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Why You Need a Development Team

Why You Need a Development Team

Why You Need a Development Team

Going it alone is hard. Business owners are well aware of this maxim because it applies to every aspect of running a company. Building and maintaining a website is no different. Website builders help users get started, but the perfect site requires more than a basic template and a few words. Resources like articles and videos help, but the most useful resource of all is a development team.

Most business owners aren’t also web developers. You don’t have time to learn how to code and create a custom website that fits your brand. Maybe you’ll find a template that’s close enough to what you want, but what happens when you’re ready to grow into something new? What happens when your simple site needs to be much, much more?

This step is where going it alone becomes more challenging. Choosing the right content management system (CMS) is critical. Content management systems come with all kinds of tools and resources. 

Development teams know exactly how to leverage those tools and resources.

 

What is a development team?

Businesses starting from scratch need to determine what approach they’re going to take to build their site. Will they use a website builder and simple templates? Some do, but general templates recycled styles don’t help a business stand out in the crowd. In today’s market, every business needs an online presence. Building a site with a fundamental website builder like Wix or Squarespace is like putting an ad in the White Pages (no one really sees it). Using a development team is like putting up a billboard on Main St.

Development teams come in all shapes and sizes, but the leading roles are web developers and web designers. People like to conflate development and design even though they’re two very different aspects of a website. Development is the construction of a site, the custom coding and creation. On the other hand, design refers to the aesthetics of the website, the schemes, and the look.

We can break these teammate roles down into a little further detail.

 

Back-End Developers

The back end of your website is where all the magic happens. Every click navigating to another page, every video on auto-play, and every pop-up happen because a back-end developer built it. Businesses need them to create custom elements that will make their website functional. These elements include site security and other applications, so finding the right back-end developer is essential. Developers also help build the kinds of flexibility that allow site owners to receive and manage user information. 

 

Front-End Developers

Front-end developers focus on user experience. The back-end developer will create the system for running searches or navigation, but your front-end developer makes it look awesome. The spinning wheels, zoom in/out buttons, and feature locations (among other things)? All of that stuff comes from on the front-end. 

Finding an excellent front-end developer is every bit as important as your back-end. The user-experience helps define your website. Visitors will judge not just your site but your entire business based on how your site behaves. An essential part of behavior is across multiple platforms. Your website needs to function the same whether someone visits on a computer, tablet, or phone. 

 

Web Designers

Web designers work in tandem with the developers, but they work on different aspects that flow together. The designer creates the look and feel of your website. Starting with the overview “template” of ideas, a designer will work closely with you to organize color schemes, create custom graphics, and help with the overall concept. Your brand is on display, and your brand is your business.

Keep in mind that designers are not developers. While they may have some experience with coding, their function is to design, not build. Working with a designer is almost an essential part of building your website, but you can’t count on them to make your site function.

 

Use a development team to make a change.

Website builders like Wix and Squarespace are extremely limited. Users start because the platforms offer attractive templates and a user-friendly dashboard. After a while, people realize their website can’t grow with their business and look elsewhere. 

If you already know there’s no future with a site builder, why bother at all?

Luckily, there are ways to migrate away from these other platforms (see our guides on Wix and Squarespace). Moving can be a challenge if you’re looking to do more than just change the look of your site. Using a development team to help you make the move removes confusion and limits mistakes. Plus, you get the bonus of expanding your current functionality by using developers to create new tools. 

 

Why you need a development team

The DIY route is challenging. As we mentioned before, you need a website. With internet traffic trends the way they are, your site needs to shine above everyone else. It has to be functional and chic. You need a website that represents your brand without sacrificing the user experience. More than anything, you need to be able to make changes. No business is the same. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so saving the ability to build custom features is essential.

Development teams do all of that for you. You get to choose the direction you want to go, work with the team, and watch as they turn your ideas into a beautiful website. The best part? You get to focus on the most critical aspects of your company, your customers. Some people believe they don’t have the budget for a development team. There are teams for all budgets, but all you need to remember is how much time and energy you’ll spend to build the perfect website. How many hours of work will you lose while you fumble through building a site? Compare your budget against how much money you’ll drop by not running your business and see how much it really costs to hire a development team.

