’s huevos rancheros).  This French toast from Tasi Café.

No matter what he’s sharing, Nick celebrates his love of food and his love of Columbus businesses, and that’s something that we at Bold Hive especially love.

@chef_wijohnst from Black Creek Bistro

Black Creek Bistro brings the farm to the table with their sustainable and as-local-as-possible lunch and dinner menus. With hearty and inspired sandwiches at lunch (Chimichurri tuna melt!  Pork burrito!  Yes please!) and a quaint but varied selection of entrees at dinner (Braised lamb shank!  Rathskeller salmon!  Sign me up!), the restaurant has quickly become a Columbus favorite.

On his Instagram feed, Chef Will, a Black Creek Bistro sous chef, captures the beautiful and the delicious from Black Creek Bistro.  Focusing primarily on the day’s lunch features, Chef Will delights his followers with near-daily photos of the kitchen’s creations.  There are vegan selections (like the recent eggplant caponata). There are sandwich selections (like pulled pork po’ boys).  And then, of course, there are those selections that just make your stomach growl, no matter what time of day it is (like
chipotle mac and cheese with corn, bacon, guacamole, cotija, and kale chips). 

@cherbourgbakery from Cherbourg Bakery

Though it’s relatively new to town, Bexley’s Cherbourg Bakery has risen to the top of many locals’ favorite bakeries. Serving up gluten-free and nut-free baked goods, Cherbourg proves that you don’t need wheat, gluten, or nuts to make delicious donuts, muffins, cookies, and more.

The Cherbourg Instagram feed is downright delicious too. Think cream puffs. Rosemary polenta cakeMaple streusel crunch muffins. Cinnamon donuts. This amazing sign. (Yes, that’s your sweet tooth telling you it’s time to visit Cherbourg.)

Beyond the sweet and delicious, this Instagram feed also serves up the plain old sweet with photos of the Cherbourg employees sharing meals, playing games, and just enjoying one another’s company. Looking at this sweetness is almost as nice as looking at Cherbourg’s famous lemon bars.


@waywardseedfarm from Wayward Seed Farm

Wayward Seed’s Instagram account is brand spanking new (to date, they’ve only posted eight images), but don’t let that fool you: they truly have some of the most gorgeous and delicious-looking photos we’ve seen on Instagram.

As a certified organic farm that grows heritage and heirloom vegetables for Central Ohio residents and restaurants, Wayward Seed has posted striking images of fresh produce and fresh-produce-baked-into-mouthwatering-dishes. From Japanese eggplants to cherry and blueberry pie to bunches of rainbow chard, they are capturing some of the most beautiful things that we can grow right here in Central Ohio. This is an Instagram feed that won’t just make you hungry: if you’re right here in Columbus, it will make you proud to be an Ohioan.

@danthebaker from Dan the Baker

It would be an understatement to say that Dan the Baker simply bakes bread. His breads and pastries are little loaves of art that are hand-crafted from local and organic ingredients. Not surprisingly, these breads and pastries are delicious too.

On his Instagram feed, Dan shares little slices of baking life. There’s the dough (or in this case, the olive hazelnut bread dough). There’s the oven (or in this case, the oven full of golden raisin coriander chocolate sourdough). There’s the fruit filling (or in this case, the blueberry sauce for Dan’s scones).  And of course, there are the finished baked goods (like these Ohio peach puff pastries) that will make you want to run (and run fast) to the nearest location serving whatever it is that Dan has been baking. 

@commonwealthsandwichbar from Commonwealth Sandwich Bar

Commonwealth Sandwich Bar just happens to be one of the places that serves what Dan the Baker has been baking. And like any good sandwich joint, Commonwealth takes two great slices of bread and fills them with ingredients that take the great all the way to the spectacular.

What’s looking pretty spectacular on Commonwealth’s Instagram feed? How about their Bahn Fire sandwich, with roasted pork shoulder, cilantro, jalapeno, spicy Korean barbecue, and arugula on a demi batard. Or their Thai Shtick sandwich, with chicken, shaved cabbage, swiss cheese, peanut sauce, and pickled jalapenos on rustic Italian bread. Or their cheesecake. Oh yes: their cheesecake. Because if there’s anything that rivals the simple genius of a well-made sandwich, it’s a creamy cheesecake with chocolate graham crust and chocolate drizzle.  

