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March 5, 2012

Eat only what’s delicious.

I recently read an article about something called the “Snob Diet.” The idea is to be discriminating about what you eat. Instead of eating low-fat, processed “diet” food, you actually eat real, full-fat, scrumptious food. When you eat the real thing, the idea is, you are more satisfied so you actually eat less and lose weight. If you are like 99% of most of us, you are probably watching what you eat on a daily basis in an effort to stay as trim and healthy as possible, so the idea of indulging with Häagen Dazs may seem like diet suicide. But before you throw out the brie with the bath water, take a second look at the Snob Diet. It’s not about stuffing your face in a trans-fat frenzy, it’s about the experience of deeply enjoying the process of eating. As business owners we would do well to pay attention to the Snob Diet. Whether we are talking about eating or the process of shopping, most people have a strong desire to have quality experiences. As consumers we are bombarded with garbage, with a lot of loud junk. We long for the experience that will transcend the noise and fill us with meaningful nourishment. As business owners we need to ask ourselves not only […]
February 27, 2012

Fail to Impress

One of our most important jobs as entrepreneurs is attracting clients. As a result we do all kinds of things to capture the attention of our audience. We want to make a big impression so we will be remembered and, hopefully, even referred.  However, while it’s good to make a positive impression, being impressive should not be the ultimate goal when it comes attracting your ideal clients. A far better and much more effective approach is to create an authentic brand that speaks to the hearts of your audience. Remember the old story of the wind and the sun competing to see who can get a man to take off his jacket first? The wind howls and tries to blow the man’s jacket off, but the harder the wind blows the tighter the man clings to his jacket. The sun, on the other hand, beams its rays of light and warmth on the man. He gets so toasty he takes his jacket right off. I suspect he even enjoys the warmth and the glow of the sun. It’s like that with branding as well. If you are merely impressive, you are like the wind. You may blow long and hard, but you are not getting your clients to open up to all […]
February 20, 2012

Water your own lawn.

My morning routine usually consists of an hour workout at the gym. When I’m on the treadmill or elliptical machine I have on my ipod and bring along something to read if I’m not doing a hard run. Usually, my reading material is some kind of marketing, business or personal development book. Sometimes, however, I’ll turn on the tv if I really need to be distracted from my workout. I don’t watch the news when I run because I’ve noticed it slows me down, however, at 6 a.m. there aren’t a lot of options. I usually end up catching something on Bravo. Yesterday it was the “Real Housewives of Orange County.” Ok, it’s a far cry from The Power of Focus which I’m reading now, but believe it or not, I came away with a really good piece of advice from the show.
February 13, 2012

Are you holding on by a thread?

If you are a woman entrepreneur you are probably very familiar with the feeling of being overwhelmed, especially if you also happen to be a mom. There are so many things to keep track of, sometimes it feels like your head is literally going to spin off.  Not only are you in charge of your business, you are also the CEO of your house and family. You may be handling everything from doing the books for your business to trying to excavate your yard for rocks for your kid’s big penguin project. ( We got an “A” thank you very much.) How on earth can you stay focused and feel productive when you are being pulled in a hundred different directions? Here are some suggestions I give to my clients and that I also follow to stay sane.
February 7, 2012

Are You Churning Butter?

In his book The Slight Edge author Jeff Olson tells the parable to two frogs who get stuck in a bucket of cream. Once in the bucket they realize they are in literally over their heads and have no way to get out. The first frog resigns himself to his fate and gives up voluntarily sinking to the bottom of the bucket to drawn. The second frog says, no way not me. He paddles his little heart out going in circles until he is too tired to continue. Just as he is about to allow himself to sink to his death his foot touches something hard and he is able to push against it to just out of the bucket.  Unknowingly, the little frog has turned the cream into butter with all his paddling. When we first decide to pursue entrepreneurship we often feel like we’ve hit pay dirt. We’ve maybe left an unfulfilling job to follow our dream or maybe we are enticed the by idea of financial freedom. We jump in feet first to the big luscious bucket of entrepreneurial cream and feel drunk with possibilities, but when reality of our choice starts to sink in we panic. […]
January 30, 2012

You Talkin’ to Me?

