Category Archives: Career

The Mentor in Your Business Career

Johann Lohrmann is an award-winning business analyst who specializes in increasing a company’s bottom line through strategic planning, analysis and creative thought. He holds a BA in Communications. defines a mentor as:

1. a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.
2. an influential senior sponsor or supporter.

My first professional job was with WTVI-TV. WTVI-TV is a PBS affiliate and one of the best lessons I learned was the power of mentorship. There, I was surrounded by award-winning talent that included writers, directors, producers and crew. These were guys who had decades of experience.

The job of the mentor is to serve as a guide. He is there to support and offer his wisdom. He’s also required to learn from his protégé. Now, it sounds odd to think of a mentor learning from his protégé but think about it for a minute. Would you want a mentor who is not open and capable of learning?

The job of the protégé is to listen and ask questions. He is charged with learning as much as he can on his own and from his mentor. He is required to teach his mentor what he knows.

Remember, that one day the protégé will become a mentor. The best case scenario for a mentor/protégé relationship is where both are direct, open and leave their egos at the door.

Interested in learning more about mentoring? Check out these sites.

Johann Lohrmann
The Useful Research Blog | Effective research that you can use.

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Understand the Role of Research in a Product Launch. Or Fail.

Companies today are hungry for cash. For the small business owner payroll is at risk. Medium to large sized organizations are closely watching new industry products. Remaining competitive is a must.

You, as a business owner want to find solutions.  Your creditability, livelihood and future depend on it. Here are 4 key ideas that will guarantee your new product launch will fail- and what you can do to make sure that it doesn’t.

1. Guaranteed Failure: Not having a process in place, written down and explained to the team members.



If you don’t have a fully tested and robust process in place, then you will not be successful. Your team will be confused and you’ll end up treading water. Expectations and the understanding of how part A works with part C are lost. In the end, you’ll lose money, credibility and clients. Oh, and your team will think you’ve lost your marbles.

Simple Solution: Put a flowsheet together and document the process.

2. Guaranteed Failure: Falling in love with the technology too quickly.

Sweet Technology

Sweet Technology


It’s the latest! It’s the greatest! It will solve this problem that we have- or one that we think we have!

Stop and carefully think about the software that’s sitting in front of you. Does it address an actual documented need or an imaginary one? Just because someone builds it does not mean you need to come visit.

Simple Solution: Perform a SWOT analysis on the product that this software is supposed to ‘fix’. While you’re at it perform a SWOT analysis on the software itself. If you decide to proceed look at what else is on the marketplace and compare the tools.

3. Guaranteed Failure: Deploying another company’s beta system and charging your clients for it.

Would you sell beta?

Would you sell beta?

As a researcher, I test information. Depending on the scope of the project, I will conduct a variety of tests. Different stages of research demand different types of attention. Now, I may want to play around with a tool to see how it works. But, I will not deploy (ever) someone else’s beta tool and charge my clients for it.

For starters, beta testing is to identify problems on an external level. You’re the guinea pig.  If your client’s information is lost then you have to fix it. When a company doesn’t deliver on a promise then you can bet that bad news will travel fast.

Sell beta and you’ll lose time, money, effort and your good reputation.

Simple Solution: Don’t leave yourself at the mercy of the developer. Test internally if you must use a beta system. Establish strict parameters around doing. Limit your risk by not offering it as a billable service to the client.

4.Guaranteed Failure: Not communicating with your information technology team.

The Team. Your Company's Lifeline.

The Team. Your Company's Lifeline.

When you don’t communicate with your team you create blind spots. Blind spots are detrimental to a company as they impact morale, problem solving and creativity. When information is withheld the information technology team is left with a guessing game.

When you don’t talk to your technical team, you miss their expertise and their ability to solve complex problems. Their feedback early on could identify potential costly problems after deployment.

Simple Solution: Talk to your information technology team and ask them to provide feedback throughout the process.

Think about your Road to Success.

Do you have a map?

Do you have a map?

I’ve given you a few solutions. Now, here’s where you use solid planning throughout the project to meet your goals.

A. Approach the project launch with the end in mind. Doing this provides a roadmap on what you need to do to get to your goal- your X marks the spot.

B. Understand how the new tool fits into the company’s core products. If you’re a television company it makes little sense for you to add a financial tool kit as a stand-alone. Know the product and be aware of how it interacts with other products already in place.

C. Think how your client’s and your team will use this tool on a regular basis. Imagine your client is sitting at this desk. How does he move through the product? What happens when he gets an error message? Do the same internally. Approach the product from a multiple user perspective.

