17 Resources to Help Small Business Owners Get their Sh*t Together

When you own a small business, there are a million and one things to think about at all times. Your brain never shuts off, and it seems like to-do lists just multiply overnight. However, when a business owner finds the right tools, all of the chaos becomes more a little more organized and enjoyable.

In an effort to help entrepreneurs find the right tools to fit their needs, our friends at Prodigy & Co compiled a resource guide. "We all know that we need systems to help us be more efficient and consistent in our business. But search for any one type of system, and there are dozens of options. How do you know which systems are the best," says Prodigy & Co. "This is not an exhaustive list, and it is based on my experience, my client’s experience, and other startup founders and business owners who have been nice enough to share their experience with me."

We broke up the Prodigy & Co list to make it even more digestible, and added our own tidbits along the way. Hope it makes your life a little easier!

1. Payment Processing

 

Let's start with the fun stuff: getting money in your pockets. Prodigy & Co recommends using Stripe or PayPal for payment processing. (We also want to throw an honorable mention out to Square, which is great for retail businesses.)

2. E-Signature/ Transaction Management

 

When it's time to sign the dotted line, DocuSign or HelloSign can help you do that electronically- without any printing, scanning or emailing.

3. Accounting

 

And you should probably know what's happening with all that money you'll be raking in. Xero, Quickbooks Online, Freshbooks and Wave Accounting usually come out on top when it comes to accounting. You can use these programs to track expenses, revenue, capital contributions, invoices and more. "Many systems have integrations to other systems that have accounting impacts such as payroll, employee time and expense tracking, inventory and more," Prodigy & Co adds.

4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

 

Now, to make money, you have to have customers (duh), and it wouldn't hurt to keep tabs on those customers. "CRM lets you store and manage prospect and customer information like contact info, accounts, leads, and sales opportunities, in one central location," says Prodigy & Co. HubSpot, Insightly, ZoHo and Salesforce are their favorite CRM platforms.

5. Customer Support

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Once you have those customers, you want to keep them happy. Manage their needs and keep your customer support process flowing smoothly with systems like Salesforce Desk, UserVoice, SupportBee, JitBit, Bontact and Freshdesk.

6. Email Marketing

 

Email is a great way to keep in touch with your past, present and potential customers. Prodigy & Co says, " This is about more than sending a regular newsletter. Marketing via e-mail is still one of the most profitable forms of marketing. Mosts systems allow significant levels of automation, segmenting, tracking and more." Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Get Response, Convert Kit and AWeber are great tools to help you do that. (We also really love Emma! Their customer support is unbeatable.)

7. Social Media Scheduling

 

Of course, social media is one of the biggest ways to connect with your customers and develop your brand. Schedule all your posts- in every channel- ahead of time so you don't have to constantly think about it with tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, MeetEdgar and Sprout Social. (We've heard great things about CoSchedule too.) These platforms will also give you analytics to see which posts preform the best.

8. Graphic Design

 

And wow them with your ~~f@nCy~~ graphic design skills by using Canva or Fontspring. (Trust us. You don't have to be an artist to look like a pro when you have these tools in your belt.)

Need help getting started with all the graphic design shenanigans? Consider taking a course

9. Scheduling

 

When it comes to meeting with clients, skip the constant back and forth emails trying to find a time you can both meet. Instead, use Appointlet or Calendly, systems that will integrate with your existing calendar to let others know when you're free.

10. Video Conferencing

 

Or if you're trying to conduct meetings from afar, Skype, Zoom, Join Me, Go To Meeting, and Slydial are professional ways to do that. "These can be especially beneficial for international calls," Prodigy & Co adds.

11. Project/Task Management

 

Once all your business starts rolling in, you'll need a way to keep all your ducks in a row. Keep track of your to-do lists with Trello, Asana, Producteev or Wunderlist. (We use Asana, and we love it! It's great for teams collaborating on projects together.)

12. Document Management

 

You can also manage and share documents with resources like Google Docs, Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox. Again, this makes collaboration a lot easier.

13. Automation

 

And when possible, save yourself some time with automation. Zapier, our favorite automation tool, works with a TON of platforms to do everything from building spreadsheets to sending client emails to putting reminders on your calendar.