 

We’d love to chat with you a little more about why a development team is a perfect business solution. Reach out, and let’s get started!

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How to Move From Squarespace to WordPress

How to Move From Squarespace to WordPress

How to Move From Squarespace to WordPress

Squarespace provides an easy-to-use website builder. There are some templates and drag and drop functions, but Squarespace isn’t anything special at the end of the day. Sooner or later, many users see the limitations and conclude that they’re better off moving away. If you’re looking to move from Squarespace, there are some essential things to consider. The move tends to be over to the more flexible WordPress.

 

Why is WordPress Better Than Squarespace?

WordPress is much more dynamic. Squarespace puts you in a box, and all sites are basically the same. With WordPress, the possibilities are endless. Using the right developer, you can create the perfect website designed to your specific standards instead of someone else’s. The intricate capabilities of WordPress are invaluable to a company trying to define an online presence. Squarespace limits your options to the point you can become frustrated over what should be simple features. 

The move from Squarespace to WordPress opens up a vast array of opportunities to improve your brand and increase your traffic. The only question is, why haven’t you already moved over?

 

Export Content

Of course, you already have content on Squarespace, and starting from scratch is not an option. The good news is that you can export much of your information automatically. You can easily export your blog posts and pages. Unfortunately, you can’t export everything so easily. 

Squarespace won’t let you export:

-Album pages, indexes, product, or events
-Blocks like audio or product
-Custom CSS
-Style changes
-Squarespace template

Even so, the bulk of your content can be uploaded onto your new site reasonably smoothly. Luckily, the aspects of the information you can’t bring from Squarespace is replicable in WordPress, and again, working with a design and development team will help a lot. 

To Export

  1. Log in to Squarespace and go to the “Settings” option on the left-hand side of the screen for whichever site you want to export (if you have multiple sites).
  2. Scroll down to “Advanced,” and from there, select “Export.” You’ll be asked for the export site, so be sure to choose WordPress if there are multiple options.
  3. Wait for a pop-up letting you download the information. *If you have multiple blog pages, you’ll need to choose which one to export before proceeding. 

 

Point Domain to New WordPress Install

If you purchased a domain, you’ll probably want to carry it over to your new WordPress site. The task isn’t difficult. You’ll need to change your domain’s nameservers to point to WordPress instead of Squarespace. 

The only word of caution may be to make sure you’re ready to make the switch ultimately. You can work with your WordPress host to set up a WordPress staging site. This way, you can handle any Squarespace traffic while waiting on the work to be finished for your full website. 

Remember to go to your domain registrar to change the settings too. Once you have your site built and domain pointed to WordPress, you’ll ultimately be ready to move from Squarespace.

 

Import Content to WordPress

Now that you have your .xml file, it’s time to import. 

  1. Head over to your WordPress dashboard and find the Tools menu. 
  2. When you click on Tools, you’ll see the import option below.
  3. Click import next and find WordPress at the bottom of the list, and then click Install Now.
  4. The link will change from Install Now to Run Importer.
  5. From here, choose the .xml file to import, and click the upload file and import. This step will get the upload process started. 
  6. The next page you come to will offer to create a new user for this upload, but your best bet is to select a current user from the dropdown list.
  7.  Check the import attachments box and submit!

 

The last step is to make sure your content is uploaded correctly. Check your pages and posts to ensure everything is where it’s supposed to be, and it looks good. If not, you may need to make changes page by page, or you can start the process over to try again.

 

Import Images to WordPress

We discussed at the beginning that not everything shares over flawlessly. You’ll notice some or all of your images when you move from Squarespace did not load. You have a couple of options to add them back in. First, you can go one page at a time and upload each image one by one. That method can be a little tedious, though. Luckily, there are plugins available to help with the task. 

Plugins like Auto Upload Images will find URLs in your post and automatically upload the image files to your WordPress media database. Rather than going page by page, the plugin will let you mass select posts and pages and then do a bulk action to update all of your pages. 

  1. Go to your “Posts” page in WordPress
  2. Select all of the posts you need to update
  3. Use the bulk action dropdown and click Edit and then apply
  4. A new window will appear, but you won’t need to make changes. Just click Update.
  5. All the images from your Squarespace pages should now be showing up on your WordPress pages.