Johann Lohrmann
Director of Research
Bringing Research to Life for Businesses


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Filed under Balance, Career, creativity, Customers, imagination, industries, LinkedIn, Research, Strategy, technology

Sharing Information

Information changes lives. It can provide a non-profit with access to funds. It can do the same for the struggling college student. It can shed light on a previously unidentified vertical. When I first discuss research with my clients some of them are very protective of their information.

Yes, some information needs to be protected and there are private matters that remain so. But, there are other times when information needs to be shared.

This really is about intent. If you want to help someone, do it. You’ll find it gives you a shot of confidence and it does the same for the person in need. It moves them closer to their target. That’s good for business and it’s good for relationships.

Being stingy with information hurts you. It’s selfish and will kill your business. Trust me, I’ve seen this numerous times.

Think of how information has helped you. Information probably helped you land your job. It helped you push through some of the tougher moments in your life. Information helps you grow and adapt. Yes, Information is power. Share your knowledge.

Johann Lohrmann
Bringing Research to Life for Businesses

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Filed under Atlanta, Balance, Career, Research, Resources, Strategy

Mind-Mapping and Your Job Search

I have friends out of work. Their typical approach is to look for jobs online.

As a researcher, I’d argue that is the most inefficient way of finding a job. A proactive approach is the much better approach. A proactive approach puts you in control and makes you look for solutions.

Most of us would never think of taking a vacation without some sort of plan: what time you need to get to the airport, where you’ll be staying, your vacation budget- those types of things.

But how many of us do that with our job search? I’d venture to say not a lot of us do. But, what if you did?

Mind-mapping is one way for you to map out your job search plan. Take a look at the mind-map below and think about it. Click on the image to enlarge it.

I’ve also listed some online mind-mapping tools.  Yes, they are all Mac and PC friendly.

To learn how to create amazing mind-maps, visit Mark Dykeman’s site, Mind Maps – A Beginners Guide and Example | Thoughtwrestling

To put it all together, head on over to Sean Cook’s site,

To begin using mind-mapping programs check out:

You are now officially mind-mapping ready.
Johann Lohrmann

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Filed under business, Career, career change, Curious, imagination, industries, job search, Research, technology

Mythdom & Kool-Aid

In the Land of Mythdom….

There is a popular notion that if you help people tell their story that they will want to do business with you. Storytelling and engaging customers are buzzwords of the day. There is a problem. What if your customers don’t respond to the latest catchphrases or shibboleths? What if your customers don’t want the Kool-Aid you’re selling?

Not all clients are the same. Some clients are more responsive and willing to trust your expertise. But other clients need to know why your expertise is important and how it can help them.

Get to know your clients. Listen to them and ask questions.

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Creativity and Imagination – Lessons from my 6-Year Old Niece

My niece is 6 years old. She enjoys being online and enjoys playing computer games. She also enjoys playing outside and planting flowers and vegetables. A lot of us live online. We eat, sleep and spend our days on thinking about the online world. A lot of us could really use a break from staring at a computer screen.

Creativity and innovation are the tools of this decade and will be for decades to come. The most powerful muscle you have is between your ears.  Step outside and imagine where you want to be in one year.

A year ago, I decided that I needed online agency experience.  Why? I wanted to learn everything I could about the online world. My skills were good but I wanted them to be better.

I wanted to know how the online world worked. How it moved. How it breathed. A year later, I am working with some of the most amazing folks and industry insiders. I am working with a software development company. I’m also meeting those who are interested in all things virtual and online. And I built my website with my two paws.

Your imagination can carry you places but you have to dare step onto the ledge and take a chance. My niece gets this. And she’s 6 years old.  Sometimes the best thing you can do is get out of your way and let your creative genius come out from hiding.

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Three Questions to ask for Better (and more humane) Networking

Today has been a rather fascinating day. Imagine attending a Business Broker lecture. What would you expect to see? Who would you expect to meet? Well, I met an interesting fellow who shares my passion for technology. It came about by asking personal questions that are beyond the standard questions.

Standard Questions: (Begin Yawn)

  1. What company are you with?
  2. What do you do?
  3. How long have you been in business?

The problem with this Q/A system is that these questions do not take into account the person. The questions are business centered and frankly, I want to do business with people I know. Yes, you may have a fascinating industry, but I want to move beyond the industry.

So, what are some better questions to ask?

Personal Questions: (Cue Enthusiasm)

  1. What led you into getting the real-estate industry.
  2. What do you enjoy about your current profession. Specifically, what do you enjoy about the real-estate industry?
  3. What is your biggest challenge?

Think about how you engage others. Is it personal or are you simply interested in your next lead?

Johann Lohrmann
Digital Product Manager

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Filed under Atlanta, Balance, business, Career, creativity, curiosity, Customers, imagination, LinkedIn, networking, story, Strategy, technology