14. Website Analytics

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And after all your effort, it's good to check in and see how you're doing- specifically how your website is doing. Using Google Analytics or Clicky can show you exactly where people are going on your site and how they got there.

15. Employee Verification Services

 

Now let's talk about your team. First, you gotta make sure to hire the right people. For background checks, Prodigy & Co recommends TRAK-1. (PS- That's what we use too.)

16. Communication

 

Then you want to make sure you are communicating with your team well. Prodigy & Co suggests Slack or Facebook Groups "to keep in touch with your team in real time." (Slack works really well for us because you can create different chat groups for different teams and topics.)

17. Human Resources

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"HR systems manage different aspects of having employees, such as employee information, onboarding, benefits, insurance, performance reviews, time tracking and more," Prodigy & Co explains. Make tracking those things easier with programs like Zenefits, Gusto, Namely, BambooHR and sum HR. (Here at 36°N, we use  Gusto to pay our employees and Zenefits to track time sheets and vacation time.)

On that note, make sure to take vacation time for yourself too. Unplugging for a bit can refresh your mind and spirit, making it easier to make strides forward when you return. 

Also, if you need help navigating these tools, or any other part of your business, we'd love to meet you and help you out. We're a nonprofit with a mission of helping entrepreneurs succeed, and we'd love to get you connected to our community. 

Now get out there, and knock 'em dead!

 

Coworking Through the Eyes of Dutch Teenagers

36°N Editor's Note: We recently had the pleasure of hosting Kristel Buurmans and Miranda Pauw, two teenagers from the Netherlands, in our space for a school project. We so enjoyed watching them learn all about Tulsa's entrepreneurial ecosystem. To conclude their visit, they wrote the following essay about their experience.

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For our school in the Netherlands, we had to find a short internship in an English environment where we could gain business experience. Luckily, we had an acquaintance that owns a business in Oklahoma and offices at 36 Degrees North. Thus, we travelled to Tulsa to experience a new work environment: co-working space. This is unlike any office we had been to in the Netherlands.

We were at 36 Degrees North for six days in total, and during those days we got to meet so many nice people. All these people had different jobs for different companies or universities, yet they worked in the same building. We found this to be very cool. In our opinion, 36 Degrees North is very convenient. Small businesses pay less for a membership there than they would if they rented their own offices. As we got to meet so many people, we noticed that everyone seemed to be happy at this co-working space. 36 Degrees North has done such a phenomenal job at creating a space where everyone can work in peace despite the variety of people and backgrounds.

Not only are there small businesses and different people working at 36 Degrees North, the office also hosts a lot of events each month. In the six days that we were there, we attended a brown bag lunch and a seminar. This was just a small portion of the activities that were planned for that week.

Miranda Pauw (center) and Kristel Buurmans (right) chat with Curtis Klein at his bicycle shop Wabi Cycles in the Brady Arts District.

Miranda Pauw (center) and Kristel Buurmans (right) chat with Curtis Klein at his bicycle shop Wabi Cycles in the Brady Arts District.

We thought that these events were very neat and informative. As an individual or company, you can learn a lot from these types of events, as they give insightful information that can be applied to any business. The seminars hosted by 36 Degrees North provide a chance to broaden one’s horizon.

Besides that, the atmosphere within the building was very positive. Everyone was able to work in a quiet manor. Some people worked in a private space, while others were in a more public lounge that still maintained a calm atmosphere conducive to productivity.

This doesn’t mean that people were completely isolated from each other. They were still communicating, not only with their own co-workers, but also with the people around them. Every now and then, people walked throughout various parts of the building, just chitchatting.

In conclusion, we both thoroughly enjoyed our time at 36 Degrees North. It’s a nice place for businesses, and people seem to be so glad to work there. Another great factor is the efficiency of this co-working space—everyone gets their work done in a swift manner. Also, the events provided for members are very fun and encourage individual growth. Lastly, the atmosphere in the building is great. Everyone seems to be content with the work they can achieve while making their own network bigger, as there are so many different companies within the building.

Meet the First-Ever Tulsa Teacher Innovation Fellowship Class

It's no secret that Oklahoma is in a tough spot right now when it comes to education. As a matter of fact, our state consistently ranks near the bottom of almost every list you can find. Our teachers are underpaid, our schools are craving resources and education funding continues to be cut.