 

Configure Permalinks

Permalinks are how traffic finds your website. When you posted something on Squarespace, you received a permalink resembling something like https://example.com/blog-post-title. WordPress can mimic that or other types of dynamic permalinks through a quick setting change.

  1. Go to the Settings in your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Click Permalinks to open the menu
  3. Select the Date and Name option since it’s the most commonly used.
  4. Use the custom structure to recreate something close to the Squarespace link. Since theirs is usually a date-page-post, you can create a custom structure using a dynamic link. For example .com/%year%/%month%/%day%/blog/%post%
  5. Hit save changes to lock everything in place.

 

Recreate the Template in Divi

You can’t take your Squarespace template with you, and most people don’t particularly want to. However, if you’re in love with the look, you’ll be able to recreate it with Divi. Divi’s page builder option gives you a vast amount of possibilities to effortlessly insert rows, sections, columns, text, blocks, etc. Creating the look and feel flows smoothly, and Divi offers excellent customer experience to help. 

The Divi builder makes it easy to take your current content and build it into the same type of template you had or if you prefer, a brand new look. You have options like custom CSS, responsive editing, and simple drag and drop tools, among others. If you’re not ready to build from scratch, Divi also has an immense library of pre-created options. 

 

Leaving Squarespace

The move from Squarespace is inevitable for a lot of people. The system can be clunky, limiting, and expensive for what you actually get. WordPress provides a much better opportunity to make something with more flexibility that better represents your brand and lets you grow. The change can be difficult, though. Despite the step-by-step instructions above, your site and user experience can get lost in the shuffle. 

Professional firms like WPClover are here specifically to help you make your WordPress site precisely the way you want it instead of how someone else wants it. We’d love to talk more with you about how working with us can save you time and money, not to mention all of the perks that go along with a WordPress website. Reach out, and let’s get started!

 

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3 Reasons WordPress is Best for Businesses

3 Reasons WordPress is Best for Businesses

3 Reasons WordPress is Best for Businesses

Launched in 2003, WordPress is a content management system allowing users to build and edit websites. It now powers approximately 35% of all sites on the Internet. For perspective, there are about 1.3 Billion (yes, with a B) websites as of January 2020. Only 50% of those websites use any type of content management system, making WordPress the most dominant CMS for creating and managing sites. The system’s tools and resources are why WordPress is best for businesses. 

Building a website is a daunting task. Content management systems like WordPress let users create a website with little to no understanding of web development. The software runs on plugins powering every detail of the site down to the pop-up that asks for your email address. Since WordPress started as a place for bloggers to host content, it needed to be accessible and straightforward. Businesses caught on quickly because the system made the daunting task of creating a new website much more manageable. 

More importantly, building a website on a WordPress template meant less labor time and lower upfront costs. Over time, WordPress.org began offering free site templates to make getting online even easier for everyone. Today there are many website builders and content management systems to choose from, but here are three reasons WordPress is best for businesses.

 

Flexibility

WordPress comes with an abundance of built-in tools. There are thousands of templates that allow businesses to find a look that suits their brand. The simplicity enables a user to create a personalized look and feel within a few minutes of signing up. Many templates even offer guides or suggestions for where to put content or how to arrange the site.

From there, companies can choose plugins to power the functionality of the site. Plugins are nothing more than pieces of software that add new features or functions to the website. Some plugins are simple and offer basic services like contact forms so customers can reach you. Others are much more complex to fit analysis and marketing needs. 

For example, Formidable Forms is a WordPress form creation tool. Users can create data collection forms for nearly any purpose. The plugin is simple enough to use one-click, drag-and-drop features and build straightforward contact information forms. However, the software becomes more and more complicated, depending on the company’s needs. Not everyone needs forms with conditional logic or dynamic prefilled fields, but those features are present regardless. 

While the example above is an oversimplification, the plugin catalog contains tens of thousands of plugins offering businesses the flexibility to build the perfect website.

 

Support

Like with any software, there will be issues. Some things will glitch, or integrations won’t work as they should. Sometimes you feel like you did everything right, but your website isn’t working correctly. It happens! WordPress.org has an excellent support setup, but many companies turn to WordPress management firms to handle support. 