I recently heard an example of great branding on the radio. It was for a local auto repair shop that specializes in repairing European motors. The announcer got on and pointed out how they were different from their competitors who had lower prices, but less experienced technicians and also from their competitors who offered fancy chairs and lattes while you wait, but who had prices to match these extra luxuries. Their niche was a fair price and a good job for the regular guy. You may think that everyone thinks of themselves as the regular guy, but that’s not true. I for one would be willing to spend a little extra money to sit in a nice clean room, with a comfortable chair sipping a frothy drink while someone worked on my car. And there are people who always want or need the lowest possible price. What this auto shop did so well was effectively target their ideal client. They did not try to appeal to each end of the spectrum and everything in between. As a result, they did not waste time and money reaching out to the wrong audience.
January 23, 2012

It’s such a pain…

It is now the 4th week of January. How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? How are you doing with moving forward with your goals for 2012? Are you still riding high on the energy of your intentions, or have you started bumping up against resistance and challenges that have slowed you down? Do you feel like you are zipping along your way, or are you waking up to the reality that time is moving on and you not? Why is it that we are so often stymied in our efforts to grow or change our lives or businesses for the better? The answer is simple, we do not like feeling uncomfortable. Would you rather sit by the fire drinking hot cocoa or shovel the driveway? Would you rather sip margaritas on the beach or go to the gym? No brainer, right? However, you need to consider your bigger goal. Do you want a ripped body when you hit the beach, then you better hit the gym and sweat your fanny off. Do you want to go skiing with your family on the weekend? Then you better put on your ugly snow boots and start shoveling out your […]
January 16, 2012

The Courage to Brand

My five year old daughter came home from school crying the other day. It turns out they had been learning about Martin Luther King Jr. and she was upset he had been shot. After consoling her, we talked about how courageous King had been. Of course, my daughter was too young to understand why it took courage for King to speak his mind. However, as adults we know the huge amount of courage King had to possess to espouse his dream of hope and equality for all people. Courage can be defined as “the ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without being overcome by fear or being deflected from a chosen course of action.” I love the part about “without being deflected from a chosen course of action.” King knew the danger he was in by continuing his vocal campaign, but he kept on because he believed in the power of his message. He knew there were people who needed him to be their voice.
January 9, 2012

Can you pass the Kleenex test?

As it is winter now, it is also cold and flu season so there is a lot of coughing, sneezing and sniffling going on out there. One thing you will probably need to stock up on is your supply of Kleenex. Notice I did not say tissues. I said Kleenex. I have to confess that I didn’t even know tissues were called tissues until I was an adult. My whole life growing up I thought those things you blew your nose into were Kneenex. I had no idea Kleenex was a brand name. I thought it was a noun. In my mind Kleenex is synonymous with tissues, they are one in the same. Now that is some powerful branding! Another example of this pheneomon is Coke. There are many places in the country where people call all cola drinks Coke whether they are actually drinking a Coke or a Pepsi or anything else. Coke is coke. It almost makes you feel sorry for the other guys. Their brands don’t even really exist in those circumstances.
January 2, 2012

Plan for Success

As the new year starts, our heads are full with resolutions of looking better, feeling better and being better. Imagining how we are going to look when we drop those nagging 20 pounds or how great we will feel when we finally get our home office cleaned out and organized, we are filled with energy and enthusiasm. However, come March we look back at the previous two months and wonder what happened? We are still hanging on to our not-so-beloved love handles and our home offices still look like a tornado passed through. What happened to all our good intentions? Now I am a tried and true believer in the power of intentions, but having a clear intention is only half the equation to reaching your goals. Most of us have very clear ideas of what we’d like to see happen in the new year (usually, that clarity has something to do with a size 6 dress!), but something gets lost in the actual manifesting of the vision. The problem usually lies in not having a clearly laid out PLAN to follow outlining all the necessary steps to actually achieve your goal.