However, we are firm believers that crisis leads to innovation. That's why we started the Teacher Innovation Fellowship.

Made possible by a United Way Innovation Grant, the Teacher Innovation Fellowship identifies educators from across the Tulsa metro to participate in a two-week summer fellowship. Participants work in teams to identify specific problems facing schools, ideate potential solution and develop plans to initiate change. Concluding the workshop, teams present their solutions to a panel of judges for the opportunity to receive grant funding for their ideas.

Almost 100 teachers applied to participate in the first class, and needless to say, picking only 16 was difficult. Meet the folks who came out on top.

Ademola Adeyemi, Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences "I hope to learn hands-on strategies and plans that I am able to implement immediately in my classroom and share with the rest of my colleagues... especially in the area of Mathematics the subject area that I teach."

Ademola Adeyemi, Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences

"I hope to learn hands-on strategies and plans that I am able to implement immediately in my classroom and share with the rest of my colleagues... especially in the area of Mathematics the subject area that I teach."

Katerina Alder, Union 9th Grade Center "Summer is an amazing opportunity for professional development in general and fellowship with other devoted educators in particular. Our minds are fresh and our bodies are rested and ready to tackle the problems we face during the school year and find solutions."

Katerina Alder, Union 9th Grade Center

"Summer is an amazing opportunity for professional development in general and fellowship with other devoted educators in particular. Our minds are fresh and our bodies are rested and ready to tackle the problems we face during the school year and find solutions."

Hanna Al-Jibouri, Gilcrease Elementary "With this teamwork, I believe that I will have a toolbox of strategies and methods that will help to foster a positive and joyful school community that keeps children in school and away from school suspensions."

Hanna Al-Jibouri, Gilcrease Elementary

"With this teamwork, I believe that I will have a toolbox of strategies and methods that will help to foster a positive and joyful school community that keeps children in school and away from school suspensions."

Tiffany Bell, Hamilton Elementary "We have a vision of students being able to explore real world activities and problem solving techniques on their own in a safe exploratory."

Tiffany Bell, Hamilton Elementary

"We have a vision of students being able to explore real world activities and problem solving techniques on their own in a safe exploratory."

Deanna Braggs, Creative Geniuses & Oklahoma Outdoor Academy "Innovation requires creative thinking and problem solving."

Deanna Braggs, Creative Geniuses & Oklahoma Outdoor Academy

"Innovation requires creative thinking and problem solving."

Ashley Burke, Briarglen Elementary "I am excited to be able to work with collages and see how we can positively improve the overall classroom environment for teachers, students and staff."

Ashley Burke, Briarglen Elementary

"I am excited to be able to work with collages and see how we can positively improve the overall classroom environment for teachers, students and staff."

Erin Camp, Marshall Elementary "TPS is facing many financial cuts and I need to do my part as an educator to make sure these cuts aren't harming my students."

Erin Camp, Marshall Elementary

"TPS is facing many financial cuts and I need to do my part as an educator to make sure these cuts aren't harming my students."

Angela Clift, Briarglen Elementary "We feel like we can make a positive impact on the teaching staff and students by finding ways to improve mental heath in the classroom and school."

Angela Clift, Briarglen Elementary

"We feel like we can make a positive impact on the teaching staff and students by finding ways to improve mental heath in the classroom and school."

Jenny Dungan, Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences "I would love for all of my students to understand the importance of starting a healthy lifestyle while they are young."

Jenny Dungan, Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences

"I would love for all of my students to understand the importance of starting a healthy lifestyle while they are young."

Katie Fox, Briarglen Elementary "My team is made up of wonderful, servant minded women who are ready to find a solution to the mental health crises in the states, especially in Oklahoma."

Katie Fox, Briarglen Elementary

"My team is made up of wonderful, servant minded women who are ready to find a solution to the mental health crises in the states, especially in Oklahoma."

Ashley Henderson, Briarglen Elementary "It excites me to work with my teammates to research more about mental health and it's effects on the teaching staff."

Ashley Henderson, Briarglen Elementary

"It excites me to work with my teammates to research more about mental health and it's effects on the teaching staff."

Olivia Jean, Briarglen Elementary "[I] think that we can help with teacher retention in the public school system by improving mental health and lessening the effects of burn out."

