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Sunday, May 1, 2016
The Value in Values: How Who You Are drives What You Do

The Value in Values: How Who You Are drives What You Do

What are your values? 

It’s amazing the blank looks I get when I ask people that question. It’s that “uh oh, what do I say?” look, combined with “what does she mean by values?”

What exactly are “values?”

Our values are the core of everything we do – they shape what we think, say and feel. They are the foundation of our lives. However, if somebody asks us to define our values, we have a hard time articulating them.

We can all toss around a topic and share our opinion of it. Well, that opinion comes from our values – who we are and what we believe. However, truly defining them is something deeper. It takes looking at ourselves more closely, which may be a foreign – and somewhat frightening – task.

Our values are our principles, our standards, our morals and ethics – that rather complex code by which we live.

And when you lead a business that is born from you - from your personal vision - knowing your values and who you are isn't just a nice idea. A strong connection with your values will help your business.

In order for us to know if our life is aligned with our values, we must first know what our values are. What are yours?
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Friday, April 1, 2016
What I've Learned from Business

What I've Learned from Business

I joined the world of entrepreneurship at 26 years old. In hindsight, I was too young and inexperienced to be scared. Through this crazy ride of business ownership I have learned valuable lessons, and continue to learn more each day. I'd like to share them with you:
  1. You don't know it all, and you never will. You will always have room for growth and improvement. 
  2. Leave your ego at the door. Choose to continually learn from others.
  3. Hire people smarter than you are. Let them help take your business to the next level. 
  4. What goes around comes around. The business world is small. Treat others with respect. Your paths will cross again.
  5. Embrace change. As your business evolves, step outside the "owner" role and become an observer of your business. What were the lessons presented to you through a particular challenge or opportunity? Did you learn those lessons? How did those lessons help you in the future?
  6. Work with people you like. If you wanted to work with "anybody," you'd still work for somebody else. Choose your team, subcontractors and clients with purpose. They must compliment your brand and business philosophy.
  7. Find support - hire a coach, join a mastermind group. Find the right support to help you get out of your own way. 
  8. As leaders, we feel we can't show our weaknesses. If you don't shine light on your fears and struggles, you won't overcome them. Find a place where you can share, your successes, your fears and be real.
  9. Have fun! Each day is a blessing. Choose positivity. Look for the silver lining in even the darkest cloud. 
Thank you to my clients, team members, contractors, vendors, friends, supporters and cheerleaders. It is because of you that I still enjoy this wonderful journey of self employment. I am truly blessed beyond measure. 
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Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Clean up your Leadership Dust

Clean up your Leadership Dust

We live in a society where faster is better. Fast technology, fast vehicles, immediate responses and doing more with less is the name of the game.
What's are the results? We see it them daily: quick tempers, quick responses, racing thoughts and the unending pressure to keep up.
What if we slowed down?
During a recent call with an executive coaching client, she was racing. She was focused on far too much – her team, recent employee turnover, her executive peers, communication challenges and more. The conversation was fast and head my head spinning. She was taking short breaths between statements, focusing on problems, the need to force solutions and to work harder to fix it.
The pace we keep impacts our company and our team. Just like the Peanuts character Pig Pen has his dust ball that follows him, leaders carry their own dust ball. The color, size and feel of it changes based on our pace, our focus and our level of self care.
To change this client’s “dust ball,” an immediate break was in order. Not only was that break needed to reset her vibe and mental well being, but also to (finally) embrace her long term leadership strategy. She decided she'd had enough of repeating these patterns, not addressing the issues that plagued her business. 
How are you leading? What is your leadership dust?
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Monday, February 1, 2016
How clear is your company's brand?

How clear is your company's brand?

When you say the word “brand”, for many people the first thing that comes to mind is a logo. A brand  - a strong brand - is far more than a logo. 

A strong brand is based on clearly defined values. A clear understanding of values throughout the business – and everything the business does – ensures that customers and potential customers know what to expect when working with that company (or an individual personal brand or a sole entrepreneur). 

It help will ensure customers are connecting with a company that matches what they are about. It creates a stronger connection so a business not only attract clients, but the right clients. 

Your brand reflects the way your business behaves and the way it portrays itself; your logo is just one of the ways your business makes itself visible.