@cbusadventures from Columbus Food Adventures

Offering Columbus food tours ranging from a Taco Truck Food Tour to an All Dessert Food Tour, it’s no surprise that Columbus Food Adventures’ Bethia Woolf has posted an array of unique (and tasty) photos on the site’s Instagram feed. This is truly the place to be to find the food that makes you hungry and the culinary gems that are still waiting for you to discover.

The Columbus Food Adventures Instagram feed isn’t just about amazing local restaurant food either. Of course, you’ll find highlights from their tours (like this striking display of Korean food from the Meat Lovers Tour), and you’ll find lots of other local food scene deliciousness (like this slice of chocolately awesomeness from Kolache Republic or this Shagbark mill hoecake from Knead). But you’ll also find images that are more personal: the blueberry patch at Berry Field farm, twin mason jars filled with homemade cherry syrup, a basket of sweet cherries from the North Market farmers’ market. 

And every single one of these images and Instagram feeds are enough to keep us excited about the local food scene for a long, long time. Have a favorite Instagram feed in Columbus that we left out? Share your favorites below in the comments! 

Spotting prospects who don’t value your work

Doing what you love for a living has just about an unlimited list of benefits. That doesn’t mean it’s always sunshine and rainbows when you’re working to generate revenue for your company. There are struggles and obstacles with any form of work and one of the most common we see with businesses offering any services is the ability to quickly identify a prospect or client that values what they bring to the table.

In the business of providing a service (any service) your time is very valuable – more so than a business selling a line of products. The revenue generated from any one sale for a product based company (large or small) does not have a direct correlation to the amount of time the business will have to invest to complete said sale. When you’re selling a service it’s easier to recognize the direct and literal relationship of time equals money. If you’re spending valuable time on prospects and clients that don’t value what you bring to the table (whether they end up being a paying client or not) you’re sacrificing your most precious resource that could be spent with clients that do value your work and enable your business to thrive.

 Sometimes searching for clients that value your business can feel like the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Sometimes searching for clients that value your business can feel like the proverbial needle in a haystack.

While there are many ways to identify a prospect or client that does not value your service we’re focusing on one of the easiest ways in this piece. You already invested time in reading this piece to find out the answer so we’ll cut to the chase and save the ceremonious introductions.

Prospects that do not value your profession will belittle the work they’re asking you to execute.

The best way to explain this in detail is to provide a few quick examples that should easily resonate with you if you have ever heard something similar.

 “My bike needs a tune-up, could you take a quick look and tighten things up?”

“We need a centerpiece made for each table at the ceremony – could you throw something together?”

We’re needing some photography done at our next event – would you be able to come and snap some pictures?”

“Can you glance at my tax returns and see where I may have missed something?”

“We need a flyer designed – something beautiful that communicates our mission but you don’t have to spend much time on it.”

“We’re looking for some ideas for the building design – could you crank out some basic ideas?”

“I’d like for you to repaint the second floor, it should be a pretty quick task.”

These statements seem harmless on their face to the untrained audience as they're often disguised in politeness – but if you can start to listen for the cues closely you’ll be culling through business "opportunities" like a pro in no time. These inquiries for work to be performed are almost always made by someone who does not value your particular line of work and believes that it will be a near effortless for you to complete. They also rarely value the training you've completed to perform the work and the price of the equipment involved to produce what they're looking for. More often than not, these requests with disguised devaluations often come from someone who has no clue how to perform the tasks required and doesn’t understand the amount of skill needed to complete the work. Their conscious goal is to create a sense of ease and effortlessness for you to complete the requested work in an effort to get the work complete for free, or at least a good discount to what should be charged.

time is money2.png

If you’re ever come across a prospect giving off a heavy set of signals like this – run for the hills or be prepared to discuss in detail the expectations for both parties. Your time is better spent in the long run searching for more valuable clients or networking with others to find the best group of customers that value what your company specializes in. In the even that you already have a customer on board that started out like one of the scenarios above you'll probably be able to testify that they're some of your most time consuming clients with little to no return for the bottom line of your business.

Do you have some good real life examples of this happening in your business? Share your stories below and let us know how you handled it.