Olivia Jean, Briarglen Elementary

"[I] think that we can help with teacher retention in the public school system by improving mental health and lessening the effects of burn out."

Miriam Kerler, Marshall Elementary "We need a system that will not rely on suspension; we need restorative justice and a process that will remind students of their support system and the purpose for their learning and involvement in school."

Miriam Kerler, Marshall Elementary

"We need a system that will not rely on suspension; we need restorative justice and a process that will remind students of their support system and the purpose for their learning and involvement in school."

Daniel Sharples, Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences "I think there is a need for outside help, for community engagement that happens in very purposeful and specific ways."

Daniel Sharples, Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences

"I think there is a need for outside help, for community engagement that happens in very purposeful and specific ways."

Danielle Terrio, Hamilton Elementary "I am... working to rethink expeditionary learning opportunities at Hamilton. Change is in the works, but the more thinkers, partners, the better."

Danielle Terrio, Hamilton Elementary

"I am... working to rethink expeditionary learning opportunities at Hamilton. Change is in the works, but the more thinkers, partners, the better."

Abigail Woodhead, Tulsa Public Schools "I believe that is the power of making a student feel human and loved. It goes beyond just our words, but also into our actions."

Abigail Woodhead, Tulsa Public Schools

"I believe that is the power of making a student feel human and loved. It goes beyond just our words, but also into our actions."

The fellowship is June 13 – June 23. We're excited to see and support the positive change that this great group of educators will create!

 
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OKC Thunder Makes Hist0ry With Tulsa’s Entrepreneurs

The NBA playoffs start next week, and you can go ahead and throw your brackets in the trash right now. We already know who the champion is.

The Oklahoma City Thunder is hands-down number one in our book.

Why, you may ask, are we so sure of this fact?

Before you go there, no, it has nothing to do with Russell Westbrook (although yes, we did lose our voices while cheering for his recent, record-breaking triple-doubles).

Here in Tulsa, we are unique in the fact that we have long rooted for a team that was not allowed to engage with us directly.

“Up until last year the NBA limited teams from doing any direct marketing outside a 75-mile radius of their home arenas,” explained Dawn Turner, director of marketing and brand management for the Thunder.

But a recent adjustment of league rules changed that.

“Now that the rules have relaxed, we have the ability to facilitate brand marketing, advertising and community programming in Tulsa, outside of the preseason game we play at the BOK Center every October.” (Side note: This year's preseason game at the BOK on Tuesday, October 3 marks the ninth time the team has played in Tulsa!)

But the team has done so much more than just marketing in the Tulsa metro. They’ve started truly investing in our community.

The Thunder has built basketball courts in underprivileged neighborhoods. They’ve visited schools. But most thrilling for us, they’ve partnered with 36 Degrees North, our nonprofit coworking space for entrepreneurs.

36 Degrees North houses over 200 startup founders and small business owners who are dedicated to building amazing companies and adding jobs to our local economy. Before this season began, the Thunder expressed a desire to support these innovators by giving them a chance to take a break from business and treat their families.

The team graciously gave our community tickets to home games, and as you can see in the attached photos, it was a huge hit.

“This was my parent’s first Thunder game. Watching their faces was amazing,” said 36°N member Gaby Ortega, who went to the April 12 game against the Nuggets. “We had a blast.”

Through the new partnership, the Thunder business team also wants to invest in our community by working at our space and interacting with our people.

"Our hope is that our members will take advantage of their presence by building relationships and learning more about high-level business development," said Dustin Curzon, executive director of 36°N.

“We anticipate continuing to build upon these efforts in the years to come,” Turner added.

But why would an NBA team want to serve entrepreneurs in a coworking space over a hundred miles from where they play?

“The Thunder play in Oklahoma City; however, we view the team as belonging to the entire state and region,” said Turner. “36 Degrees North embodies an innovative and progressive cultivation of new business and serves as the center of entrepreneurial activity, all of which align well with Thunder brand values.”

So as much as we love winning ball games and celebrating Westbrook’s endless supply of triple-doubles, we believe the Thunder is so much more than that.

A lot of teams have loyal fans, but not every fan has a loyal team.

We do.

And that’s why the Thunder is our champion.

 

Can Anyone Be a Coder?

Like any 20-something with student loans, potential opportunities to pad my bank account usually catch my eye.