Roy Disney (the nephew of Walt Disney) said it perfectly: "When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier."

I have another thought to share with you: When your company has clear values - a clear brand - your customers can fully engage with your business.

When you’re clear on your mission - how your organization is different, where you are headed, the contribution your team is making - business begins to change. Your team engages more fully. Employees are plugged in to something more than a daily grind - they are part of a larger mission. Business begins to change, team dynamics change. Productivity increases, and your bottom line grows.

Ready to elevate your business brand? Let's chat. 
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Friday, January 1, 2016
What happened to real salespeople?

What happened to real salespeople?

Salespeople - I've worked with a few. As a young media assistant, then media buyer, planner/buyer and agency owner, I've talked with all kinds. The good, the bad, and the, well, really bad. 
I always felt that media salespeople got a bad rap. A dear friend and media salesperson told me once that media salespeople we perceived as just a tick above used car salesperson in terms of professionalism. This shocked me, as I, at that point in my career, had only worked with good ones.
Well, my friends, the day of the good salesperson is a thing of the past. Not only are good salespeople extremely hard to find, so is good customer service. 
With online marketing and "virtual" business prevalent in society, people forgot something: people do business with other people.

My dad has been a salesperson for roughly 50 years. He's sold everything from pasta and Chevrolets to Fruit Stripe gum. He told me once that if you are in sales, you will always have a job because "people will always buy from other people." Even if you find auto insurance online in 15 minutes and save 15% or more, you will, inevitably, work with a person at some point.
We've forgotten about training. Teaching our teams how to work with people. What happened to treating the customer the way we want to be treated? Or, even still, treating them better than we want to be treated? Going out of our way to help the other person? 
When a salesperson requests and schedules a conference call with me, I expect them to initiate the call. It's not my responsibility to call them so they can possibly sell me something I didn't ask for. When I request information from a person who has sold something to me, I expect to get it. That's part of something called "service after the sale."
Let's put a new focus on customers - getting them, keeping them, and spreading a little goodness in the process.
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Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Three Keys to Break Through Your Business Block

Three Keys to Break Through Your Business Block

A new year is here (again!). For most of us, we look forward at our business and personal goals. We make lists of things we want to accomplish, which tend to include a few things we didn’t accomplish the prior year (or the year before that).

Each year at this time, I look back. I reflect on my 12-month journey, and it’s always eye opening! As with most businesses, goals and plans shift to accommodate the fluidity of business. And inevitably, there is something that I carry over to the plan for the new year. And I must admit there have been times my “carry over” items have carried for more than one year. 

Not this year. This year I was able to accomplish each business goal - even the “roll over” ones. How did I do it?
  1. Examination. What was keeping me from achieving my goals? Was is a personal block of some sort? Maybe it was a resource I needed that I didn’t have.  By being fully transparent about what was keeping me from achieving that goal, I was able to shine a light on the gremlins in my way. 
  2. Pull in resources. I was brave enough to ask for help I needed - hiring support staff, reaching out to my coach, soliciting help from my team and asking friends for support I knew I needed. It wasn’t as hard as I thought! Of course I can’t do everything myself. It’s not different when it comes to reaching a goal.
  3. Do the work. It's one thing to want to achieve a goal. It's another to push through the challenges and make it happen. Doing the hard work is where the rubber meets the road. AND this is when you'll know if your resources - your support - is the support you need.
I invite you to take this moment and look back. Look at this past year, and even at years prior. What is one goal (dream) that keeps rolling over to your New Year list? What has remained out of reach? 

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Monday, December 21, 2015
Brand Personality and Business Decisions

Brand Personality and Business Decisions

Branding goes far beyond colors, fonts and cool images. Branding truly establishes your business personality. And if you're doing things right, should drive all business decisions.

Yes, all decisions. 

A fully elevated brand - one that embraces the organization as a whole - easily can identify business opportunities. It's becomes easy to say "yes" to the opportunities that align with your brand and "no" to those that don't. 

When your brand is fully elevated and your company is in sync with your brand, knowing what's right for your business becomes second nature. It even goes beyond a logical decision - your company's brand becomes part of you, and decisions become innate and automatic.

Are you using your brand to guide you business decisions? Why not? 

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