Managed WordPress hosting and development firms like Shamrck handle every aspect of designing, building, and maintaining a website, which includes support. WordPress provides tools to help troubleshoot problems, but not everyone is tech-savvy enough to handle a complex issue. For a company with a complicated website, trying to troubleshoot on your own can make things worse. Website management firms help fix and improve sites based on user needs and requests. They can provide support without demanding too much of your time.

Luckily, the WordPress CMS has been around long enough for there to be plenty of other support options. Books, articles, and videos are all readily available to everyone, and support companies allow businesses to submit specific problems to fix. WordPress is one of the few software services with sufficient available support. 

 

Integration

Finally, WordPress has an unbeatable number of integrations with other software. Remember, WordPress powers 35 % of all websites worldwide. Any service software not trying to build a plugin to integrate their software is missing an incredibly vast audience.

Why does this matter to a business?

Just having a website isn’t enough for today’s businesses. Companies need ways to engage customers. Plugins that create pop-up forms to collect data are fantastic, but what comes next? WordPress integrations let a business connect an email service to a project management software to an internal communication platform. A potential customer can fill out a request for more information. Through seamless integrations, the prospect immediately receives an automated email, their contact information goes into your database, and a message goes out to your whole team, notifying you of a new prospect. Everything happens instantly.

WordPress integrations open a new world of functionality. During the rise of WordPress, connecting various aspects of your marketing, sales, and productivity was crushingly time-consuming. As more SaaS products became available, they began integrating more with the system. WordPress became a more powerful force for businesses to automate as much work as possible and become streamlined like never before.

 

Why WordPress is Best for Businesses

Despite the plethora of site-building options available, only WordPress combines the high-level simplicity of one-click creation tools with the depth of the ability to build custom plugins to fit specific needs. The system is more flexible than any other CMS in the world, but it wouldn’t be nearly as successful without the level of available support. From a photographer trying to show off a portfolio to the largest Fortune 500 companies, WordPress fits every necessity.

WordPress is best for businesses small and large because the system opens up customizability to every facet of a website. Companies can create interactive tools alongside in-depth sales funnels to engage customers and close sales, all without a single call or email. In short, WordPress works for businesses so that businesses don’t have to work to figure out how to build the perfect website.

 

Shamrck has years of experience with WordPress development and management. We’d love to talk more with you about your needs. Schedule some time to learn more and take the first step toward the perfect website. 

 

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Wix Alternative: Get More with Shamrck

Wix Alternative: Get More with Shamrck

Wix Alternative: Get More with Shamrck

RipplePop v WP Clover... And Everything Else 4

 

 Creating a website is a daunting task for many beginners and small businesses. Companies like Wix and Shamrck offer tools and resources for website creation. Design and development can be painfully time-consuming. For business owners, this valuable time costs money and sacrifices customer service. The central part of creating a site is finding the right design to fit your brand. Working with premade themes and templates give you plenty of options and let you pick a look that works.

Wix and Shamrck both offer templates to get started, but since Shamrck offers WordPress built websites, you get more control over the final product. Wix provides an impressive portfolio of templates along with blank models to let you build from scratch. Wix also makes it easy to move around features like text boxes and images. It comes together into a customized but basic website. Shamrck provides several templates, but the use of WordPress explodes the availability of custom plugins and themes.

WordPress is an incredibly powerful platform. One look at the back-end dashboard of a WordPress site amplifies the simplicity of Wix’s system. The dashboard may seem overwhelming, but it is easy to follow and make edits to your website. Shamrck uses WordPress to help you design and develop the perfect site instead of settling for one that’s almost right. More than that, Shamrck provides a team of experts to help each step of the way.

 

What is Wix?

Wix is a website building platform that offers free website creation and hosting. The company prides itself on providing ready-made websites for beginners and small businesses to create an online presence. Wix offers several options for website themes and templates and makes simple customization more accessible. The platform falls short in several areas, however.

The free version offers a set amount of options and build-outs, which may not meet your needs. You’ll also have to deal with Wix advertisements on your site unless you decide to buy into a subscription. The free version also doesn’t come with premium support, which is another add-on found in the subscription versions.