The latest of these such opportunities arose last summer when I started working at 36 Degrees North. It's the hub of a lot of innovation, and most of that innovation is fueled by computer programing. So, needless to say, the place is packed with coders and efforts to increase coding education.

Through a few conversations with friends and my new coworkers, I discovered two things: 1) Coding is not reserved for rocket scientists and those little geniuses who build computers from scratch when they’re 7-years-old. And 2) Those who code make bank. We’re talking very comfy starting salaries that would easily make ramen and easy mac a thing of the past. Holla atcha boy.

So this got me thinking... Is this a career path I should explore? I didn’t suck at math in high school, and I know a fair amount about technology... Don't get me wrong, I love my current job. But maybe my interaction with these computer programmers was the universe telling me to branch out a little bit. Could I be a coder? Can anyone be a coder?

While enjoying a few cold ones on a Friday afternoon, I told our member Wassim about my recent ponderings. Wassim is a computer programmer who created his own app, so I knew he would have some legitimate insight. And sure enough, he did.

He told me about a national non-profit he was bringing to Tulsa called RailsBridge. The mission of RailsBridge, according to their website, is to "teach people to code because we believe that the people making technology should accurately reflect the diversity of those using it." In other words, they want to make coding education accessible to a more diverse crowd, specifically women and minorities.

RailsBridge Tulsa students and volunteers. Jan 2017.

RailsBridge Tulsa students and volunteers. Jan 2017.

The class Wassim was teaching was free, only for women and a 5-minute drive from my house. The only thing I had to give up was a Friday night and a Saturday. No prob. So I decided to jump in and try it out.

Here were my thoughts going into the weekend.

 
 

As you can see, I started this process with a fair amount of optimism. 

The first night was  just to install all the (software? programs? still not really sure what all that stuff was called) onto our computers. Here's how that went.

 
 

But it's amazing what a good night of sleep can do. Cue rejuvinated optimism.

 
 

As I mentioned earlier, Wassim Metallaoui was our fearless leader who brought the RailsBridge program to Tulsa and taught a room full of gabbing women the first steps of coding. Here's what he says were his goals were for the weekend.

 
 

A few things I love about what he says: 1) He doesn't expect everyone to be coders by the end of this. Such a relief because (spoiler alert) I will probably never be a coder. Just walking away with a better understanding of coding is success in his eyes. Yay! And 2) Wassim has a real desire to help people get plugged into the computer programming world. He wants to open the door for women and usher them in with the utmost encouragement. This guy is great, and you all should meet him and become his friend.

Moving on...

We spent the morning learning more about programming. We covered the history, elaborated on the key terms and started taking some action steps on Ruby (a computer language) and Rails (a computer framework). And as you can see, I hung in there.

 
 

I think my favorite part of the whole day was wondering around the room during breaks talking to women about why they were there. We had about 20 women in our class, and they all had a unique perspective on why coding is important in their lives. Here are a few words from the kind souls who agreed to go on camera.

 
 

As you can see, the response is overall very positive!

The rest of the day was spent using Ruby and Rails to create a computer application. I won't get into the nitty gritty of it all (quite frankly, because I'd probably mess it up), but at the end of the day, my program worked. So I would consider that a victory. I may or may not have treated myself to some "wow, I survived that and I should celebrate" ice cream after recording this last video.

 
 

So as a short answer to my original questions, yes. I believe anyone can become a computer programmer. It's not rocket science. It's just something that will require a lot of time, effort and mental energy. So if you're up for the challenge, I would say go for it!

Our team would love to help you get plugged into Tulsa's vibrant programming community. The next RailsBridge class is June 16-17, 2017. It's free and open to the public, but space is limited. Click here to reserve your spot.

Till then, we encourage you to check out these different monthly meetups to meet coders of all skill levels and get a little exposure to the growing industry:

Happy coding!

Embracing the Risk of Leaving the Cubicle

36°N Editors Note: We're excited to announce The Persimmon Group as our newest community partner. The following is a note from their founder and CEO Bill Fournet on why the company decided to come alongside us in our mission to support Tulsa's entrepreneurs.

In 2001, I left my corporate cubicle with my box of standard cube art items—family photos, awards, and lidless pens—and stepped into controlling my future. My safety line of a steady paycheck, benefits, stability, and retirement was cut.  What had I done?  For me, it was a no-brainer:  I was done with feelings of constraint and under-appreciation, along with their friend, futility.  Staring into a future of unknowns with a wife and two young children (with a third unknowingly on the way), as the single income-earner for our young family, there was a daunting aspect to this.  But, I had the confidence that no matter what, it would be okay.

Flash forward three years of solo work, and I was ready to start something more. I formed The Persimmon Group in 2004, along with another area consultant who shared similar philosophies about what the market needed.  We soon went to three people, then 5, then 10, and so on.  I was building something substantial in our company that reflected and lived the values and principles for which I left that cubicle back in 2001.  Now, 13 years later, there have been amazing people, clients, and projects.  There have also been tough years, travel from my family, and the weight of all my employees and their families on my shoulders.  Business is not easy.  Most think it looks cool, but run as soon as it gets tough.  If I had it all to do again, would I change my decision to start this path?  Hell no.

Bill Fournet, Founder and CEO of The Persimmon Group

Bill Fournet, Founder and CEO of The Persimmon Group

So, why did I do this?  Looking back on my life, there have been four things I have always done: 1) Solve difficult challenges, 2) Create things, 3) Take calculated risks, and 4) Help people realize their potential—personally and as a team.  From Boy Scout backpacking treks to school clubs, I threw myself into activities that hit all four of these.  Load up a U-Haul and move to Seattle without knowing anyone or a job? Did it.  Job in New York at MTV? Sure.  I share these, not to boast but because I believe these four items are the keys to being an entrepreneur.  You must be relentless in your pursuit of your passions, confident in your capabilities, and real with yourself to know learning is constant (and if you think you know everything, then failure is around the next corner).

Taking these four keys, I founded Persimmon with the desire to create a family of team members who, like a family, may not always like each other but must love each other (this was my lesson from my first job in Seattle at a local restaurant).  Persimmon is a flat organization where people may serve in different roles due to experience or expertise, but we are all equal as human beings—no one is better than another (this was a lesson from my parents).  And Persimmon works with its team members to support their family and personal needs—if someone is dealing with a sick family member or needs to attend a school event, we rally to support them for that (my personal belief that work is one aspect to life—and not the most important).

Small business owners and entrepreneurs are the front-lines of innovation, adaptation, and community.  They are intimate with their employees and give back to the places they live.  They sustain us.   And that’s why we are proud to be part of the 36 Degrees North family.  I support the challenge each member has taken on and thank our fellow sponsors for enabling this garden to grow.

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As part of 36 Degrees North's partnership with The Persimmon Group, 36°N members get access to free Persimmon classes, both online and in person. Contact us if you'd like to sign up for a class.

PLUS members can attend a special workshop with Bill at 36°N on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Reserve your spot here.

Supporting Tulsa's Entrepreneurs with Keep It Local OK

Anyone who knows us here at 36 Degrees North knows we’re all about keeping it local. We aim to support local entrepreneurs whenever we can by catering from neighborhood restaurants, buying local beer for happy hours, and giving gifts and goodies that are made just around the corner.

So, needless to say, we are thrilled to announce our new community partnership with the organization, Keep It Local OK.

Keep It Local OK sells cards that can be used to get a discount at retailers and restaurants throughout the state.

“We launched Keep It Local OK in Oklahoma City in 2010 with nothing more than a love for the great state of Oklahoma and its unique local businesses,” the organization explains on their website. “We believe that together, with other like-minded people, we can help build a better local community.”

Since they launched, Keep it Local OK has expanded into Tulsa. Their cards can be used at over 50 area locations for things like free popcorn at Circle Cinema, cheaper games at Escape Tulsa, free espresso at Chimera and a discount on items at multiple boutiques.

(Get a full list of Keep It Local OK participants here.)

“We exist for one simple reason - to help people discover the best local spots in town. With a Keep It Local Card you can get sweet rewards for keepin' it local and get the added enjoyment of supporting a great local business or discovering a new favorite.”

As part of the partnership, all 36 Degrees North members will get a complementary Keep it Local Card (a $15 value).

“Keep it Local celebrates entrepreneurs in the Tulsa community, so it’s a natural fit with 36 Degrees North’s mission,” said 36 Degrees North executive director, Dustin Curzon. “We’re excited to offer this benefit to our members and support entrepreneurs in our own backyard."