The ease of use and free hosting makes Wix an instant contender for anyone looking to start a website, but after a little more digging, we see the need to buy into a subscription. Wix offers four tiers of subscriptions. Mostly, the subscriptions help with removing ads to give your brand priority. You’ll start to get better support services, more storage, and the ability to connect your domain.

The biggest problem with using Wix is the utter lack of back-end help. There are no services to help with maintenance, scalable development, or automation. The platform doesn’t lend itself to anything more than putting content on a website.

 

You get what you pay for

Wix offers a free product, but it is so limited, users have little to no control over anything aside from what content goes on their website. Wix hosts their websites on physical servers around the world, which has a higher risk of security breaches and crashes. There are no health scans or performance monitoring.

The limited amount of storage on the free version is another enormous drawback. Photographers, bloggers, marketers, and other content-heavy businesses are forced to buy into the subscription tiers to get enough storage. Videographers have to buy into the subscription tiers merely to house 30 minutes or more of video.

Wix also forces customers to buy into a subscription to connect their domain. Regardless of if you already have one or get one through Wix, you won’t see any valuable analytics without connecting your domain. Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel are available but not on the free, basic product.

 

Get what you need

As a Wix alternative, Shamrck offers website templates, design, development, hosting, and everything else with a comprehensive WordPress solution. Everything Wix offers for free and everything provided in the premium subscriptions are covered in the Shamrck Starter kit. Wix focuses almost exclusively on the front-end of your website except for helpful web-apps. Shamrck helps design and build your customer-facing content with expert advice. However, Shamrck handles something much more crucial, maintenance.

Shamrck’s cloud hosting gives you the peace of mind of a secure, fast server, and developing a site on WordPress opens many possibilities. The most valuable product offered in a WordPress solution is maintenance. Shamrck continually monitors your website for potential security issues and keeps all of your plugins up-to-date to make sure your website is operating correctly.

The best part about a managed WordPress solution is knowing you’re getting the best website possible, regularly maintained, and with a team of experts in support of any needs. Unlike the rigid setup of Wix, Shamrck allows you to make unlimited WordPress requests to add functionality or tweak your site for better performance. From your initial idea to launch day and beyond, Shamrck makes sure you get the website you need without losing the time-consuming stress of securing and maintaining it.

Wix provides an inexpensive solution to a complicated problem. Your website is your face for your customers. If you only need your phone number and logo on a website, maybe a free, elementary website is the best choice. If you’re like most companies, you’ll want your website to stand out, showcase your brand, and customized to your exact needs.

Managed WordPress solutions provide all of those needs and much more at a manageable cost. Wix simply can’t begin to offer the same level of service on the front-end or back-end as Shamrck. Building and managing a website is a daunting task to do right. You need a plan to help you save time and money on your way to an engaging product you can be proud of.

 

We would love the chance to talk more about your needs. Reach out today, so we can show you how much value a managed WordPress solution provides.

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How to Market to Customers with Your Website

How to Market to Customers with Your Website

How to Market to Customers with Your Website

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Marketing is a complicated process. Where do you begin? What’s your overall strategy? How do you even know if your strategy is working?! Marketing, in its most simplistic form, is how you get the word out about your business. So how are you doing it now?

If you don’t see the results you want, you’re missing a puzzle piece. As tricky as marketing is, there’s a winning formula out there. You need to find it. It could be something simple, like adding a Facebook page or starting an Instagram account. Sometimes it’s more difficult like tracking KPIs based on several underlying SEO keyword phrases. But we’ll get to that later.

Don’t have a marketing plan at all? Sure you do, word of mouth! It’s one of the most common and effective strategies ever, but in today’s digital world, you need to reach out more. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter are ways to reach an enormous audience without spending a fortune. On the other end of the budget spectrum, advertising campaigns with videos and billboards are common strategies, but they can get pricey quickly. The good news is there’s a strategy for everyone.

So, where to start? If you’re marketing online, look no further than your Website.

 

Get your website to work for you

Websites are no longer an option. In fact, successful websites can make or break a business. The problem is successful websites take a lot of effort to mange. Managing a site and social media accounts can be a full-time job. For a small business owner, there already isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. With all of the tools available, it’s hard to stay organized and understand everything your website can do. 