36 Degrees North Turns One!

Well, folks. 36 Degrees North is officially one year old. We celebrated our first anniversary on Wednesday, January 25, and boy did we have a lot to celebrate. The Tulsa Regional Chamber crunched a bunch of numbers and found that, in 2016, 36°N had a $12 million impact on Tulsa's economy.

That absolutely would not have happened without the support of all our partners, specifically the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation, the Tulsa Regional Chamber, Tulsa Tech, Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma.

Here are some other fun facts that we shared at our party:

  • In our first year, we had a total of over 300 members in 40 different industries.
  • We also welcomed 11,000 visitors to more than 275 events.
  • 25,000 cups of coffee were consumed in our first year.

A survey of our members told us that:

  • 30% of members hired a new employee in 2016
  • 56% of members took on new clients
  • 25% of members launched a new product
  • 78% of members met someone at 36 Degrees North who helped them with their business

Again, thank you to all the members and partners who made this possible! We can't wait to see with 2017 has in store.

In the meantime, enjoy this photo gallery and a video of some of our members literally stuffing their faces with cake.

Mo Time. Mo Money. 3D Mapping Provides Both

A Tulsa entrepreneur is changing the way architects and building owners do their jobs.

“Imagine this,” says Andrew Brister, founder of Andrew Brister Architecture + Visualization. “You’re a contractor or a designer or a property manager working on a project. And you’re in your office, miles and miles away from the site, and you realize you’re missing a piece of information. Your measurements seem off, or you forgot what a particular corner of a room looks like, or you’re trying to remember which direction a door opens.” Brister goes on to explain that you might have to drive all the way back to the site just to get that tidbit of information, in order to continue working.

“You’ve already spent all this time, money and effort, and you can’t get your work done, meet schedules and get paid because you have to go back out to the site. And it’s a drag,” says Brister.

That’s where his company comes into play. Brister creates 3D scans of buildings that his customers- and their teams- can access online.

“You can experience the site multiple times without even leaving your desk.”

Using various techniques and technologies, including what’s called a Matterport camera, Brister captures both interior and exterior 3D scans in full color. The scans are scaled and measurable and can be put together to create a full “doll house” model.

The end result is a virtual walk-through, kind of like Google Street View.

Brister says his work saves building owners and contractors both time and money. “We put [the scans] on the web for collaboration, and coordination, so that they can work better and come to resolution quicker,” Brister explains.

Andrew Brister with his Matterport camera. The images captured on this device create the model seen below.

Andrew Brister with his Matterport camera. The images captured on this device create the model seen below.

The virtual model can be annotated with notes and suggestions that a whole team can view. Clients can also look at Brister’s scans with virtual reality devices, giving the person the feeling of actually being in the space.

Brister says it’s been a long road to get his company off the ground. He says a big boost in his success came after becoming a member at 36 Degrees North, Tulsa’s nonprofit coworking space. “I have expanded my network to include people who have helped me in all aspects of my business. The have helped me stay on track and pushing as hard as I can to make things happen.”

Brister says his next goal is to raise awareness of his services and build his client list.

“All these are just first steps, but without [36 Degrees North], I probably would have given up or failed.”

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Editor’s Note:

Andrew is just one example of how our members are building innovative businesses and changing our city. If you’re an entrepreneur hoping to take your next step, we’d love to have you join our community. Come in for a tour and check it out.

Know a contractor, architect or building owner who could benefit from Andrew Brister Architecture + Visualization’s services? Email ab@andrewbrister.com.

Tulsa's Global Entrepreneurship Week 2016: RECAP

This year's Global Entrepreneurship Week was one for the books! Thank you to all the people who helped make it happen including the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation, Kitchen 66, the Oklahoma Innovation Institute, Prodigy & Co, Tulsa Tech, GradeDeck, Cook Time with Remmi, Forrest Hull, Sooner Marketing Solutions, i2E, BetaBlox, 1 Million Cups Tulsa, utown, Project 1948, the Tulsa StartUp Series, the Forge Tulsa, the OSU School of Entrepreneurship Riata Center, and the Tulsa Regional Chamber.

Check out some of this week's highlights in this video created by Buddy FX.