The question what your website can do. The only question should be, “how are you using your website to work for you?” The simplest way to tell is to look at your automation. Automations are how we streamline for the most part. They’re designed to handle important tasks for you when you don’t have the time. 

Do you need to send out emails for you automatically? An email marketing platform can do it. Don’t know if your website is performing well? Analytics tools like Google, Facebook, and Pinterest will help you monitor success. 

The more you explore how you can utilize tools to automate your website, the more you see how much your site can save you time. All of which brings us to our next topic.

 

Organize your website

You have a lot to say! A marketing strategy is a bullhorn to get your message out there, but you need to have relevant content. Think about what you want to accomplish and be specific. Now, think of how your information needs to flow. You need to write something people want to read. Make them want to stick around and view your entire website.

However, writing the content is only half the battle. Earlier, we talked about tracking SEO results through different KPIs. Let’s put that in English. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. The phrase refers to how well your website (and by extension, your business) shows up on web searches like Google or Yahoo. To put it in perspective, 91% of all clicks from search engine results come from the first page. If you aren’t in that top 10, you’ll have a hard time attracting traffic.

So, how do we get there? We use SEO keywords. They’re “buzzwords” that search engines use to find relevant websites. If you have a cooking blog about recipes with watermelons, “watermelon,” “watermelon recipes,” and “cooking” should be at the top of your list of optional keywords to get noticed. 

After we write using what we hope are the best keywords, we want to measure success. We refer to these measurements as KPIs or Key Performance Indicators. KPIs are how we track our website’s performance based on specific attributes. Without diving too deeply, KPIs like increases in website traffic, sales, and subscriptions are measurable and help us reorganize our marketing strategies to make them better.

Content isn’t the only way to use your website to market to your customers, though.

 

Other strategies

There are limitless options to using your website for marking. Testing new keywords, monitoring your KPIs, using plugins to help with SEO are all extremely creative and efficient routes. However, we want to take a look at some of the not-so-common ways to market using your site.

Allowing guest bloggers to write content for you goes a long way toward updating relevant, well-written content that doesn’t require much work on your end. They also provide a fresh look at different topics giving you a different voice contributing to your business. Most importantly, guest bloggers like to show off their work, so expect links to your site from other pages!

Social media sharing is an accessible tool that many businesses overlook. Do you have a new blog post? Share it on LinkedIn! How about a company event? Share the pictures on Instagram! Post announcements on Twitter. Invite customers to Facebook pages. The options are limitless and, more importantly, free!

Slightly getting away from actual marketing techniques, there are some design and development elements to consider. For the first time in 2018, mobile web browsing overtook desktop browsing in website traffic. If you want to use your website to market to your customers, be prepared to gear your site toward mobile users. This mobile emphasis means your website needs to be lean. Work on things like using small images and shorter videos. Keep your site fast, and you won’t have problems losing traffic due to slow page speeds.

 

Next Steps

Unfortunately, we can’t tell you what to write, what tools to use, or how to track your success. Those elements are up to you to figure out! Fortunately, you have all the resources you need to use your website to market to your customers. Review similar sites for content ideas and see what you can do differently. 

Make sure your website is up to date and working correctly! The best-laid plans can go to waste due to poor website maintenance. Marketing is a complicated process. Use your website to market to your customers, and you’ll be off to the races.

We want to talk more about your needs and how your website is performing. Shamrck is a complete website and business management suite, so reach out to start your free trial, and let’s talk!

 

3 Reasons to Open an Online Store for Your Bakery

The 2020 pandemic didn't expose business owners to the idea that foot traffic is dwindling and brick and mortar storefronts are fading. 2020 did, however, show that all business owners could benefit from an online presence. When doors started to close, small...

Sheffie Robinson with Metric Mate; Set 1 – Rep 9

Welcome to the new wave of fitness tracking. Metric Mate, an Atlanta-based small-business, is revolutionizing using a virtual personal assistant to help people with their fitness journey. As a small business in a boomtown like Atlanta, founders Braxton Davis and...

She Flipped It – Entrepreneur to MBA: Unpolished MBA Podcast

Recently, our very own Sheffie Robinson made an appearance on Unpolished MBA. Unpolished MBA is a podcast dedicated to looking at the value of startup experience instead of corporate experience. The idea isn't that one is better than the other, but instead, they...

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